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U.S. intelligence officials suggest that the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, a Russian government think tank controlled by President Vladimir Putin, created a ‘road map’ for tipping the 2016 U.S. presidential election to Donald Trump. The plan recommended that the Kremlin start a propaganda campaign to get U.S. voters to elect a president who would be softer on Russia than the previous Obama administration. It also aimed at undermine voter confidence in the electoral system.
At least 3 people were killed in what has been described as “the mother of all protests” in Caracas, Venezuela, bringing the death toll from recent protests to seven people. Demonstrations have grown increasingly common as the opposition continues to express remorse towards the government amid growing food and medicine shortages. Critics believe President Nicolás Maduro is responsible for the economic disparity that is plaguing the country while he claims that the hundreds of thousands of people protesting were part of an effort to overthrow his government.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the shooting of three French police officers, killing one of them and seriously wounding the other, in the Champs-Elysées in Paris. The shootout occurred three days after the first round of France’s presidential elections just a few blocks away from France’s presidential palace. The attacker was killed when he fled on foot after opening fire on the officers’ police car.
U.S. federal prosecutors are considering seeking criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and other members of the organization. The Justice Department has been investigating WikiLeaks since 2010 although prosecuting the group would be like charging news outlet for publishing classified information. Federal prosecutors are drafting a memo charging people with conspiracy, theft of government property, and violation of the Espionage Act.
THE UNITED STATES
White House officials are pushing a new version of the Republican health-care bill in an attempt to deliver on President Trump’s campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare before his 100th day in office. Revisions are aimed to please the conservative Freedom Caucus which could further displease moderate Republicans.
Prosecutors in Kaduna, a northern state in Nigeria, have charged a group of 53 people with conspiring to celebrate a gay wedding. Homosexual acts are banned in Nigeria and such offenses are punished by up to 14 years in jail. The ban on homosexuality, brought into effect in 2014, is used by several police officers to legitimize abuses against LGBT people, per Human Rights Watch reports.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May has called a surprise snap general election on June 8, 2017. May believes that the general election will provide a strong mandate for parliament going forward to what is going to be difficult negations with Europe over Britain’s departure from the EU. The snap election will need to be approved by two thirds of MPs in the House of Commons.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has said that there is “no doubt” that Syria retains chemical weapons. Mattis noted that Syria would be “ill-advised” to try to use chemical weapons again after the April 4 attack which killed more than 80 people despite President Bashar al-Assad’s claims that the chemical weapon attacks were 100% fabricated. Test results soon samples from victims on the attack showed that the nerve agent sarin or a similar substance was used.