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9 Tajiks jailed for smuggling gold and cash across Afghan border

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(Last Updated On: April 27, 2021)

A Tajik court has sentenced nine people for smuggling large amounts of gold and cash from Dushanbe to Dubai and Istanbul, in a case that has been closely watched in Tajikistan.

RFE/RL’s Gandhara news reported the Dushanbe City Court said the men — all of them Tajik citizens — were handed prison terms ranging from two to 5 1/2 years on April 20.

Five of the men – whose occupations weren’t disclosed – were convicted of smuggling cash and gold from the Tajik-Afghan border to Dushanbe and then on to foreign countries.

Four others – three border guards and a police officer – were found guilty of aiding the smugglers, Gandhara reported.

The defendants’ lawyers did not immediately comment, but several family members told RFE/RL on condition of anonymity on April 24 that they were not planning to appeal the sentences.

Investigations revealed that the group smuggled nearly 1.4 tons of gold bars and more than $100 million in cash between early September and mid-November last year, the court said.

The men used forged documents to transfer the goods from Dushanbe to the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, Gandhara reported.

The probe began after Tajik authorities seized nearly 90 kilograms of gold bars and about $15 million in cash from smugglers at the Dushanbe airport on November 14.

Authorities say the investigation continues.

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Saudi Arabia, US prepare for bilateral Native Fury 22 drill in Yanbu, Al-Kharj 

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(Last Updated On: August 10, 2022)

Saudi and US marine corps arrived in Yanbu on Tuesday ahead of the planned bilateral Native Fury 22 drill maneuvers, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

The exercises are set to take place this week in Yanbu and Al-Kharj and will last for several days, according to SPA. 

The drills are aimed at enhancing the partnership between Saudi forces and their US counterparts when carrying out bilateral plans, SPA said. 

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FBI searches Trump’s Florida home as part of presidential records probe

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(Last Updated On: August 9, 2022)

Former US president Donald Trump said FBI agents raided his Mar-a-Lago estate on Monday and broke into his safe in what his son acknowledged was part of an investigation into Trump’s removal of official presidential records from the White House to his Florida resort.

The unprecedented search of a former president’s home would mark a significant escalation into the records investigation, which is one of several probes Trump is facing from his time in office and in private business. 

The U.S. Justice Department declined to comment on the search, which Trump in a statement called a raid and said involved a “large group of FBI agents.” The FBI’s headquarters in Washington and its field office in Miami both declined comment, Reuters reported.

Eric Trump, one of the former president’s adult children, told Fox News the search concerned boxes of documents that Trump brought with him from the White House, and that his father has been cooperating with the National Archives on the matter for months.

A source familiar with the matter also confirmed to Reuters the raid appeared to be tied to Trump’s removal of classified records from the White House.

“After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” Trump said, adding: “They even broke into my safe!”

Trump was not present at the time as he was in New York on Monday, Fox News Digital reported, publishing a photo of Trump that a Fox reporter said showed him leaving Trump Tower.

Trump, who has made his club in Palm Beach his home since leaving the White House in January 2021, has generally spent summers at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, because Mar-a-Lago typically closes for the summer.

A federal law called the U.S. Presidential Records Act requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president’s official duties.

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China continues military drills around Taiwan

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(Last Updated On: August 8, 2022)

China’s military said on Monday it is continuing drills in the seas and skies around Taiwan.

The Eastern Theater Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army said on social media Weibo that it will practice conducting anti-submarine attacks and sea raids, Reuters reported.

The military has carried out an unprecedented set of naval and air force drills in areas near Taiwan following U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island last week.

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