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Family handout(MOSCOW) -- The Russian lawyer for Paul Whelan, the former U.S. Marine held on espionage charges in Russia, has said Whelan was found with materials considered “state secrets” when he was detained by Russian intelligence officers, and appeared to imply he could have been set up.

Whelan appeared in a Moscow court on Tuesday for a pretrial bail hearing, the first time he has been seen publicly since he was arrested in late December.

Following the hearing, Whelan's lawyer, Vladimir Zherebenkov, said that Whelan had been detained with a device containing "state secrets." The lawyer added, however, that Whelan had not known he was receiving classified materials, and thought he was being given "personal" files relating to cultural sites and his travels as a tourist in Russia.

Officers from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) then arrested Whelan in his hotel room with the alleged classified materials. Zherebenkov said Whelan had been given the files by an individual, but refused to say who.

It is unclear if Whelan himself accepts his lawyer's position that he was found with classified information.

Despite saying his client had found himself being given classified material in place of innocuous personal files, Zherebenkov refused to say Whelan had been set up. He did not offer an explanation for how the files Whelan had been expecting could have been replaced, or why a person would have wanted to give them to him.

"I am not using the word setup," Zherebenkov said. He also categorically rejected a suggestion that Whelan's case could be politically-motivated.

“Absolutely not," he told reporters.

The lawyer’s comments were the first formal description of what Whelan is accused of in a case where Russia has so far provided no details of the charges against him. Zherebenkov has previously said Whelan intends to plead not guilty.

Anonymous allegations appeared on a Russian news site known for its ties to Russian security services about a week after Whelan was detained. The site, Rosbalt, cited an anonymous security services source who said Whelan had been arrested in his hotel room minutes after receiving a memory card with a classified list of Russian operatives on it. The site’s source claimed a Russian acquaintance of Whelan’s had delivered the card to him.

There has been no official comment on the Rosbalt reports. Russia’s FSB, which arrested Whelan, said in a statement announcing his detention that he had been caught while conducting “spying activity.”

Last week, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, said at a press conference that Whelan had been caught “red-handed” while conducting “concrete illegal activities,” but did not elaborate further.

Whelan’s family have denied he is a spy, and said that the Russian charges against him are impossible. Whelan’s twin brother, David, has said that Whelan was in Russia for the wedding of an old friend.

Some former U.S. intelligence officials have said Whelan’s profile doesn’t fit that of a spy and have raised the possibility that he could have been set up by Russian intelligence agents.

Zherebenkov said Tuesday that confidentiality rules prevented him from describing exactly what Whelan is alleged to have received. He said the prosecution would have to prove Whelan had sought to receive classified information.

Tuesday's hearing was being held behind closed doors, with Whelan brought into the courtroom through a back entrance, away from the press.

Zherebenkov said he was requesting Whelan be released on bail as he did not pose a risk to the investigation, and asserted he believed there was a "50-50" chance Whelan would be let out. Whelan has been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison since he was arrested on Dev. 28 in his hotel room at the upscale Metropol Hotel close to the Kremlin, hours before he had been due to appear at his friend's wedding.

Discharged for bad conduct from the Marines in 2008, Whelan is currently director of global security for a U.S. car-parts supplier, BorgWarner. Born in Canada to British parents, Whelan holds U.K., Irish and Canadian citizenship in addition to U.S citizenship.

Some former U.S. officials have suggested Whelan could have been seized in retaliation for the arrest of Maria Butina, the gun-rights activist who has pleaded guilty to acting as an unregistered Russian agent in the U.S.

Whelan’s lawyer has raised the possibility he could eventually be traded for Butina, but only after he has been convicted.

Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. have all expressed concern that Whelan might have been taken as a diplomatic pawn, and have demanded that Russia provide more details on the charges against him.

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Cardiff City FC/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was aboard a private plane that went missing over the English Channel on Monday night, French police confirmed to ABC News.

One other person was travelling with Sala, 28, on the PA 46 Malibu, a single-engine aircraft, from Nantes, France to Cardiff.

Sala had been due to meet his new teammates at Cardiff City after the club purchased his rights on Jan. 19 from FC Nantes for a club-record fee, believed to be around $20 million.

An aircraft search operation was launched Monday evening and resumed Tuesday, Guernsey police announced on Facebook. The plane went missing around 15 miles off north of Guernsey, an island in the English Channel.

There are currently two helicopters, two planes and one lifeboat in operation on the English Channel. The Guernsey Coastguard received an alert from Air Traffic Control at around 8:23 p.m. local time that the plane had gone missing from radar. British authorities confirmed they were working with their French counterparts as part of the operation.

The search was canceled at 2 a.m. "due to strengthening winds, worsening sea conditions and reducing visibility," but was resumed around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

The aircraft departed from Nantes Airport for Cardiff at 7:15 p.m. It lost contact with Jersey Air Traffic control after requesting descent while flying at 2,300 feet.

The chairman of Cardiff City soccer club issued a statement saying he was "very concerned" about Sala.

"We are very concerned by the latest news that a light aircraft lost contact over the Channel last night," said Chairman Mehmet Dalman, according to Wales Online. "We are awaiting confirmation before we can say anything further. We are very concerned for the safety of Emiliano Sala."

Waldemar Kita, club president of Nantes, told French media outlet CNews he didn't have any additional details and he was "hopeful they find him."

"[Sala is] a polite, kind, adorable boy, loved by everyone," he said. "He was always very respectful, very courteous. I'm thinking about his family, all his friends. We still don't know about all the rest. I'm still hopeful it's not over and that he's somewhere. Sincerely, he's an adorable boy."

FC Nantes posted a video tribute to the popular striker after he was sold to Cardiff City, saying "Thank you Emi, forever yellow and green," referring to the club's official colors.

