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Tuesday briefing: 'You're fired!' Trump sacks secretary of state Rex Tillerson in favour of CIA director

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The move comes after a number of policy clashes between the two

Anna Freeman

13 Marzo 2018 12:30

Hello, this is Anna bringing you today's top stories.

'You're fired!' - US President Donald Trump has fired his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, and announced he will move to replace him with the CIA director Mike Pompeo. Trump announced the shake-up in a tweet, adding that Gina Haspel, currently Pompeo’s deputy, would become the CIA’s first female director. As Trump has handled his cabinet like one long-running episode of The Apprentice since taking office, no one should be shocked by the quick-fire way in which his closest aides fall, one-by-one. Tillerson’s departure had long been predicted after a number of clashes with the president over police decisions. But the announcement, made just four hours after the secretary of state landed in Washington after a tour of Africa, reportedly took Tillerson by surprise.

Frayed Russian relations - UK Prime Minister said Moscow must explain why a Russian-made nerve agent was used to poison former Russian agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter by the end of Tuesday. She said it was ‘highly likely’ Russia was responsible for the attack in Salisbury, UK. However, Russia said the allegations are ‘unfounded’. US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added that the ‘really egregious act... clearly came from Russia’ and there should be ‘serious consequences’. Former double agent Skripal, 66, and his daughter, Yulia, 33, were found slumped on a bench on 4 March. They remain in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

A new twist - Adult star Stormy Daniels has offered to give back a $130,000 fee paid to her by Donald Trump’s lawyer as hush money for keeping quiet about her alleged affair with the the now-US president. A letter from her lawyer Michael Avenatti to Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, offered to pay the $130,000 (£93,000) into one of Trump’s account by Friday. Trump has until today to accept the offer. The letter asks that Trump and his team not try and prevent an interview that Daniels – real name Stephanie Clifford – recently recorded for CBS news programme 60 Minutes. Trump denies the affair, which the actress alleges happened in 2006, a year after the president married his wife Melania.

Kurdish offensive unravels - The Turkish military announced that it has surrounded the Kurdish-held city of Afrin in northern Syria. A statement said troops and allied Syrian rebels had also captured ‘critically important areas’. Hundreds of civilians reportedly fled the city to nearby areas controlled by the Syrian government on Monday.

No justice served - A former Nazi SS guard - known as the ‘Bookkeeper of Auschwitz’ - has died aged 96 before serving his sentence for being an accessory to murder. Oskar Gröning was among the last former Nazis to face trial for their roles in the Holocaust, more than 70 years after the horrific crimes against humanity.

Mysteries answered? - A Scientology TV channel launched in the US on Monday night with a rare public appearance by controversial leader David Miscavige. He vowed to be ‘candid about every aspect of the church and its operations but isn’t seeking to preach or convert. There’s a lot of talk about us. And we get it,’ Miscavige said as viewers switched on to Scientology TV. ‘People are curious. Well, we want to answer your questions. Because, frankly, whatever you have heard, if you haven’t heard it from us, I can assure you we’re not what you expect.’ He also said Scientology was an ‘expanding and dynamic religion and we’re going to be showing you all of it.’

Disgraced rock star quits - Bertrand Cantat, a French singer who killed his girlfriend 10 years ago, has pulled out of all his summer festival appearances following public outcry over his booking. The former frontman of Noir Desir killed his girlfriend, actress Marie Trintignant, in a hotel room in in Lithuania in 2003 by beating her so severely she was left irreparably brain damaged. An online petition recently demanded that Cantat be banned from France’s Papillons de Nuit festival, and it gained almost 75,000 signatures. ‘By inviting Bertrand Cantat, you condone domestic violence and violence against women.’

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