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Last updateThu, 25 May 2017 10am

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Trump Attorney General Jeff Sessions under fire over Russia meetings

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met Russia's ambassador during the election despite telling his confirmation he had "no communications with the Russians". The justice department confirmed he met Sergei Kislyak in July and September last year as part of his role on the Senate Armed Services Committee. Mr Sessions said on Thursday he did not meet "with any Russians at any time to discuss any political campaign".

Earliest evidence of life on Earth 'found'

Scientists have discovered what they say could be fossils of some of the earliest living organisms on Earth. They are represented by tiny filaments, knobs and tubes in Canadian rocks dated to be up to 4.28 billion years old.

That is a time not long after the planet's formation and hundreds of millions of years before what is currently accepted as evidence for the most ancient life yet found on Earth. The researchers report their investigation in the journal Nature.

Trump promises 'renewal of American spirit' in speech to Congress

President Donald Trump has promised a "renewal of the American spirit", in his first speech to Congress. The president said a "new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp", opening a "new chapter of American greatness". Mr Trump condemned recent vandalism of Jewish cemeteries and a hate crime in Kansas that left an Indian man dead. His primetime address aimed to boost his low approval ratings after a bumpy start to his presidency.

Russia and China veto sanctions on Syria

Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons. It is the seventh time Russia has vetoed a UN Security Council resolution to protect the Syrian government. China has also vetoed six security council resolutions on Syria since the civil war began in 2011. Syria agreed to destroy its chemical weapons in 2013 under an agreement negotiated between Russia and the US. (BBC)

Trump lays out hike in military spending.

US President Donald Trump is seeking to boost defence spending by 10 percent in his proposed budget plan for 2018. The blueprint will increase defence spending by 54 billion dollars but seeks to recoup that sum through deep cuts elsewhere, including to foreign aid. Mr Trump's plan leaves large welfare programmes untouched, despite Republican calls for reform. The president has consulted government agencies about his plans and will present his budget to Congress in May.

Iraqi forces recapture airport in bid to retake Mosul city.

Iraqi security forces have recaptured Mosul airport, a key part of the government's offensive to drive the so-called Islamic State from the western half of the city. The operation took four hours. IS continued to fire mortars at the airport from further inside the city after losing the ground to the army.


Murders up by a third following Guzman's extradition in Mexico

Official figures from Mexico show that the number of homicides was higher by a third in January compared to the same month of 2016. The authorities believe the spike in violence is linked to the extradition of the drug lord, Joaquin Guzman, known as "El Chapo," or "Shorty".


Trump administration widens net for immigrant deportation

The Trump administration has issued tough guidelines to widen the net for deporting illegal immigrants from the US, and speed up their removal. Undocumented immigrants arrested for traffic violations or shop-lifting will be targeted along with those convicted of more serious crimes. The memos do not alter US immigration laws, but take a much tougher approach towards enforcing existing measures. There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. (BBC)

Five killed as aircraft hits shopping center in Melbourne.

Four US citizens and an Australian pilot have died after their light plane crashed into a shopping center in Melbourne, Australia. The charter flight appeared to have had a "catastrophic engine failure" shortly after taking off from the small Essendon Airport, said police. Despite the destruction, no-one was killed or injured on the ground. Victoria's Premier Daniel Andrews said it was the worst civilian aviation accident in the state in 30 years.

Trump names Lt Gen HR McMaster as national security adviser.

US President Donald Trump has named Lt Gen HR McMaster as his national security adviser. He will replace Lt Gen Michael Flynn who was fired after just three weeks and three days in the job. A lieutenant general with the US Army, HR McMaster served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he worked on a government anti-corruption drive. Mr Trump's first choice, retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward, turned down the role, citing "personal reasons".

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