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Giuseppe Ciccia/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images(ROME) -- The pope signaled his intention to harness the power of technology to reach out to young people by launching a prayer app three days before he will attend a Catholic youth festival in Panama.

The app, called Click to Pray, is available on both Android and iOS devices and will allow over 1 billion Catholics worldwide to pray with the pope online.

Pope Francis has his own Click to Pray profile online, which shows what he is praying for. Users can then click an icon to pray with him.

Pope Francis launched the new app Sunday during his weekly public noontime prayer.

Speaking to the crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square, the pope hesitantly tapped a tablet screen to launch the app and asked the priest who held it up for him if he had done it correctly.

"Internet and social media are a resource of our time -- an opportunity to stay in touch with others, to share values and projects, and to express the desire to make a community," he told the gathered crowd in Italian. "The network can also help us to pray in community, to pray together ... I especially invite you young people to download the Click To Pray app, continuing to pray the rosary for peace with me, especially during the World Youth Day in Panama."

A statement from the app developers sent to ABC News on Sunday said that Click To Pray is the official app of the pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.

It is not the first time Pope Francis has proved himself to be digitally savvy.

On World Communications Day in January 2018, the pope gave a speech about "fake news" and invited everyone "to promote a journalism of peace."

"Fake news often goes viral," he said in Italian. "Spreading so fast that it is hard to stop, not because of the sense of sharing that inspires the social media, but because it appeals to the insatiable greed so easily aroused in human beings."

Pope Francis also discussed the power of social media in June, saying "it can offer immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity," according to Catholic news website Crux. "May it be a concrete place, a place rich in humanity," he added.

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Anton Litvintsev/iStock(CAIRO) -- An Egyptian TV host was sentenced to one year of hard labor for interviewing a gay sex worker, a Cairo court ruled Sunday.

Mohamed El-Gheity, a well-known journalist in Egypt who has spoken out against homosexuality, is accused of promoting debauchery and insulting religions during an episode that aired last August on private satellite channel LTC.

During the interview, El-Gheity’s guest, whose face was blurred, shared details about his life as a sex worker.

The guest said he was motivated to share his experience so other young Egyptians would not repeat his mistakes.

The hosting channel, LTC, was taken off air for two weeks immediately after the episode aired for violating a decree by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation that bans the appearance of gay people on media outlets.

While homosexuality is not explicitly illegal in Egypt, members of the LGBT community are often persecuted under an anti-prostitution law.

In September and October 2017, over 70 people were arrested in one of the most aggressive crackdowns on the LGBT community after fans of Mashrou Leila, a Lebanese band with an openly-gay lead singer, waved a rainbow flag at a concert.

The lawsuit against El-Gheity was filed by Samir Sabri, a controversial lawyer and a self-proclaimed morality defender who has filed numerous lawsuits of similar nature.

Last December, he sued actress Rania Youssef over a dress she wore at the Cairo International Film Festival.

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JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- LGBT activists say they have begun helping people flee from the Russian republic of Chechnya amid what they claim is a new wave of detentions and torture targeting the gay community there.

The LGBT Network, a St. Petersburg-based rights group, said last week that 40 people had been detained and at least two were tortured to death in what they believe is a renewal of a campaign of terror that took place in 2017, and saw dozens of gay men kidnapped and tortured by Chechen security services.

Chechnya is a majority-Muslim autonomous republic in southern Russia, ruled by dictatorial leader Ramzan Kadyrov. In 2017, reports emerged that over 100 men suspected by authorities as gay had been rounded up and brutally tortured, setting off international condemnation and leading to U.S. sanctions against Kadyrov and some of his senior lieutenants.

The LGBT Network said in a statement it believes a new campaign of persecution that began in early December is now underway. Novaya Gazeta, the newspaper which helped expose the 2017 campaign, has said its sources also suggest a new wave of detentions.

Chechen authorities have denied the reports of the detentions, as they did in 2017. Chechnya’s minister of information, Dzhambulat Umarov last week called the allegations “utter crap” but then added homosexuality “has no place” in Chechnya. Kadyrov has previously said homosexuals don’t exist in Chechnya and said that if they do, they should leave "to purify our blood."

The LGBT Network said it helped dozens of men escape Chechnya in 2017 and 2018. In a statement on Monday, the organization said those fleeing this current purge have allowed them to build a clearer picture of the detentions and provided details of brutal treatment.

According to the group, both men and women have been swept up this time. They have described being beaten and raped using electro-shocker clubs. Men recounted being shaved, forced to wear women's clothing and to call each other by women's names, according to the group.

The organization said one detainee told them prisoners were being denied food and given dirty water after it had been used to wash the floor. The only drinking water they received was when it was time to pray, the group said.

The LGBT Network said it had now identified several sites where people were being held illegally, including a police station in Chechnya's capital, Grozny. According to the group, some of those seized are also being held in the town of Argun, which was one of the centers of the 2017 detentions.

The use of police stations, the activists said, was further evidence that the kidnappings were being carried out by members of Chechnya’s state security services.

Igor Kochetkov, LGBT Network's program director, said the group believes the new roundup began after police detained the administrator of a social media group popular among LGBT people in the North Caucasus. Security services officers then used the person's phone contacts to find new targets, according to Kochetkov.

The details being described now are similar to those from multiple testimonies from men in 2017 to news media and rights groups, which described kidnapping and torture.

A man who fled Chechnya after being tortured and then released in 2017 told ABC News then that he had been beaten with plastic rods and electrocuted. The man, who ABC News for his safety referred to by the pseudonym Dmitry, described being held in a jail with several other men and hearing them scream as they were tortured.

"They split my eye, my lip, broke my ribs, they electrocuted me," he told ABC News in April 2017.

He also described being denied food and provided with water only around prayer-times.

