Lady Gaga halts tour due to ‘severe pain’

Lady Gaga has cancelled the last 10 dates of the European leg of her world tour due to “severe pain”.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the pop star apologised to fans and said she was “devastated”, but needed to put “myself and my well-being” first.

The Grammy award-winning singer has fibromyalgia, a long-term condition which can cause pain all over the body.

Shows in London and Manchester are among those affected.

In the statement, it said the “tough decision” had been made on Friday night with “strong support from her medical team”.

Ticket holders can apply for a refund from 6 February, the statement added.

“I’m so devastated I don’t know how to describe it,” Lady Gaga, 31, wrote. “All I know is that if I don’t do this, I am not standing by the words or meaning of my music.”

The announcement comes after she started the UK leg of her tour at Birmingham Arena.

Watching one of those performances, BBC arts editor Will Gompertz noted “the physicality of her performance compromised her singing at times”.

You might also like:

The European leg of her Joanne World Tour had already been rescheduled due to her condition and followed a decision to pull out of a performance at Rock In Rio in Brazil in September, after she was hospitalised with “severe physical pain.”

The Born This Way singer was due to perform in Zurich, Cologne, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris and Berlin in the coming weeks.

At the end of last year, the star announced a two-year residency in Las Vegas, starting late in 2018.

What is Fibromyalgia?

  • Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body
  • People who suffer from it may also have difficulty sleeping, increased sensitivity to pain, fatigue and muscle stiffness
  • The exact causes are unknown, although it can be triggered by physically or emotionally stressful events
  • There is currently no cure for the condition

Source: NHS

Her fans – who call themselves monsters – have been sending her messages of support on social media.

But many are disappointed.

Alice Outten had bought tickets for a London show as a birthday treat.

“I have train tickets and hotels booked in London,” the 23-year-old, from Llandudno, said.

“I love Lady Gaga – she has been my idol for over 10 years, but this is just such a disappointment when I’ve been saving and saving to afford this trip and I was so excited.”

Robert Miller, from Derby, has also been left out of pocket.

“My husband originally bought me tickets for us both to go for my birthday for the date in London last year costing £150 each,” he said.

“We’d booked hotels and travel for then and couldn’t cancel. It’s happened again and we’ve been left with yet another costly trip to London for nothing.”

Opinion | The Nunes-Ryan Civil Liberties Sham

For the last three weeks, privacy advocates have been buffeted by two political whirlwinds. First, the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act two weeks ago, authored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. And then today, the release of a partisan memo, authored by Nunes’ staffers, purporting to show FBI and Department of Justice abuses of the individual Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act application process.

Because Nunes and others ― up to and including House Speaker Paul Ryan ― claimed to be motivated by a concern about civil liberties, it was generally assumed the privacy community would join the clamor. But those of us who’ve been through several surveillance fights with these posers know the reality is far more complex. Ultimately, two principles are at issue: the rule of law and privacy. In both instances, Nunes and Ryan are on the wrong side of the issue.

The FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act extended a key part of FISA, called Section 702, that lets the government ask domestic telecommunications and tech providers for help spying on foreigners overseas. But that word “target” is misleading, because under the program, the government obtains the American side of any conversation with a targeted individual. The FBI can obtain that information in raw form and routinely queries the data when it gets leads to find out if Americans have been speaking to suspicious foreigners. That amounts to warrantless access of Americans’ communications, and exposes certain groups, like Chinese-Americans and Muslims, to far more scrutiny than others.

Also under Section 702, the government obtains certain entirely domestic communications that have obscured their location. While it has to purge most of those communications, the NSA can keep any that it shows are evidence of eight enumerated crimes. Again, this is warrantless surveillance of Americans, done in the guise of foreign intelligence collection.

A mere three weeks ago, Nunes and Ryan were happy to have Americans surveilled with no evidence whatsoever of wrong-doing.

During the 702 reauthorization debate, reformers like Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), tried to add protections in these instances, most notably by requiring a warrant before the FBI searches for communications involving Americans. The law authored by Nunes, however, only provides such protection to people for whom the FBI already has probable cause that they are committing a crime. Nunes’ law flips the Fourth Amendment on its head, providing protection only to criminal suspects and not for those against whom the FBI has no evidence of wrongdoing.

