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The Latest: Trump ties health care vote to abortion

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The Latest on an effort in Congress to pass a health care bill (all times local):

8:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is telling lawmakers who oppose abortion that a vote against the health care bill would favor Planned Parenthood.

The president tweeted Friday, “the irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!”

In a bid to coax support from conservatives, House leaders proposed a fresh amendment repealing Obama’s requirement that insurers cover 10 specified services like maternity and mental health care.

Lawmakers will vote later Friday.

Conservatives have demanded the removal of those and other conditions the law imposes on insurers, arguing they drive up premiums.

The president met with members of the Freedom Caucus Thursday in an effort to win them over. But the vote was postponed after administration officials fell short.

8:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump is endorsing the Republican proposal on health care as “a great plan,” ahead of a make-or-break vote in the House.

The president tweeted Friday that “After seven horrible years of ObamaCare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!”

The vote had been scheduled for late Thursday but was postponed after administration officials failed to convince skeptical conservative Republicans to support the bill.

Trump claimed he was finished negotiating with GOP holdouts and determined to pursue the rest of his agenda, win or lose.

Barring any further delays, the vote is expected to take place later Friday.

7:50 a.m.

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney says he has “a lot of confidence” in President Donald Trump’s ability to salvage a congressional Republican health care plan, but warns that Trump “also wants to move on” if the deal collapses.

Mulvaney said Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” of the president: “He’s a tremendous closer. I wouldn’t count him out.”

Mulvaney delivered a similar message to House Republicans Thursday night, warning that Trump would turn to other priorities such as a tax overhaul if the health plan pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan is rejected by rebels in his own party.

Mulvaney also rejected a new Congressional Budget Office analysis that warns the latest health plan version would reduce cost savings by $200 billion. “The CBO score is just wrong on that,” Mulvaney said.

7:55 a.m.

A lack of women in a photo of negotiations over the GOP health care bill that was tweeted out by Vice President Mike Pence is drawing criticism from Democrats.

The photo shows Pence at the center of a conference table during negotiations with the House Freedom Caucus. About two dozen men can be seen in the photo and not a single woman.

Washington U.S. Sen. Patty Murray drew attention to the absence of women in the room by retweeting the photo and sarcastically adding, “A rare look inside the GOP’s women’s health caucus.”

A repeal of a maternity care requirement is among the concessions the Freedom Caucus is demanding in exchange for support of the bill.

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South Korea court sentences ex-president Park 8 more years in jail

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A South Korean court sentenced former President Park Geun-hye to eight more years in prison on Friday after finding her guilty on charges of causing loss of funds from the state spy agency and interfering in 2016 parliamentary elections.

The Seoul Central District Court ruled that Park, who already received a 24-year jail term over separate corruption charges, colluded with her former aides to cause the loss of government funds worth 3.3bn won ($2.91m) from the National Intelligence Service.



“The accused received some three billion won over three years from the three NIS chiefs. Through this crime, the accused incurred a considerable amount of loss to the state treasury,” said senior judge Seong Chang-ho at the Seoul Central District Court.

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Three former NIS chiefs testified they had funnelled the funds to Park on her orders, the court said.

The judge rebuked Park, who denied the charges, for being “uncooperative” throughout the court hearing and questioning by prosecutors.

She was also found guilty of interfering in the then-ruling Saenuri Party’s selection of candidates for the parliamentary election.

Prosecutors had earlier demanded a 15-year sentence for Park. 

Park, 66, has denied wrongdoing and was not present in court. She was found guilty by a lower court in April of separate charges including bribery, abuse of power and coercion. She was also fined $16m. 

She now faces a total of 32 years in prison. 

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Impeached and removed from office

In December 2016, South Korean legislators overwhelmingly voted to impeach Park but she refused to resign, offering instead an apology while denying any legal wrongdoing.

Three months later, the eight-member Constitutional Court voted unanimously to remove her from office.

She was charged and arrested soon after her dismissal from office in 2017. 

She is the daughter of another former president, Park Chung-hee, who seized power in 1961 and was assassinated eight years later.

Park could potentially get an even longer jail time depending on the rulings of the appeals courts.

Following the earlier ruling in April, prosecutors appealed Park’s 24-year term on charges including bribery and abuse of state power and are now demanding 30 years in prison.

The Seoul High Court will rule on the case on August 24.

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Nigeria: Boko Haram leader exposes rest Chibok girls whereabouts

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One of the arrested Boko Haram leaders and kidnappers of the Chibok schoolgirls, Mallam Mayinta Modu, alias Abor has revealed that each of them received N60,000 as ransom before they freed one batch of the abducted girls.

 Modu, who hails from Bama Local Government Area, Borno State had confessed to being one of the Boko Haram Commanders that coordinated and led the kidnapping of the Chibok schoolgirls in 2014, including several attacks on Bama, Gwoza and Mubi towns in Borno and Adamawa states.

This was following the arrest of 22 suspected Boko Haram members who participated in the kidnapping of the girls.

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 They were paraded at the Borno Police Command, Wednesday, by Deputy Commissioner-led Intelligence Response Team, IRT, of the IGP, Ibrahim Idris.Modu revealed that one Mallam Chingori, is in custody of the remaining Chibok girls at Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.

Upon interrogation, he said: “I cannot ascertain the number of people I slaughtered or killed before my arrest. All I can say is that as a member of the sect and with the roles I played in the course of our fighting against infidels, government and security agencies, I was promoted as one of the sub-commanders.

“I actively participated and coordinated the kidnapping of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls in April, 2014.

“After we abducted the girls, we separated them and put them in different locations in Sambisa Forest under the care of our top commanders.

“The name of my top Commander is Mallam Chingori. He kept some of the girls in his custody in Sambisa hideout before relocating to Gulumba village of Bama Council Area following the recent bombardment of the forest by troops.

“At a point, when we released some of the girls, we were given N60,000 each for escorting the girls to one undisclosed location, before we went back to base, Sambisa.

“I may not know whether our Commander who gave us the ransom money also took his share of the money; all I can say is that we were many that collected such amount.

“As it is, the remaining girls are in the custody of our top Commander (Chingori) who later relocated from Sambisa to Gulumba village of Bama town.”

Modu could, however, not state who paid the ransom, but admitted that some of the girls were still in the custody of the sect in different locations in the forest.

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