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Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former “thug” and “pit bull”, has been accused of lying about a phone call he says he made to the former US president about payments to ex porn star Stormy Daniels.

Cohen, a lawyer who worked for the Trump Organisation from 2006 to 2017, has been giving evidence in the case about hush money payments to Ms Daniels – in an attempt to cover up an alleged sexual encounter in 2006.

Trump’s lawyer, Todd Blanche, called into question an important detail – a phone call made by Cohen to Trump’s assistant, Keith Schiller, on 24 October 2016.

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Cohen, 57, has maintained that during that call he spoke to Trump (who was either given the phone by Mr Schiller or placed on loudspeaker – we don’t know which) and told him he had paid Ms Daniels $130,000 in hush money on his behalf.

But Mr Blanche called this into doubt – showing the jury a number of interactions suggesting Cohen was in contact with Mr Schiller about a different issue at the same time, namely that he was receiving harassing phone calls and texts from a 14-year-old child.

“That was a lie – you did not talk to President Trump on that night, you talked to Keith Schiller about what we just went through,” Mr Blanche said.

Cohen said that, based on his records, he believes he spoke to Trump about the Stormy Daniels matter.

“We are not asking for your belief,” Mr Blanche said. “This jury does not want to hear what you think happened.”

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Pic: Reuters
Former U.S. President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 16th 2024 in New York City, U.S. Steven Hirsch/Pool via REUTERS
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Donald Trump in court on Thursday. Pic: Reuters

That exchange was part of several hours of questioning which apparently sought to paint a picture of Cohen as someone who is eager to see his former boss behind bars.

Mr Blanche played jurors audio clips of Cohen saying the case “fills me with delight” and that imagining Trump and his family in prison made him feel “giddy with hope and laughter”.

“Does the outcome of this trial affect you personally?” Mr Blanche asked.

“Yes,” Cohen replied. He is due to return to the witness stand on Monday.

Michael Cohen (right) leaves his apartment building in New York on Tuesday. Pic: AP
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Michael Cohen (right) was Donald Trump’s fixer. Pic: AP

Cohen worked as the former president’s fixer. He once described himself as Trump’s “spokesman, thug, pit bull and lawless lawyer”.

He once said he would take a bullet for his boss and admitted at the end of questioning on Tuesday that he “violated my moral compass” while working for Trump.

Hush money payouts are not illegal, but Trump is accused of falsifying business records to hide it – a claim he denies.

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

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Zelenskyy calls on Biden and Xi to join Ukraine peace summit

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has directly called on his US and Chinese counterparts to join his latest summit for peace in Ukraine.

Speaking from Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine on Friday, Mr Zelenskyy announced a “global peace summit”, co-hosted by Switzerland, starting on 15 June.

He claimed 80 countries have already confirmed their attendance.

But he said: “I am appealing to the global leaders of the world who are still outside the global efforts of the global peace summit.

“To President Biden, the leader of the United States, and to President Xi, the leader of China, we do not want the UN charter to be burned.

“Please show your leadership in advancing the peace.”

Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Residents evacuated from a building hit by strikes in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

He added that it must be “real peace – not just a pause in the strikes” after various ceasefire breaches by the Russians.

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Finally, he urged: “The efforts of the global majority are the best guarantee that all commitments will be fulfilled.”

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Shopping mall hit by strike in Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

Printworks and shopping centre targeted this week

Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city, with a pre-war population of 1.5 million people, is close to the frontline, and has been consistently targeted since the initial invasion in February 2022.

On Thursday, its ‘Vivat’ printworks, which is the country’s largest, was hit by missiles, killing seven people, and destroying an estimated 50,000 books. A further 21 people were injured, Ukrainian officials said.

On Saturday, a strike on a shopping centre killed six people, injured 40, and left a further 16 unaccounted for, local authorities said.

Elsewhere in the city, an additional 11 people were injured as a result of strikes, including a 13-year-old boy.

Just over the border, in Russia’s Belgorod region, the regional governor there said four residents died as a result of Ukrainian attacks on Saturday.

Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
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Aftermath of Russian strike on Kharkiv on Saturday. Pic: Reuters

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Mr Zelenskyy warned a new Russian offensive is being planned northwest of Kharkiv.

Ukrainians and military analysts have repeatedly warned of depleting weapon supplies on the frontline.

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Earlier this month the US agreed to a further $2bn (£1.6bn) in military support for Ukraine.

It has consistently resisted calls to send US troops there, in line with NATO’s refusal for direct involvement in the conflict.

China has resisted calls by NATO and its member states to take a direct stance against Russia in support of Ukraine.

President Xi hosted Russian leader Vladimir Putin in a show of “friendship” earlier this month.

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

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Hamas launches first rocket attack on Israel from Gaza in months

Hamas has launched rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza for the first time in months.

The barrage of rockets set off air raid sirens in cities as far away as Tel Aviv.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage in what appeared to be the first long-range rocket attack from Gaza since January, although Palestinian militants have continued to sporadically fire rockets and mortar rounds at communities along the Gaza border since then.

Hamas’s military wing claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Israeli military said eight projectiles crossed into Israel after being launched from the area of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where Israeli forces recently launched an incursion.

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after ‘chain of explosions’

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India: Newborn babies killed in fire at hospital in Delhi after 'chain of explosions'

At least six newborn babies have died after a fire broke out at a children’s hospital in India, according to reports.

Firefighters said they carried 12 newborns out of the centre in the Vivek Vihar district of east New Delhi late on Saturday night, but five of them died due to smoke inhalation.

Two other infants are believed to have already died, according to local media. There are differing reports as to whether six or seven infants have been killed so far.

Another five survived and are being treated in a nearby hospital, Delhi fire department chief Atul Garg said.

The blaze, which broke out on the first floor of the hospital, was put out after about an hour.

Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of a baby care center in New Delhi, India, Sunday, May 26, 2024. A fire broke out in the care center on Saturday night killing six infants, a fire service officer said on Sunday. (AP Photo/Dinesh Joshi)
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Burnt registration cards lie on the floor of the hospital. Pic: AP

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Mr Garg told the ANI news agency that an oxygen cylinder blast was the likely cause of the fire, but there has been no official confirmation.

“It was a very tough operation,” he was quoted as saying by India Today.

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“We made two teams. One team started firefighting because there was a blast of cylinders. We can say it was a chain of blasts of cylinders.

“We had to save ourselves also. We started rescue operations for babies as well. Unfortunately, we could not save all the children… That is a regrettable incident.”

The owner of the baby hospital has fled, according to Delhi police.

Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi’s chief minister, called the fire “heartbreaking”, adding that the “causes of the incident are being investigated and whoever is responsible for this negligence will not be spared”.

Machines move the debris following a fire in a gaming zone in Rajkot, in the western state of Gujarat, India, May 26, 2024. REUTERS/Amit Dave
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Machines move debris after a fire in Rajkot. Pic: Reuters

Earlier on Saturday, at least 27 people were killed in a fire at a crowded amusement park in the city of Rajkot in Gujarat state in western India.

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