A mere three weeks ago, Nunes and Ryan were happy to have Americans surveilled with no evidence whatsoever of wrongdoing. Back then, Ryan backed suspicionless, warrantless searches of Americans as a necessary trade off. “This [bill] strikes the balance that we must have between honoring and protecting privacy rights of U.S. citizens, honoring civil liberties, and making sure that we have the tools we need in this day and age of 21st century terrorism to keep our people safe.”

Today, however, when a former Trump campaign adviser is at issue, Nunes and Ryan have discovered the due process they personally refused for so many Americans. The Nunes memo purports to show that an individualized FISA application against Carter Page did not adequately inform the FISA court about the political source of one piece of evidence among others. The memo argues the FBI did not adequately reveal “the political origins of the Steele dossier,” intelligence reporting paid for by the Democratic Party.

The application instead presented Steele as someone (the memo admits) who was a “longtime FBI source” with a “past record of credible reporting.” But even on that key issue, the memo is unclear whether DOJ knew precisely who was paying for Steele’s work. Indeed, it makes no mention that Republican billionaire Paul Singer was the first political actor to pay Fusion GPS, the firm that hired Steele, for dirt on Trump, though Singer himself did not fund any of Steele’s work. In other words, on the central question of whether the FBI could have attributed Fusion’s intelligence to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats or to someone else, the memo doesn’t make its case.

Now, the role of consultants like Steele in judicial proceedings is a matter of grave concern. Consultants with an inadequate grasp of the Arabic language or Islamic faith have long been used by DOJ as witnesses against terrorism defendants, and defense attorneys have suspected consultants ― perhaps the very same ones ― provided intelligence used in FISA applications, just as Steele provided intelligence for the Page application. More recently, consultants assessing crime patterns and recidivism rates have been shown to rely on biased algorithms.

Yet none of the people pushing this Nunes memo have ever uttered a peep about due process concerns posed by outright incompetent consultants in the past. Here, however, they’re wailing that a consultant they admit has been reliable in the past got paid differently than in the past and that wasn’t fully briefed to the court.

The way to deal with both of these issues is to conduct actual oversight of the general problem, not extend protections just to one man like Page.

The sudden interest in problems Nunes and Ryan showed no interest in just weeks ago is all the more telling, given several details about this memo.

First, as the memo lays out, starting in October 2016 the FBI obtained and then renewed a FISA warrant against Page four times. That means over the span of at least nine months, the FBI demonstrated that a wiretap of Page demonstrated useful foreign intelligence, and FISA judges agreed with that assessment over and over. The memo either doesn’t mention or obscures an earlier FISA warrant, obtained in 2014 during a period when Page was being actively recruited by Russian spies who were either expelled or imprisoned. Effectively, then, the GOP memo admits that something about Page, something well beyond the Steele dossier, raised real concerns about whether he was spying for Russia. And the FISA court agreed that it was a real concern.

The memo also complains that the Page application mentions George Papadopoulos, another former Trump foreign policy aide who in October pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with people working on behalf of Russia. It reads: “The Page FISA application also mentions information regarding fellow Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, but there is no evidence of any cooperation or conspiracy between Page and Papadopoulos.” That’s not entirely true. As the committee itself learned in testimony, Page was copied on at least one of the emails Papadopoulos sent to the campaign detailing his own activities.

Moreover, the memo is silent about whether the Papadopoulos reference in the application served to do anything more than inform the court that, in response to a tip about Papadopoulos’ actions, the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into whether Russians were attempting to compromise Trump via his foreign policy advisers. Effectively, this amounts to saying that because the FBI was investigating Page in the context of other concerns that Russians were trying to infiltrate the Trump campaign (concerns Papadopoulos’ guilty plea validate), it should be deemed an abuse. As with 702 reauthorization, they’re trying to extend protections just to those against whom there is credible evidence of wrong-doing.

