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Woman who accused Biden of sexual assault seeks Russian citizenship



Tara Reade is seeking Russian citizenship (pic BBC)

An American woman who accused US President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her has flown to Moscow and is seeking Russian citizenship.

Speaking to a state-run Russian news outlet, Tara Reade, 59, said she felt safe in the country and wanted to stay. Reade alleged that  Biden assaulted her while she was working in his congressional office in 1993.

Biden strongly denied her allegation. “Unequivocally it never, never happened,” he said.

Reade worked as an assistant to Biden when he was a senator for Delaware. She made headlines in 2020 as his presidential campaign was getting under way, when she claimed that he assaulted her in a Capitol Hill corridor when she was 29.

She accused him of forcing her against a wall and putting his hands under her shirt and skirt.


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Foreign News

Maldives opposition candidate Muizzu projected to win presidential run-off




Presidential candidate Mohamed Muizzu, after casting his vote (Aljazeera)

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has conceded defeat in a presidential run-off vote after an official count showed his rival Mohamed Muizzu in an impenetrable lead.

“Congratulations to president-elect Muizzu,” Solih wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the Elections Commission of the Maldives showed his opponent winning 54 percent of ballots on Saturday.  “Thank you for the beautiful democratic example shown by the people in the elections,” he added. Official results are expected later today.

Muizzu, 45, emerged as the surprise fore runner during the first round of voting on September 8, taking some 46 percent of the ballots cast. Solih – hurt by a low voter turnout and a split within his Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) – won 39 percent.

The run-off was seen as having significant implications for the Maldives’s foreign policy, especially in deciding China and India’s battle for influence in the strategically located archipelago.

“Today’s result is a reflection of the patriotism of our people. A call on all our neighbours and bilateral partners to fully respect our independence and sovereignty,” a top official of Muizzu’s Progressive Party of Maldives, Mohamed Shareef, said according to the Associated Press news agency.

He told the news agency that it was also a mandate for Muizzu to resurrect the economy and the release of People’s National Congress party leader and former President Abdulla Yameen from prison.

Yameen is serving a prison term for corruption and money laundering, but his supporters say he has been jailed for political reasons. Muizzu had served as the housing minister for seven years and is currently the mayor of the capital Male.

Watchdog group Transparency Maldives said there had been some incidents of “electoral violence,” without specifying further details.

There were more than 282,000 eligible voters and turnout was 78 percent an hour before the polling stations closed.


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Foreign News

Israeli conscripts banned as guards after allegations of sex with Palestinian inmate




Israel's National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said female soldiers will be banned from being guards in high security prisons (pic BBC)

Female Israeli soldiers are to be banned from serving as high security prison guards after allegations of sex with a Palestinian inmate.

Israeli media say a soldier admitted to physical intimacy with a Palestinian man said to have carried out a deadly attack on Israeli civilians.

The woman is thought to have been on military service which is compulsory for the majority of Israelis. Women must serve for at least two years and men for 32 months.

The name of the soldier and the inmate serving a life sentence have not been released.

The court hearing the case ordered that other details including the location of the prison should not be revealed. Israeli media also reported that during questioning, the soldier – who has been arrested – claimed four other women had also had intimate relations with the same man.

The Palestinian inmate was transferred from his cell to a segregated wing ahead of questioning, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) said.

On Friday, IPS chief Katy Perry and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir announced that female soldiers would no longer serve in high security prisons holding Palestinian “terrorists”.

Israeli media quoted Mr Ben-Gvir as saying that by mid-2025 “not a single female soldier will remain in the security prisoners’ wings”.

There have been repeated calls for the service of female Israeli soldiers in high-security Israeli prisons to be halted. However, these previously stalled because of a lack of staff to replace them.

Last year, Israeli ministers ordered an investigation after a scandal at one jail in which it was alleged that Palestinian convicts had assaulted and raped female soldiers serving as prison guards and that some senior prison officers had “pimped out” the conscripts.


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Foreign News

State of emergency declared in New York City over flash flooding




Residents escape the rising floodwaters in New York City

A state of emergency has been declared in New York City as strong storms bring flash flooding.

Many of the city’s subway systems, streets and highways have flooded, while at least one terminal at LaGuardia Airport closed on Friday.

Up to five inches (12.7cm) of rain fell in some areas overnight, and up to seven more inches (17.8cm) are due, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has said. “This is a dangerous, life-threatening storm,” she added. “I am declaring a state of emergency across New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley due to the extreme rainfall we’re seeing throughout the region,” she said on X, formerly known as Twitter and urged people to take steps to stay safe and “never attempt to travel on flooded roads”.

No deaths or critical injuries have been reported.

A state of emergency was also declared in the New Jersey town of Hoboken, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams, warned people it was a time for “heightened alertness and extreme caution” as the state of emergency was put in place. “Some of our subways are flooded and it is extremely difficult to move around the city,” he told a press briefing.

Authorities have so far conducted at least six rescues of residents trapped in flooded basements, according to officials.

Pictures and video footage showed people wading through water reaching up to their knees, as streets and subways were hit by heavy rain. Several videos posted to social media appeared to show water pouring from the ceiling and walls of subway stations and onto inundated platforms. Much of the flooding has so far centred on the borough of Brooklyn.

More than 2.5 inches of rain was reported in one hour in Brooklyn Navy Yard. In a virtual briefing, New York’s chief climate officer Rohit Aggarwala said that the city’s sewage system was only designed to handle 1.75 inches an hour. “It’s no surprise that parts of Brooklyn have borne the brunt of this,” he said.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) advised people to stay home if they did not need to travel.

Terminal A at La Guardia Airport is currently closed because of flooding, authorities said. Passengers were advised to check with their airline before travelling.

The New York Police Department also announced multiple road closures and said the National Guard had been deployed. Elsewhere, traffic hit a standstill as water rose above cars’ tires along a stretch of the FDR Drive – a major road along the east side of Manhattan.

And in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, workers waded through knee-high water as they tried to unclog a drain as cardboard and other debris floated by.

There had been no storm-related deaths or critical injuries as of midday (1600 GMT), city officials said.

Flood warnings and advisories from the weather service are currently in place for some 18 million people in the New York metropolitan area and in other major cities along the East Coast.

New York City has had nearly 14 inches of rain so far this month, making it the wettest September since 1882, according to National Weather Service data.


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