With the reports of new detentions, activists have blamed Russian federal authorities, saying they have failed to intervene and given Chechen authorities free rein to continue the persecution. In 2017, after heavy international condemnation, Russia launched a probe into the reports of abuses, but the investigation has since gone nowhere. Activists demanding that police act were detained in Moscow.

A report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) released in December found that kidnapping, torture and extrajudicial killings were regularly used by Chechen security forces and that the LGBT community had been targeted in “successive purges.” It found that there had been three “waves” of detentions beginning from December 2016 and until summer 2017, and noting new cases had continued into the fall.

The report criticized Russia, saying “Russian authorities responsible for investigating alleged crimes against LGBTI citizens persecuted in Chechnya appear not to have lived up to their responsibilities.”

The U.S. State Department last week said it was "deeply disturbed" by the new reports, calling them "credible." In a statement, it called on Russia to "live up to its international obligations" and "its own constitution."

Public attitudes to homosexuality in Chechnya are very conservative and the gay community is obliged to meet largely in secret, fearing violence even from their families. The anti-gay campaigns in the republic have emerged against a backdrop of broader efforts in Russia to stoke homophobic sentiment, as the Kremlin has promoted what it calls traditional values and painted homosexuality as a primarily Western phenomenon, linked to democracy and human rights.

Chechnya's minister for information, Dzhambulat Umarov, suggested to Radio Free Europe last week that he believed homosexuality was being imposed from outside.

“Don’t sow the seeds of sodomy in the blessed land of the Caucasus,” Umarov told Radio Free Europe. “They will not grow,” unlike in “perverted Europe,” he said.

The LBGT Network said it has helped get 150 men get out of Chechnya since March 2017, sheltering them in houses and assisting them with finding asylum. The Rainbow Railroad, a Canadian LGBTQI rights group, said it helped bring 57 people from Chechnya to Canada following the 2017 campaign.

In 2017, Dmitry who wanted to find asylum abroad, told ABC News he was terrified that Chechen security forces might find him if he stayed in Russia.

"They have very long arms and they will hound us," Dmitry said in 2017. "I have to get out of here."

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akesak/iStock(LONDON) -- African leaders have congratulated opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi for winning the Democratic Republic of the Congo's presidential election last month, after the country's top court on Sunday declared him the winner amid claims of electoral fraud.

The Constitutional Court of the Democratic Republic of the Congo confirmed Tshisekedi's victory in a statement released before dawn Sunday, rejecting a challenge from runner-up Martin Fayulu, an opposition candidate who declared himself the country's "sole legitimate president-elect" and called for peaceful demonstrations against a "constitutional coup d'etat."

Fayulu had demanded a recount after the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced earlier this month that Tshisekedi won the Dec. 30 election by a slim margin -- more than seven million votes, or about 38 percent -- while Fayulu received approximately 34 percent. Fayulu claims to have won by more than 60 percent, accusing Tshisekedi of making a deal with outgoing President Joseph Kabila to manipulate the result -- an allegation both deny.

In the wake of the court ruling, the African Union said in a statement that it has postponed a visit from a high-level delegation to the country's capital, Kinshasa, planned for Monday to discuss the "post-electoral crisis." The continental body previously requested the Congolese government to refrain from announcing the final result, citing "serious doubts."

A number of African heads of state sent their congratulations to Tshisekedi on Sunday following the court's decision.

"Your victory is a portrayal of the confidence of the people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in your ideals, leadership and vision for the future," Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said via Twitter. "I look forward to working closely with you to strengthen and deepen the long-standing cordial relations between our two countries and peoples."

"President Ramaphosa has called on all parties and all stakeholders in the DRC to respect the decision of the Constitutional Court and commit to continue with a journey of consolidating peace, uniting the people of Congo and creating a better life for all," South African President Cyril Ramaphosa spokesperson said in a statement.

"I beseech you to maintain peace," Tanzanian President John Magufuli said via Twitter.

The Southern African Development Community, the influential regional bloc of southern Africa, also congratulated Tshisekedi and said it "looks forward to a peaceful transfer of power."

"SADC calls upon all Congolese to accept the outcome, and consolidate democracy and maintain a peaceful and stable environment following the landmark elections," the group said in a statement Sunday. "Furthermore, SADC calls upon all stakeholders to support the President-elect and his Government in maintaining unity, peace and stability; and attaining socio-economic development in the DRC."

Tshisekedi, son of late Congolese opposition icon Etienne Tshisekedi, is expected to be inaugurated on Tuesday, assuming power over a vast, mineral-rich nation embroiled in conflict and currently battling the world's second-largest, second-deadliest Ebola outbreak in history.

If Fayulu concedes, the Democratic Republic of Congo will experience its first peaceful, democratic transfer of power since its independence from Belgium in 1960. Congolese military dictator Mobutu Sese Seko seized power in 1965. Rebel leader Laurent Kabila overthrew him in 1997 but was assassinated by a bodyguard in 2001. His son succeeded him and has ruled the nation with an iron first ever since.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo's constitution bars Joseph Kabila from seeking a third consecutive presidential term, but he is eligible to run again in 2023.

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Eitan Magid(NEW YORK) -- Passengers on a United Airlines flight were stranded for more than 16 hours, and many had to sleep on the plane, after the jet made an emergency landing to aid a sick passenger.

Flight 179 was traveling from Newark to Hong Kong on Saturday when it was diverted in Canada due to a medical emergency, the airline said.

Medical personnel met the aircraft at Goose Bay Airport in Newfoundland, Canada, and transported the passenger to a local hospital, but a mechanical issue kept the plane from taking off again.

The travel nightmare got even worse when passengers realized they wouldn't be able to leave the plane while crew members worked to fix the issue.

"The airport did not have customs officers overnight so we were not able to let customers depart the aircraft. An alternative aircraft is being flown in to transport customers back to Newark," the airline said in a statement. "We apologize to our customers and our crew is doing everything possible to assist them during the delay."

