World AM News Briefs For Friday, 12 May 2017
Good Morning Australia!! - Turmoil grows around Trump's scandalous firing of the FBI director, as the White House changes stories and officials refute Trump's nonsense - A call for justice in Russia ends in arrests - Spain's parliament weighs in on the stain that won't go away - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Donald Trump and the White House are offering shifting explanations for the firing of FBI Director James Comey. In an interview with NBC News, Trump claimed that he had planned to fire Comey even before he received Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's recommendation to do so: Earlier in the week, the White House pinned it all on that letter, which criticized Comey's handling of Hillary Clinton's emails last year.
But Rosenstein reportedly was alarmed that he was being made into the fall guy and threatened to resign; he did sign a memo criticizing Comey's performance but insists he never explicitly called for dismissing the FBI director.
Trump also harshly and dubiously criticized Comey to NBC news reader Lester Holt: "He's a showboat, he's grandstander, the FBI has been in turmoil," Trump said. "You know that, I know that. Everybody knows that. You take a look at the FBI a year ago, it was in virtual turmoil, less than a year ago. It hasn't recovered from that." Actually.. NO ONE knows that.
The Acting Chief of the FBI Andrew McCabe contradicted Trump in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee: "I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity," McCabe testified, "I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day." Late on Thursday, Trump canceled a planned visit to FBI headquarters. Probably for fear of arrest.
Please keep in mind that Comey was sacked just days after he asked for more money and manpower to investigate allegations of Russian ties to Trump's presidential campaign. But in the NBC interview, Trump also insisted there was no "collusion between me and my campaign and the Russians".
During the daily news briefing in the White House press room, deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders said the firing of Comey might bring the Russian election probe to an end: "We want this to come to its conclusion, we want it to come to its conclusion with integrity," she said in a stunning admission. "And we think that we've actually, by removing Director Comey, taken steps to make that happen." But late in the day, the Republican and Democratic ranking members of the House Intelligence Committee's Russia probe said they will seek to ensure FBI investigation is not impeded. So, NO, Trump. You didn't end the investigation as much as you threw fuel on the fire.
Moscow police arrested a group of LGBT activists as they tried to deliver a petition demanding an investigation into the detention, torture, and killings of gay men in Chechnya. The five were apprehended while walking toward the offices of Russia's Prosecutor General, carrying large stacks of boxes stamped with the words "Justice for the Chechen 100". Rights groups and journalists have confirmed reports that at least a hundred men were rounded up by police in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic and detained at a black site outside Grozny; three were killed.
A Polish woman who died of a fall in Egypt may have been the victim of human traffickers, according to Polish police. 27-year-old Magdelena Zuk traveled alone to Marsa Alam last month, and within days plunged from a hospital window. In between, she was recorded on video behaving strangely or maybe just distracted, and airport workers stopped her from leaving the country and going back to Poland. Egyptian security sources have denied that she was drugged and sexually assaulted. The foreign ministry in Warsaw insists it is Egypt's responsibility to clarify the circumstances of the death and good luck with that one.
Spain's Parliament voted in favor of moving the remains of fascist dictator Francisco Franco from the nationalist Valley of the Fallen mausoleum in central Spain. The country has long wrestled with Franco's legacy, with conservatives resisting most calls to face the truth about fascism. "It's shameful that the monument is still there. It's shameful for me as a Spaniard and for the victims of Francoism," said 91-year old Nicolas Sanchez-Albornoz, who as a young political prisoner was used as forced labor to build the monument. "Hitler and Mussolini have disappeared from Europe, yet in Spain, it's seen as normal to have the tomb of someone of the same stripe. It's high time for this." Lawmakers also called for funds to remove remaining Francoist symbols around Spain and to set up a commission to investigate the estimated 115,000 people still missing. But the measures are non-binding and the government is under no obligation to follow them.
Chile this week became the first country in Latin America to sell cannabis-based medicines at pharmacies. Joining the international trend of ending prohibition for medical or personal use of marijuana, two pharmacies in Santiago are selling the T100 and TC100 brands of chronic pain-relief medicines made in Canada. If the program is successful, Chile will determine if the product can be in the country (trust me, weed grows in South America pretty well).