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Donald Trump, the US president, declared on Monday that he has "never" worked for Russia as he hit out at reports that he was investigated by the FBI over alleged ties to the Kremlin.  The US president delivered a definitive rejection of claims that the FBI investigated whether he was acting on Russia's behalf when he sacked James Comey, the bureau's director, in 2017.  It came after he refused to say "no" when asked if he was working for Russia in a Saturday night interview, instead saying: "I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked". On Monday morning Mr Trump said: "I never worked for Russia… I think it’s a disgrace that you even ask that question because it’s a big fat hoax." Mr Trump's comments followed a New York Times report over the weekend that the FBI's senior officials became so concerned by the president's behaviour they began investigating why he was taking steps that appeared to benefit Russia and were against American interests. Trump tells reporters he never worked for Russia https://t.co/GSGKn0wqaupic.twitter.com/npzuP6pUAh— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) January 14, 2019 The fact that the FBI is investigating whether Mr Trump obstructed justice by firing Mr Comey has long been public knowledge, but these are the first claims of a wider investigation into the president and his motives. According to the NYT, counterintelligence officers looked into whether the president’s actions posed a potential threat to national security and whether Mr Trump was knowingly acting in Russia's interests or had unwittingly fallen under its influence.  Mr Trump described the FBI leaders who launched the probe as "known scoundrels". He added: "I guess you can say they are dirty cops." It is not clear what conclusions the FBI probe reached and what its status might be now. The Fake News gets crazier and more dishonest every single day. Amazing to watch as certain people covering me, and the tremendous success of this administration, have truly gone MAD! Their Fake reporting creates anger and disunity. Take two weeks off and come back rested. Chill!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019 Speaking outside the White House, Mr Trump told reporters that it was good to have strong relationships with Russia, China and India. "I have relationships with almost everybody and that's a good thing not a bad thing," he said. In a separate development on Monday, CNN said it had obtained transcripts of two FBI officials' closed-door interviews with the US Congress interviews which appeared to confirm that the FBI leadership looked at whether Mr Trump fired the Mr Comey "at the behest of" Russia. According to document seen by CNN, James Baker, the FBI's top legal adviser at the time, told congressmen that the FBI officials were considering whether Mr Trump was "acting at the behest of [Russia] and somehow following directions, somehow executing their will." "That was one extreme. The other extreme is that the president is completely innocent, and we discussed that too," Mr Baker told an investigation by the House of Representatives last year.  "There's a range of things this could possibly be. We need to investigate, because we don't know whether, you know, the worst-case scenario is possibly true or the president is totally innocent and we need to get this thing over with - and so he can move forward with his agenda."

A 39-year-old gunman opened fire at a United Parcel Service Inc facility in New Jersey and held two employees hostage for hours on Monday before police fatally shot him, officials said. William Owens barricaded himself and two women inside the sorting facility in Logan Township and police sent a heavily armed SWAT team to the location, about 25 miles (40 km) southwest of downtown Philadelphia, the New Jersey Attorney General's Office said in a statement. The gunman apparently had known at least one of the women, Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore told reporters.

The cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed last October has been recovered, Indonesian authorities said Monday, a discovery that could be critical to establishing why the brand new plane fell out of the sky shortly after take-off. The Boeing 737 Max vanished from radar about 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta, slamming into the Java Sea moments after pilots had asked to return to the capital and killing all 189 people onboard. Haryo Satmiko, deputy head of Indonesia’s National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC), told AFP the box had been recovered early Monday morning.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa (all times local):

The U.S. Air Force’s original plan was for the F-22 to be its high-end air superiority fighter while the F-35 was designed to be primarily an air-to-ground strike aircraft, but one which could defend itself.

Rep. John Ratcliffe confirms his questions to former FBI general counsel James Baker uncovered the claims first reported by the New York Times; Catherine Herridge has the details.

People in North and South America, a large part of Europe and Africa may get a glimpse of a total lunar eclipse overnight from January 20 to 21, the last such event until 2022. For those in North and South America, the eclipse can be viewed at the beginning or in the middle of the night. When the eclipse begins, a shadow will move in from the left, as if taking a bite out of the Moon.