The passengers had to spend the night in the plane, with some passengers saying they were stuck for nearly 18 hours. United did not confirm those reports.

"I think there was miscommunication between ground crew at Goose Bay and the people running flights ops in Chicago," Liam Keefe, a passenger on the plane, told ABC News. "At the end of the day, the guy probably would have died if we didn't divert. That was the reason we were stuck for a long time."

Chris Liew, who was traveling to Hong Kong for a meeting on Monday, said the passengers were stuck for at least 16 hours.

"I think by the third hour they knew something was wrong mechanically," he said. "They had time to send another flight. But they didn't until close to 12 to 13 hours later."

"The breaking point," added Eitan Magid, another passenger, "was when you thought that airplane was coming to get us. They did come, but 12 hours late, and we get on that flight and we ask for food, and they said there was no food, only snacks like pretzels. I said, after 12 hours you brought pretzels and we've been sitting first class and eating food. And that's more and more and more adding to the whole incident. It felt like they didn't care."

United said it sent a rescue aircraft to transport customers back to Newark on Sunday evening. The airline said the passengers departed Newark International Airport on the original flight at 3:03 p.m EST Saturday and arrived back in Newark at 5:44 p.m. Sunday.

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Chris McGrath/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Marina Gross, a State Department interpreter, was the only other American in the room during President Donald Trump's one-on-one meeting with Russian President Putin in Helsinki last summer.

ABC News has learned new details about the 64-year-old interpreter with the State Department's Office of Language Services who is at the center of the political storm over what she might know about the private conversations Trump held with Putin during their meeting in Helsinki last summer.

Neither Gross nor her close family members provided comment for this story when contacted by ABC News.

Veteran interpreters are concerned that a Congressional subpoena of Gross or her notes of the meeting would set a dangerous precedent. They also question whether her interpreting notes would contain actual contents of the meeting itself.

WHO IS MARINA GROSS?

Born in Russia, Gross was in her mid-20's when she and her family members immigrated to the United States in the late 1980s in the waning days of the Soviet Union.

In the 1990s Gross began interpreting for the State Department as a contract interpreter.

Well respected, she was later hired by the State Department and currently works as one of two Russian staff interpreters at the department’s Office of Language Services.

That office hires interpreters and translators who work throughout the U.S. government, including with the president.

Interpreters play a vital role in key international meetings where their language services are on full display, but by training, they remain in the shadows.

Accordingly, few pictures exist of Gross, other than those publicly released by the White House or the State Department where she was seen interpreting for first lady Laura Bush and former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

But it is Gross' work in Helsinki on July 16 that has sparked the interest of Congressional Democrats because she was the only other American in the room for Trump's two-hour long meeting with Putin and his own interpreter.

Trump has met with Putin five times, but only twice in formal one-on-one meetings held in Hamburg and Helsinki.

Tillerson sat in with both presidents during their Hamburg meeting and provided other national security officials and reporters with a brief readout of issues that were discussed, but the Washington Post reported that the U.S. government has no internal notes of that meeting and that Trump seized the notes taken by his interpreter.

Since then, Congressional Democrats have said they want to gain access to Gross' notes to understand what Trump may have spoken about with Putin. A previous effort last year by Democrats to subpoena Gross and the interpreter at Trump's Hamburg meeting were shelved by Republicans who were in control the House of Representatives.

Last week Michael McFaul, the former U.S. ambassador tweeted his support of Gross describing her as "a fantastic interpreter" and "a terrific person to boot!"

'A DANGEROUS PRECEDENT'

Professional interpreters are concerned about the dangerous precedent that would be set by Congress if a diplomatic interpreter is subpoenaed.

"I've never heard of that happening in the 30 years that I worked the State Department or subsequently since I retired," said Dimitry Zarechnak a former interpreter with the State Department's Office of Language Services, who interpreted for President Ronald Reagan during some of his summits with Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union.

"I think it would just be a very bad move and bad precedent for diplomacy in general," he told ABC News.

Harry Obst, the former director of the Office of Language Services who interpreted for seven American presidents, said that if he was placed in a similar situation, "I would not divulge any information."

"That's because of the oath that you swear to not divulge any classified information on any level," he said. "Because you have a top secret clearance."

A greater concern is the impact a subpoena could have on state leaders excluding interpreters from their meeting if they believe they could be subpoenaed by Congress in the future.

"The whole idea of subpoenaing an interpreter is atrocious," said Zarechnak. "What foreign leader would want to meet with the U.S. leader thinking that 'well, the interpreter could be subpoenaed and tell Congress what the meeting was about.'"

And a subpoena could also lead a U.S. interpreter to not rely on American interpreters.

"The president would also have a great incentive not to use our interpreter if there was a danger that that interpreter would then be subpoenaed in Congress," said Zarechnak.

Zarechnak noted that was something President Richard Nixon practiced during his his one-on-one meetings with Soviet leaders in the 1970s.

"Unfortunately President Nixon and [former Secretary of State Henry] Kissinger specifically did not use our interpreters," said Zarechnak. "I guess for the sake of their secrecy" they relied only on the Soviet interpreters during their meetings.

WOULD GROSS' NOTES BE OF ANY VALUE?

Both veteran interpreters question whether Gross' notes would be of much historical value.

Even if investigators successfully gained access to Gross' notes "they wouldn't know what to do with them in the first place" said Obst.

That's because as a matter of course the notes taken by professional interpreters are less about taking verbatim quotes than they are about getting the right inflection or meaning of a word or sentence.

Interpreters use symbols or meanings for words or proper context that are only comprehensible to them at that specific moment in time.

What might be more useful are the official classified documents, known as "memorandums of conversation" or MemCon's, that are compiled by interpreters using their handwritten notes.