Finally, there’s the larger conduct. This memo was written for a guy, Devin Nunes, who was a Trump transition official. That transition period has already netted one guilty plea ― that of former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, for lying to the FBI. Multiple reports make clear that Trump permitted the release of this memo explicitly as a way to delegitimize a legally constituted investigation into him, his family, and associates like Nunes. In the same way that Nunes and Ryan are pushing for further review only for a man who, abundant other evidence suggests, fostered legitimate suspicion, they’re also saying that they only care to scrutinize FBI and DOJ actions if they themselves might be subject to them.

Every single privacy activist I know cares about privacy in significant part to ensure the rule of law and to prevent the arbitrary exercise of justice to focus just on select groups like Muslims or Chinese-Americans, rather than those who pose the greatest risk to society, like people allegedly doing Russia’s secret bidding. Yet the actions of Ryan and Nunes reverse that, using a sham concern for civil liberties as a way to prevent themselves, their associates, and the president from being subject to the rule of law like the rest of us would be.

If we’re going to have this secret surveillance ― and Nunes and Ryan insist we need it ― the key to protecting Americans is drafting the law to provide protections and ensuring those standards are met. Section 702, as Nunes and Ryan reauthorized it, fails that test, because it permits the warrantless access of completely innocent Americans’ communications. And for all its bluster, the Nunes memo doesn’t tell us critical details we need to assess whether what happened to Page was improper specifically, or simply indicative of known concerns about outside consultants that Nunes and Ryan have long ignored (and continue to ignore with all other Americans). By all means let’s examine the role of consultants in FBI investigations. By all means let’s scrutinize whether the FISA process works as well as the DOJ claims.

But let’s do that for all Americans, and not just those about whom the FBI has real reason to worry.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog and is the author of “Anatomy of Deceit.” Follow her on Twitter at @emptywheel.

Opinion | Delete HQ Trivia

If you haven’t heard about HQ Trivia yet, I envy you. It is a terrible, infuriating app that taunts you with the promise of winning up to multiple dollars twice a day (once a day on weekends and holidays) in exchange for correctly answering 12 absurd trivia questions presented by a live host. The app is wildly popular; some 1 million people take part in each session, at least according to HQ’s own counter. And it is to those million people that this plea is addressed: Delete HQ from your phones immediately. Do it now or support a vampire plutocrat superintending the destruction of the free press, pluralist democracy and just about everything you claim to hold dear, unless you’re particularly against women’s suffrage. 

HQ has already lost much of its original charm. That early sense of communal fun began to attenuate as the community grew to an unwieldy size, causing the app to lag, if not crash outright. Its native annoyances magnified. Later questions, the harder ones, are not exactly trivia so much as bits of highly specific and unknowable information, forcing you to guess for the entire second half of the game. And the constant banter from Scott Rogowsky, the host, is as delightful as an ice pick in your forehead.

Far worse than that, though, is the fact that HQ’s founders, Rus Yusupov and Colin Kroll, apparently have a history of troubling behavior. According to Recode, investors have kept their money away from the app after finding out that Kroll had “earned a reputation while working at Vine for exhibiting ‘creepy’ behavior toward women that made them uncomfortable.” One investor went so far as to call Kroll’s behavior “egregious.” Yusupov, for his part, was fired from Twitter in 2015. But you might remember him as the guy who threatened to fire HQ’s host essentially for talking to the Daily Beast about salad.

All of which brings us to our latest reason for deleting HQ. This guy: 

After every other major investor in Silicon Valley bailed on the app for its questionable money-making abilities and the allegedly creepy behavior of its founder, Trump supporter and megalomaniacal seasteader Peter Thiel decided this was something he very much wanted to be a part of. According to an article posted on Recode last night, Thiel’s venture capital firm, Founders Fund, is planning to give the app $15 million in its latest round of fundraising. 

As Select All noted earlier today, Thiel also gave $1.25 million to Donald Trump’s campaign — after the release of the “Access Hollywood” tape, which saw our president discussing his passion for grabbing women “by the pussy.” Thiel’s other hobbies have included financing a war against Gawker, where I worked until Thiel’s millions of dollars, disbursed in secret, finally suffocated the news outlet. And he recruited far-right troll Chuck Johnson “to recommend, vet and give something of a seal of approval to potential nominees from the so-called ‘alt-right’” to serve in the Trump administration, according to a report last year in Forbes. Evidence suggests their relationship may actually go back much further than that. 