A sprawling winter storm that’s dumped snow from Colorado to the East Coast made a mess of air travel for the third day in a row Sunday.

France is hoping that members of Britain's parliament will approve Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, an official at President Macron's Elysee department said on Monday. Asked whether France would support an extension to the official deadline to Article 50 - regarding the timetable for Brexit - the official replied: "We would hope that the vote tomorrow is a favorable one." "Afterwards, if that is not the case, it will be up to the United Kingdom to make a certain number of demands and proposals to the European Union," added the official. The fate of Britain's March 29 exit from the EU is deeply uncertain since parliament looks set to reject May's deal on Tuesday.

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway has said that Donald Trump did not destroy any notes from a meeting with Vladimir Putin and that “leaks” may have led the president to be secretive about his talks with the Russian leader. A recent report from The Washington Post have alleged that Mr Trump went to “extraordinary” lengths to conceal his discussions with Mr Putin, including reportedly taking the notes from his interpreter after a meeting with the Russian leader in 2017. Ms Conway told reporters that the president is “transparent”, and that the level of "leaks" during the administration would have justified a heightened sense of concern that his talks with Mr Putin would get into the public domain.

Nairobi DusitD2 hotel attacked by suspected militantsSuspected militants target a luxury complex in the capital Nairobi, killing at least six people.

Gabon President Bongo back home a week after failed coupPresident Ali Bongo returns home a week after an attempted coup following a long absence abroad.

Ivory Coast ex-President Gbagbo acquitted at ICC court in The HagueLaurent Gbagbo was the first former head of state to go on trial at the International Criminal Court.

Zimbabwe fuel protests: MDC opposition office torchedSeveral people have been killed and hundreds arrested following violent protests.

Africa by Toto to play on eternal loop 'down in Africa'A sound installation is set up in the continent's oldest desert in tribute to the 80s classic.

Nairobi DusitD2 hotel attack 'treated as suspected terror attack'A luxury hotel complex is under attack in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Nairobi Dusit hotel attack: explosions, gunfire and rescue operationPeople are being evacuated from the Dusit hotel complex after two explosions and gunfire were heard.

Crowds react to Ivory Coast's ex-President Laurent Gbagbo's releaseThe International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague has acquitted Laurent Gbagbo.

Zimbabwe fuel protests after prices more than doubleProtesters took to the streets of the capital over the government's sudden fuel price increase.

Sahara desert: The most dangerous migrant journey of all?African migrants' journey through the Sahara desert comes at a terrible risk.

One third of U.N. staff and contractors experienced sexual harassment in the past two years, according to a report released by the United Nations on Tuesday.

British lawmakers defeated Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal by a crushing margin on Tuesday, triggering political chaos that could lead to a disorderly exit from the EU or even to a reversal of the 2016 decision to leave.

Accused Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman once paid a $100 million bribe to former Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, an ex-Guzman associate testified on Tuesday that he previously told U.S. authorities.

Several hundred Honduran migrants in a new U.S.-bound caravan crossed into Guatemala on Tuesday, as U.S. President Donald Trump seized on news of the advancing group to try to build support for a wall along his country's border with Mexico.

Gunmen blasted their way into a hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital on Tuesday, killing at least 15 people and sending workers diving under desks to escape an attack claimed by Somalia-based Islamist group al Shabaab.

Renewed gunfire and blasts were heard early on Wednesday morning as authorities evacuated around 50 survivors of a militant attack on an upscale hotel and business complex in the Kenya capital of Nairobi, a first responder said.

British lawmakers will on Wednesday vote on whether they have confidence in the government, after Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal suffered a heavy defeat in parliament.

A U.S. State Department official confirmed a U.S. citizen was killed in an attack on a hotel and office complex in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday claimed by Somali Islamist group al Shabaab in which at least 15 people were killed.

Iran's bid to launch a satellite has failed, Telecoms Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said on Tuesday, after it ignored U.S. warnings to avoid such activity.

Venezuela's opposition-run Congress declared President Nicolas Maduro a "usurper" on Tuesday, and the U.S. government indicated its support for an opposition leader, ratcheting up pressure on the socialist president as he embarks on a disputed second term.

