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Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Windham, NH.

REUTERS/Reba Saldanha

Hard Numbers: Trump’s bond, Saudis target Ethiopian migrants, missing in Maui, Ecuadorians’ pro-Amazon vote

200,000: Former President Donald Trump's bond in Georgia has been set at $200,000 ahead of a Friday deadline to turn himself in. As part of his release conditions, Trump, who is reportedly set to surrender for processing on Thursday, is banned from using social media to intimidate witnesses.

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Ecuadorian presidential candidate Luisa Gonzalez speaks during a presidential election night event, in Quito, Ecuador, on Aug. 20, 2023.

REUTERS/Karen Toro

González leads, but a runoff looms in Ecuador

After an election marred by a high level of violence, including the assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavencio, Ecuadorian voters have set the stage for a runoff between left-wing candidate Luisa González and political outsider Daniel Noboa, the scion of a major banana business. With 75% of the votes tallied, González leads Noboa 33% to 24%.

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Soldiers patrol an area next a road prior to Sunday's presidential election, in Quito, Ecuador.


Violence rages days before Ecuador's presidential vote

Less than a week after a presidential candidate was shot on the campaign trail in Quito, Ecuador’s capital, another politician was assassinated on Tuesday in the northern province of Esmeralda.

Pedro Briones, a local leader of the Revolución Ciudadana Party, was killed by a gunman on Tuesday, though details about the attacker remain scarce.

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A woman outside the damaged house of her son, who was killed the day before by shelling in Donetsk, Russian-controlled Ukraine.

REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

Hard Numbers: Deadly shelling, drug kingpin's jail security, Lai sighting, Sweden soccer semi, twin takeover

7: Shelling in the southern Ukrainian province of Kherson Ukraine on Sunday killed seven people, including a 23-day-old baby girl. The attack followed denials by Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar that Ukrainian forces had engaged in Russian-occupied territory in the region.

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Presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio waves an Ecuadorian flag as he attends a rally in Quito, Ecuador, on Aug. 9, 2023.

REUTERS/Karen Toro

Ecuador’s anti-corruption candidate assassinated

Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio was shot and killed last night in Quito during a campaign rally. He was assassinated just days before the presidential vote on Aug. 20.
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Ecuador's President Guillermo Lasso addresses the nation in Quito.

Bolivar Parra/Ecuador Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Ecuador’s democracy gets Lassoed

We warned you this might happen … Early on Wednesday, Ecuador’s embattled President Guillermo Lasso dissolved parliament to scuttle his impeachment. Lasso can rule by decree for up to six months after triggering the so-called muerte cruzada or mutual death clause of the constitution, which mandates a new election in about 90 days.

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Ecuadorian president, Guillermo Lasso, during a press conference

Pool / Latin America News Agency via Reuters Connect

Lasso on the brink

Lawmakers in Ecuador’s opposition-controlled National Assembly voted Tuesday to open an impeachment trial against President Guillermo Lasso, and a political crisis may not be far behind. His trial, on embezzlement charges, is scheduled to begin on May 20.

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Reporter for U.S. newspaper The Wall Street Journal Evan Gershkovich, detained on suspicion of espionage, leaves a court building in Moscow, Russia March 30, 2023.

REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

What We’re Watching: Moscow’s muscle flex, Bolsonaro’s return, Lasso losing his grip

Russia nabs US journalist

A Wall Street Journal reporter apprehended by Russia’s notorious Federal Security Bureau in the city of Yekaterinburg Thursday has appeared in court in the Russian capital on espionage charges, which the Journal has dismissed as bogus.

Evan Gershkovich, who works out of the Moscow bureau for the New-York based outlet and earlier this week penned a bombshell feature on how sanctions are hurting the Russian economy, was on a reporting trip when he was seen being escorted into an FSB van in scenes reminiscent of the Soviet era. Indeed, he’s the first US journalist to have been arrested by Russian authorities since Ronald Reagan was in the White House. The Committee to Protect Journalists has demanded his immediate and unconditional release.

The Kremlin claims that the 31-year-old reporter was “collecting state secrets” on behalf of the US government. But many analysts say this is likely an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to flex his muscles and gain some leverage amid reports that Russia is stalling in Ukraine, with one US general claiming that ongoing fighting in Bakhmut is a “slaughter-fest” for Moscow.

Putin may be looking to secure some sort of trade deal with the US, like he did last fall when Washington agreed to swap WNBA star Brittney Griner, held in a Russian prison, for Viktor Bout, a Russian citizen and notorious arms dealer held in US custody since 2008. But Griner was held for the lesser offense of possessing a small amount of weed oil. Espionage is a whole other ballgame.

We’ll also be watching to see whether US media outlets now respond by pulling reporters out of Russia. After all, the US State Department has urged all US citizens to leave the country fearing a situation just like this.

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