Arrests announced as death toll rises in Ethiopia attack

The organizer of the pro-government rally in Ethiopia that was hit by a grenade blast said the attacker had aimed for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed but was stopped by police. (AFP / Yonas Tadese)
Updated 24 June 2018
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Arrests announced as death toll rises in Ethiopia attack

  • The death toll from a grenade attack on a pro-government rally in Ethiopia's capital climbed to two on Sunday
  • The blast occurred in a packed public square as Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed was wrapping up a speech before tens of thousands of people

ADDIS ABABA: The death toll from a grenade attack on a pro-government rally in Ethiopia's capital climbed to two on Sunday, a cabinet minister said, as police announced arrests over the blast.
"I’m so sorry to learn that we have lost another Ethiopian victim of yesterday’s attack," health minister Amir Aman tweeted.
"My sincere sympathy and condolences to the family, friends and all Ethiopians."
The blast occurred in a packed public square as Ethiopia's new prime minister Abiy Ahmed was wrapping up a speech before tens of thousands of people.
The ensuing chaos injured more than 150 people and marred an event meant to build public support for Abiy's ambitious reform agenda.
State-run Ethiopian News Agency reported police had arrested six people suspected of involvement in the blast, but gave few details.
No group has publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.
Abiy took office in April after years of anti-government unrest that pushed his predecessor to resign and the government to declare a nationwide state of emergency.
He's since announced plans to liberalise the economy and reconcile with neighbouring arch-enemy Eritrea.
Abiy also lifted the state of emergency and released scores of jailed dissidents.
Ethiopia is completely controlled by the secretive Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), and its unclear how much support Abiy has within the party.
The 42-year-old former government minister and army officer is the first prime minister in modern Ethiopia from the country's largest ethnicity the Oromo, which spearheaded the anti-government protests.


Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen providing info in Mueller probe

Updated 53 min 53 sec ago
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Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen providing info in Mueller probe

  • Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russians
  • Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer claimed Thursday he is providing “critical information” as part special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US election and possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty to campaign finance and other charges last month, said he is providing the information to prosecutors without a cooperation agreement.
Trump’s longtime fixer-turned-foe could be a vital witness for prosecutors as they investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russians. For more than a decade, Cohen was Trump’s personal lawyer, and he was a key power player in the Trump Organization and a fixture in Trump’s political life.
Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal charges and said Trump directed him to arrange payments before the 2016 election to buy the silence of porn actress Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model who had both alleged they had affairs with Trump. It was the first time any Trump associate implicated Trump himself in a crime, though whether — or when — a president can be prosecuted remains a matter of legal dispute.
On Thursday night, Cohen tweeted: “Good for @MichaelCohen212 for providing critical information to the #MuellerInvestigation without a cooperation agreement. No one should question his integrity, veracity or loyalty to his family and country over @POTUS @realDonaldTrump.”
The tweet was deleted almost immediately and was later reposted by his attorney, Lanny Davis, who said he wrote the tweet for Cohen and asked him to tweet it because he has a “much larger following.” Davis said he was delayed posting the tweet on his own account, so Cohen tweeted it first.
ABC News reported earlier Thursday that Cohen has met several times — for several hours — with investigators from the special counsel’s office.
The television network, citing sources familiar with the matter, said he was questioned about Trump’s dealings with Russia, including whether members of the Trump campaign worked with Russians to try to influence the outcome of the election.
Davis had asserted last month that his client could tell the special counsel that Trump had prior knowledge of a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer, Trump’s son-in-law and Trump’s eldest son, who had been told in emails that it was part of a Russian government effort to help his father’s campaign. But Davis later walked back the assertions, saying he could not independently confirm the claims that Cohen witnessed Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., telling his father about the Trump Tower meeting beforehand.
In the last two weeks, the special counsel secured the cooperation of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; signaled that he has obtained all the information he needs from former national security adviser Michael Flynn — who was also a government cooperator; and dispensed with the case of the campaign aide who triggered the Russia probe.
The president has continued a very public battle against the Mueller investigation, repeatedly calling it a politically motivated and “rigged witch hunt.” He has said he is going to declassify secret documents in the Russia investigation, an extraordinary move that he says will show that the investigation was tainted from the start by bias in the Justice Department and FBI.