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New Charges ‘Likely’ in Case Against Giuliani Associates



Additional charges are likely in the criminal case against two longtime associates of President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a federal prosecutor said Monday.

The associates, Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, were arrested in October and charged with concealing the source of political donations in order to advance their own business interests and the political interests of Ukrainian government officials. They have pleaded not guilty to four criminal counts related to violations of campaign finance laws.

At a hearing Monday in Manhattan, a federal judge asked prosecutors if they intended to update their indictment with new charges. Douglas S. Zolkind, an assistant United States attorney, responded that the investigation was not over. “We think a superseding indictment is likely, but no decision has been made,” Mr. Zolkind said.

Later in the hearing, when a lawyer for Mr. Parnas asked that house arrest conditions be loosened for his client, Mr. Zolkind said Mr. Parnas was still under investigation for additional crimes.

Federal prosecutors are also investigating whether Mr. Giuliani broke lobbying laws in his dealings in Ukraine, people familiar with the inquiry have said.

Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were indicted alongside two other men, David Correia and Andrey Kukushkin. The indictment accused the four men of participating in a separate scheme to conceal the source of hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions that came from overseas donors. It is illegal for foreigners to donate to political campaigns in the United States.

Mr. Correia and Mr. Kukushkin have also pleaded not guilty.

Since the four men were indicted in October, prosecutors have continued their investigation. F.B.I. agents are still working to unlock several cellphones and other electronic devices seized after the arrests, prosecutors said on Monday.

Grand jury subpoenas sent to several players in Mr. Trump’s fund-raising apparatus in recent weeks suggest federal investigators are examining potential violations of criminal laws governing lobbying in the United States on behalf of a foreign government.

One basis for a foreign lobbying violation could be the conduct outlined in the indictment involving efforts to oust the United States ambassador to Ukraine, Marie L. Yovanovitch.

Prosecutors said that Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman worked on behalf of Ukrainian government officials to influence American politicians who could assist in their effort to remove Ms. Yovanovitch.

Mr. Trump fired Ms. Yovanovitch as ambassador earlier this year, after she had become the target of a smear campaign by Mr. Giuliani. In a July 25 telephone conversation, Mr. Trump told the president of Ukraine that Ms. Yovanovitch was “bad news” and that “she’s going to go through some things.” That call ultimately led to the impeachment inquiry.

It was a lawyer for Mr. Kukushkin, Gerald B. Lefcourt, who raised the question of whether the defendants’ messages had been intercepted by the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program. His basis for suspecting such surveillance, he said, was the fact that the case involved foreign citizens and national security issues. If so, the defense could argue that evidence should not be shown to a jury at trial, he said.

Mr. Zolkind declined to say if the government had intercepted any messages from the defendants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But he said the government did not intend to use evidence obtained through warrantless surveillance. He also said he did not expect the government’s evidence to include classified material.

After the hearing, Mr. Lefcourt said he wanted the judge to order the government to reveal the existence of any improper surveillance.

“When there is a claim of illegal or unauthorized surveillance, the government needs to affirm or deny,” Mr. Lefcourt said.

Among the allegations in the indictment, the four men are accused of making illegal campaign contributions to help get licenses for recreational marijuana businesses in the United States. An unnamed Russian citizen gave $1 million to support the venture, which ultimately failed, according to the indictment.

William K. Rashbaum contributed to this article.


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North Korea Links 2nd ‘Crucial’ Test to Nuclear Weapons Program




SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea said on Saturday that it had conducted “another crucial test” at a missile-engine and satellite-launching site, its second such test in a week as the country attempts to press the United States into further talks and new concessions. It declared that both tests would feed into its military’s nuclear program.

The test was successfully conducted on Friday night at the “Sohae Satellite Launching Ground,” a spokesman of the North’s Academy of Defense Science said. That was a reference to facilities in Tongchang-ri, near the North’s northwestern border with China, where it also said it had conducted a “a very important test” last Saturday.

South Korean officials have said that the earlier test was of an engine that could power either a satellite-carrying rocket or a ballistic missile. On Saturday, the North Korean spokesman offered no details on the latest test. But he said the successful results of both would “be applied to further bolstering up the reliable strategic nuclear deterrent” of North Korea, according to the North’s official Korean Central News Agency.

“Our defense scientists were greatly honored to receive warm congratulations” from the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party, the North Korean spokesman said.

In a separate statement on Saturday, Pak Jong-chon, the chief of the general staff of the North Korean People’s Army, said the data from the latest tests at Tongchang-ri would help develop “another strategic weapon” to deter the United States.

“We should be ready to cope with political and military provocations of the hostile forces, and be familiar with both dialogue and confrontation,” Mr. Pak said in his statement, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. He said the United States and other forces would “spend the year-end in peace only when they hold off any words and deeds rattling us.”

