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State Dept.: No info on Khashoggi whereabouts

State Department Spokeswoman Heather Nauert updates the press on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.

Posted: Oct 12, 2018 9:30 AM
Updated: Oct 12, 2018 9:30 AM

Richard Branson said Thursday he's pulling back from two tourism projects in Saudi Arabia and has suspended discussions with the Saudi government about a $1 billion investment in Virgin's space companies.

The British billionaire and founder of the Virgin business empire said in a statement that he was stepping away amid mounting questions about the kingdom's role in the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi -- who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate general in Istanbul on October 2.

"What has reportedly happened in Turkey around the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if proved true, would clearly change the ability of any of us in the West to do business with the Saudi Government," Branson said in the statement.

Branson said he has asked Saudi authorities "to clarify their position in relation to Mr Khashoggi."

"While those investigations are ongoing and Mr Khashoggi's presence is not known, I will suspend my directorships of the two tourism projects. Virgin will also suspend its discussions with the Public Investment Fund over the proposed investment in our space companies Virgin Galactic and Virgin Orbit," he said.

Branson's move comes as international pressure mounts on Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of Khashoggi, a prominent Saudi journalist, contributor to the Washington Post and critic of the Saudi regime.

Turkish officials privately believe he was killed at the consulate, an allegation denied by Saudi Arabia.

The United States has intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence.

Khashoggi's disappearance has prompted media companies to reconsider their association with a high-profile business conference in Saudi Arabia scheduled for later this month. The conference, hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is part of his Vision 2030 plan to break the country's dependence on oil.

The New York Times has pulled its partnership, telling CNN Business in a statement that the newspaper is "no longer a media sponsor."

Zanny Minton Beddoes, the editor-in-chief of The Economist, will also no longer speak at the event, a spokesperson told CNN Business. Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, who had been scheduled to speak at the conference, will not be attending the event either, according to a spokesman for the newspaper.

Journalists from CNN, Fox Business Network, CNBC and the New York Times are listed as moderators for the event.

A CNN spokesperson said the network was "evaluating our participation in the conference." Fox Business Network, Bloomberg and CNBC are monitoring the situation, according to spokespeople for the networks.

Ernest Moniz, the former US Energy Secretary under President Barack Obama, said Wednesday he was suspending his participation on the events advisory board "given current events."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 498560

Reported Deaths: 9939
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34150535
DeSoto31916399
Hinds31878624
Jackson24352379
Rankin21928388
Lee15450235
Madison14547279
Jones13789241
Forrest13428250
Lauderdale11944315
Lowndes10966185
Lamar10491135
Pearl River9454237
Lafayette8462138
Hancock7703126
Washington7371157
Oktibbeha7118130
Monroe6740174
Warren6656176
Pontotoc6620102
Neshoba6613206
Panola6466131
Marshall6398132
Bolivar6268146
Union596794
Pike5794152
Alcorn5646101
Lincoln5421134
George494979
Scott471198
Tippah466081
Prentiss464881
Leflore4631144
Itawamba4605105
Adams4577119
Tate4553109
Copiah445692
Simpson4423116
Yazoo440386
Wayne438572
Covington427894
Marion4222107
Sunflower4217104
Coahoma4127104
Leake407687
Newton381079
Grenada3700108
Stone358764
Tishomingo358091
Attala330589
Jasper328565
Winston313491
Clay306775
Chickasaw297867
Clarke290694
Calhoun278145
Holmes267287
Smith262450
Yalobusha232847
Tallahatchie225851
Walthall217763
Greene216048
Lawrence211440
Perry204855
Amite204055
Webster201845
Noxubee185940
Montgomery179356
Jefferson Davis170942
Carroll168238
Tunica159039
Benton147538
Kemper141341
Choctaw133026
Claiborne131637
Humphreys129038
Franklin119128
Quitman106328
Wilkinson104539
Jefferson94234
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 814363

Reported Deaths: 15179
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1141131910
Mobile722941323
Madison52048686
Shelby37315341
Baldwin37098540
Tuscaloosa34973599
Montgomery33996725
Lee23158240
Calhoun22168470
Morgan20675372
Etowah19770496
Marshall18258300
Houston17314405
St. Clair15924337
Cullman15333290
Limestone15239198
Elmore15095284
Lauderdale14163294
Talladega13728272
DeKalb12575259
Walker11096366
Blount10104174
Autauga9904146
Jackson9795180
Coffee9182189
Dale8866181
Colbert8794200
Tallapoosa7045195
Escambia6747127
Covington6688179
Chilton6595160
Russell626358
Franklin5936105
Chambers5562142
Marion4960126
Dallas4897199
Clarke473482
Pike4721105
Geneva4564126
Winston4478101
Lawrence4269117
Bibb421786
Barbour356075
Marengo334189
Monroe330662
Randolph327763
Butler324894
Pickens314082
Henry311265
Hale309487
Cherokee300557
Fayette291079
Washington251151
Cleburne247058
Crenshaw243775
Clay240867
Macon230762
Lamar218146
Conecuh185752
Coosa179038
Lowndes174161
Wilcox167838
Bullock151744
Perry138040
Sumter131138
Greene125844
Choctaw87027
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Tupelo
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Hi: 75° Lo: 44°
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Columbus
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Oxford
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We have had some nice and dry days for the last several days. We will change things just a bit over the next few days, as we will see some scattered showers and thunderstorms back into our weather forecast by later Wednesday and into Thursday.
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