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The US Air Force has released video said to show a Russian jet intercepting an American drone and dumping fuel on it over the Black Sea.

It said two Russian Su-27 jets flew close to the MQ-9 Reaper before one hit its propeller and forced remote operators to crash it in the ocean.

Tuesday’s incident has shown the increasing risk of direct confrontation between the superpowers as fighting continues in nearby Ukraine.

The jet’s manoeuvre was probably an attempt to “wash the fuel into the drone’s engine and therefore take it out”, said retired air vice-marshal Sean Bell.

“As he pulls the aircraft up, he hasn’t got the aerodynamics because he’s isn’t flying very fast… [the plane] gets very close to the body of the drone and almost certainly just clips the propeller,” he told Sky News.

Mr Bell called the pilot “incompetent” but said the collision was likely an accident because it also put the Russian plane in danger.

Drone crash
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The MQ-9 is remotely piloted and used for surveillance and attack missions

American officials have accused the Russians of flying in a “reckless, environmentally unsound and unprofessional manner”.

Moscow has denied the jets behaved dangerously and said they didn’t come into contact with the drone, claiming it crashed due to “sharp manoeuvring”.

It said the Reaper was flying towards the Russian border with its transponders – wireless communication devices – turned off.

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Drone downed by ‘incompetent pilot’

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu accused the US of ignoring flight restrictions imposed by Russia due to the Ukraine war.

America has insisted the drone was in international airspace.

The seriousness of the incident has prompted the first calls since October between the countries’ defence secretaries and top commanders.

Russian ships had been seen in the area where the drone crashed but no parts appear to have been recovered so far, a US official, speaking anonymously, told Reuters.

Washington said the aircraft came down in deep water and that it had taken measures to ensure no sensitive information could be gathered.

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New York prepares for possible protests if Donald Trump is arrested and charged

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New York prepares for possible protests if Donald Trump is arrested and charged

Barricades have been erected outside a New York court as the city prepares for the possibility Donald Trump could be arrested and charged over alleged hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels during his 2016 presidential campaign.

It would be the first criminal case brought against a former US president.

Crowds have already started to gather outside Trump Tower and Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, as well as Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

On Saturday, Mr Trump urged followers on social media to protest against what he said was his looming arrest.

It has raised fears of a repeat of violent scenes seen at Capitol Hill after his 2020 presidential defeat.

New York Mayor Eric Adams told reporters police were monitoring social media and keeping an eye out for “inappropriate actions” in the city.

The New York Police Department said there were no known credible threats.

However, barricades have been erected outside Trump Tower and Manhattan Criminal Court for crowds and any trouble following the former president’s claim his arrest is imminent.

Donald Trump supporters outside his Mar-a-Lago estate. Pic: Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP
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Donald Trump supporters outside his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. Pic: Phelan M. Ebenhack via AP
Supporters of Donald Trump protest outside the New York court where district attorney Alvin Bragg continues his investigation
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…and outside the New York court where district attorney Alvin Bragg continues his investigation
Trump Tower
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…and Trump Tower

If charged, Mr Trump would likely have to travel from his Florida home for fingerprinting and other processing.

Law enforcement officials met on Monday to discuss the logistics, several media outlets reported.

Mr Trump’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, told the Associated Press news agency that if the former president is indicted “we will follow the normal procedures”.

A grand jury, which heard further testimony on Monday, could bring charges as soon as this week.

Mr Trump, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the White House again in 2024, had predicted he would be arrested on Tuesday.

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Trump watches wrestling after arrest claim

On Monday the grand jury heard from a witness, lawyer Robert Costello. He said Mr Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen had handled the hush-money payments without Mr Trump’s involvement.

“Michael Cohen decided on his own – that’s what he told us – on his own, to see if he could take care of this,” Mr Costello told reporters following his testimony, at Mr Trump’s legal team’s request.

Mr Cohen, who testified twice before the grand jury, has said publicly Mr Trump directed him to make the payments on his behalf.

The investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg is one of several legal challenges Mr Trump faces, including legal action over the 6 January, 2021, Capitol riots.

Mr Bragg’s office has apparently been examining whether any state laws were broken in connection with the payments or the way Mr Trump’s company compensated Mr Cohen for his work to keep the women’s allegations quiet.

Mr Cohen pleaded guilty in 2018 to federal campaign finance violations tied to his arranging payments to Ms Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, and another woman in exchange for their silence about affairs they claimed with Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and that any such affairs took place.

Around 44% of Republicans say Mr Trump should drop out of the presidential race if he is indicted, according to a seven-day Reuters/Ipsos poll that concluded on Monday.

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What happens if Donald Trump is arrested?

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What happens if Donald Trump is arrested?

Donald Trump has claimed he is set to be arrested over an alleged hush money payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.

If right in his assertion, the former US president could be charged by authorities in New York within days.