MemCon's are ultimately only accessible by the Secretary of State and Obst said often times an interpreter will destroy the handwritten notes used during a meeting because they are no longer as relevant as the classified official document.

"So really what is saved is the memo not the notes themselves," said Obst.

Zarechnak recalls how the MemCon he wrote from his notes of the consecutive translation he took during the one-on-one meetings during the 1985 Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Geneva were declassified 15 years later.

That declassified MemCon captures a detailed flavor of the topics that were discussed during one meeting as well as Zarechnak's take about Gorbachev's.

During a lengthy exchange on human rights in the Soviet Union, "Gorbachev interrupted, without listening to the translation, to say that he had understood what the President had said, and that he took all of this into account. He was familiar with the American political process, and the President should not hide behind this."

Zarechnak then added his take on Gorbachev's interruption and what it might mean about Gorbachev's knowledge of English.

"(U.S. Interpreter's Note: Gorbachev's indication that he had understood what the President had said without translation was unexpected, since he had never shown any indication of understanding English in previous or subsequent conversations. After the President's following remarks, Gorbachev specifically asked for interpretation and looked like he had not understood what the President had said. I think that the first time he was simply assuming that he knew what the President was saying, and was anxious to get into the plenary meeting.)"

Since MemCons are classified, the access to details of the Helsinki meeting that congressional Democrats want, may ultimately rest with Trump.

Obst told ABC News that only a president can release an interpreter from disclosing classified information gathered during a private meeting.

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Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images(LONDON) -- The Duke of Edinburgh and his driving are back in the British headlines again. Several Sunday papers have splashed photographs of the Queen's 97 year old husband back behind the wheel of a brand-new Land Rover.

The photos appeared just two days after he was part of a car crash involving two women and a 9-month-old baby near the royal Sandringham estate in Norfolk. Both of the women involved in the crash, who suffered minor injuries, as well as the Duke of Edinburgh were treated at a nearby hospital in East Anglia. The women were discharged the same day, and Prince Philip was seen for a check-up on Friday, though no injuries were reported.

Prince Philip was photographed near the Queen’s Sandringham estate again on Saturday, appearing to not only be driving alone on a public road, but also driving without a seat belt -- an offense punishable by fine in the U.K.

Regional Norfolk police confirmed to ABC News that they had been in contact with the Duke of Edinburgh.

“We are aware of the photographs. Suitable words have been given to the driver in line with our standard response when being made aware of or receiving such images showing this type of offence,” the police said in a statement.

Meanwhile, one of the female passengers injured in the accident, Emma Fairweather, told the Sunday Mirror that she was unhappy with the royal palace’s response to the incident.

She said she had been told to expect contact from Buckingham Palace, and was hoping that meant a phone call from the Queen.

“Instead I got a call from a police family liaison officer. The message he passed on didn’t even make sense. He said ‘The Queen and Prince Philip would like to be remembered to you,’” Fairweather said.

“I love the royals but I’ve been ignored and rejected and I’m in a lot of pain,” Fairweather added. “It would mean the world to me if Prince Philip said sorry but I have no idea if he’s sorry at all.”

In response to the story, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson told ABC News that a “full message of support was sent to both the driver and the passenger.”

The palace declined to comment on the Duke of Edinburgh’s contact with the police for not wearing a seat belt.

Since Thursday’s accident questions have been raised as to whether the 97-year-old prince should continue to be driving himself on public roads.

Robert Jobson, royal correspondent with the UK's Evening Standard newspaper explained to ABC News that the prince has a fiercely independent nature. "You can understand to a degree why he wants to just be on his own to have the freedom and independence that offers him," he said.

A palace source confirmed to ABC News on Saturday that the Duke had sat and passed a police eyesight test after his accident. The police investigation into the incident is ongoing.

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Kamalmaz family(DAMASCUS, Syria) -- For almost two years, the family of an American man detained in Syria says it has operated quietly, working with the U.S. government and its allies to try to gain information about their husband and father.

But now, in the hopes that President Donald Trump may be moved to personally intervene, they are going public.

“I think we’ve reached the point where we absolutely are very desperate,” Ula Kamalmaz, 35, daughter of Majd Kamalmaz, 61, told ABC News.

They said they haven’t heard from their father since Valentine’s Day 2017, when he arrived in Damascus, Syria, as planned to visit ailing members of his extended family. Majd was born in Syria but moved to the United States when he was 6 years old.

Majd called his wife to tell her he had arrived safely in Damascus, at the home of one set of family members, and that he would call her again the next day when he went to visit other relatives, Maryam Kamalmaz, 33, said.

But that call never came. Later that day, one of Majd’s Syrian relatives called Maryam’s mother, Hasna, who was staying with Maryam, to tell her that Majd had never arrived at their home as planned.

“I found her crying hysterically,” Maryam said of Hasna.

The family was ultimately able to learn that Majd had been detained by the Syrian government, a revelation obtained largely with the help of the Czech government, which acts as the protecting power for U.S. interests in Syria.

Spokespeople for the Czech embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

In an email to ABC News, a U.S. State Department official said the “U.S. Department of State and our embassies and consulates abroad have no greater responsibility than the protection of U.S. citizens overseas. The U.S. government is in regular contact with the Kamalmaz family regarding this case.”

The official said it could provide no further information due to privacy considerations.

The family said they had no idea -- nor have they been able to find out -- why he had been detained, given that Majd had done what he could to ensure he was not on any Assad regime watch lists before he traveled, and because he was in no way publicly outspoken or involved in the political situation in Syria.

The last time he traveled to Syria, family members said, was in 2011 -- just before a civil war broke out, pitting the Assad regime and its allies, including Iran, against many of the country’s civilians. Majd, who worked on international aid missions, was not politically outspoken, they said.