Mr. Pak’s comments suggested that the tests could have been for an engine for an intercontinental ballistic missile, said Cheong Seong-chang, the vice president of research planning at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. The statement also signaled that, as diplomacy stalled, the voice of North Korea’s hard-line military was on the rise, Mr. Cheong said.

The North Korean announcement came a day before Stephen E. Biegun, Washington’s top envoy on North Korea, was scheduled to begin a five-day trip to Seoul and Tokyo to discuss how to deal with a Dec. 31 deadline that the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, had set for Washington to return to the negotiating table with more concessions, including the easing of international sanctions.

In recent weeks, North Korea has repeatedly indicated that it would abandon diplomacy and could even resume provocative tests of weapons unless Washington met its year-end deadline. Mr. Kim is widely expected to use a meeting of his Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, scheduled for this month, and his annual New Year’s Day speech to reveal his new policy options.

The resumption of activities at Tongchang-ri, where a satellite was last launched in February 2016, has worried officials in Washington, Seoul and Tokyo because the site houses facilities to test rocket engines and launch satellite-delivery vehicles.

Although North Korea insists that its space program is peaceful, Washington and its allies said that the program was a front for efforts to build and test technologies for intercontinental ballistic missiles. A series of resolutions by the United Nations Security Council ban North Korea from testing ballistic missile technology.

In March 2017, North Korea successfully tested a high-thrust engine at Tongchang-ri that it used in intercontinental ballistic missiles, such as the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15, later that year. Analysts fear that North Korea might now be preparing to launch another long-range rocket carrying a satellite or even to flight-test a long-range missile.

The country conducted its last ICBM test from Pyongsong, north of Pyongyang, the North Korean capital city, in November 2017. Afterward, Mr. Kim declared a halt on all nuclear and ICBM tests and embarked on diplomacy with President Trump.

Mr. Kim met with Mr. Trump in Singapore in June 2018 and agreed to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” in return for “new” relations and security guarantees from Washington. After the Singapore meeting, Mr. Trump boasted that Mr. Kim had promised to dismantle the Tongchang-ri facilities as one of the first steps toward denuclearization.

North Korea started to dismantled the missile-engine test facility that summer, but then rebuilt it, after Mr. Kim’s subsequent meetings with Mr. Trump and negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington failed to resolve differences over how to implement the broadly worded Singapore deal.

North Korea has also resumed the test of mostly short-range ballistic missiles and rockets this year. Mr. Tump has largely dismissed such tests as involving weapons that do not directly threaten the United States.

If North Korea returned to launching satellites or testing ICBMs, it could seriously dent Mr. Trump’s foreign-policy credentials. Mr. Trump has repeatedly cited Mr. Kim’s self-imposed moratorium on nuclear and ICBM tests as one of his major achievements.


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How a Band of Seasoned Cinephiles Plans to Save the Movie House




These days, Toby Talbot, 91, has been busy finishing her husband’s memoirs at their sunlit apartment on Riverside Drive, which is filled with posters of movies by directors like Bernardo Bertolucci and Claude Chabrol that once premiered in their theaters.

The closing of Lincoln Plaza Cinemas remains a sore spot. “He keeps our name on the marquee,” she said. “What nerve.”

She’s rooting for New Plaza. “I give them my blessing,” she said. “I want them to succeed. This was our life’s work. Dan and I were educating people, and why should that education have to stop?”

If a recent Saturday night at New Plaza was any indication, word about the cinema was getting around. An eager crowd entered to see “Fiddler: A Miracle of Miracles,” a documentary about “Fiddler on the Roof.” Two ushers, Naomi Rossabi, 83, and Ruth Mucatel, 91, took tickets. During their downtime, they groused about going to the movies today.

“We hate reserved seating,” Ms. Rossabi said. “What if we’re stuck behind a tall person?”

“Young people are used to getting everything easy,” Ms. Mucatel said. “We know what it means to have to wait for things.”

But a gloomy note soon entered their conversation.

“I heard the New York Institute of Technology is selling off their property in the area,” Ms. Rossabi said. “We don’t know if this space will always be here for us. Some of us are worried.”

In fact, the school recently put a 12-story campus building on 61st and Broadway up for sale, just down the street from New Plaza’s auditorium. But a spokesman for the university said there’s no cause for alarm: those plans don’t involve their space, and New Plaza’s arrangement is secure at least until May.

But considering the travails of New Plaza Cinema, perhaps it still felt like too close a call.

“I hope this isn’t all just a pipe dream,” Ms. Rossabi said. “Because something magic still happens when you go to the movies.”


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குடியுரிமை சட்ட மசோதாவில் இலங்கையை சேர்க்க வேண்டும்" – அன்புமணி ராமதாஸ் | Anbumani Ramadoss



#CitizenshipAmendmentBill | #Srilanka | #AnbumaniRamadoss

குடியுரிமை சட்ட மசோதாவில் இலங்கையை சேர்க்க வேண்டும்” – அன்புமணி ராமதாஸ்

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