Lobbyist and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort learned on Thursday that he will serve almost four years in prison — far short of what had been expected and recommended — for financial fraud convictions obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller as he investigated Manafort’s alleged collusion with the Russian government in 2016. Manafort, 69, had been facing up to 25 years in prison, a sentence that could have essentially kept him in jail for the rest of his life.
Most of Venezuela has been hit by an electricity blackout. The power cut plunged the capital Caracas into almost complete darkness during rush hour on Thursday, before extending to other areas. The government of President Nicolás Maduro has blamed the opposition, accusing them of sabotage. It comes amid rising tensions over opposition efforts – backed by the US and some Latin American countries – to remove Mr Maduro from power.
Justin Trudeau has expressed regret for his handling of a political scandal that has cost him two cabinet ministers and a close adviser – but stopped short of apologizing, insisting no laws had been broken and that neither he nor his staff had taken any unethical actions. Trudeau and his close aides are accused of improperly pressuring the country’s former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to abandon the prosecution of the engineering company SNC-Lavalin, which is alleged to have bribed the Libyan government to secure lucrative construction contracts.
The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft separated from the International Space Station early Friday, setting the stage for a fiery unpiloted plunge to splashdown off the coast of Florida later Friday morning. A successful return to Earth would help clear the way for launch of the first piloted test flight of the new ferry ship in the mid-summer timeframe. For the trip back to Earth, the Crew Dragon will carry about 300 pounds of cargo, including a failed spacesuit component and two cold bags loaded with experiment samples.
Malaysia‘s tourism minister has claimed there are no gay people in the southeast Asian country. Mohamaddin Ketapi was speaking to reporters ahead of the ITB Berlin tourism fair when he was asked whether homosexual people were welcome in his country. “I don’t think we have anything like that in our country,” he replied, according to German newspaper Deutsche Welle. Homosexual sex is illegal in the Muslim-majority country under a British Empire colonial era law. In September, Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad said his country cannot accept gay marriage.