In case you’re still not convinced, in 2009, Thiel wrote that giving women the right to vote was bad for democracy. And while he bankrupted an entire company for writing things about him and his businesses that he didn’t like, Thiel, as a law student at Stanford, defended a fellow student’s right to scream, “Faggot! Faggot! Hope you die of AIDS!” ― in addition to, “Can’t wait until you die, faggot!” 

Now, the standard argument that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism obtains. And deleting HQ is not going to strip Thiel of the billions of dollars he uses to further the hell world in which we find ourselves. There are, however, degrees of complicity, and it’s time to see Thiel on the same end of the continuum as, say, the neo-Nazis who thrilled to his open support for Trump. If you can ever avoid doing something that might help Peter Thiel, the world will be ever so slightly better for it. Instead of HQ, why not try Cash Show? It follows the same general principles, and at least for now, it’s not about to be funded by supervillain with friends in the White House. 

Or do one better and throw your phone in the nearest lake. But reader, no matter what you do, please remember this one thing: Screw Peter Thiel and the seastead he rode in on.

The Real Purpose Of The Nunes Memo

WASHINGTON ― For weeks, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee and their allies have been promising that they have a memo with damning evidence undermining special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and Russian ties to President Donald Trump’s inner circle. 

“This is far worse than Watergate. This is an abuse of surveillance and intelligence to win an election,” Fox News host and loyal Trump defender Sean Hannity said Monday, adding that Mueller’s “witch hunt” would be over. 

That memo, written by GOP committee staffers, was finally released on Friday. And it has no smoking gun to discredit Mueller or any other top Justice Department officials that Trump wants to get rid of.

Its purpose is to muddy the waters, raise questions in people’s minds and provide a distraction from the fact that at the end of the day, there is still zero evidence that there was a “deep state” plot to elect Hillary Clinton president.

The crux of the memo, pushed out by committee chair Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) is that law enforcement officials abused their surveillance authority by relying on a controversial “dossier” with unproven claims to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page.

It says then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified they would not have “sought” a surveillance warrant for Page without that dossier.

But the memo never answers the question of whether the dossier was the basis of the FISA court’s decision to grant the warrant. It doesn’t reveal what else was included in the application for a warrant. And at the end of the day, there’s far more to the Russia investigation than the Page surveillance. 

Russian operatives tried to recruit Page as a spy in 2013, even before he joined the Trump team. Former FBI Director James Comey has testified that officials began looking into Trump-Russia connections in July 2016, long before the Page warrant in October 2016.

The memo actually confirms a New York Times report that what started the investigation was a slip-up by Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who admitted to a diplomat that he knew Russia had dirt on Clinton.

In other words, the House GOP memo undercuts conspiracy theories that the probe started because of the dossier. The memo also does nothing to dispute any of the potential collusion between Trump and the Russian government:  

  • It does not dispute the Papadopoulos contacts.

  • It does not dispute the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Trump’s son and Russian officials to gain opposition research on Clinton.

  • It does not dispute Trump’s own involvement in crafting an inaccurate statement about that meeting.

  • It does not dispute that Russians hacked into the emails of the Democratic National Committee and a top Clinton campaign official. 

  • It does not dispute that Trump fired Comey because he was unhappy with his continued pursuit of the Russia investigation. 

All of those omissions only serve to highlight the central fact that makes the Republicans’ attack on Mueller, and the law enforcement establishment more broadly, so absurd: The information leaked and released by the FBI and the rest of the so-called “deep state” during the election didn’t undermine Trump — it helped get him elected.

The FBI was investigating both the Trump and Clinton campaigns during the election. But it only revealed its investigation into Clinton. Just 11 days before the election, Comey revealed that he was reopening the investigation into Clinton’s emails, even though she had been already cleared. The announcement cast enough suspicion and changed the conversation in the final stretch that Clinton and the site FiveThirtyEight say it cost her the presidency.

If the “deep state” wanted to hurt Trump, someone could easily have leaked information about the FBI’s investigation into his campaign. No one did.

The information leaked and released by the FBI and the rest of the so-called “deep state” during the election didn’t undermine Trump — it helped get him elected.

