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Trump’s $10,000-a-day fine for ignoring subpoena kicks in -NY judge

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(Last Updated On: April 27, 2022)

Former President Donald Trump must pay a fine of $10,000 per day starting on Tuesday until he complies with a subpoena to hand over material about his business practices to New York’s attorney general, a New York judge said, adding that the clock was ticking on completing the probe.

The state judge, Arthur Engoron, on Monday held Trump in civil contempt for “repeated failures” to hand over materials to Attorney General Letitia James for a civil investigation launched three years agointo the whether the Trump Organization improperly valued assets to obtain financial benefits.

In a written ruling, Engoron wrote that James’ office had “satisfied its burden of demonstrating that Mr. Trump willfully disobeyed a lawful court order” and said Trump must pay $10,000 per day, beginning on Tuesday, until he complies.

Engoron said more delays could prevent the attorney general’s office from taking action against Trump or the Trump Organization. James has said the probe already turned up evidence that assets including golf clubs and a penthouse apartment were improperly valued.

“Each day that passes without compliance further prejudices [the attorney general’s office], as the statutes of limitations continue to run,” Engoron wrote, adding that the delays could result in James’ office “being unable to pursue certain causes of action that it otherwise would.”

Kevin Wallace, senior enforcement counsel at James’ office, said at a court hearing on Monday that the attorney general “will likely need to bring some kind of enforcement action in the near future,” without elaborating.

Trump, a Republican, has denied wrongdoing and has called the probe politically motivated. James is a Democrat.

Trump’s attorney Alina Habba did not immediately reply to a request for comment. After the court hearing on Monday, Habba said Trump would appeal the decision. The former president previously lost a bid to quash the subpoena, then failed to produce the documents by a court-ordered March 3 deadline, later extended to March 31 at his lawyers’ request.

At the court hearing, Habba maintained that Trump did indeed comply with the subpoena and did not have the documents James requested.

In his written ruling, Engoron said Trump had not refuted James’ assertions that he failed to search several file cabinets for relevant documents. He said there was not enough evidence that Trump had conducted a thorough search.

In the past, James has said the investigation has found “significant evidence” that the Trump Organization included misleading asset valuations in more than a decade of its financial statements.

The attorney general has questioned how the company valued the Trump brand, as well as golf clubs in New York and Scotland and Trump’s own penthouse apartment in Midtown Manhattan’s Trump Tower. In some cases the assets were overvalued to obtain favorable loan terms and in other cases they were undervalued to win tax benefits, the attorney general has said.

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Turkish airstrikes on Syrian border posts kill 17

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(Last Updated On: August 17, 2022)

Turkish airstrikes on Syria border posts run by regime forces killed 17 fighters on Tuesday, according to a war monitor, prompting the Damascus government to threaten retaliation.

“Seventeen fighters were killed in Turkish airstrikes that hit several Syrian regime outposts… near the Turkish border,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

It did not specify if the victims were affiliated with the government or Kurdish forces.

At least three Syrian soldiers were among the dead and six were wounded in the Turkish raids, said the official SANA news agency, citing a military source.

“Any attack on a military outpost run by our armed forces will be met with a direct and immediate response on all fronts,” read the report.

The strikes took place near the Kurdish-held town of Kobane, the site of overnight clashes between Turkish forces and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Kurdish forces also struck inside Turkish territory overnight, killing one soldier, Turkey’s defense ministry said.

“Thirteen terrorists were neutralised” in retaliatory attacks by Ankara inside Syria, the ministry said, adding that operations in the region were ongoing.

Turkey has stepped up its attacks in Kurdish-controlled areas of Syria since a July 19 summit with Iran and Russia failed to green-light a fresh offensive against Kurdish fighters viewed by Ankara as terrorists.

Turkey has fervently opposed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backing rebels calling for his removal and opening its doors to refugees.

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US, South Korea, Japan hold missile defense exercise with eye on North Korea, China

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(Last Updated On: August 16, 2022)

The United States, South Korea and Japan participated in a ballistic missile defense exercise off Hawaii’s coast last week, the Pentagon said on Tuesday, reviving combined drills with an eye on North Korea as well as China.

It was the first time the three countries have held such drills since 2017, after relations between Seoul and Tokyo hit their lowest in years in 2019 amid renewed historical disputes dating to Japan’s 1910-1945 occupation of the Korean Peninsula, Reuters reported.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, a conservative who took office in May, has vowed to improve relations with Japan and deepen the U.S. alliance to better deter North Korea, including by expanding or resuming joint drills.

The missile warning and ballistic missile search and tracking exercise took place Aug. 8-14 during the multinational Pacific Dragon drills, and demonstrated the three countries’ commitment to respond to challenges posed by North Korea, protect shared security and bolster the rules-based international order, the Pentagon said in a statement.

The participants shared tactical data link information in accordance with a trilateral information sharing agreement, the statement said.

U.S.-led joint missile defence measures have been a sore point with China, which retaliated economically against South Korea’s 2016 decision to host a U.S. military Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery.

Beijing says the THAAD radar can penetrate its territory and has called on Yoon to honour assurances made by his predecessor to not to increase THAAD deployments, participate in a U.S.-led global missile shield or create a trilateral military alliance involving Japan.

Yoon has said those do not represent formal agreements and that Seoul is not bound by them.

South Korea’s ministry of defense also confirmed on Tuesday that its troops would resume long-suspended live field training during their joint military drills with the United States to be held from Aug. 22 to Sept. 1.

The two sides have scaled back combined military drills in recent years due to COVID-19 and efforts to lower tensions with the North, which has accused the exercises of being a rehearsal for invasion.

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Putin says Russia and North Korea will expand bilateral relations

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(Last Updated On: August 15, 2022)

Russian President Vladimir Putin told North Korean leader Kim Jong-un the two countries will “expand the comprehensive and constructive bilateral relations with common efforts,” Pyongyang’s state media reported on Monday.

In a letter to Kim for Korea’s liberation day, Putin said closer ties would be in both countries’ interests, and would help strengthen the security and stability of the Korean peninsula and the Northeastern Asian region, North Korea’s KCNA news agency said.

Kim also sent a letter to Putin saying Russian-North Korean friendship had been forged in World War II with victory over Japan, which had occupied the Korean peninsula, Reuters reported.

The “strategic and tactical co-operation, support and solidarity” between the two countries has since reached a new level is their common efforts to frustrate threats and provocations from hostile military forces, Kim said in the letter. KCNA did not identify the hostile forces, but it has typically used that term to refer to the United States and its allies.

Kim predicted co-operation between Russia and North Korea would grow based on an agreement signed in 2019 when he met with Putin.

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