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Democrats Subpoena Pentagon, Budget Heads in Impeachment Efforts

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House Democrats on Monday subpoenaed the heads of the Defense Department and Office of Management and Budget for documents related to the Trump administration’s decision to withhold financial aid to Ukraine while the president pushed the allied nation for an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, The Hill reports.

In letters to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) acting director Russell Vought, the three committee chairmen leading the House’s impeachment inquiry asked for the documents to be provided by October 15.

“The enclosed subpoena demands documents that are necessary for the committees to examine this sequence of these events and the reasons behind the White House’s decision to withhold critical military assistance to Ukraine that was appropriated by Congress to counter Russian aggression,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote.

Congress had appropriated $250 million to the Defense Department for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative. But according to reports, President Trump asked Mick Mulvaney, currently the acting White House chief of staff, to put a hold on the Ukraine aid in July 2019, The Hill adds.

Trump held a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25 in which he urged an investigation into the Bidens and said he would instruct his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Attorney General William Barr to follow up with the Ukrainian government.

The White House eventually released its hold on the aid around the date of September 11, following multiple inquiries from members of Congress about why the aid was delayed, the news outlet noted.

The committee chairmen are demanding that Esper hand over documents related to Trump’s phone calls with the Ukrainian president and efforts by any current or former Trump administration officials to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens.

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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