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Dem lawmaker drops the mic on GOP for claiming Trump was really worried about Ukraine ‘corruption’

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One of the Republican Party’s defenses of President Donald Trump has been that he only withheld military aid to Ukraine because he sincerely wanted to see whether the country was doing enough to fight internal corruption.

But Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) on Thursday tore this claim to pieces by showing how Trump himself is constantly mired in corruption in both his own businesses and even his personal charity.

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While debating articles of impeachment against Trump before the House Judiciary Committee, Raskin mocked the idea that the man who has paid out tens of millions of dollars to settle fraud claims has a sincere commitment to fight corruption.

“They invite us to believe that Donald Trump is an anti-corruption crusader who was shaking down President Zelensky about corruption when he doesn’t raise any corruption on that call except for what he believed was going on with the Bidens!” he said. “President Trump had to pay $2 million to charities because he ripped off his own charity for millions of dollars. This is the anti-corruption crusader they want us to believe in, the guy who paid $25 million to students at the phony Trump University which the attorney general of New York called a classic bait-and-switch operation?”

Watch the video below.

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Papua New Guinea bans travelers from all ‘Asian ports’

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Papua New Guinea shut air and seaports to all foreign travellers coming from Asia on Wednesday, in a desperate bid to prevent the deadly coronavirus from reaching the impoverished Melanesian nation.

In a note to airlines and boat operators, the ministry of immigration said "all citizens originating from the Asian ports will be refused entry to the country effective today".

The ministry also announced that Papua New Guinea's only official land border -- with Indonesian-controlled Papua province -- would be shut from Thursday.

No cases of coronavirus have been reported in Papua New Guinea, but the country's health service is already buckling under the weight of underfunding and rampant public health problems.

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Syria army says retakes key northwest town

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Syria government forces recaptured the strategic highway town of Maaret al-Numan from jihadist and allied rebels on Wednesday, the army said, returning for the first time in seven years.

"Our forces managed in the past few days to stamp out terrorism in many villages and towns," including Maaret al-Numan, an army spokesman said.

In 2011, Maaret al-Numan was one of the first towns in the northwestern province of Idlib to rise up against the Damascus government and the following year, it was captured by rebels fighting against President Bashar al-Assad's rule.

It lies on a key highway connecting the capital to second city Aleppo and has long been in the sights of the government.

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The only nationwide database of priests deemed credibly accused of abuse

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ProPublica published an interactive database on Tuesday that lets users search for clergy who have been listed as credibly accused of sexual abuse in reports released by Catholic dioceses and religious orders.

It is, as of publication, the only nationwide database of official disclosures. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the religious leaders’ national membership organization, does not publicly release any centralized, countrywide collection of clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexual assault.

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