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Mason Liagre, News Editor

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Michael Cohen to testify

Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, is set to appear before the House Oversight Committee for a public hearing on Wednesday, February 27.

Cohen was President Trump’s lawyer throughout the 2016 election. According to Trump and himself, he facilitated the paying off of adult film star Stormy Daniels to stay quiet during the election about her affair with Trump. Cohen was convicted of lying to Congress about potential plans for Trump Tower Moscow, a second version of the skyscraper in New York City. Cohen has been sentenced to three years in federal prison.

Reportedly, Cohen will implicate Trump in crimes committed during his election and presidency. According to Cohen, the plan to pay off Stormy Daniels was initiated by Trump. An anonymous source told the New York Times that Cohen has documents that constitute proof substantiating his claims, which will be included in the broadcast of the hearing.

The hearing will be broadcast from Washington D.C. on Wednesday, February 27 at 10 a.m. and will be viewable on the House Oversight Committee’s website, oversight.house.gov.

Summit with North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for the second formal meeting between the two heads of state. The meeting follows the historic summit in June of last year, in which the United States agreed to cease military exercises in South Korea and North Korea agreed to end nuclear weapons testing with the goal of “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Kim Jong Un arrived at the meeting site by train, choosing to travel to Vietnam in the same way his grandfather did when he led North Korea. The choice of country to meet is neutral and could be symbolic, Vietnam having once been divided into northern and southern halves.

This summit is meant to further the aims of the last one and cement the logistics of what was promised in June 2018.

Unrest in Venezuela

Following claims that the election of Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro was fraudulent, the United States government has placed sanctions on the country. Maduro has denied aid from the U.S., and attempts to truck resources in from Colombia were met by police opposition. At the Simon Bolivar International Bridge on Monday, Feb. 24, protesters accompanied trucks attempting to bring humanitarian aid into Venezuela. Riot police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, and at one point the cargo was set on fire. According to the United Nations, almost 300 people were injured in the clash.

The United States has backed self-proclaimed president Juan Guaido in the Venezuelan power struggle. New sanctions put into place on Monday included four new officials. According to the U.S. Department of State, “Sanctions were imposed on the governors of the states of Zulia: Omar Prieto, Carabobo: Rafael Lacava, Apure: Ramon Carrizalez, and Vargas: Jorge Garcia Carneiro.” They have also stated “The United States will not stand by idly while the people of Venezuela are denied basic necessities and made to suffer needlessly. These actions have consequences,” and that “U.S. sanctions need not be permanent; they are intended to change behavior. The United States will continue to take appropriate action to respond to the situation in Venezuela as it develops.”

Economic sanctions are restrictions put on a certain part of a country’s economy by another country in an attempt to influence policy. Recently a sanction was put on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company by the U.S. Critics argue that sanctions such as these are ineffectual and hurt citizens more than the government.

India-Pakistan Relations

Relations between India and Pakistan in the disputed border region of Kashmir have historically been tense, but recently events have flared up in a violent way. Earlier this month in an Indian-controlled area of Kashmir, a suicide bombing occurred that was blamed on Pakistan. A vehicle laden with explosives drove into a bus carrying paramilitary officers, killing at least 38 according to the Associated Press. In response to this, India launched an airstrike on February 26. Targeting a military training site, the attack marked the first time in decades that a military craft crossed the Line of Control into Pakistani airspace in decades.