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Police raid Egypt’s last independent news outlet Mada Masr amid ‘increasingly hostile’ media climate

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Egyptian security forces raided the office of Mada Masr, the country’s last independent media outlet, and arrested three of its journalists this weekend. The raid began Sunday afternoon, when nine plainclothes security officers entered the Mada Masr office in Cairo, seizing phones and laptops and holding the staff in the building for more than three hours. They then arrested editor-in-chief Lina Attalah, managing editor Mohamed Hamama and reporter Rana Mamdouh. It came just a day after security forces arrested senior editor Shady Zalat at his home. All four journalists were released from detention Sunday night. The raid and arrests mark a sharp escalation in Egypt’s attack on press freedom under Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power after the 2013 overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi. We go to Cairo where we’re joined by Mada Masr reporter Sharif Abdel Kouddous. He’s also a Democracy Now! correspondent and was detained with his colleagues on Sunday.

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Neo-Nazi arrested by FBI in terror plot before his comrades tried to kill him for being ‘stupid’ and incompetent’: report

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On Saturday, CBC News reported that several members of a white supremacist group called The Base have been arrested in Georgia and Wisconsin. This comes one day after another set of raids in Maryland and Delaware that caught Patrik Mathews, a former reservist from Manitoba who crossed into the United States illegally and has been missing for five months after being accused of recruiting for the extremist group.

One new key detail came out about Mathews in an affidavit used to secure the arrest warrants for Mathews' alleged compatriots, according to the CBC: "Although the document suggests the group member believed to be Mathews stayed with a Georgia cell member for months, he is later reportedly characterized as 'incompetent' and 'stupid' and is seen as a liability to the local group. In fact, he eventually becomes a new potential murder target."

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WATCH: Trump lawyer Pam Bondi brushes off her meeting with Lev Parnas during NBC grilling

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During an interview with NBC News' "Today" on Saturday, Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida and one of the lawyers representing President Donald Trump in impeachment matters, dismissed the photograph released by House Democrats that shows her with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.

"Clearly, Lev Parnas liked to take pictures with a lot of people," said Bondi unconcernedly. "He showed up at events pretty much everywhere where Republicans were."

Asked about Trump's relationship with Parnas, she added, "I don't know what that matters, what they're planning on doing with it. We're going to stick to the facts and stick to the law in this case."

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Trump will face uphill battle discrediting Parnas after so many other aides ended up in jail: columnist

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Writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg pointed out that President Donald Trump could have a difficult time trying to discredit indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as untrustworthy in his allegations about the Ukraine scheme — because his sleaziness and disrepute is the whole reason that he was so useful to Trump's team in the first place.

"Now that Lev Parnas, a key conspirator in Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s plot to shake down Ukraine, is singing, Trump’s defenders are pointing out that he is a disreputable person who can’t be trusted," wrote Goldberg. "'This is a man who is under indictment and who’s actually out on bail. This is a man who owns a company called Fraud Inc.,' the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said on Fox News, the only network on which she regularly appears. (Parnas's company was actually called Fraud Guarantee, though that’s not any better.)"

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