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Trump’s stunned silence as Kanye rants in White House

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Kanye West has met Donald Trump in the Oval Office wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat – saying it made him feel like “superman”.

The superstar rapper spoke at length in front of dozens of reporters and photographers – and his wide-ranging, off-the-cuff address felt at times like something of a rant.

He revealed that his friends had tried to scare him into not wearing the MAGA hat – popularised during the president’s campaign in 2016.

Describing how he looked up to Mr Trump, he hugged the president and said: “I love this guy.”

West also proposed that Mr Trump get rid of Air Force One and purchase a hydrogen-powered aeroplane.

Turning to the economy, the rapper said: “We have to bring jobs into America because our best export is entertainment and ideas, but when we make everything in China and not America we are cheating our country.”

After several minutes of silence and listening intently, the president said: “I tell you what, that was pretty impressive, folks… that was quite something.”

Kanye West shows Donald Trump his mobile phone in the Oval Office
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Kanye West shows Donald Trump his mobile phone in the Oval Office

West and Trump were set to discuss a range of issues during his White House visit – including manufacturing, prison reform, preventing gang crime and reducing violence in Chicago, where the A-lister grew up.

The music mogul also took the president to task over “stop-and-frisk” policing, where large numbers of people are temporarily detained, questioned and sometimes searched for drugs and weapons.

Despite being deemed unconstitutional because of its impact on minorities, Mr Trump has previously said “stop-and-frisk works” and urged Chicago to adopt the strategy.

After West warned “stop-and-frisk does not help relationships in the city”, the president said he would be willing to “look at it”.

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Journalist’s killing was ‘tragic incident’

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The US has described the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a “tragic incident”.

Mr Khashoggi went missing on 2 October during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers and, after weeks of pressure, Saudi Arabia has admitted he died after a fight between him and others at the consulate.

Eighteen people have been arrested and countries such as Turkey have accused Saudi Arabia of a state-sponsored killing.

But the US stopped short of such strong language, with White House press secretary Sarah Sanders saying Mr Khashoggi’s death was a “tragic incident”.

She said: “The United States acknowledges the announcement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that its investigation into the fate of Jamal Khashoggi is progressing and that it has taken action against the suspects it has identified thus far.

“We will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process.

“We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiancée, and friends.”

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Journalist Khashoggi killed at consulate

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Saudi Arabia has confirmed Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate in Istanbul after a fight broke out.

According to the Saudi public prosecutor, the fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate, leading to his death.

Eighteen Saudis have been arrested so far in connection with the journalist’s death, state television added.

In other developments, one of Saudi Arabia’s top intelligence officials, Ahmed El Asiri, has been sacked, as has royal court adviser Saud Al-Qahtani.

The Saudi rulers were expected to say that General Asiri received orders from Prince Mohammed to capture Mr Khashoggi for an interrogation in Saudi Arabia, but either misunderstood or overstepped and took the dissident’s life, according to two of the people familiar with Saudi plans who were quoted in the New York Times.

Mr Khashoggi went missing on 2 October, during a visit to the consulate to get marriage papers.

His disappearance brought intense pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what had happened and concerns grew after Turkish authorities said he had been killed in a premeditated murder.

An official, speaking to Reuters news agency, said at the time: “We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate.”

A senior police source told online news website Middle East Eye the journalist had been “brutally murdered, killed and cut into pieces”.

“Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country,” they said.

US president Donald Trump was criticised for not being tough enough on Saudi Arabia, saying only that consequences would “have to be very severe” if Saudi rulers were found to have killed him.

Also, a number of countries, including the UK, pulled out of a major investment summit in Riyadh next week in protest.

Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford said from Istanbul that confirmation of Khashoggi’s death was “not too much of a surprise from our sources in Turkey“.

“I think the Saudi just thought there was nowhere else to go – they had to admit it.

“Now they’ve been backed into a corner where they’ve had to admit something very badly went wrong.”

Mr Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia for Washington in September 2017, months after Prince Mohammed was appointed heir to the throne.

He had been criticised by Saudi authorities for being too progressive and he had described Prince Mohammed as a “brash and abrasive young innovator” – and even said he is “acting like Putin”.

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PhD student held in Dubai on spying charge ‘suffering significant health issues’

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A British student accused of spying in the United Arab Emirates is said to be suffering from “significant health issues” after being in solitary confinement for five months.

Matthew Hedges says he flew to the UAE on 5 May to interview sources for research about the country’s security strategy and foreign policy.

The 31-year-old Durham University PhD student was detained at Dubai Airport and his family say he has been in solitary confinement ever since.

Matthew Hedges and his wife Daniela Tejada
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Matthew Hedges and his wife Daniela Tejada met at university eight years ago

Durham and Exeter universities have now issued a joint statement saying they are “deeply concerned” about Mr Hedges’s welfare.

“Matt is suffering from significant health issues after more than five months in detention,” they said.

“His welfare and right to a fair trial are now the overriding concerns of both Durham and Exeter universities.”

The universities called on UAE and UK authorities to “treat Matt with proper fairness and to make every effort to return Matt to his wife, Daniela, and his family and friends”.

They said they assured the court of Mr Hedges’s status as a PhD student “in good standing”.

“Matt’s thesis is nearing completion and was carried out in full accordance with Durham University’s research and ethics procedures,” the statement continued.

“His academic colleagues speak highly of his work, noting both his diligence and level of scholarship, as well as his undoubted passion and care for the Arab Gulf and its people.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has called Mr Hedges a “man of integrity and principle” and told MPs his case has been raised with officials “at the highest levels” in the UAE.

The academic started his PhD at Durham in 2013 after completing a masters degree in Middle East studies at Exeter.

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