But what will happen if he is indicted – and how will both sides present their case?

What Trump has said

In a post on his Truth Social platform on Saturday, Mr Trump said he expected to be arrested on Tuesday and urged his supporters to protest against the authorities if he is detained and indicted.

He published a long statement describing the investigation as a “political witch-hunt trying to take down the leading candidate, by far, in the Republican Party”.

“I did absolutely nothing wrong,” he said, before criticising a “corrupt, depraved and weaponised justice system”.

However, it’s worth noting a spokesperson for Mr Trump said he had not been notified of any pending arrest.

The case – that the Republican made a payment to Ms Daniels towards the end of the 2016 presidential campaign in exchange for her silence over an alleged affair – is one of several related to Mr Trump.

Other ongoing cases include a Georgia election interference probe and two federal investigations into his role in the 6 January insurrection in the US Capitol.

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Trump watches wrestling after arrest claim

What Trump will do

Mr Trump has accused Manhattan’s district attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of targeting him for political gain, and may try to argue for the dismissal of the charges on those grounds.

He could also challenge whether the statute of limitations – five years in this instance – should have run out.

But in New York, the statute of limitations can be extended if the defendant has been out of state – Trump may argue that serving as US president should not apply.

Politically, how any possible indictment may affect Mr Trump’s chances in the 2024 presidential election is unclear.

He could be the first former US president to face criminal prosecution – right as polls show him leading other potential rivals for the Republican nomination, including controversial Florida governor Ron DeSantis.

This could lead to the unprecedented situation in which Mr Trump would stand trial as he campaigns in 2024.

If elected, he would not have the power to pardon himself of criminal charges.

In any case, Mr Trump’s lawyer Joe Tacopina told CNBC on Friday that he would surrender if charged. If he refused to come voluntarily, prosecutors could seek to have him extradited from Florida, where he currently lives.

In an ironic twist, as governor, Mr DeSantis would typically have to give formal approval for an extradition.

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Trump pleads the fifth in 2022 deposition video

What prosecutors will do

The Manhattan District Attorney’s office has spent nearly five years investigating Mr Trump.

It has presented evidence to a New York grand jury that relates to a £114,000 ($130,000) payment to Ms Daniels during the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign.

It is alleged the payment was given in exchange for Ms Daniels’ silence about an affair between her and Mr Trump.

Mr Trump has denied the affair and accused Ms Daniels of extortion.

Any indictment by the district attorney’s office would require Mr Trump to travel to its New York office to surrender.

But Mr Trump’s lawyers will likely arrange a date and time with authorities, as it is a white-collar case. And then his mugshot and fingerprints would be taken before appearing for arraignment in court.

Mr Trump could also be charged with falsifying business records – typically classed as a misdemeanour – after he reimbursed his former attorney Michael Cohen for the payments, falsely recorded as legal services.

To elevate it to a felony, prosecutors would have to show Mr Trump falsified records to cover up a second crime.

In any case, legal experts have estimated that any trial of the former US president would be more than a year away.

That’s why if it happened, it could coincide with the final months of a 2024 election in which Mr Trump seeks a controversial return to the White House.

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‘Worrisome’ deadly fungus spreading through US at alarming rate

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'Worrisome' deadly fungus spreading through US at alarming rate

A drug-resistant and potentially deadly fungus is spreading rapidly through US health facilities, according to a government study.

Researchers from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the fungus, a type of yeast called Candida auris or C. auris, can cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems.

The number of people diagnosed, as well as the number who were found through screening to be carrying C. auris, has been rising at an alarming rate since the fungus was first reported in the US in 2016.

A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained by Reuters on April 9, 2019. CDC/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
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A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2019

The fungus was identified in 2009 in Asia, but scientists have said C. auris first appeared around the world about a decade earlier.

Dr Meghan Lyman, chief medical officer of the CDC’s mycotic diseases branch, said the increases, “especially in the most recent years, are really concerning to us”.

“We’ve seen increases not just in areas of ongoing transmission, but also in new areas,” she said.

Dr Lyman also said she was concerned about the increasing number of fungus samples resistant to the common treatments for it.

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Dr Waleed Javaid, an epidemiologist and director of infection prevention and control at Mount Sinai Downtown in New York, said the fungus was “worrisome”.

“But we don’t want people who watched ‘The Last Of Us’ to think we’re all going to die,” Dr Javaid said.

“This is an infection that occurs in extremely ill individuals who are usually sick with a lot of other issues.”

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The fungus, which can be found on the skin and throughout the body, is not a threat to healthy people.

But about one-third of people who become sick with C. auris die.

The fungus has been detected in more than half of all US states. The number of infections in the US increased by 95% between 2020 and 2021.

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The new research comes as Mississippi is facing a growing outbreak of the fungus.

Since November, 12 people in the state have been infected with four “potentially associated deaths”, according to the state’s health department.

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