His expertise in psychology and stress management led him to war zones and natural disaster sites around the world, including Lebanon, Indonesia and even New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, where he would help victims suffering from PTSD and other post-traumatic symptoms.

A 2016 blog post from the HeartMath Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides mental health aid around the world, detailed Majd’s work in Lebanon, where he administered post-trauma care to Syrian refugees.

He was quoted in the post as saying he hoped to send “enormous amounts of pictures of children with beautiful smiles, inner-peace smiles, that cannot [occur] without children being connected to their heart and feeling the ease and the peacefulness within their heart.”

“He’s a very humble, loving, caring soul that allows his heart to lead him, and that’s why he’s in the field of treating people who have been affected by PTSD and traumatic events in their lives,” his daughter Ula said.

When the Czech embassy first relayed questions about Majd to the Syrian government, officials there initially confirmed they had detained him, Majd’s children said. Members of the Kamalmaz family met with the Czech ambassador to Syria, Eva Filipi, in Washington in May 2017, where she relayed her confidence that the situation could be resolved.

“She hugged our grandmother at the end of the meeting and told her not to worry, she’ll get him back home,” Maryam said.

But via subsequent updates from the Czechs, the family learned that the regime backtracked, denying they had any information from the start.

The Kamalmaz family reiterated its gratitude to the U.S. and Czech governments for the work they’ve done on their father’s behalf, but said it was time for them to change strategy and seek to make a direct appeal to the president. They said they are worried about his health, as he has diabetes and suffered a stroke shortly before visiting Syria.

“We’ve seen how successful [Trump]’s been at releasing other detained citizens abroad,” Maryam said. “We feel we’ve exhausted most routes, if not all routes. And we are now praying and hoping that President Trump will help in this situation to bring him back.”

The president has highlighted the release of other Americans previously detained overseas, including North Carolina pastor Andrew Brunson, held in Turkey, and three Americans who were held in North Korea.

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Simone Cecchetti/Corbis/Getty Images(BEIRUT) -- To enter the Beirut nightclub B018, one arrives on what appears to be a helicopter landing pad and descends a staircase to enter the underground music mecca.

The club is located on the spot where 20,000 Palestinian, Kurdish and South Lebanese refugees were massacred in 1976 during Lebanon’s civil war, which began in 1975 and continued for 15 years.

“How do you design a bar on a site like this in a country that is in denial of its own history?” said architect Bernard Khoury, who took on the project in 1998. For Khoury, the project was a must.

“If someone doesn’t want anything to do with it, they’re a coward,” he said.

This defiant attitude defines Lebanon’s best-known architect, whose imaginative structures are often unafraid to enter dialogue with the sites on which they are located, often referencing the country’s troubled past.

Take, for example, Centrale, a restaurant located in the city’s historical center. The recuperated ruin from the 1920s sits near the former demarcation line that separated East and West Beirut. Khoury chose to keep its crumbling facade visible through wire mesh as a reminder that this area had once been a no-man's land with decaying, decrepit buildings. Residential complex Plot 1282, with its jagged exterior, was built near the site of an abandoned military complex.

Today's Beirut is a vibrant metropolis with a reputation for its thriving nightlife and mouthwatering cuisine. To tourists visiting the hot spots, the scars of civil war, which ended as recently as 1990, are nearly invisible. Khoury's architecture is part of a city with one foot stuck in the past and another in the future, where once-opulent villas and unappealing apartment complexes intermingle with luxury high-rises by some of the world’s top architects, from Foster Partners to Herzog & de Meuron. Although Khoury admires the work of his foreign colleagues, he sees their limitations and what he calls a “naive understanding” of a country with a complex history and social fabric.

ABC News spoke with Khoury on a rainy day in Beirut shortly before he gave a lecture to group of young Lebanese architects and designers who had gathered for a design biennial by Beirut-based NGO House of Today, which supports a small but thriving scene of Lebanese designers. Over a double vodka on the rocks, the combat boot-wearing architect explained one of his missions: to help the upcoming generation to remember their country’s past.

“In the so-called postwar period, something very dangerous happened: We completely bypassed the history of the young republic -- from the 1940s until the 1970s -- during which there was a project of building a modern nation and great efforts done on all levels -- in architecture, cinema and painting and industrial design,” said Khoury.

While some major projects have preserved the country's archeological history, such as the post-civil war redevelopment of the city center by private firm Solidere, the decades when Lebanon was in the process of becoming its own nation have been completely ignored, he said.

One of the architects of this forgotten period was Khoury’s father, Khalil. The son of a carpenter and nun, the elder Khoury was a staunch communist who once delivered medical supplies to Fidel Castro. He devoted the early part of his architectural career to social projects, including working on refugee housing. His son returned to a different Beirut after the war, one in which the state had collapsed and the free market reigned supreme.

Coming home after studying architecture at Harvard, Khoury was disappointed to see that his hometown did not rise from the ashes in the way he and his peers hoped it would.

“We thought we were going to rebuild the nation and write our history like you would do in any postwar period, but none of that really happened. We didn’t rebuild our institutions, the nation state was never restored, and the private sector basically took over,” Khoury said.

But he embraced this, initially gaining fame for short-term commercial projects in the entertainment industry, such as B018.

“Beirut in this condition gave me a relationship with temporality, which I think is more contemporary from my colleagues in the West who still build structures which are conceived to survive eternity, like the pyramids,” he said.

Khoury honed his style through experimenting on projects that would be torn down and redeveloped.

“In the West, I still want to think that there is still a margin of territory where the state is there to promote certain projects by running competitions for libraries and museums -- that doesn’t exist here,” he noted. “If you want to produce meaning, and I think architecture is a political act, you have to find other ways to become politically relevant.”

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Viktorcvetkovic/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. government on Friday acknowledged for the first time that it secretly arrested an Iranian journalist earlier this week, demanding she testify to a federal grand jury as part of a federal probe that still remains a mystery.

