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Three journalists slain in Mexico in a week

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Two journalists were shot dead in Mexico Friday, bringing to three the number of journalists killed in the country this week, officials say.

Jorge Celestino Ruiz, who worked for the newspaper El Grafico de Xalapa, was killed on Friday night in the violence-plagued state of Veracruz, the mayor of the state’s capital Paulino Dominguez told AFP.

Ruiz’s house was shot at in October and bullets were also “fired at his vehicle to intimidate him,” said a police source, who asked for anonymity, and did not give further details.

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Ruiz had stopped putting his name to his articles to keep a low profile, the reporter’s colleagues also said.

State interior secretary Hugo Gutierrez “strongly condemned” the killing on Twitter and said it was an attack on freedom of expression.

The shooting occurred less than 24 hours after the director of online news website La Verdad de Zihuatanejo, Edgar Alberto Nava, was gunned down in the southern state of Guerrero, according to the local prosecutors office.

And on Tuesday, the body of Rogelio Barragan — head of news website Guerrero Al Instante — was discovered in an abandoned car’s trunk in the State of Morelos.

Reporters Without Borders said eight journalists had been killed in Mexico this year up until Thursday.

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Since 2000, around 100 reporters have been killed in the country. Violence linked to drug trafficking and political corruption is rampant, and most crimes go unpunished.


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Sondland is in ‘tremendous trouble’ no matter how he tries to change his testimony tomorrow: NYT columnist

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On Tuesday, in the wake of testimony from several witnesses in the impeachment hearing that broadly implicated EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland in improper backchannel foreign policy, New York Times columnist Wajahat Ali suggested that Sondland is in "tremendous trouble" — and that no testimony he could give tomorrow will get him out of this mess:

No. He will be trying to save himself. The perjury plus multiple stellar witnesses paint a damning portrait. He's in tremendous trouble. https://t.co/CxN5w0EErb

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Even the Republican witnesses make Donald Trump look like a depraved criminal

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The second half of Tuesday's hearing offered something new in the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry: Witnesses called by the Republican minority on the House Intelligence Committee. It's understandable why Republicans would want these two men.

One of them was Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council aide who is among the few people directly exposed to Trump's famous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who claims to believe there was nothing wrong with it. The other was Kurt Volker, a former special envoy to Ukraine, who appears to have been a major actor in Trump's extortion scheme in that country. Indeed, Volker was deemed one of the "three amigos" — along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Trump donor/EU ambassador Gordon Sondland — who Trump entrusted with Ukrainian relations as he exerted increasing pressure on the country's leaders to give into his extortion scheme.

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Impeachment: Trump’s ‘hearsay’ defense just crashed and burned

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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