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Trump wants whistleblower named despite ‘danger’

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Washington, Nov 9 US President Donald Trump has called for the whistleblower who triggered the impeachment inquiry to be unmasked, ignoring a cease-and-desist warning.

On Thursday, a lawyer for a whistleblower told the White House that Trump’s rhetoric was placing his client and family in physical danger.

Undeterred by the letter, Trump renewed his attacks on the whistleblower and lawyer on Friday, the BBC reported.

The individual’s identity has so far been fiercely guarded by Democrats.

In August, the whistleblower filed a report that eventually triggered impeachment proceeding against Trump.

The report expressed concern over a phone call a month earlier in which Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Joe Biden, a Democratic front-runner for the 2020 US presidential election.

In Thursday’s letter, sent to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, the whistleblower’s lawyer Andrew Bakaj cites many examples of the president’s “fixation” on the identity of his client in his comments to the media, at rallies and on Twitter.

“Such statements seek to intimidate my client – and they have,” Bakaj writes.

He continued: “Should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client.”

But the next day, Trump launched a fresh attack at the White House.

“The whistleblower is a disgrace to our country… and the whistleblower because of that should be revealed,” he told reporters.

“And his lawyer who said the worst things possible two years ago, he should be sued, and maybe for treason.”

Trump may have been referring to the whistleblower’s other lawyer, Mark Zaid, who has been under fire from the president’s allies over tweet posted in 2017 in which he vowed – among other things – to “get rid of him (Trump)”.

Meanwhile, the President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said in an interview with a leading media outlet that she did not believe the whistleblower’s identity was “particularly relevant”.

“The whistleblower shouldn’t be a substantive part of the conversation,” she told said, adding that the person “did not have firsthand information”.

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Car bomb blast, firing outside US base in Afghanistan

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Kabul, Dec 11 Militants detonated a massive car bomb and seized a building outside a main US and NATO military base in Afghanistan’s Bagram on Wednesday morning, pushing security forces to respond, officials and witnesses said.

“A car bomb explosion occurred at 5.50 a.m. local time Wednesday in Bagram district. We still cannot provide details on causalities. There is fear of possible causalities,” Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman of the Afghan Interior Ministry, told Xinhua news agency.

“We heard a huge blast in Janqadam locality in Bagram district after militants detonated a huge car bomb. A second group of militants seized a health clinic’s building, clashing with security forces and firing rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) onto the Bagram base,” a witness told local Arman FM radio.

The whole place has now been sealed off by the US and Afghan security forces, the witness added.

The blast caused a plume of gray smoke to rise above the scene. Military helicopters were hovering over the site.

Located in Bagram district of eastern Parwan province, the Bagram military base, some 50 km north of Afghan capital of Kabul, has been serving as a main US and NATO military base in Afghanistan over the past 18 years.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet.

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A Nobel ceremony: Abhijit, wife Esther woo netizens in ethnic wear

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Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee

Stockholm, Dec 11 Indian-American economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee, and his French-American wife Esther Duflo were conferred the Nobel Prize for Economics in Sweden here, alongside their American colleague Michael Kremer.

Unlike other laureates, who arrived in tuxedos and fancy Red Carpet dresses, the couple glorified the prestigious occasion in traditional Indian attire.

Abhijit wore a black bandhgala jacket paired with an off-white dhoti, and wife Esther wore a blue, two-toned saree, while Michael Kremer was spotted wearing a black suit.

‘The Nobel Prize’ tweeted “Watch Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer receive their medals and diplomas at the #NobelPrize award ceremony today. Congratulations!

They were awarded the 2019 Prize in Economic Sciences “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.”

The Twitter post was flooded with comments and congratulatory wishes from across the world, with 1.4K retweets and 3.6K likes.

The three economists were awarded medals and the prize money of nine million Swedish krona (approx Rs 6.7 crore), which will be shared among them.

As “#AbhijitBanerjee” trends on Twitter, tweeple are praising the couple’s attire, saying “Moment of pride for Indians as Abhijeet Banerjee and his wife received biggest prize in the world… wearing Indian attire is icing on cake”.

While another wrote: “We live in an era where people are banning movies and pre wedding shootings for cultural in-approproation , whereas progressive Indians like #AbhijitBanerjee and her better half are showing the world what Indian culture is. Thank you for making us proud sir.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Banerjee, an alumnus of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Calcutta, is the second person of Indian Origin to be awarded the prize after Amartya Sen who received it in 1988.

He is the 10th person of Indian origin or citizenship to win a Nobel.

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Boris’ spoof on ‘Love Actually’ scene sets Twitter abuzz

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Boris Johnson

London, Dec 10 : British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new pro-Brexit ad, a spoof on the 2003 hit movie ‘Love Actually’, set Twitter abuzz, with users posting memes and funny comments.

The 3-minute clip called ‘Brexit Actually’ got 9.7K retweets and 25K likes after it was posted on Johnson’s Twitter account on Tuesday. It had 1.7 million views.

The clipping shows Boris standing at a woman’s doorstep and using written signboards to seek her vote and warn that the elections are “closer than you think”.

Through several billboards, he mimicked a famous scene between Andrew Lincoln and Keira Knightly. Thus, he tried to send the message across to fencesitting voter about Brexit.

One signboard read: “With any luck by next year we will have Brexit done (if Parliament doesn’t block it again) and we can move on.

“But for now let me say, your vote has never been more important. The other guy could win.

“So you have to make a choice – between a working majority or another gridlocked hung Parliament.”

It ends with the PM walking away and telling the camera “enough, enough – let’s get this done”.

Twitterati poked fun at the video and also tore into the Conservative Party leader. One said: “Hang on, isn’t the doorstep character trying to sleep with his best mate’s wife?”

In reply to @BorisJohnson, one user posted: “Oh, for God’s sake now you have really crossed a line.”

A Twitter user posted a meme of Johnson sporting blonde hair opening the door to US President Donald Trump with billboards in his hand that say ‘with some luck you will sell the NHS’ and ‘to me’.

One user said: “Desperate, yes. The sad thing is that this is still the only thing Boris can say to you in this election. Nothing of substance on anything that matters in your daily life. And even that’s an empty promise.”

Another post read: “Boris Johnson’s awkward ‘Love Actually’ spoof is an uncomfortable watch and not a patch on the original.”

One user posted Hugh Grant’s take on the issue: “Hugh Grant has said it was terrible and highlights how the message is meant to be about telling the truth, which Johnson doesn’t”.

One Brexit supporter wrote: “This is brilliant! Let’s get Brexit done.”

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