Republicans tried to argue that they are releasing the memo because they believe in transparency. But it’s been clear all along that the document is a particularly effective bit of partisan gamesmanship. Republican staffers wrote the thing, after all. The GOP-controlled committee voted against allowing Democrats to release their response memo at the same time. And conveniently, the findings of the memo found their way into the hands of Byron York, a conservative columnist who published a piece about the document just minutes after Trump declassified it ― and before nearly everyone else had seen it.

Some Republicans were urging members of their party to slow down on the memo release, recognizing that it likely didn’t have the smoking gun some lawmakers claimed it did. They didn’t want to cross the FBI, and they worried that by overhyping something so insignificant, they’d look silly or worse.

That handful of Republicans might be missing the bullshit factory for the cow pies. It’s true that the memo shows almost nothing. But Trump supporters can still use it to question Mueller’s investigation ― and cite it when they continue standing behind the president no matter what he does. And that’s the whole point.

Sen. John McCain On Nunes Memo Release: ‘We Are Doing Putin’s Job For Him’

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) delivered a harsh rebuke against fellow Republicans who agreed to release a memo by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes against the wishes of the U.S. intelligence community.

Nunes on Friday released the memo after President Donald Trump declassified it. The memo alleges that officials at the FBI and Department of Justice displayed active bias against the Trump campaign in the early stages of the Russia investigation, which was later taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller. 

In a statement shortly before the memo’s release, McCain didn’t pull any punches. 

“In 2016, the Russian government engaged in an elaborate plot to interfere in an American election and undermine our democracy,” McCain said. “Russia employed the same tactics it has used to influence elections around the world, from France and Germany to Ukraine, Montenegro and beyond.”

McCain said Russia’s interference has, at best, sown political discord and succeeded in “dividing us from each other.” Attacking the intelligence community is not how to fix the discord, he said.

Ahead of its impending releases, the FBI took the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement to express its “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

“The latest attacks against the FBI and Department of Justice serve no American interests ― no party’s, no President’s, only Putin’s,” McCain added. “The American people deserve to know all the facts surrounding Russia’s ongoing efforts to subvert our democracy, which is why Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation must proceed unimpeded. Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the lens of politics and manufacturing political sideshows. If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan to demand that Nunes be removed from his position.

“Congressman Nunes’ deliberately dishonest actions make him unfit to serve as Chairman, and he must be removed immediately from his position,” she said. 

North Korea flouting sanctions, UN told

North Korea earned nearly $200m (£141m) last year by exporting banned commodities in breach of international sanctions, a UN report says.

The report by a panel of experts said several countries including China, Russia and Malaysia had failed to stop the illegal exports.

It said there was evidence of military co-operation with Syria and Myanmar.

Pyongyang is subject to sanctions from the US, UN and EU over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

But the report, which was submitted to the UN Security Council, said the North “continued to export almost all the commodities prohibited in the resolutions… between January and September 2017”.

The report said several unnamed multinational oil companies were being investigated for their alleged role in supplying petroleum products to North Korea.

It said shipments of coal had been delivered to China, Malaysia, South Korea, Russia and Vietnam in breach of sanctions using “a combination of multiple evasion techniques, routes and deceptive tactics”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Monitors found that Myanmar and Syria continued to co-operate with North Korea’s main arms exporter, Komid, despite it being on a UN sanctions blacklist.

The report said there was evidence that the North was helping Syria to develop chemical weapons and providing ballistic missiles to Myanmar.

Syrian officials had told the monitors that the only North Korean experts on its territory were involved in sports.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the UN said the country had no arms relationship with North Korea.

Trump warned not to hinder Russia probe

Senior Democrats have warned President Donald Trump not to use a controversial memo as a “pretext” to fire the special counsel investigating alleged Russian involvement in the US election.

They warned that such action could trigger a constitutional crisis not seen since the Nixon era.

The memo, written by Republicans, accuses the FBI of abusing its powers.

President Trump approved the declassification of the memo and said it revealed a disgraceful story.

It accuses the FBI and the justice department of using an unsubstantiated and Democratic-funded report to obtain the warrant that gave permission to spy on an aide to Mr Trump.