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What’s in it for Donald? PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP thinks America is being ripped off. “We have spent $7trn—trillion with a T—$7trn in the Middle East,” he told a crowd last year, exaggerating slightly. “You know what we have for it? Nothing. Nothing.” To right this perceived wrong, Mr Trump has long favoured seizing Iraq’s oil. But after he hinted at the idea with the Iraqi prime minister (who demurred), his aides admonished him. “We can’t do this and you shouldn’t talk about it,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser at the time, according to reports. Still, Mr Trump may be getting what he wants from Iraq in other ways. When America reimposed sanctions on Iran last year it gave some countries extra time to stop buying Iranian oil before they would lose access to the American market. Most were given 90-day exemptions. In November Iraq, which shares a long border with Iran, was given half that...

The desert shall rejoice PINK BOLLWORMS are the scourge of cotton farmers. The insect is less than an inch long, but it has a voracious appetite for the plant’s seeds. As a child living on Kibbutz Ginosar, in Israel’s north, Ofir Schlam would wake up at dawn to inspect leaves for the pest. “They were really hard to find,” he recalls. Spotting the enemy has become much easier. Four years ago, Mr Schlam co-founded Taranis, a company that uses high-resolution imagery from drones, planes and satellites to diagnose problems in the field—among them bollworms, diseases, dryness and nutrient deficiencies. Investors are joining the effort: in November, Taranis raised $20m. Faced with unfriendly neighbours and an arid climate, Israel has had to innovate to survive. Taranis is the poster child of its stunning rise in agritech. Over 500 companies operate in the field, nearly twice as...

A HUNDRED OR more were brought in every hour. Soon the police station in northern Khartoum, Sudan’s capital, was so full that detainees were flowing onto the lawn. Atif, an activist picked up around noon on December 31st, says he saw at least 1,000 arrested that day. Many were beaten; others had their hair shaved off. Lawyers and doctors were singled out for insults. Atif is one of tens of thousands of Sudanese who have taken to the streets in recent weeks. What began as a riot over the price of bread in the eastern city of Atbara on December 19th has billowed across the country. By some estimates, at least 40 people have been killed by security forces during nearly 400 protests. The government says it has detained at least 800 people (the real figure is surely far higher). Yet this has done little to muffle what is now a nationwide uprising against the rule of Omar al-Bashir and his 30-year-old kleptocracy. The...

“CONGO IS FREE at last,” wailed an old woman, tears streaming down her cheeks. “We have waited years for this moment!” Two young girls behind her gyrated their hips and sang, “Bye-oh Kabila,” again and again. In the early hours of January 10th, days after the result was scheduled to be released, the Democratic Republic of Congo heard that it had a new president—Félix Tshisekedi, the son of a charismatic opposition leader who died two years ago. Moments after the news was announced, Mr Tshisekedi walked out of his office and prayed in front of a photograph of his father. His shrieking supporters jostled around him. He is popular in the capital, Kinshasa. The declaration marks the end of the ruling party’s long stay in power and means that President Joseph Kabila and his preferred successor must admit defeat. Mr Kabila, who had refused to step down when his term expired in 2016, has ruled Congo badly for...

IT WAS ALL over within hours. At 4.30am on January 7th a small group of junior army officers seized the national radio station in Gabon, an oil-rich country in central Africa, and declared a coup. They said they were motivated by the “pitiful sight” of Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon’s 59-year-old president, delivering a televised address from Morocco, where he has been convalescing since November after suffering a stroke. The attempt to unseat him was short-lived: by midday, most of the coup-plotters had been rounded up and the government was back in control. The drama in Gabon is a throwback to more turbulent times. Coups have become rarer across Africa—a sign that basic democratic norms are more widespread than they were. But checks and balances on presidential power are often still weak, so many African leaders have been able to cling to office far longer than is possible in more competitive polities. Five have died...

STANDING ON A chair in a shabby classroom, a technician peels the plastic off the end of a cable with his teeth and attaches it to some exposed wires that dangle around a light bulb. “Soon the machine will work again,” he says cheerfully to a queue of voters, most of whom have waited for more than five hours. Across Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, hundreds of voting machines did not work on polling day, December 30th. The electronic tablets, nicknamed machines à voler (stealing machines), did little to redeem their dodgy reputation. A lot of voters, unfamiliar with touchscreen technology, struggled to use them. Officials from the electoral commission, widely believed to be in President Joseph Kabila’s pocket, offered unsolicited help. Observers feared they were nudging people to vote for the president’s chosen successor, Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary. The...

