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Billionaire environmentalist Steyer to make announcement on 2020 race

(Reuters) - Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, a Democratic donor and activist who has spent millions pushing to impeach Republican President Donald Trump, is expected to announce on Wednesday whether he will make a 2020 White House bid. FILE PHOTO: Tom Steyer, a hedge fund manager and a prominent Democratic fundraiser who has mounted a high-profile advertising campaign advocating the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, holds a news conference in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File PhotoSteyer will discuss his “political plans for 2019 and beyond” at a news conference in Iowa, where he is hosting an event on access to education, according to a statement…

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U.S. Supreme Court rejects mystery firm possibly linked to Russia probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a request by a foreign government-owned company over its bid to avoid paying penalties if it does not comply with a subpoena issued by a grand jury in a sealed case possibly linked to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election. FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Supreme Court building in seen in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Al Drago/File PhotoThe court in a brief order turned away a request filed by the company, which is facing a daily fine of $50,000 imposed by a U.S. federal judge in Washington for refusing to…

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Exclusive: New documents link Huawei to suspected front companies in Iran, Syria

LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) - The U.S. case against the chief financial officer of China’s Huawei Technologies, who was arrested in Canada last month, centers on the company’s suspected ties to two obscure companies. One is a telecom equipment seller that operated in Tehran; the other is that firm’s owner, a holding company registered in Mauritius. U.S. authorities allege CFO Meng Wanzhou deceived international banks into clearing transactions with Iran by claiming the two companies were independent of Huawei, when in fact Huawei controlled them. Huawei has maintained the two are independent: equipment seller Skycom Tech Co Ltd and shell company Canicula Holdings Ltd. But corporate filings and…

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Factbox: Impact on U.S. government widens on 18th day of shutdown

(Reuters) - A shutdown of about a quarter of the U.S. government reached its 18th day on Tuesday, with lawmakers and the White House divided over Republican President Donald Trump’s demand for money for a border wall ahead of his prime-time address to push the project. The U.S. Capitol is seen beyond a traffic barrier during the partial government shutdown in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueThe shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, is the 19th since the mid-1970s, although most have been brief. This one now ranks as the second-longest, with Trump saying it could continue for months or years, even as he said he…

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Trump to focus on border ‘crisis,’ seek wall support in televised address

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump will make his case to Americans on Tuesday that a wall is urgently needed to resolve what he calls a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, trying to make good on a campaign promise in a dispute that has sparked an 18-day partial government shut-down. Trump’s prime-time address, scheduled for 9 p.m. (0200 GMT Wednesday) will be the Republican president’s latest attempt to persuade Democrats to back his push for a steel barrier on the southern border. Amid his talk of crisis, Trump is considering declaring the border situation a national emergency, which could get him out of an impasse by enabling…

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Trump unlikely to declare emergency at U.S. southern border: report

U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Marine One as he departs for Camp David from the White House in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File PhotoWASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is unlikely to declare a national emergency at the southern border with Mexico during his speech on Tuesday night, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person who reviewed drafts of the speech. The nationally televised address did not include any declaration, according to the person, who was not identified. The speech will try to explain why the Republican president considers the situation at the border as a crisis, the newspaper said. Trump’s prime-time…

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Apple, Facebook propel Wall Street to three-week peak

(Reuters) - The S&P 500 jumped to a three-week high on Tuesday, led by Apple, Amazon, Facebook and industrial shares on bets that the United States and China would strike a deal to end their trade war. A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., January 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermidThe three-day rally kicked off on Friday following robust U.S. jobs data and dovish comments on interest rates by Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell has lifted the S&P 500 .SPX by over 9 percent from 20-month lows touched around Christmas. The S&P 500 has gained in seven of the…

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Afghan Taliban cancel peace talks with U.S. citing ‘agenda disagreement’

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - The Afghan Taliban said on Tuesday they had called off peace talks with U.S. officials in Qatar this week due to an “agenda disagreement”, especially over the involvement of Afghan officials as well as a possible ceasefire and prisoner exchange. FILE PHOTO: Taliban walk as they celebrate ceasefire in Ghanikhel district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan June 16, 2018.REUTERS/ParwizTwo days of peace talks had been set to start on Wednesday, Taliban officials told Reuters earlier, but the hardline Islamic militant group had refused to allow “puppet” Afghan officials to join. The U.S. ambassador to Kabul, John Bass, tweeted that reports of U.S.-Taliban talks on…

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Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault trial set for May: court papers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein will go on trial in Manhattan on May 6 on charges of sexually assaulting two women, his lawyer said in a court filing. FILE PHOTO: Film producer Harvey Weinstein exits the New York Supreme Court in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., December 20, 2018. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File PhotoWeinstein is accused of forcibly performing oral sex on a woman in July 2006 and raping another woman in March 2013. He faces five charges, including rape, and a maximum sentence of life in prison. More than 70 women, mostly young actresses and others in the movie…

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Prosecutors in ‘El Chapo’ trial play calls intercepted by FBI

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Prosecutors in the trial of “El Chapo” Joaquin Guzman on Tuesday played excerpts from what they said were incriminating phone calls made by the accused Mexican drug lord and intercepted by the FBI after they infiltrated his encrypted messaging system. FILE PHOTO: Mexico's top drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is escorted as he arrives at Long Island MacArthur airport in New York, U.S., January 19, 2017, after his extradition from Mexico. U.S. officials/Handout via REUTERS/File PhotoNearly two months into the trial of Guzman on charges of drug trafficking as leader of the Sinaloa cartel, FBI special agent Steven Marston testified the 61-year-old…

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