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Body of Stephanie Parze found in New Jersey woods, now-deceased man responsible for her murder, authorities say

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John Ozbilgen died by suicide in November and left behind a note addressed to his parents admitting to the crime without disclosing where he disposed of her remains, said prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. Ozbilgen was previously charged in relation to a domestic violence incident involving Stephanie Parze.

Gramiccioni acknowledged Monday that although authorities were actively working on charging Ozbilgen with killing Parze, his suicide cut the investigation short.

“This is a finding we had expected since early November, but was only recently confirmed with further analysis of evidence we had seized during our investigation,” he said.

Gramiccioni would not go into detail regarding the evidence that ties Ozbilgen to Parze’s death, citing the ongoing investigation. A knife that Ozbilgen had disposed of on Staten Island, New York, was analyzed and turned out not to be related to the investigation.

Two teenagers discovered Parze’s remains Sunday afternoon in some woods in the town of Old Bridge. Authorities had been searching for her since she vanished from her home in Freehold, just south of Old Bridge, last October.

An autopsy conducted on the remains by the Middlesex Regional Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday confirmed the identity of the body, but the medical examiner has yet to release a cause of death.

Speaking at the news conference on Monday, Parze’s father, Edward, broke down in tears.

“It goes without saying that our family is devastated, our friends, our community,” Parze said. “And our lives are never going to be the same. However, Stephanie is home, she’s coming home, at last.”

He said he’s indebted to the “devoted” community of people who prioritized finding his daughter.

Parze also said he and his wife, Sharlene, will eventually start a Stephanie Parze foundation to “bring awareness to battered women and missing people.”

Stephanie Parze, a makeup artist and babysitter, was last seen by her parents October 30 after the family returned home from visiting a psychic in New Brunswick, CNN affiliate WABC reported.

After spending the evening with them, Parze drove home and was supposed to text or call her parents but never did. The next day, she didn’t show up to work, her family said at the time.

In light of Parze’s death, Gramiccioni encouraged anyone suffering from domestic violence to seek help.

“There are ways for you to be heard, there are places for you to go, there are steps we can take to protect your confidentiality and to ensure that there’s no retribution,” he said. “The only way we can police conduct like this is for you to confide in someone in Monmouth to help you get out of that terrible situation you’re in.”

Ozbilgen was separately charged with possession of child pornography and released from jail in November before he died, according to his attorney at the time, Robert Honecker.

CNN’s Isabelle Lee and Nicole Chavez contributed to this report.



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Donald Trump in India: US president addresses massive India rally

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India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi (L) embraces US President Donald Trump upon his arrival at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport in Ahmedabad on February 24, 2020.Image copyright
Getty Images

US President Donald Trump has arrived to a thunderous reception in Gujarat on his first official visit to India.

Mr Trump is addressing a massive public rally with PM Narendra Modi at the Motera stadium, the world’s largest cricket venue.

More than 100,000 people present at the venue burst into applause as the two leaders entered.

Mr Trump’s visit will focus on deepening ties between the world’s two largest democracies.

The event at Motera stadium is being compared to the “Howdy, Modi!” event the two men held in Houston last year, which was attended by 50,000 people.

On his way to the stadium, Mr Trump participated in a 22km (13.5 miles) roadshow, as thousands of people lined the roads. Billboards along the route were emblazoned with pictures of the men and carry slogans such as “two dynamic personalities, one momentous occasion”.

He entered to the music of Elton John playing on the speakers. Mr Trump’s love of his songs is well documented.

The road show also featured performers from across the country, showcasing the arts from different Indian states.

Image caption

More than 100,000 people packed Motera stadium for the rally

Mr Trump earlier made a quick stop at the Sabarmati Ashram, where Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, who was born in Gujarat, lived for 13 years.

Mr Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tried their hand at the charka or spinning wheel, which is used to spin cloth. Gandhi popularised the act as a form of protest against foreign-made cloth during India’s independence movement.

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Getty Images

Image caption

Mr and Mrs Trump tried their hand at spinning cloth, while Mr Modi (left) looked on

“To my great friend Prime Minister Modi, thank you for this wonderful visit,” Mr Trump wrote in the ashram visitor’s book.

Ahead of his visit, Mr Trump had said he was looking forward “to being with the people of India”.

“We are going to have many millions and millions of people. It’s a long trip. I get along very well with Prime Minister Modi. He is a friend of mine,” he said.

“I hear it’s going to be a big event… the biggest event they ever had in India.”

But amid the fanfare, a much-talked about trade deal is unlikely to happen during the visit.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionTrump: ‘I look forward to being with the people of India’

What is at stake during this visit?

The US is one India’s most important trade partners, with bilateral trade totalling $142.6bn (£110.3bn) in 2018. The US had a $25.2bn goods and services trade deficit with India, its 9th largest trading partner in goods.

Despite growing political and strategic ties, there’s been tension over trade issues. Mr Trump has said India’s tariffs – taxes on imports – are “unacceptable”, and has described India as the “king” of tariffs.

In June 2019, the US ended preferential trade status for India, the largest beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) – a scheme that allows some goods to enter the US duty-free.

The move caused a diplomatic rift between the two countries after India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionModi to Trump: “My honour to introduce you to my family”

An official US report last year said India’s tariff rates on other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) remain “the highest of any major economy”.

