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US Says Khartoum Still Too Unsafe To Evacuate Embassy

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The US State Department said Friday that ongoing fighting between military factions in Sudan made it too risky to try to evacuate embassy personnel from Khartoum.

The Pentagon has mobilized in the east Africa region to bring out US staff from the Sudan capital.

However, “due to the uncertain security situation in Khartoum and the closure of the airport, it’s currently not safe to undertake a US government coordinated evac,” said State Department spokesman Vedant Patel.

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The State Department has sought to gather US staff in one location in the Sudan capital to better protect them from the fighting outside and prepare for an evacuation.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Heavy Gunfire In Sudan As Eid Ceasefire Calls Ignored

How that would take place is not clear.

On Thursday the Pentagon said it was mustering forces in the region to support an evacuation, presumably to be directed from the US base in Djibouti, more than 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) to the southeast of Khartoum.

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“We are deploying additional capabilities nearby in the region for contingency purposes related to securing and potentially facilitating the departure of US Embassy personnel from Sudan,” the Pentagon said in a statement.

More than 400 people have been killed after violence erupted Saturday between forces loyal to Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his deputy, Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

A lull in the fighting starting Friday, apparently tied to the Eid al-Fitr holiday, raised the possibility that an evacuation could take place over the weekend.

READ ALSO: Nine Children Died, 50 Injured In Sudan’s War – UNICEF

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We have made very clear to both sides that any attacks, threats or dangers posed to our diplomats are totally unacceptable,” Patel said.

Berlin aborted an evacuation attempt for its citizens from Sudan on Wednesday, according to German weekly Der Spiegel.

Three military transport planes, which would have carried around 150 German citizens, headed for the country but were made to turn back, according to the magazine.

READ ALSO: Sudan War: Our Embassy Has Neglected Us, Nigerian Students Cry Out

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South Korea said Friday it was sending a military aircraft and soldiers to standby for evacuating its nationals at the US base for Djibouti.

And Japan said it is preparing to evacuate its nationals from the country. Around 60 Japanese people are in Sudan, including embassy staff, government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno said.

Japan also has a base in Djibouti for the Japanese Self Defense Forces.

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Supreme Court Judge Refuses To Step Aside In Trump Case

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A conservative Supreme Court justice on Wednesday rejected calls to recuse himself from cases involving Donald Trump after flags linked to the former president’s false election fraud claims were flown outside his home and vacation property.

Justice Samuel Alito, in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the flags were flown by his wife and did not meet the conditions for recusal in the court’s code of conduct.

Alito has been facing recusal calls since The New York Times reported this month that an inverted American flag was flown outside his home in the weeks following the January 6, 2021 storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters.

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A similarly provocative “Appeal to Heaven” flag featuring a pine tree on a white background was flown outside the Alito vacation home in New Jersey last summer, according to the newspaper.

READ ALSO: Biden Calls Trump Main Threat To US Democracy

Both flags have been associated with Trump’s false claims that he won the 2020 election over Democrat Joe Biden.”

Alito, in his letter, said he had “nothing whatsoever” to do with the flying of the upside down American flag outside his Virginia home.

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“As soon as I saw it, I asked my wife to take it down, but for several days, she refused,” he said.

He said his wife flew the flag in response to a neighbor who had “displayed a sign attacking her personally.”

As for the flag flown outside their vacation home, Alito said he “had no involvement in the decision to fly that flag” and neither he nor his wife was aware that it was associated with Trump’s so-called “Stop the Steal Movement.”

READ ALSO: Porn Star Testifies Against Trump At Hush Money Trial

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“My wife is fond of flying flags. I am not,” he said.

A reasonable person who is not motivated by political or ideological considerations or a desire to affect the outcome of Supreme Court cases would conclude that this event does not meet the applicable standard for recusal,” he added.

– ‘Appearance of bias’ –

Trump, in a post on Truth Social, praised Alito for “showing the INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE, and ‘GUTS’ to refuse stepping aside from making a decision on anything January 6th related.”

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Alito, 74, who was nominated by Republican president George W. Bush, is considered one of the most conservative justices on the nine-member court and was the author of the June 2022 opinion overturning the constitutional right to abortion.

Dick Durbin, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a number of other Democratic lawmakers had called for Alito to recuse himself from cases involving Trump and the 2020 election.

READ ALSO: Trump Urges Republicans To Kill Ukraine Aid Bill

“Flying an upside-down American flag – a symbol of the so-called ‘Stop the Steal’ movement – clearly creates the appearance of bias,” Durbin said.

