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MANAFORT JURY HAS REACHED VERDICT ON 8 COUNTS, CAN’T REACH CONSENSUS ON 10 COUNTS

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CNN Reports that the jury in the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has reached a verdict on eight counts, but cannot reach consensus on 10 others, they told Judge T.S. Ellis Tuesday afternoon.

Earlier they asked Ellis what would happen if they can’t reach a verdict on a count, and Ellis said to keep working on it.

“It is your duty to agree upon a verdict if you can do so,” Ellis said. He encouraged each juror to make their own decisions on each count, but if some were in the minority on a decision, they could think about what the other jurors believe.

Paul Manafort arrives for a hearing at US District Court on June 15, 2018 in Washington, DC. – A judge revoked Manafort’s bail and sent him to jail over claims he was tampering with witnesses in the case against him brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Give “deference” to each other and “listen to each others’ arguments.”

“You’re the exclusive judges,” he added. “Take all the time which you feel is necessary.”

The jurors asked about the impact of not agreeing on all counts.

“If we cannot come to a consensus for a single count, how can we fill in the verdict sheet?” the jury wrote in a note to Ellis.

Without jurors present, Ellis also told the courtroom that he will not ask the jury for a partial verdict at this time.

Manafort is charged with 18 counts of tax evasion, bank fraud and hiding foreign bank accounts in the first case brought to trial by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The trial carries major implications for the future of Mueller’s investigation. Trump has repeatedly called the probe a “witch hunt” that hasn’t found evidence of Russian collusion with his campaign, and his allies in and out of the White House say the special counsel should wrap things up.

Prosecutors say Manafort collected $65 million in foreign bank accounts from 2010 to 2014 and spent more than $15 million on luxury purchases in the same period, including high-end clothing, real estate, landscaping and other big-ticket items.

Paul Manafort is seen during the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on Thursday, July 21, 2016.

They also allege that Manafort lied to banks in order to take out more than $20 million in loans after his Ukrainian political work dried up in 2015, and they accused him of hiding the foreign bank accounts from federal authorities. Manafort received loans from the Federal Savings Bank after one of its executives sought a position in the Trump campaign and administration, according to prosecutors.

Manafort faces up to 305 years in prison if convicted on all charges.

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Four U.S Troops Killed In Kabul Airport Attack

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4 U.S. soldiers have been killed and three others wounded in attacks on Kabul airport.

A U.S. official says several Marines were killed and a number of other American military were wounded Thursday in an attack on Kabul’s airport.

U.S. officials have said that information is still coming in and they are trying to determine exact numbers of casualties.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss ongoing military operations.

The Pentagon would not say what troops were involved but acknowledged that “a number of U.S. service members were killed.”

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Amazon’s palm print recognition raises concern among U.S. senators

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Three U.S. senators, including Democrat Amy Klobuchar who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, wrote a letter to Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) to express concern about its palm print recognition system, Klobuchar’s office said Friday.

Amazon began rolling out biometric technology at its Whole Foods stores around Seattle in April, letting shoppers pay for items with a scan of their palm. The system, called Amazon One, lets customers link a credit card to their palm print.  read more 

Klobuchar, who was joined by Senators Bill Cassidy, a Republican, and Jon Ossoff, a Democrat, expressed concern in the letter dated Thursday about both privacy and competition related to Amazon One.

“Our concerns about user privacy are heightened by evidence that Amazon shared voice data with third-party contractors and allegations that Amazon has violated biometric privacy laws,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter.

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WHO seeks to take political heat out of virus origins debate

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The World Health Organization said on Friday it was setting up a new group to trace the origins of the coronavirus, seeking to end what it called “political point scoring” that had hampered investigations.

The inability of the WHO to say where and how the virus began spreading has fuelled tensions among its members, particularly between China, where COVID-19 cases were first identified in Wuhan in late 2019, and the United States.

The WHO called for all governments to cooperate to accelerate studies into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and “to depoliticise the situation”.

It specified that a new advisory group called the International Scientific Advisory Group for Origins of Novel Pathogens would support “the rapid undertaking” of further studies.

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