The acknowledgement came in a federal judge's order stating that American-born Melanie Franklin, also known as Marzieh Hashemi, was taken into custody on a material witness warrant issued in Washington.

The order, unsealed Friday in federal court in Washington, D.C., confirms that Franklin has not been accused of any crime and has made two court appearances before a federal judge.

Franklin, the order states, is expected to be released immediately following the completion of her testimony before a federal grand jury.

Iranian state media had reported that the American-born Iranian journalist had been arrested in St. Louis on Sunday and transferred to Washington.

Iranian government officials have called for her release.

"The custody of Iran's reporter in the U.S. is highly political and she should be released immediately," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Iranian state media, the Islamic Republic News Agency.

The order by Chief Judge Beryl Howell is the first acknowledgement by the U.S. government that she had been arrested and not charged.

Federal law permits the government to detain witnesses under court order in certain circumstances.

It is highly unusual to hold someone as a material witness and it remains unclear what the grand jury is investigating.

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sihuo0860371/iStock(MOSCOW) --  An Instagram model and self-described “sex trainer” from Belarus, who last year drew international attention with unsubstantiated claims to have recordings relevant to the Russian election interference investigation, has been arrested at a Moscow airport on prostitution charges after she was deported from Thailand.

Anastasia Vashukevich, better known by her online persona Nastya Rybka, was drawn into the Trump-Russia saga in 2018 after Instagram videos surfaced of her aboard a yacht with Oleg Deripaska, a Kremlin-connected Russian oligarch with long-standing business ties to Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort. After Vashukevich was arrested in Thailand last year on work permit violations, she claimed to have recordings relating to Russia and the 2016 election, and promised to hand information over to the FBI if the agency would guarantee her safety.

No evidence ever emerged to support her claims, but the case has attracted significant media attention in Russia, mostly because of its salacious details and the high-profile characters involved.

On Thursday, Vashukevich and her collaborator, a self-described sex guru known as Alex Lesli, were detained with two others at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport when they landed after returning from Thailand. A court in that country convicted, then released them and seven others after they pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges.

A video of Vashukevich's detention in Moscow was published on Friday by Ren-TV, a pro-Kremlin channel with ties to the security services, that showed several men trying to force Vashukevich into a wheel chair near passport control and then eventually taking her away, escorted by a uniformed police officer.

Russian police said in a statement that Vashukevich and Lesli, whose real name is an Alexander Kirillov, were now being detained on charges of enticement to prostitution. No charges had been previously announced and their arrest had not been expected and large crowd of journalists waiting for them at the airport’s arrivals area were surprised when they didn’t appear.

Vashukevich first attracted international attention when Russia’s most prominent opposition activist, Alexey Navalny, her videos and photos of her with Deripaska in an investigation alleging Kremlin corruption in February 2018.

The videos show Deripaska aboard a yacht off the coast of Norway with a top Kremlin official in August 2016, filmed by Vashukevich, who claimed in a book she wrote around the trip that she had been flown there with several other women and had sex with Deripaska.

Navalny asserted the video was proof that Deripaska had effectively bribed the official, Sergey Prikhodko, then a Russian deputy prime minister, by flying him to the yacht. Deripaska, a metals magnate who is one of Russia’s richest men, responded by suing Navalny and Vashukevich, claiming they had illegally published personal photos. Prikhodko told the Russian independent newspaper, RBC that “such stuff should be answered man-to-man, but we will leave in within the bounds of the legal field."

In Russia, attention has focused mostly on the corruption allegations, but what attracted global notice was Navalny’s speculation— made without evidence— that Deripaska and Prikhodko could have been discussing information provided by Paul Manafort about the 2016 elections. Emails first reported by The Washington Post, revealed that Manafort had allegedly offered “private briefings” to Deripaska on the U.S. election while he was overseeing Trump’s campaign that summer.

Manafort, who has been convicted on multiple charges of fraud and money laundering as well as “conspiracy against the United States” as part of the Special Counsel investigation, denied at the time that any briefing ever took place.

Deripaska sued Navalny and Vashukevich over the video alleging invasion of privacy, and a Russian court ordered them to pay roughly $8,000 each for posting information relating to his private life on the internet without his consent. After Deripaska won a court ruling, Russia’s state media watchdog at one point threatened to block YouTube and Instagram if the two sites did not remove the videos.

Vashukevich later seized on the possible link between her videos of Deripaska and Prikhodko and the U.S. election after she and Kirillov were arrested in Thailand three weeks later while they were conducting what they described as a "sex training” seminar there. She claimed publicly to have hours more recordings that would reveal more about the U.S. election and Russia, and promised to provide the FBI with information if they would guarantee her refuge in the U.S.

As the months passed though, she never revealed any new details and eventually told journalists that if she did have any materials, she would only give them to Deripaska. Many journalists concluded that she was likely hitching herself to the Russia investigation in the hope of escaping her legal predicament.

Kirillov’s partner, Kristina Sheremetyeva, on Thursday told ABC News that FBI agents had visited Vashukevich in Thai prison and asked about the materials, but she had refused to hand anything over. In March, CNN cited a Thai official who said that FBI agents had tried but failed to meet with her.

This week, a Thai court released Vashukevich and her seven co-defendants after they pleaded guilty to soliciting to provide sexual services. They were deported to Moscow, from where Vashukevich had hoped to fly on to her native Minsk.

Kristina Sheremetyeva said Thursday that Russia’s charges against Vashukevich and Kirillov were unfounded, and said she had feared possible trouble when they arrived in Moscow, without elaborating further.

Vashukevich and Kirillov had built a following as self-styled sex experts, holding seminars in Russia and abroad on seduction and promoting themselves as guides to sexual liberation on social media. Vashukevich's book chronicling her alleged affair with Deripaska is framed as a manual for how to seduce an oligarch. In it, she claims her mentor, Kirillov, had advised her to make recordings when she was with Deripaska.

