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Trump asked FBI director to drop Flynn probe: report

US President Donald Trump asked the former FBI director James Comey to drop an investigation of his national security advisor Michael Flynn, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

In an explosive new report that was immediately denied by the Trump administration, the Times said Comey met the president in the White House on February 14, later summing up their discussion of Flynn in a memo.

© AFP SAUL LOEB, Nicholas Kamm

© AFP SAUL LOEB, Nicholas Kamm

Trump, Erdogan vow friendship despite anger at US arming Kurds

Presidents Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan stood side by side at the White House on Tuesday and promised to strengthen strained ties despite the Turkish leader’s stern warning about Washington’s arming of a Kurdish militia.

Fresh from securing his grip on Turkey with a referendum to enhance his powers, Erdogan came to the Oval Office with complaints about US support for Kurdish fighters and what Ankara says is Washington’s harboring of the mastermind of a failed coup.

© AFP SAUL LOEB

© AFP SAUL LOEB

Trump defends ‘absolute right’ to share ‘facts’ with Russia

Embattled US President Donald Trump insisted Tuesday he had the right to share “facts” with Russia, one day after bombshell allegations that he divulged highly classified intelligence to Russian diplomats in the Oval Office.

According to an explosive report from the Washington Post, Trump revealed highly classified information on the Islamic State group during a meeting last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Moscow’s man in Washington Sergey Kislyak.

© RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

© RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY

IS ‘on brink of defeat’ after losing 90% of west Mosul: officials

Iraqi forces have recaptured nearly 90 percent of west Mosul from the Islamic State group and jihadists in the city are on the “brink of total defeat,” military spokesmen said Tuesday.

Iraqi forces launched the massive operation to retake Mosul from IS nearly seven months ago, fighting their way to the jihadist-held city, retaking its eastern side and then attacking the west.

© AFP FADEL SENNA

© AFP FADEL SENNA

Trump to address religious divides in first trip abroad

US President Donald Trump will urge unity between the world’s major faiths on an ambitious first foreign trip that will take him to Saudi Arabia, the Vatican and Jerusalem, the White House said Tuesday.

National Security Advisor HR McMaster laid out a detailed itinerary for the “historic trip,” due to start late this week, and confirmed that Trump would address a gathering of Muslim leaders on his “hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam.”

© AFP Olivier Douliery

© AFP Olivier Douliery

Sharapova denied French Open wild card

Two-time champion Maria Sharapova has been denied a wild card for this year’s Roland Garros, French tennis federation president Bernard Guidicelli said on Tuesday.

The former world number one, who only returned from a 15-month doping ban last month, will miss the tournament for the second year in a row.

© AFP ANDREAS SOLARO

© AFP ANDREAS SOLARO