Top News Stories for Today – January 3, 2017

Top News Stories for Today – January 3, 2017

Netanyahu questioned for corruption

Netanyahu summons US ambassadorOn Monday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was questioned by police for three hours in his Jerusalem residence, on suspicion of corruption in a new criminal investigation. Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said that an inquiry into Netanyahu was launched in mid-July, and three months later, specific accusations were made against the prime minister that led to evidence last month prompting the criminal investigation.

Mandelblit would not say what the investigation is about, but Israeli news media says police are focused on two cases, the less serious one involving receiving benefits from Israeli and foreign businessmen. Netanyahu, who was investigated for fraud and breach of public trust during his first term in the 1990s but never indicted, denies any wrongdoing and says the new charges are politically motivated. CNN, The New York Times



GOP aims to unravel Obama’s legacy

Obama speaks about Bin Laden huntingThe 115th Congress begins Tuesday with Republicans, set to control the House, Senate, and presidency for the first time since 2006, planning to start dismantling many Obama-era financial and environmental regulations, and undo parts of Obama’s signature healthcare reform law.

President Obama is meeting with fellow Democrats on Wednesday to discuss how to prevent ObamaCare from being gutted. Democrats also have identified eight of Trump’s Cabinet nominees whose confirmations they could delay for weeks or even months, in a break with Senate tradition. With Republicans holding a 52 to 48 majority and needing only a 51-vote majority for confirmation, Democrats can’t defeat the nominees without GOP defections. The New York Times, The Washington Post



GOP to gut independent ethics panel

congressOn Monday, House Republicans voted behind closed doors, 119-74, to curb the powers of an independent ethics office that was established nearly a decade ago. Should the House rules package be adopted on Tuesday, as expected, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) will be renamed the Office of Congressional Complaint Review, and it will be placed under the oversight of the House Ethics Committee.

Currently, if the Ethics Committee chooses to not take further action against a member, the OCE is allowed to release public reports of its findings. The OCE was created in 2008, in the wake of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, to conduct ethics investigations without political influence. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) opposed the amendment and spoke out against it during the conference meeting, two people in the room told The Washington Post. The Washington Post



Trump warns North Korea

North Korean test launch of missile from submarine a failure( Photo Uriminzokkiri)Donald Trump refuted Kim Jong Un’s implied message that his military may soon test an intercontinental ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching the US mainland, that the North Korean leader made during his New Year’s Day address.

On Monday Trump sent out a Tweet saying, “It won’t happen!” He also repeated on Twitter criticisms he made in the past against China for failing to stop its economically dependent ally in Pyongyang from developing its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs. South Korea praised Trump’s tweets for exhibiting a “clear understanding about the graveness and urgency of North Korea’s nuclear threat.” VOA



Istanbul nightclub shooting

Trump warns North KoreaThe authorities in Kyrgyzstan say they are investigating a man thought to be from the country, in connection with a new year attack on a club in Istanbul that left 39 people dead. An image of a Kyrgyz passport page has been circulating on social media, purportedly belonging to the suspect. The Islamic State (IS) group has said one of its militants carried out the attack. Turkish police have released images of a suspect but have not named him.

Turkish authorities have been looking for him since the early hours of Sunday morning and arrested 12 other people in raids across Istanbul on Monday. On Tuesday, Turkish TV reports said two foreigners had been arrested at Ataturk airport in Istanbul and been taken to a police station for questioning.

The Kyrgyz authorities say they were not contacted by their Turkish counterparts about the possible connection. Tairbek Sarpashev from the Kyrgyz state registration service said they only started to investigate the man in question after seeing the reports. BBC

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