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Curated top stories
- Former top U.S. intelligence officials say Russian President Vladimir Putin is manipulating U.S President Donald Trump with flattery. During his multi-day trip of Asia, Trump said he believed Putin when he said there had been no Russian interference in the 2016 general election, despite U.S intelligence agencies all confirming that there was. Former CIA director John Brennan told CNN that Trump was “giving Putin a pass” in accepting the Russian leader’s word. “I think it demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and try to play upon his insecurities, which is very, very worrisome from a national security standpoint.” In response, Trump called Brennan and Trump also referred to Brennan and former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper as “political hacks.”
A 7.3-magnitude earthquake struck the border region between Iran and Iraq, killing at least 61 people were killed injuring 300. Four more people were reported dead in Iraq. Sunday’s earthquake sparked panic, with residents fleeing their homes for the streets. Iran sits on many major fault lines and is prone to near-daily quakes. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 earthquake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.
Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri says he will return home “in days” to formally submit his resignation. Hariri spoke to Future TV from Riyadh, his first public remarks since he announced he was stepping down last week. His cabinet allies say he is being held captive, but Hariri denied this. The Washington Post says the interview was full of “odd moments.” He has blamed the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement for his resignation, citing concerns over his and his family’s safety. The US and UK have warned other countries not to use Lebanon for proxy conflicts. Hariri, a Sunni leader and businessman, was nominated to form Lebanon’s government in November 2016.