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Secret recording of Cohen-Trump conversation revealed

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Washington, July 25: A secret audio recording of then-US presidential candidate Donald Trump with his recently estranged lawyer Michael Cohen speaking in 2016 about making a payment to Playboy playmate Karen McDougal has been obtained by CNN.

In the tape obtained by the channel network on Tuesday both Trump and Cohen discuss a transfer of money to a company for “info regarding our friend David” — an apparent reference to David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc. which owns the National Enquirer.

The audio, made in September of 2016, is the first evidence that Trump knew about the payment.

“I need to open up a company for the transfer of all of that info regarding our friend David,” Cohen said in the recording. Trump interrupts Cohen asking: “What financing?”

Cohen then tells Trump, “We’ll have to pay” and Trump is heard saying “pay with cash”. Cohen is heard saying “no no no”.

American Media, Inc. allegedly spent $150,000 in August of 2016 for a story from Karen McDougal, the playmate who claimed she had a 10-month affair with Trump.

But the expose never ran.

McDougal’s sued the company earlier in 2018 for the rights to tell her story.

Her lawyers claimed that the purchase was part of a “catch-and-kill” strategy to bury her tale and protect then-candidate Trump from negative press.

The lawsuit was eventually settled and freed McDougal from the contract which she claimed she was “misled into signing”.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, however, has refuted all payment claims, the New York Post reported.

Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis, who provided the audio tapes to the network, said it showed his client knows the truth about Trump.

“This is about honesty versus false disparagement of Michael Cohen,” Davis told CNN.

“Why is Giuliani out falsely disparaging Michael Cohen — because they fear him… They fear that he has the truth about Donald Trump.

“The truth is that when Donald Trump said ‘cash’ which Rudy Giuliani knows that only drug dealers and mobsters talk about cash, it was, you heard Michael Cohen… say what? ‘No, no, no, no’.”

The tapes were among others seized by federal authorities in a raid of Cohen’s home and office.

CNN presenter Chris Cuomo tweeted on Tuesday: “Full audio: Presidential candidate Trump is heard on tape discussing with his attorney Michael Cohen how they would buy the rights to a Playboy model’s story about an alleged affair Trump had with her years earlier, according to the audio recording “https://cnn.it/2v5Xe1E”.

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Families affected by Beirut blasts to be given $300 monthly

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The Lebanese Red Cross (LRC) announced on Saturday that it will provide $300 for seven months for 10,000 families affected by August 4 Port of Beirut explosions.

“We will also make assessments about the families that are very much in need for this amount after the first month,” Xinhua news agency quoted George Kettaneh, secretary general of the LRC, as saying.

Kettaneh said that LRC will cooperate with other associations and the Lebanese army to make sure that support is distributed fairly among all families, while it will continue to provide medicines for chronic diseases.

Two explosions rocked the port destroying a big part of the capital city.It killed around 190 people and wounding at least 6,000 others.

The explosions, caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonating at a warehouse in the port, also led to at least 300,000 people being homeless, while plunging more into poverty.

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Vietnam resumes int’l flights after 5 months

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Vietnam on Saturday resumed international flights after a five-month suspension due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Saturday morning, a Vietnam Airlines carrying 60 passengers on board took off for Tokyo from the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Xinhua News Agency reported.

Most of the passengers are Vietnamese students and workers going back to Japan to continue studying and working.

The flight also carried a number of Japanese nationals, according to state-media.Passengers exiting Vietnam must have a certificate of negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Covid-19 test result issued within 72 hours before departure.

In September, Vietnam Airlines is expected to carry out three more flights to Japan, while the reverse route from Tokyo to Hnaoi will be arranged later.Vietnam suspended all international flights in late March.

The country has recorded 1,068 Covid-19 cases and 35 deaths as of Saturday morning. No local transmission has been recorded nationwide in more than two weeks, according to the Ministry of Health.

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US judge declines to block Commerce Department WeChat order

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NEW YORK : A United States judge in California declined to block the Commerce Department order issued on Friday that will prohibit U.S. app stores from offering Tencent Holding’s WeChat for download starting late Sunday.

Judge Laurel Beeler said the request for a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit brought by U.S. WeChat users appeared moot after the Commerce order but said in an written order “the court is available today for a hearing on any emergency motions.” A lawyer for the WeChat users did not immediately comment.

Beeler issued a follow-up order that said lawyers for the WeChat users “will file something by 10:45 a.m. (PDT) about why the motion is not moot.” She tentatively sets a Zoom hearing for 11:00 a.m. (PDT)(1700 GMT).

The Justice Department said Friday in a court filing that Beeler should reject the request, saying President Donald Trump “has invoked his emergency powers to address (the WeChat) threat, and plaintiffs have articulated no legal basis for the Court to take the extraordinary step of enjoining his exercise of that authority.”

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