Top News Stories For Today – Feb 14, 2018
Netanyahu on corruption cases
Police in Israel say there’s enough evidence to indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on corruption charges. The Prime Minister says he’s innocent and nothing will come of the allegations. The evidence will be passed on to the attorney general, who’ll make the decision on whether to indict Netanyahu. A Prime Minister must step down if convicted, but Netanyahu could face intense public and political pressure to quit before it gets that far.
Netanyahu is suspected of having received gifts from Milchan, a businessman, totaling 1 million shekels (approximately $280,000), from 2007 through 2016. In exchange for the gifts, police say, Netanyahu tried to advance a tax break that would have benefited Milchan, though he was blocked by the Finance Ministry. In another case, police say Netanyahu discussed negotiating with the owner of Yedioth Ahronoth newspapers, which is regularly critical of the Prime Minister. In exchange for more favorable coverage, Netanyahu promised to hamper the circulation of a rival newspaper, in recordings obtained by police. CNN
Trump lawyer says he pay $130,000 to porn star
President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, told The New York Times on Tuesday he paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who told multiple media outlets ahead of the 2016 presidential election that she had an extramarital affair with Trump. In a statement, Cohen told the Times that “neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction” with Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, and “neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”
Russia will meddle in 2018 midterms
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Russia plans on influencing the 2018 midterm elections, with Moscow approving of the chaos its meddling caused in 2016. “There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian midterm operations,” he said.
Coats was one of several top intelligence officials who appeared on Capitol Hill for the panel’s annual “worldwide threats” hearing, and he also revealed that there isn’t one single agency in the government that is fighting against Russian election meddling. NPR
S Africa president Zuma refuses to resign
South Africa’s ruling party wants President Jacob Zuma to resign, but he refuses to go. The African National Congress, once led by Nelson Mandela, recalled Zuma because of corruption scandals swirling around the 75-year-old leader.
If he continues to defy his party’s wishes, he could face a no-confidence vote by lawmakers as early as this week. CNN
Iraq needs $88.2 billion to rebuild
Iraq needs $88.2 billion to rebuild parts of the country in the aftermath of the war against ISIS, according to Iraq’s minister of planning. The reconstruction and recovery money would go to areas seized by ISIS, including the country’s second-largest city of Mosul.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who joined the donors conference in Kuwait, called on members of the coalition fighting ISIS to help rebuild Iraq. He announced an additional $200 million to support stabilization and early recovery initiatives in Syria. It’s difficult to know exactly how many people were killed in the long campaign to oust the militants. Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari on Tuesday gave an estimate of 18,000 killed and 36,000 others wounded by. But that number may well be low. An estimated 10,000 people were killed only in the nine-month battle to recapture Mosul. CNN
Dutch foreign minister resigns after admitting lie
Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra resigned Tuesday after admitting he had lied about attending a 2006 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Zijlstra went before members of parliament and said he had decided to step down because the foreign minister’s credibility must be “beyond doubt.”
He held the position for about four months. Prime Minister Mark Rutte faced questions about why he had not made the lie public despite having known about it for several weeks. He said he underestimated the impact it would have. Parliament held a no-confidence vote Tuesday, but Rutte easily survived. VOA
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