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Trump ex-campaign chief back in court for further sentencing

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Trump ex-campaign chief

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort, sentenced to 47 months in prison last week for tax and bank fraud, returns to court on Wednesday to find out whether he faces even more jail time.

Manafort, who turns 70 on April 1, is to appear before Judge Amy Berman Jackson in a federal court in Washington for sentencing on two conspiracy charges to which he has pleaded guilty.

The veteran Republican political consultant and lobbyist faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison for each count.

Jackson can decide whether any sentence she imposes runs concurrently with Manafort’s current sentence or is tacked on to the end.

Manafort’s case is the highest-profile one yet stemming from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

He is one of a half-dozen former Trump associates and senior aides charged by Mueller, although none of them have been accused so far of direct collusion with Moscow to get Trump elected to the White House.

Manafort was convicted by a jury in August of five counts of filing false income tax returns, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failing to report a foreign bank account.

His conviction was a stunning downfall for a man who also worked on the White House bids of three Republican presidents — Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush — and party hopeful Bob Dole.

The charges were not connected to Manafort’s role in the Trump campaign, which he headed for two months in 2016, but were related to lucrative consulting work he did for Russian-backed Ukrainian politicians from 2004 to 2014.

Prosecutors alleged that Manafort used offshore bank accounts to hide more than $55 million he earned working for the Ukrainians.

The money was used to support a lavish lifestyle which included purchases of luxury homes and cars, antique rugs, and expensive clothes, including an $18,500 python jacket.

Manafort was sentenced to 47 months in prison last week by US District Judge T.S. Ellis — a jail term that was well below the federal sentencing guidelines of 19 to 24 years and was criticized by many as too lenient.

 

 

 

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Russian Pianists Mesmerize Karachiites (VIDEO AND TEXT)

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KARACHI: Music aficionados from all over the Metropolis converged at the patio of Alliance Française de Karachi (AFK) – French Cultural Centre – here on Monday (29th April). The occasion was a piano concert by Russian twin sisters Anastasia & Polina Churbanova. 

KARACHI: Humane Urduphone Consul General of the Russian Federation Dr. Aleksandr G. Khozin announced that the first piece of the evening had been dedicated to Ahmed Mir (late official of the Qatar Airways) who had sponsored the duo’s transportation – Mir died in an accident in the USA.

KARACHI: Conspicuous among others there were  Consul Generals of Russia & France, Commissioner Karachi, Bina Shah (President AFK), Behram & Goshpi Avari (who had sponsored the twin’s stay here), and family members of the late official of Qatar Airways Ahmed Mir.The soirée commenced with two sisters playing German Composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s Minuet & Badinerie  (from Orchestral Suite No.2 in B minor). The next piece was French composer & pianist Francis Poulenc’s Sonate Zu vier Händen. Alexander Scriabin’s composition (Sonata No.3 in F-sharp minor op.23) Andante was performed by Polina whereas, her sister’s solo was Ludwig van Beethoven’s Sonata No. 27 in E Minor op.90. The last scheduled composition played by the twin sisters was Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Barcarolle, Scherzo, Russian Theme, Romance, Waltz and Slava (6 pieces, op.11 for piano four hands). After three curtain calls the twins excused as they were too exhausted to perform.  KARACHI: Talking exclusively to this scribe Anastasia & Polina Churbanova told that they were from St. Petersburg and were playing Piano since they were six. After taking lessons for a year they took part in a globally acclaimed contest named after Lubov Brook. Later in 2003, they won first prize in the famous international competition named after celebrated Russian pianist/composer A. Rubinstein. The twins told this was their second visit to the Port City, a Metropolis where they would love to perform again in future. They give piano concerts in Russia regularly and – besides  Pakistan – had performed in five foreign countries (including Austria, Germany, Holland, & Ukraine). 

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PS: It is pertinent to mention here that this performance was part of an international concert series termed as Classical Music Without Borders.

 

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CG JoAnne Wagner opens Photo Expo “Muslims in America” (VIDEO AND TEXT)

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KARACHI: JoAnne Wagner Consul General of USA, and Syed Sardar Shah Sindh Minister for Culture, have inaugurated a photo exposition titled Muslims in America at Lincoln Corner in the Liaquat National Memorial Library here.

Commenting on the exhibition Consul General remarked: “The images in the exhibit demonstrate two founding principles of American society: those of tolerance of religious diversity; and freedom of religious practice.  Americans are proud of their right to practice the religion of their choice, without any fear,”

The photo exhibition showcases religious diversity and religious freedom in the USA that is home to one of the most diverse Muslim populations in the world.

The exhibit will remain open to the general public till 4th June.

 

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Thai king opens first parliament since 2014 coup

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BANGKOK: Thailand’s king opened parliament Friday five years after a 2014 coup, stressing the importance of “national security” and “people’s well-being” as the junta moves within striking distance of cementing its grip on power.
Results of the March 24 poll were released almost two months after the vote and showed no clear winner.
But the junta-linked Palang Pracharat won 115 seats in the lower house, only 11 votes shy of a majority in the combined parliament thanks to 250 military-appointed senators.
All eyes are now on mid-sized parties that analysts believe are tilting towards Palang Pracharat.
Wearing glasses and reading from prepared remarks, King Maha Vajiralongkorn told hundreds of assembled MPs standing in white uniform to act with responsibility because “each member’s action will directly affect national security and people’s well being.”
Members of the diplomatic corps were also in attendance.
The king was next to Queen Suthida, a former member of his royal bodyguard unit whom he married days before his coronation earlier this month.
The temporary setting — Thailand’s new parliamentary building is not ready yet — hinted at the tensions and uncertainty surrounding the rocky path ahead.
Votes for House Speakers are set for Saturday while the vote for prime minister could happen as early as next week.
In a dramatic move a day before the opening, the constitutional court suspended junta foe Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit from parliament as it agreed to hear a case against him concerning the alleged ownership of media shares when he registered as a candidate.

 

 

 

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