The two sides have also differed over price controls on medical equipment and India’s new rules on data storage.

The trade deal was likely to resolve some of these issues. But just days before the visit, Mr Trump announced that he was “saving the big deal for later on”.

Reports say negotiations continued between the two sides until last week, but they were not able to reach a consensus on issues like the restoration of the GSP for Indian goods, and India agreeing to open some of its key markets for US goods.

The two sides are also expected to sign a clutch of other agreements relating to intellectual property rights, trade and homeland security.

In a clear sign of ever closer defence relations, India is expected to sign two big deals with the US to acquire 30 American defence helicopters – MH-60R Seahawk and AH-64E Apache – worth more than $2.6bn.

Image copyright
Reuters

Image caption

A massive reception has been planned for Trump and Modi in Gujarat

Also, the US energy firm Westinghouse is expected to sign a new agreement with state-run Nuclear Power Corporation of India for the supply of six nuclear reactors, according to Reuters news agency. The US has been discussing the sale of nuclear reactors to India since a 2008 landmark civil nuclear energy deal.



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Italy stocks set to plummet as virus prompts shutdown

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Italian stocks are set to plunge Monday morning as the euro zone’s third-largest economy grapples with the largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia.

European markets are set for sharp declines at the open as investors weigh up the extent of the coronavirus outbreak but not nearly as much as in Italy, where the FTSE MIB index is set to open 904 points lower at 23,835, according to IG.

There are widespread concerns over the spread of the virus in northern Italy; the country has now 152 confirmed cases and three deaths due to the virus, with a sharp spike in cases over the weekend.

The government has placed around a dozen towns in the north under quarantine with the wealthy regions of Lombardy and Veneto — where the cities of Milan and Venice are located respectively — the focus of the rise in coronavirus cases. The regions make up around 30% of Italy’s economic output, while the majority of the quarantined towns are just south of the financial hub of Milan.

Schools, museums, universities and cinemas have been closed while other public events, including Serie A soccer matches, have been canceled. Milan’s opera house, La Scala, canceled performances and while Giorgio Armani’s fashion show went ahead as part of Milan Fashion Week, no buyers or media were present.

Venice’s world-famous Carnival, which attracts thousands of visitors every year, was due to end on Tuesday but was cut short on Sunday as the government introduced “urgent measures” to contain the virus, including restricting access in and out of affected areas.

A woman wear a protective mask in Venice, Italy, on February 23, 2020 due to concerns over coronavirus infection. The carnival was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy.

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Meanwhile, concerns over the virus and quarantine measures have prompted panic-buying with Twitter users showing various supermarkets in the north with empty shelves. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Monday that latex gloves, hand disinfectant gel and bleach products were in short supply as inhabitants sought to protect themselves.

Italy’s authorities have scrambled to contain the spread of the virus but the head of the country’s Civil Protection Agency, Angelo Borrelli, conceded Sunday that it was still trying to find “patient zero,” the first carrier of the virus in the country.

“We still cannot identify patient zero, so it’s difficult to forecast possible new cases,” Borrelli told a press conference. The World Health Organization is sending a special mission to Italy to try to track down more details on the source of the infections.

Paolo Gentiloni, European commissioner for the economy and a former prime minister of Italy, told CNBC Sunday that “there is absolutely no reason for panic.”

“There is a reason to have confidence in institutions and Italian authorities. They know the situation. They are taking the good measures. So the European Union is perfectly confident on what the Italians are doing. But I repeat, there is no reason for panic.”



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Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Submits Resignation Letter

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They were the strangest of political colleagues: a nonagenarian onetime autocrat and the former protégé he had jailed for sodomy.

Mahathir Mohamad, the 94-year-old prime minister of Malaysia, and his perennial presumptive heir, Anwar Ibrahim, joined forces in 2018 to oust a governing party to which both had once belonged. That party, the United Malays National Organization, known as UMNO, was at the center of the 1MDB scandal, the brazen looting of billions of dollars of Malaysia’s public funds.

But the unwieldy coalition that brought Mr. Mahathir and Mr. Anwar together crumbled on Monday, the latest twist in a caustic rivalry that goes back decades.

After a flurry of meetings that had political analysts feverishly analyzing whose car was pulling up in which driveway, Mr. Mahathir submitted his letter of resignation as prime minister on Monday afternoon.

The move, however, does not appear to be designed to result in Mr. Mahathir actually giving up leadership of Malaysia, a job that he has held twice.

If Malaysia’s constitutional monarch accepts the resignation letter, the two vying political blocs in the country both appear to support Mr. Mahathir continuing as prime minister — jilting Mr. Anwar.

“The wonderful thing for Mahathir is that it is impossible for him to lose because heads he wins, tails he wins,” said James Chin, director of the Asia Institute Tasmania at the University of Tasmania.

It was a sleight of hand characteristic of Asia’s shrewdest veteran politician — and it left Mr. Anwar fuming, yet again, about a political elder who has repeatedly broken promises that he would eventually step aside to allow Mr. Anwar to become prime minister.

The realignment also raises questions about the future of political and economic overhauls in a country where Malay nationalist politics were promoted during Mr. Mahathir’s first term in office, from 1981 to 2003, and look to be gaining ground again.



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