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US House Democrats issue Benghazi report to defend Clinton

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Hillary Clinton

The Democrats on the House Select Committee released their own report to refute accusations against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her role in the 2012 terror attack on Libya’s capital Benghazi.

The House Democrats on Monday said they issued the 339-page report because it is “long past time” for the Republican-led select committee investigating the terror attack on the US consulate in Benghazi to conclude its work, Xinhua news agency reported.

Four Americans including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens were killed on September 11, 2012 when the consulate was attacked by armed militants.

Clinton, now presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has been accused by the Republicans for being responsible for the terror attack as she had denied numerous requests for increased security protection from the US diplomats in Libya.

The Republicans also questioned Clinton’s characterisation of the attack, as she initially said that the attack was only inspired by a controversial anti-Islamic Youtube video rather than a planned terror attack.

The horrid attack triggered several investigations by Congress and the State Department, which faulted some State Department officials for ignoring requests for more guards and safety upgrade for US diplomatic facilities in Libya.

In May 2014, then House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, announced to form a House select committee to conduct further investigation into the Benghazi attack.

But the Democrats have decried the formation of the Republican-led committee as an attempt by the Republicans to conduct a political witch hunt for Clinton, who was then slated to enter the 2016 presidential race.

In the Monday report, the Democrats said nothing uncovered by the select committee will change the underlying narrative about the 2012 attack.

The report revealed transcripts of interviews with dozens of officials from the White House, State Department, Pentagon, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

It also denied reports that Clinton never personally denied requests for additional security from the US diplomats in Libya ahead of the attack.

The Republicans in the House select committee are prepared to release very soon the formal report on the committee’s investigation, which is expected to be very critical of Clinton’s role in the Benghazi attack.

By releasing the report on Monday, the Democrats aimed to counteract the Republicans’ attack as the presidential race kicks into high gear ahead of the national conventions by the two parties in July.

America

US unemployment rate falls to 50-year low

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The U.S. unemployment rate fell in September to a new five-decade low of 3.5%, while employers added a modest 136,000 jobs.

The Labor Department says that despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which was down from 3.7% in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny. Hourly pay rose just 2.9% from a year earlier, lower than 3.4% at the beginning of the year.

Hiring has slowed this year as the U.S.-China trade war has intensified, global growth has slowed, and businesses have cut back on their investment spending. Still, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.

The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9%, the lowest on records dating from 1973.

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Trump embarrassed by TV channel

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

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New York, Sep 26 : US President Donald Trump was subjected to an embarrassment when the MSNBC news channel cut away from his press conference while he was speaking on the controversy surrounding him over the Ukrainian probe against former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump on Wednesday was addressing the press conference against the backdrop of impeachment proceedings announced against him by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi following allegations that he put pressure on the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to order a probe against Biden whose family has business interests there.

The allegation against Trump came to light because of a whistleblower and a transcript of the conversation between him and Zelensky in July, which has become public.

As Trump was speaking to the media after meeting Zelensky to clarify his position, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace cut into it, saying: “We hate to do this but the President isn’t telling the truth.”

She added that Trump was trying to do it to deflect the attention from his impeachment.

According to the transcript of the telephonic conversation that has gone public, Trump is heard asking Zelensky to “do us a favour”, after the latter expresses gratitude for the military aid the US provided to his country.

Trump’s words of “do us a favour” is seen as a quid pro quo for the American military aid, because of which the impeachment proceedings have been announced.

After Wallace cut the press conference, her guest on the programme, justice and security analyst Matthew Miller, rebuked Trump for saying that Biden and his son had done wrong.

“This story has been looked at and thoroughly debunked by everyone involved,” Miller said, adding the real issue was whether Trump’s conduct is “impeachable”.

Trump is facing problem at a time when he is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly.

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Kim Jong-un receives ‘excellent’ letter from Trump

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Pyongyang, June 23 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has received a personal letter with “excellent” and “interesting” content from US President Donald Trump, Pyongyang’s state media said on Sunday.

“After reading the letter, the Supreme Leader of the Party, the state and the armed forces said with satisfaction that the letter is of excellent content,” the Korean Central News Agency said, referring to its leader.

“Appreciating the political judging faculty and extraordinary courage of President Trump, Kim Jong-un said that he would seriously contemplate the interesting content,” it added.

The KCNA did not disclose when and how the letter was delivered to Kim, reports Yonhap News Agency.

The letter appears to be in response to the one Kim sent to Trump recently in time for the anniversary of their first-ever summit in Singapore last June.

Trump had described Kim’s letter as “beautiful” and “very warm”. He also emphasized that the relationship between them remains strong and that “something will happen that’s going to be very positive”.

The exchange of correspondence between the leaders renewed hopes for a resumption of denuclearization talks which have stalled since the breakdown of their second summit in February.

The summit collapsed as Pyongyang wanted sanctions relief as a corresponding measure in exchange for dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex, while Washington insisted that sanctions should remain in place until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons programme.

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