People say he’s got Togo IT IS NO mean feat for a ruling party to lose seats in an election boycotted by 14 opposition parties. Yet such is the depth of unhappiness with Faure Gnassingbé, the president of Togo, that his party’s majority shrank in parliamentary elections on December 20th, even though almost no one was standing against it. The opposition coalition shunned the vote, accusing the government of rigging the voters’ register. It also complained that the police and army shot at protesters. On a video circulated on social media in December, a uniformed man in a pickup truck drove up to demonstrators and pointed a rifle at them. The gunman’s face was not visible, and no shots were seen fired on the video. But activists claimed that two people (one a 12-year-old) were shot dead by soldiers that day. ...

IT DID NOT take long for America’s decision to withdraw from Syria to be felt across the Middle East. The Syrian regime, along with its Russian and Iranian allies, rejoiced. Arab states hurried to make up with Syria’s leader, Bashar al-Assad. The Arab League will soon debate his return to the fold. America’s Kurdish allies, crying betrayal, urged him to help fend off a looming Turkish invasion. Israel scrambled to contain the damage. With a single tweet on December 19th—“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there”—President Donald Trump has sent the region’s geopolitics spinning like an old mechanical airport display. It announces big changes: an American exit, a triumph for Iran and Russia, the return of Syria and the repositioning of everybody else. Mr Trump’s decision to pull out America’s 2,000-odd troops from eastern Syria astonished friend and foe alike, none more than his own envoys to...

SOMETIMES, THE simplest of gestures carries weight. In 2015 Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi became the first president of Egypt to attend a Christmas mass. He has done so each year since, and will probably do so again on January 7th, the date on which Egypt’s Coptic Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. The long-persecuted Copts are glad that the Muslim president of their mostly Muslim homeland offers them this token of respect. But Mr Sisi has done little else to improve their plight. The Copts are the largest Christian community in the Arab world, numbering about 10m. Successive governments have ignored laws promising them equality. Copts are frozen out of senior government jobs, particularly in the security services. Textbooks gloss over the history of the church, one of the oldest branches of Christianity. After Mr Sisi’s coup against Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s first elected president, in 2013, Copts suffered vicious attacks by Mr Morsi...

ACCORDING TO POLLS, most Israelis do not want Binyamin Netanyahu, their prime minister, to serve another term. Many are fed up with the corruption allegations that have been swirling around him for months. He may soon be indicted on charges of bribery and breach of trust. Yet Mr Netanyahu’s Likud party is still on track to win the next election, which he has called for April 9th (seven months earlier than originally scheduled), in part to head off the charges. Mr Netanyahu can boast of peace and prosperity on his watch, but if he remains prime minister it will be in large part because the opposition is hopelessly divided. Since the election was announced on December 24th, five new opposition parties have been formed. They join an already crowded field. The new party leaders include disaffected ministers, two former army commanders and a rabble-rousing activist. All speak of replacing Mr Netanyahu. Not one of them has a real shot...

Sénégal: Karim Wade et Khalifa Sall exit, quel avenir pour le PDS?Avant même la présidentielle prévue le 24 février, la classe politique sénégalaise vit une petite révolution. Car le président Macky Sall a su garder sa coalition et éliminer ainsi de la course des partis historiques : le Parti socialiste sénégalais et l’Alliance des forces de progrès. La candidature de Karim Wade, rejetée par le Conseil constitutionnel, le Parti démocratique sénégalais se retrouve également sans représentant et les observateurs s’interrogent sur son avenir.

RDC: le camp de Fayulu défend son recours devant la Cour constitutionnelleLa Cour constitutionnelle s'est penchée mardi 15 janvier sur la requête introduite par Martin Fayulu, candidat à la présidentielle, qui conteste les résultats provisoires annoncés par la Céni donnant Félix Tshisekedi gagnant de la présidentielle.

