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LE PEN TRIES TO PLAY DOWN BAN­NON MOVE­MENT LINKS

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen has dis­tanced her­self from for­mer White House strate­gist Steve Ban­non, say­ing only Euro­peans will save the con­ti­nent. Le Pen said, at a meet­ing in Rome, that she wanted to clar­ify “lots of con­jec­ture” about Ban­non’s re­ported plans to set up a foun­da­tion, The Move­ment, to boost far-right par­ties in Europe. Speak­ing with rightwing Ital­ian in­te­rior min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini by her side, Le Pen said Ban­non is not Eu­ro­pean, but rather an Amer­i­can who wants to cre­ate a think-tank to of­fer re­search to na­tion­al­ist par­ties in Europe. “But we, and we alone, are the ones who will shape the po­lit­i­cal force that is born from the Eu­ro­pean elec­tions,” she said. “Be­cause we are at­tached to our lib­erty, at­tached to our sovereignty and we to­gether, the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the dif­fer­ent peo­ples of Europe, are the ones who will shape the po­lit­i­cal forces that aim specif­i­cally to save Europe.” Le Pen’s dis­tanc­ing was sig­nif­i­cant given that Ban­non has been mak­ing the rounds in Europe of late as part of his push for a trans-na­tional, anti-eu­ro­pean Union move­ment.

HUNT FOR MISS­ING JOUR­NAL­IST TURNS FO­CUS ON SAUDIS

The search for miss­ing jour­nal­ist Ja­mal Khashoggi will in­clude the Saudi con­sulate in Is­tan­bul. The an­nounce­ment came as a sur­veil­lance im­age sur­faced of Wash­ing­ton

Post con­trib­u­tor Khashoggi walk­ing into the con­sulate just be­fore he dis­ap­peared. Turk­ish of­fi­cials fear the colum­nist was killed at the premises. Saudi Ara­bia has called al­le­ga­tions that it killed the 59-year-old “base­less” but has of­fered no ev­i­dence to show he left the build­ing. US pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has ex­pressed con­cern about the writer’s dis­ap­pear­ance, and sec­re­tary of state Mike Pom­peo said US of­fi­cials have raised the mat­ter with their Saudi coun­ter­parts. “We call on the govern­ment of Saudi Ara­bia to sup­port a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Mr Khashoggi’s dis­ap­pear­ance and to be trans­par­ent about the re­sults of that in­ves­ti­ga­tion,” Pom­peo said. A state­ment from the Turk­ish For­eign Min­istry said Saudi au­thor­i­ties have no­ti­fied Ankara that they were “open to co-op­er­a­tion” and would al­low the con­sulate build­ing to be searched. Mean­while a Turk­ish news­pa­per has pub­lished the names and pho­to­graphs of 15 Saudi na­tion­als who al­legedly ar­rived in Is­tan­bul on two pri­vate jets the day the jour­nal­ist dis­ap­peared. The Sabah re­vealed the iden­ti­ties of what it called a “mys­te­ri­ous” 15-mem­ber “as­sas­si­na­tion squad”.

DOC­TOR AB­DUCTED NEW­BORN BABY 50 YEARS AGO

A Span­ish court has ruled that a doc­tor stole a new­born child nearly five decades ago, one of many ab­ducted dur­ing Spain’s 20th cen­tury dic­ta­tor­ship. But the court cleared Ed­uardo

Vela be­cause the statute of lim­i­ta­tions had ex­pired. The court said the 85-year-old for­mer gy­nae­col­o­gist Ed­uardo Vela could not be pun­ished be­cause the ac­cuser, Ines Madri­gal, did not make her com­plaint un­til 2012. The court did find, how­ever, that Vela was re­spon­si­ble for ab­duct­ing Madri­gal in 1969, fak­ing her birth by her adop­tive par­ents and forg­ing of­fi­cial doc­u­ments. The ver­dict is Spain’s first in re­la­tion to the ab­duc­tion of thou­sands of chil­dren dur­ing the coun­try’s Civil War and the decades of Gen­eral Fran­cisco Franco’s dic­ta­tor­ship that fol­lowed. Vela, who was the di­rec­tor of a Madrid clinic con­sid­ered at the epi­cen­tre of the scan­dal, de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions dur­ing this year’s trial.

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