Democrats said the release of the memo was aimed at disrupting investigations into alleged links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. President Trump has consistently denied any such collusion.

The FBI had warned against the memo’s release and said key facts had been omitted.

What have Democrats said?

Democrats say the memo, released on Friday, is a “shameful effort to discredit” the FBI and inquiries into Russian meddling.

In a statement, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Nancy Pelosi and eight other senior Democrats warned Mr Trump against trying to sack special counsel Robert Mueller or the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.

“We write to inform you that we would consider such an unwarranted action as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation,” the statement said.

They said such action could result in a constitutional crisis not seen since the 1970s when then President Richard Nixon gave orders to fire justice officials involved in the Watergate scandal.

The White House later said “no changes” would be made at the Department of Justice and Mr Rosenstein was fully expected to continue in his job.

What is in the memo?

It focuses on the court-approved wiretapping of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign who was put under electronic surveillance by the FBI.

But the memo accuses the FBI and the justice department of using unsubstantiated evidence to obtain the October 2016 warrant.

It says that they did not tell the authorities their claim to the warrant was partially based on a dossier funded in part by the rival campaign of Hillary Clinton.

It also says that the author of that dossier, a former British intelligence agent called Christopher Steele, told a senior justice department official that he was “desperate” that Donald Trump not win the vote.

What have Republicans said?

Republicans who support the release of the memo say it exposes malpractice and political bias within the FBI and justice department.

Asked about the contents of the memo, Mr Trump said a lot of people should be “ashamed of themselves”.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Earlier on Friday the president accused top officials of politicising FBI and justice department investigations to damage his Republican party.

Devin Nunes, who commissioned the memo, has said it shows “serious violations” of public trust and he hopes it will trigger reforms.

Mr Page said he would use the memo in upcoming legal action against the justice department.

But not all Republicans supported the release of the memo.

Senator John McCain accused his party colleagues, and Mr Trump, of playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Our nation’s elected officials, including the president, must stop looking at this investigation through the warped lens of politics and manufacturing partisan sideshows,” he said in a statement.

“If we continue to undermine our own rule of law, we are doing Putin’s job for him.”

What other reaction has there been?

Former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by President Trump in May, tweeted that the memo was “dishonest and misleading”.

The current Director, Christopher Wray, in an email to staff, said: “Talk is cheap; the work you do is what will endure.

“I stand by our shared determination to do our work independently and by the book. I stand with you,” he said.

Analysis: Bomb or dud?

By the BBC’s North America reporter Anthony Zurcher

The mystery is over, the memo is out, and the results are… pretty much what everyone expected.

Whether the Republican-generated document is as explosive as it had been made out to be depends on how one views the now-infamous Christopher Steele dossier and whether one believes the memo’s assertion that it was an “essential part” of the Carter Page Fisa warrant’s approval – or if there was other pertinent information the Republican memo-writers omitted.

The memo makes the case that the Fisa judge should have been told about information about Steele that could call his objectivity into question – including his expressed views about Donald Trump, his contacts with the press and the fact that his investigation was funded, in part, by Democratic Party interests.

Would such a disclosure have been enough to make the Page warrant request one of only a handful of the tens of thousands of Fisa applications that have been rejected by judges since the system was set up in 1978? And is the surveillance of Page – who had drawn the attention of US intelligence services as far back as 2013 – enough to call into question the entire Russia investigation, which had been initiated months before the warrant was approved?

The answers to those questions will determine whether the memo was a bomb or a dud.

Read more from Anthony

Five migrants shot in Calais mass brawl

At least five migrants have been shot during a mass brawl between Afghans and Eritreans in the French port city of Calais, local officials say.

A 37-year-old Afghan man is suspected of firing shots at a queue for food handouts. Four Eritreans aged between 16 to 18 are in a critical condition.

Hundreds of migrants have converged on the area in an attempt to cross the Channel to the UK.

A sprawling camp known as the “Jungle” was dismantled near Calais in 2016.

Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the violence had reached a new level and accused gangs that try to smuggle migrants to the UK of instigating the violence.