Laurent Gbagbo acquitté par la CPI: réécoutez nos éditions spécialesLaurent Gbagbo a été acquitté mardi 15 janvier 2019 de crimes contre l'humanité par la Cour pénale internationale (CPI), qui a ordonné la mise en liberté de l'ancien président de la Côte d'Ivoire. RFI était en édition spéciale ce mardi midi.

Gabon: le nouveau gouvernement a prêté serment devant Ali BongoAprès deux mois et demi d’absence, le président gabonais Ali Bongo est rentré du Maroc, où il était en convalescence depuis plusieurs semaines. Son avion a atterri à l’aéroport de Libreville dans la nuit. Ce mardi matin c’était la cérémonie de prestation de serment des nouveaux ministres. Prestation devant le chef de l’Etat, pour qui il s’agissait donc de la première sortie publique depuis son hospitalisation.

Kenya: un complexe hôtelier cible d’une attaque à NairobiAu Kenya, dans la capitale Nairobi, un complexe hôtelier de luxe a été la cible d'une attaque ce 15 janvier à la mi-journée. L'attaque, revendiquée par les shebabs, était toujours en cours mardi soir. Plusieurs sources évoquent une quinzaine de morts.

Côte d’Ivoire: réactions dans le pays après l’acquittement de Laurent GbagboLa Cour pénale internationale a décidé ce mardi 15 janvier 2019 de l’acquittement de Laurent Gbagbo et de Charles Blé Goudé. Les deux hommes étaient poursuivis pour crimes contre l’humanité après les violences postélectorales de 2010 et 2011. Une décision fortement commentée en Côte d’Ivoire et notamment dans le camp de l’ex-président.

Elections en RDC: où se trouve la vérité des urnes?Alors que la République démocratique du Congo vit la première alternance de son histoire à l’issue des scrutins du 30 décembre 2018 dont les résultats sont largement contestés, deux fuites exceptionnelles de documents viennent éclairer d’un nouveau jour le processus électoral. Ces milliers de pages analysées par un groupe de médias étrangers, le Financial Times, TV5 Monde et Radio France Internationale (RFI), en collaboration avec le Groupe d’études sur le Congo (GEC), un institut de recherche de l’Université de New York, indiquent que le vainqueur n’est pas celui annoncé par la Céni. Le premier document, une base de données attribuée à la Commission électorale congolaise, porte sur 87% de suffrages exprimés. Le second a été produit par la Conférence épiscopale et porte sur 42,92% des voix. Toutes les données de ces deux documents concordent. Enquête.

Côte d’Ivoire: Laurent Gbagbo et Charles Blé Goudé acquittés devant la CPILa Cour pénale internationale a décidé ce mardi 15 janvier 2019 de l’acquittement de Laurent Gbagbo et de Charles Blé Goudé. Les deux hommes étaient poursuivis pour crimes contre l’humanité après les violences postélectorales de 2010 et 2011. Les juges ont ordonné la remise en liberté immédiate des deux accusés, mais elle a été suspendue à la demande du procureur dans l'attente d’un nouvel appel. Une nouvelle audience aura lieu sur ce sujet mercredi matin.

Guinée: fin de trois mois de grève dans le secteur de l’éducationEn Guinée, les cours ont repris lundi 14 janvier dans les écoles primaires et secondaires. Un accord met fin à plus de trois mois de grève. Parmi les principaux points négociés figurent une hausse des salaires, l'absence de poursuites contre les grévistes et la mise en place d'une commission chargée d’identifier les emplois fictifs dans les effectifs du ministère de l’Education. Mais Aboubacar Soumah, le secrétaire général du Syndicat des enseignants et chercheurs de Guinée, prévient que la grève n'est que suspendue.

Burkina Faso: une explosion secoue le IXe arrondissement de OuagadougouUne forte explosion a secoué lundi 14 janvier 2019 dans la matinée un quartier du IXe arrondissement de Ouagadougou. Le bilan est d’un mort et plusieurs blessés. La force de la déflagration a détruit plusieurs habitations et causé de nombreux dégâts matériels. Selon le ministère de la Sécurité, l’explosion s’est déroulée dans une maison où étaient entreposés des explosifs et des détonateurs habituellement utilisés sur les sites aurifères.