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US Supreme Court to decide who can see Trump’s tax returns

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Washington, July 9 : The US Supreme Court is set to unveil its decision on Thursday about whether Congress gets to see President Donald Trumps tax returns and financial records, a media reports said.

The court”s final opinion day of its 2019-20 term also includes a related dispute about whether New York prosecutors can similarly access Trump”s financial records, held by his accounting firm and banks, Politico news said in the report.

Unlike other recent Presidents, Trump has refused to release his tax returns and a decision against him could result in his personal financial information becoming public in the campaign season, a BBC report had said earlier.

Experts have said that the ruling will have far-reaching implications for the ability of Congress to scrutinise the activities of sitting Presidents and of prosecutors to investigate them.

Two committees at the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and New York prosecutors demand the release of his tax returns and other information.

In the three cases, Trump”s lawyers tried to block the subpoenas – orders to hand over evidence.

The two committees demanded financial records from two banks that did deals with Trump – Deutsche Bank and Capital One – as well as from Mazars, the President”s accountants.

Deutsche Bank was one of the few banks willing to lend Trump after a series of corporate bankruptcies in the 1990s, and the documents sought to include records related to the President, the Trump Organization and his family.

Meanwhile, Trump”s lawyers have argued that Congress had no authority to issue the subpoenas, and no valid justification to seek the records.

The Trump subpoena cases were originally set to be heard on March 31, but the actual, virtual arguments were conducted on May 12, said the Politico news report.

The COVID-19 pandemic in the US led the apex court to suspend in-person arguments, hold its first-ever telephone arguments and push some cases into the fall.

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Belarus President wins Sixth term, Opposition alleges vote-rigging

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Soon after the Presidential election was held in Belarus on Sunday. several Belarusian cities saw unauthorized protests. In Minsk, protesters returned and the police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse the demonstrations.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is being predicted to have won sixth reelection, according to official preliminary results released Monday, with 80 percent of the votes but the outcome been widely disputed amid accusations of vote-rigging.But the clear picture of the results willl be out on Friday.

President of the European Council Charles Michel on Monday urged the Belarusian authorities to respect civil rights and freedoms.”Violence against protesters is not the answer #Belarus Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, basic human rights must be upheld,” Michel wrote on Twitter.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko accused Russia, Ukraine and Poland for orchestrating protests in Belarus that emerged soon after the election.

According to preliminary results revealed by the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Lukashenko secured 80.23 percent of votes, followed by opposition candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya with 9.90 percent.

Lukashenko also blamed foreign interference for the Internet shut-off.

Sergey Lebedev, the head of the observers mission from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to the presidential election in Belarus, said on Monday that the vote had been conducted in an open, lawful and competitive manner.

The preliminary results of the Belarusian presidential election, held this past Sunday, suggest incumbent president Alexander Lukashenko won over 80 percent of the vote.

“The August 9 election was conducted in compliance with the constitution and electoral code of Belarus. It was open and competitive and ensured that Belarus citizens could freely express their will,” Lebedev said at a briefing.

Candidates, too, had the opportunity to “freely promote their campaigns and speak on the national television,” according to Lebedev.

The team of CIS observers has concluded that both the preparation and process of the election was overall conducted “decently,” as quoted by the mission’s chief.

At the same time, Lebedev pointed out that the vote stood out from Belarus’ previous campaigns by its “political heat.”

“Unfortunately, the vote featured — and we have mentioned it in our statement — statements which were obviously incorrect, provocative and conducive to the escalation of political heat and tension among the public,” the CIS chief observer said.

Lebedev said the detection of inconsistencies in the electoral procedures was a “scattered” occurrence, both for domestic Belarusian observers and CIS observers, whereas in the latter case he said the staff at the polling stations reacted to all voiced critical comments “positively” and promptly corrected any detected inconsistencies.

Meanwhile, the European Union is considering sanctions against Minsk.

