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Congolese politician Jean-Pierre Bemba, weeks after his conviction for war crimes was quashed at The Hague, was nominated by his party on Friday for December’s presidential vote, in what could be the stiffest challenge to President Joseph Kabila’s ruling coalition.

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The election is due to choose a successor to Kabila, who is term-limited after having governed since 2001, and could herald Democratic Republic of Congo’s first democratic transition after decades marked by repeated coups and prolonged civil war.

But Kabila has refused to commit to standing down, sparking protests in which dozens of people have died. Some of his allies are now publicly arguing that he has the right to run again.

I thank all the participants. Thank you for your confidence.

After he was announced as the Movement for the Liberation of Congo’s ( MLC ) presidential candidate at a party congress in Congo’s capital, Kinshasa, Bemba briefly addressed his supporters over the phone.

He is currently free in Belgium awaiting sentencing by the International Criminal Court ( ICC ) in The Hague on a witness tampering conviction.

“I thank all the participants. Thank you for your confidence,” he said to cries of joy and dancing by MLC members. “I will return soon.”

Bemba’s candidacy would represent serious competition to either Kabila or his hand-picked successor. Bemba served as vice president to Kabila during a 2003-06 transitional government and is popular in western Congo, including Kinshasa.

He finished runner-up to Kabila in a 2006 election that touched off street battles in Kinshasa between militiamen loyal to him and state forces.

The ICC quashed his convictions in May related to murder, rape and pillage by fighters he sent to Central African Republic to back CAR’s then-president Ange-Felix Patasse.

Bemba was one of only four people convicted by the permanent war crimes court in its 16 years of operation, and the highest ranking among them.

It is not clear, however, if he will be able to run in December as the sentencing process for the witness tampering conviction could drag on for weeks, or even months.

That could prevent him from returning to Congo before the Aug. 8 deadline to register his candidacy. Congolese officials have also offered mixed messages about whether he might face further criminal prosecution at home.

Several opposition leaders, including the exiled millionaire businessman Moise Katumbi, have been nominated by their parties to stand in the election. It was originally scheduled for November 2016 but has been repeatedly delayed.

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Today President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate a sixteenth wave of judicial nominees, sixteenth wave of United States Attorney nominees, and eleventh wave of United States Marshal nominees as follows:

If confirmed, Eric D. Miller of Washington will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Eric Miller is a partner in the Seattle office of Perkins Coie LLP, where he serves as the Chair of the firm’s appellate practice. He is also a part-time lecturer at the University of Washington School of Law. He has argued more than 60 appeals, including 16 in the Supreme Court of the United States. Before joining the firm in 2012, Mr. Miller served for five years as an Assistant to the Solicitor General in the Office of the Solicitor General within the Department of Justice, where he received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. Before joining the Office of the Solicitor General, Mr. Miller served as Deputy General Counsel of the Federal Communications Commission. He previously served in the Department of Justice as an Attorney-Advisor in the Office of Legal Counsel and as a member of the Appellate Staff in the Civil Division. Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Miller served as a law clerk to Judge Laurence H. Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and later as a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Miller earned his A.B., magna cum laude, from Harvard University and his J.D. with highest honors from the University of Chicago School of Law, where he was inducted into the Order of the Coif and served as the topics and comments editor of the University of Chicago Law Review .

If confirmed, Eric D. Miller of Washington will serve as a Circuit Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

If confirmed, Tessa M. Gorman of Washington will serve as a District Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington . Tessa Gorman serves as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District of Washington, where she oversees the Office’s Criminal Division as Chief. Prior to joining the Office, Ms. Gorman served as an Honors Trial Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, assigned to the Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Section. Upon graduation from law school, Ms. Gorman served as a law clerk to Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. Ms. Gorman earned her B.A. from Yale University, where she was a member of the Varsity Track Field Team, and her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she served as an editor of the California Law Review .

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With nearly the entire Avengers crew assembled, the only major character missing is the crown prince of Asgard. The first " " movie, which takes place at the same as "The Incredible Hulk " and " Iron Man 2," introduces the god of thunder and other characters essential for "The Avengers ."

The post-credit scene, directed by Joss Whedon, helps set the stage for the ensemble superhero movie.

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Now that the entire superhero squad has been introduced, it's time to see them come together in " The Avengers ."

This film marks the conclusion of Phase 1 of the MCU, which introduces the Avengers team and brings them together. Now we enter Phase 2 which begins after the Avengers survive the Battle of New York.

Published: Caption: Lance Cartelli Photo: Marvel Read the article
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The third " Iron Man " movie, directed by Shane Black, is set six months after the events of "The Avengers." In the film, Stark is still dealing with PTSD-like symptoms following the Battle of New York.

Published: Caption: Lance Cartelli Photo: Marvel Read the article
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The "Thor" sequel, " Dark World ," is set only one year after the events of "The Avengers."

Published: Caption: Lance Cartelli Photo: Jay Maidment/Marvel Read the article
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to 2011's "First Avenger " takes place two years after "The Avengers ." In the film, Rogers -- who's now working with S.H.I.E.L.D. -- teams up with Black Widow and Falcon to stop the Winter Soldier, Rogers' best friend Bucky.

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