This is the worst outbreak of violence between migrants in Calais for months, and the use of firearms is a worrying escalation of the tensions, the BBC’s Hugh Schofield in Paris reports.

How did the violence unfold?

The cause is not yet clear but an initial fight on the city’s southern outskirts broke out on Thursday afternoon, where migrants had been queuing for food handouts.

Around 100 Eritreans and some 30 Afghans were caught up in the violence, which lasted almost two hours after the shots were fired.

The four critically injured were shot in the neck, chest, abdomen and spine, AFP news agency reported.

A second melee erupted shortly afterwards at an industrial site around 5km (three miles) away, when between 150 and 200 Eritreans armed with iron rods and sticks clashed with about 20 Afghans, the local prefecture said.

Later in the afternoon further violence broke out at a food distribution point in an area of Calais not far from the site of the old “Jungle” camp.

Security forces were sent to the area and there were no reports of incidents during the night.

In total, 22 people were injured, including some with stab wounds, AFP added.

Visiting Calais, Mr Collomb added: “There’s been an escalation of violence that has become unbearable for both the people of Calais and the migrants”.

The government would take control of food distribution, currently done by charities, with those groups working in association with authorities, he said.

Why are the migrants there?

Though the “Jungle” camp was demolished in 2016, hundreds of migrants are still living rough in the nearby woods, hoping to reach the UK. Many are young men.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Local charities put the number of such migrants living in Calais at around 800, while the authorities say there are between 550 and 600.

Mr Collomb urged migrants not to head to Calais if they wanted to try to get to the UK, saying their attempts from there – often trying to hide themselves in lorries – would be unsuccessful.

The Calais “Jungle” became the French symbol of the European migrant crisis, and some 7,000 people – most from the Middle East and Africa – were living there before the area was cleared.

Earlier this month, President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Theresa May signed a treaty to speed up the processing of migrants in Calais.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Mr Macron has said that France will not allow a new migrant camp to be set up in Calais, and French police have been accused of brutality by some activists.

He is expected to unveil a new migrant policy next month, which will include speeding up the application process for asylum seekers and faster removal of those who fail to be accepted.

Charities and some of the president’s allies have accused the government of taking a hard line on immigration.

Trump approves release of disputed memo

US President Donald Trump has approved the release of a controversial memo thought to detail bias on the part of the FBI.

The memo is about the FBI’s conduct of its inquiry into alleged Russian meddling in US elections.

Mr Trump said he had handed it to Congress, which expected to release it.

Asked about the contents of the memo, Mr Trump told reporters it was a disgrace and a lot of people should be “ashamed of themselves”.

Earlier on Friday the president accused top officials of politicising FBI and justice department investigations to damage his Republican party.

Controversy over the memo, which was written by Republican congressional staffers, has raged for days – Democrats say it is aimed at derailing investigations into Mr Trump.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.

You can receive Breaking News on a smartphone or tablet via the BBC News App. You can also follow @BBCBreaking on Twitter to get the latest alerts.

In Attack On Mueller Probe, Trump Declassifies GOP Memo FBI Says Is Bogus

WASHINGTON ― In a move intended to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into his campaign, President Donald Trump on Friday approved the declassification of a Republican-authored memo that alleges wrongdoing at the highest levels of the Justice Department and the FBI.

The unprecedented move, confirmed by a White House spokesperson and multiple reports, comes as the Mueller investigation zeros in on key figures in Trump’s orbit, and as Republicans make sweeping attacks on the nation’s premier law enforcement agencies.

In an extraordinary statement this week, the FBI ― headed by a Trump appointee ― said the bureau had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”

The memo reportedly accuses law enforcement officials of abusing a surveillance authority to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page. It was drafted by staffers in the office of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who was a member of Trump’s transition team. Republicans on the committee voted last month to allow all members of the House to read the memo and later voted to send it to Trump to approve for public release. At the same time, the committee’s Republicans blocked Democrats from simultaneously releasing a rebuttal memo.

Congressional Democrats accused the Republicans who backed the memo of distorting classified information as part of an effort to undermine law enforcement officers and the ongoing Trump-Russia investigation.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter, covering criminal justice, federal law enforcement and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at or on Signal at 202-527-9261.