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The high court is currently weighing two cases which address January 6, including a Trump claim of presidential immunity in his election interference case. Rulings are due in late June or early July.

Another conservative justice on the court, Clarence Thomas, 75, has ignored calls to recuse himself on grounds that his wife took part in the drive to keep Trump in power even after he lost the election.

The Supreme Court adopted an ethics code in November of last year following a series of scandals over lavish gifts and luxury vacations received by Thomas and Alito, both of whom have denied any impropriety.

AFP

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Police Drop Charges Against World Number One Golfer, Scheffler

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Prosecutors in Kentucky on Wednesday dropped all charges against top-ranked golfer Scottie Scheffler, who was arrested after allegedly ignoring police at a traffic stop outside the US PGA Championship.

Scheffler, 27, was handcuffed and led away by officers in the pre-dawn incident on May 17, before having his mugshot taken in an orange jumpsuit and then returning from jail to the Valhalla course and teeing off for his second round.

Scheffler allegedly drove onto a curb near the course entrance after police set up a traffic stop due to a separate road accident in which a local man working at the tournament had been killed.

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A police report said Scheffler had disobeyed orders to stop his car and accelerated, dragging to the ground police officer Bryan Gillis, who was hospitalized with bruising and swelling. Attorneys for Scheffler denied Gillis was dragged by the golfer’s vehicle.

READ ALSO: US-based Nigerian Set To Contest US Congress Seat

On Wednesday, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell lodged a motion in court to dismiss all charges against Scheffler and the judge agreed.

O’Connell told the court that the evidence against Scheffler did not meet the standard of probable cause.

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“Based on the totality of the evidence my office cannot move forward in the prosecution of the charges filed against Mr Scheffler,” O’Connell said.

Scheffler meanwhile reacted with relief in a statement posted on Instagram.

READ ALSO: 80-year-old Chinese Language Teacher Makes World Guinness Records With Longest 64-year Career

“I hold no ill will toward Officer Gillis. I wish to put this incident behind me and move on, and I hope he will do the same,” Scheffler said.

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“Police officers have a difficult job and I hold them in high regard. This was a severe miscommunication in a chaotic situation.”

– ‘Big misunderstanding’ –

Scheffler had been charged with felony assault on a police officer, criminal mischief, reckless driving and disregarding signals from an officer directing traffic.

His lawyer Steve Romines denied any wrongdoing, adding Scheffler was driving a marked player’s vehicle when he received conflicting signals from police officers at the traffic control.

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READ ALSO: Catholic Priest Bites Woman While Giving Holy Communion During Mass[PHOTOS]

Romines had stressed that his client would fight the charges and was “not interested in any sort of settlement negotiations or anything.”

On the morning of his arrest, world number-one Scheffler released a statement saying “there was a big misunderstanding of what I thought I was being asked to do.”

O’Connell told the court in Louisville that Scheffler’s claim of misunderstanding “is corroborated by the evidence.”

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Fans cheered as Scheffler walked onto the course and gave him a standing ovation before he struck his first shot.

Current Masters champion Scheffler, who finished the US PGA tournament in a four-way tie for eighth place, said the day after his arrest “I was shaking. I would say in shock and in fear.”

The officer who arrested Scheffler was reprimanded for not turning on his body-worn camera during the arrest, the local police chief said this week.

AFP

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Netherlands Leads Air Defence Missiles Supply Effort To Ukraine

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The Dutch Government, has said it would lead an initiative among some European countries to supply a Patriot air defence missile system to Ukraine.

“Ukraine, of course, is still under attack. Airstrikes continue,’’ said Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren in Brussels on Tuesday.

“Patriot systems are scarce in Europe and NATO, but we are now taking a step forward, so we will supply components of Patriot systems,’’ she said.

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READ ALSO: Why I Relocated To US With My Family — Pastor Sam Adeyemi

A statement released from the Dutch Ministry of Defence said the Netherlands has identified which countries could offer additional Patriot parts and munitions.

This is in order to deliver a complete system to Ukraine.

It did not mention which countries were involved.

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READ ALSO: Burkina Faso Military Rule Extended

Jens Stoltenberg, secretary-general of the NATO military alliance, said air defence is the “most urgent need’’.

He said EU countries are “stepping up the delivery of ammunition, air defence systems, and in particular, the most advanced ones, the Patriot systems.’’

NAN

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