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Trump calls impeachment inquiry ‘a lynching’

Lynching refers to historic extrajudicial executions by white mobs, mainly against black people.

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Donald Trump

London, Oct 22 : US President Donald Trump has called the congressional impeachment investigation that may seek to remove him from office “a lynching”.

Trump condemned the inquiry in a tweet as “without due process or fairness or any legal rights”, the BBC reported.

But Democrats were outraged at the President for invoking such a grim and racist chapter from US history.

Lynching refers to historic extrajudicial executions by white mobs, mainly against black people.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters on Tuesday that Trump did not mean to be racially insensitive.

“The president has used many words, all types of language, to talk about the way the media has treated him,” the Deputy Press Secretary said.

He added: “The President wasn’t trying to compare himself to the horrific history in this country at all.”

The impeachment inquiry is examining whether the Republican President abused his office by improperly pressuring Ukraine to launch an investigation into former US Vice-President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination.

Trump denies holding up US military aid to Ukraine so they would investigate Biden’s son, who worked for a Ukrainian gas company.

Trump has repeatedly called the impeachment inquiry, as well as an earlier investigation into foreign meddling in the 2016 election, a “witch hunt”.

But his likening of a process enshrined in the US constitution to racist killings provoked outrage among African-American lawmakers.

Europe

UK’s Prince Andrew steps back from public duties over scandal

The 59-year-old has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts, in 2001 after going to a London nightclub.

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Prince Andrew

London, Nov 21 (IANS) The United Kingdoms Prince Andrew has announced he is stepping back from royal duties over the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

In a statement released on Wednesday he said he would end his public work “for the foreseeable future “over his links to the convicted sex offender, Efe news reported.

He also offered to help police investigating allegations against the disgraced hedge-fund manager and accused sex trafficker.

Andrew said his former association with Epstein had become a “major disruption” to the royal family.

“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission,” he added.

“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstien.”

Epstein was found dead in a prison cell in the United States while awaiting trial for sex trafficking of minors.

He was found to have died of suicide by hanging.

Andrew’s statement said his death “has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure”.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives,” he added.

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”

Andrew has been under increasing criticism for his relationship with the well-connected financier, with a number of sponsors severing ties with the royal after an interview he gave with the BBC on Saturday.

The 59-year-old has been accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl, Virginia Roberts, in 2001 after going to a London nightclub.

He has denied all the allegations and in the BBC interview said he was at a pizza restaurant on the day in question.

Roberts said she had sex with Andrew three times, in London in March 2001, weeks later at Epstein’s New York mansion and a third time on his private island.

Epstein, who was known for friendships with high-profile figures such as US Presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, and Israeli former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

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Business

US govt grants export licenses for some Huawei’s suppliers

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network late on Tuesday that the department has “had 290-something requests for specific licences.”

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Huawei US Suppliers

Washington, Nov 21 : The US government has started to issue licenses to some US suppliers, allowing them to resume shipping to China’s telecom giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The US Department of Commerce in May put Huawei on its Entity List over the so-called “national security concerns.” The sale or transfer of American technology to a company or person on the Entity List requires a license issued by the department’s Bureau of Industry and Security, Xinhua news agency reported.

Reuters cited two industry sources as saying that companies began receiving notices of approval and “intent to deny” notices from the Commerce Department on Wednesday.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Network late on Tuesday that the department has “had 290-something requests for specific licences.”

“We now have been starting to send out the 20-day intent to deny letters and some approvals,” said Ross.

The Commerce Department announced Monday to extend, for the third time, a temporary license loosening restrictions on business deals with Huawei for another 90 days.

Huawei said in a statement on May 20 that the US export control decision is in no one’s interest and will do significant economic harm to the American companies with which Huawei does business.

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Europe

Donald Tusk elected as new EPP leader

Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk was elected the new president of the European People’s Party, the largest bloc within the EU Parliament. Tusk vowed to fight “populists, manipulators and autocrats.”

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Donald Tusk

Zagreb, Nov 21 : The European People’s Party (EPP) elected outgoing President of the European Council Donald Tusk as its new leader at annual congress here.

Tusk, whose term in the European Council expires at the end of November, got 93 per cent of votes in his favour on Wednesday night.

He is replacing Joseph Daul who has been leading the largest political group in the European Parliament since 2013, Xinhua news agency reported.

Tusk promised earlier on Wednesday that he will tackle populists as soon as he becomes the new president of the EPP.

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