Denying any role in Belarus ahead of the presidential election, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had said that Russia did not send people to Belarus to destabilize the situation there.

“Belarus and Russia are the Union State. It is an ally, the closest partner. Therefore, this is surely out of the question,” Peskov has told.

He said that Moscow is aware of 33 Russian citizens being detained in Belarus and 200 others are still wanted.

“There is no information about any illegal actions of them that could become a reason for the detention,” he said, adding he looks forward to clarification of the incident.

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China furious over US Health and Human Services Secretary Taiwan’s visit

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China Xi Jinping

The tensions between US and China has been potentially at the peak and relations are being worsened with every passing day.

The latest visit by US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in Taiwan on Sunday, the first highest-level visit by a US cabinet official since 1979 has sparked outrage in China.

The controversial visit to Taiwan about the island’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Azar extended words of “strong support and friendship” from President Donald Trump to Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen. The health secretary appreciated Taiwan’s successful fight against COVID-19, calling it “a tribute to the open, transparent, democratic nature” of its society and culture.

AS China has been saying that Taipei have no separate international relations from Beijing, viewing the island as a part of China. Beijing does not recognize Taiwanese independence, therefore more reactions are expected from China.

“Thank you, President Tsai, for welcoming me to Taiwan today. It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from the United States to #Taiwan,” he wrote on Twitter.
During the meeting, Azar congratulated Tsai on beginning her second term earlier this year.
“Under President Trump, the United States has expressed our admiration for Taiwan’s democratic success in tangible ways,” he noted, as broadcast by the Taiwanese administration.

China and US have embroiled in a brittle battle over coronavirus, trade, stealing of intellectual rights, and engaging in tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats and staging bigger and bigger war games in the western Pacific. President Donald Trump signed executive orders prohibiting US residents from doing any business with TikTok, WeChat or the apps’ Chinese owners.China’s state-run media branded US demands for the sale of TikTok’s American operations to Microsoft Corp. as “theft” and suggested Beijing may block the transaction.

China imposed sanctions on the US in response to the restrictions imposed by Washington over an alleged effort to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy, the spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, said Monday. US moves has so far invited sanctions targeting senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, among others.

On Friday, the United States has imposed sanctions on 11 individuals in response to an alleged effort to “undermine” Hong Kong’s autonomy.

There are also talks of U.S. regulators are considering that stock exchanges should set new rules that could delist the Chinese companies citing that investors are exposed to frauds.

Arti Bali

Sr Journalist

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Chinese mainland reports 49 new confirmed COVID-19 cases

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BEIJING, Aug. 10 : Chinese health authority said Monday that it received reports of 49 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the Chinese mainland Sunday, including 35 imported cases and 14 locally-transmitted ones.

All the 14 locally-transmitted cases were reported in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the National Health Commission said in its daily report.

One new suspected COVID-19 case, which was imported from outside the mainland, was reported in Shanghai Municipality.

No deaths related to the disease were reported Sunday.

A total of 64 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery on Sunday, the commission said.

By the end of Sunday, a total of 2,169 imported cases had been reported on the mainland. Of them, 2,037 had been discharged from hospitals after recovery, and 132 remained hospitalized, with one in serious condition. No deaths from the imported cases had been reported.

As of Sunday, the overall confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland had reached 84,668, including 802 patients who were still being treated, with 41 in severe conditions.

Altogether 79,232 people had been discharged after recovery, and 4,634 had died of the disease on the mainland, the commission said.

There were still seven suspected COVID-19 cases, it added.

According to the commission, 2,305 close contacts were discharged from medical observation on Sunday, and there were 24,055 close contacts still under medical observation.

Also on Sunday, 31 new asymptomatic cases, including 24 from outside the mainland, were reported, and three asymptomatic cases were re-categorized as confirmed ones.

The commission said 283 asymptomatic cases, including 136 from outside the mainland, were still under medical observation.

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