Vashukevich and Kirillov had been holding one of their seminars when they were arrested in the Thai resort of Pattaya. Initially they were charged with visa infractions, but the charges went through several changes, growing more severe, eventually becoming prostitution-related.

Kirillov’s wife, Sheremetyeva denied that he and Vashukevich’s had ever had anything in common with prostitution and that their seminars never involved participants having sexual intercourse in them.

The pair had continued to insist that the shifting charges showed powerful foreign forces were pressuring the Thai police into prosecuting them.]. Some of Vashukevich’s released co-defendants told reporters at the airport they considered the Thai charges against them to have been trumped up.

In an August interview with The New York Times, Vashukevich seemed to suggest she wanted to reconcile with Deripaska, promising she would only handover the alleged recordings to him at a personal meeting.

At the Moscow airport on Thursday, Kristina Sheremetyeva said she didn’t think Vashukevich had any recordings that she had once hinted to have.

“Most likely, those files that interest them so much -- I don’t know what files they would have to be. There aren’t any such files,” Sheremetyeva told ABC News. “Nastya wrote a book about seducing men, she didn’t write there about corruption, or that she heard about some kind of secrets which could, I don’t know, impact the international community.”

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lucagavagna/iStock(ROME) -- Four-time prime minister and octogenarian Silvio Berlusconi, announced his comeback — once again — to Italian politics Thursday.

Speaking at a rally in Sardinia, he said his aim "at the beautiful age that I have" was to run in the upcoming European elections in May to stop the present upsurge of populist governments winning seats in Europe.

He will run as a candidate for his center-right Forza Italia party, which, since its heyday in the 90s, has lost massive amounts of votes in the polls.

He accused Europe of lacking "deep thinking about the world. ... With my knowledge, my experience and my ability to convince people, I can play an important role and make European citizens understand that we risk moving away from Western values."

He took a similar line to when he entered politics in 1994, saying he was doing it to stop "the communists." This time, he said he's entering politics to stop the present Italian government from gaining more votes in the European Parliament — mainly in an attempt to slow down the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, a political party that he has repeatedly called "dangerous," "inexperienced" and "incompetent."

The Five Star Movement, however, shares government power with the right-wing, anti-migrant and Eurosceptic Northern League Party, which used to partner with Berlusconi in the government. He was careful not to upset the League as he still hopes to win his former allies — and voters — back to the center-right fold and benefit from the League’s rising popularity. The League continues to rise and lead in the polls, outstripping Five Star with more than an estimated 30 percent of the votes.

"The united #RightCenter is a winner: with its values and its ideals, it is the future of Italy, Europe and the world," Berlusconi wrote on Twitter on Friday.

In a letter to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Friday, Berlusconi expressed his desire to return to Catholic and liberal politics harking back to the Italian political scene after World War II.

The leader of the League party — Matteo Salvini — is focusing on the EU elections as a way to strengthen his power within the government and further transform his one-time northern separatist party into a fully fledged national right-wing party with strong ties across Europe and beyond.

Berlusconi and his center-right Forza Italia party dominated Italian politics for close to two decades starting in 1994 when he moved into politics after a highly successful career owning media and real estate.

Since stepping down as prime minister in 2011 and multiple court cases — including a conviction of tax fraud in 2013, which expelled him from parliament and banned him from public office — he has continued to work behind the scenes in Italian politics. His ban was overturned by an Italian court last year and he quickly moved back into the political scene.

Reaction to the news that Berlusconi was running in the European elections were mixed, with some TV commentators on Thursday complimenting him on his "courage" and others dismissing it as delusional move. However, political analysts believe that his running in EU elections could still mean a 5 percent increase of votes for his waning Forza Italia party, which could give the wily politician a political bartering tool going forward.

A pollster, Nicolo Piepoli, quoted in Corriere della Sera on Thursday said "his return to politics helps maintain [his party’s] votes not win but you must not forget that there are still a million citizens who would risk their lives for him today."

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KeithBinns/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A U.S. Army Ranger has died from wounds suffered in an attack in Afghanistan last week, marking the first U.S. military death in Afghanistan this year.

Sgt. Cameron A. Meddock, 26, of Spearman, Texas, died Thursday at the U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, as a result of injuries sustained from small arms fire during combat on Jan. 13, 2019, in Jawand District, Badghis Province, Afghanistan.

Meddock was assigned to 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. Meddock was on his second deployment to Afghanistan, he had enlisted in the Army in November 2014

Meddock's death marks the first U.S. military fatality in Afghanistan this year. There are currently about 14,000 U.S. military forces in Afghanistan mostly advising and assisting the Afghan military in its fight against the Taliban and an ISIS affiliate.

However, some units, like the Army's elite 75th Ranger Battalion, are involved in counter-terrorism operations.

“Sergeant Cameron Meddock is one of America’s precious Sons. The entire Nation should strive to emulate the Warrior, Patriot and Husband that Cameron was. The 75th Ranger Regiment will forever honor Sergeant Cameron Meddock and his family will forever be a member of our Ranger family,” said Col. Brandon Tegtmeier, commander of the 75th Ranger Regiment.

Meddock enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 2014. He completed One Station Unit Training as an infantryman, the Basic Airborne Course and the Ranger Assessment and Selection Program 1, Fort Benning, Georgia.

Meddock was assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment where he served as a machine gunner, automatic rifleman, gun team leader and most recently as a fire team leader.

His awards included the Purple Heart, Joint-Service Commendation for Combat, Army Achievement Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and NATO Medal.

His decorations included the Ranger Tab, Parachutists Badge, Expert Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, and the Expert Marksmanship Qualification Badge for a Rifle.

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