World AM News Briefs For Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Good Morning Australia!! - It's official, the FBI is investigating Trump's links to Russia - But UN intelligence is NOT investigating Trump's idiotic wiretap conspiracy theory - America is measurably a more miserable place, guess why - The UK sets a Brexit date - And much more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
We have confirmation from the director of the US FBI himself that there is a live investigation into alleged links between Russian intelligence and the presidential campaign of fascist demagogue and orange clown Donald Trump. Director James Comey said the investigation has been going on since July, in his opening statement and answers to the US House Intelligence Committee. Comey's stunning confirmation of an investigation of a sitting US president not even a hundred days into his term said the probe "includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts". But because it is an "open, ongoing investigation", he won't give details.
Sitting next to Comey was Admiral Mike Rogers, the director of the US National Security Agency (NSA) whose domain includes electronic surveillance. He shot down a Republican congressman's attempt to deny that Russian meddling had directly affected the 2016 vote in a number of key states: Asked if there were evidence he explained, "I would highlight we are foreign intelligence organization, not a domestic intelligence organization." Throughout the hearing, a pattern emerged showing Democrats asking the two intelligence chiefs about the matters at hand, and Republicans going off topic and complaining about "leakers" (which apparent wasn't a reference to what those hookers allegedly did for Donald Trump in that Moscow hotel room).
Both men thoroughly shot down Trump's idiotic claim that Barack Obama supposedly asked the British GCHQ to bug Trump Tower during last year's presidential campaign - in Rogers' case, it was particularly brutal. The ranking Democratic congressman on the committee Adam Schiff of California asked, "Our British allies have called the president's suggestion that they wiretapped him for Obama 'nonsense' and 'utterly ridiculous'. Would you agree?" Admiral Rogers replied, "Yes, sir." He said this on the record about a sitting US president. "That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement that has been in place for decades," referring to the intelligence sharing alliance between the US, UK, Australia, NZ, and Canada - the deal also says we won't spy on each other.
And now, the anatomy of a cluster-f**k: Later in the White House press briefing, Sean "Spicy" Spicer reiterated that Trump would not back down from his now completely debunked accusation about President Barack Obama. How the orange clown came about it is particularly hilarious or horrifying, depending on how you view the labyrinth of fake news to which these imbeciles subscribe.
Trump originally read it on a far right-wing fake news site known for its racism and conspiracy theories, and repeated it on twitter before vetting the information through his own intelligence services. After being laughed at for a couple of weeks, Trump then acted like a criminal defendant - he changed his story to claim Mr. Obama asked the British high-tech spy agency GCHQ to bug the tower. He rationalized that by saying he heard it on Fox News from minor on-air personality and former judge Andrew Napolitano, a troubled creature known for repeating 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Now, Fox renounced Napolitano's claims after it came out that he heard them on the Kremlin propaganda news operation RT from an interview with one Larry Johnson. He's the former CIA analyst previously known for claiming in 1999 and 2000 that Americans exagerated the threat coming from Osama Bin Laden. In 2008, Johnson claimed the existence of a videotape showing Michelle Obama - one of the best education and friendlist first ladies in history - ranting about hatred towards white people. No such video ever emerged because it never happened. Johnson also falsely claimed former Secretary of State John Kerry had raped women while serving in Vietnam, when in fact Mr. Kerry was decorated for his heroism and lauded for his opposition to the war once he left the military. It turned out that Johnson used doctored audio (real interview here) to make the claim, and scrubbed the false accusation from his website - although the internet never forgets.
Confronted on CNN about where he got his latest line of bullshyte, Johnson basically said he heard it from some guy.
British PM Theresa May set 29 March as the date she will trigger Article 50 of the European Charter to commence negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union. European Council President Donald Tusk said once he receives the formal notice from Ms. May, he will "present the draft Brexit guidelines to the EU27 Member States". It starts the two-year clock to complete negotiations on withdrawing from the myriad of treaties tying the two together. May is doing this despite growing opposition in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the latter of which is already threatening to hold another independence referendum.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan must cease comparing German officials to Nazis must stop, "no ifs, no buts". Erdogan's taunts play well at home, where he is pushing a referendum to change the constitution to give him more unchecked power - but they are chafing his European neighbors with whom his country depends on for trade. Merkel said the comments were "breaking every taboo, without consideration for the suffering of those who were persecuted and murdered" by the nazis.
Pope Francis greeted Rwandan President Paul Kagame at the Vatican, and has asked for "God's forgiveness" for the "sins and failings" of the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Rwandan genocide in 1994. In the past, the Roman Catholic Church has not acknowledged any fault in the extermination of 800,000 people by Hutu extremists.
Teenagers are suspected of vandalizing some 8,000 year old cave paintings in Chad's corner of the Sahara Desert. The Ennedi plateau was declared a Unesco world heritage site in 2016. The punks spray painted their names in Arabic and French over the ancient and vivid paintings of pre-historic herdsmen. A team has been dispatched to determine what, if anything, cane be done to save the paintings.
Cops in China arrested four suspects in the theft of about 80 fossilized dinosaur eggs from collector in eastern Zhejiang province. China is the world's largest source of dinosaur fossils, and there is a black market trade in old bones and eggs to buyers overseas.
Unelected Brazilian President Michel Temer sought to reassure the people who didn't elect him that meat sold in the country is safe. Several people have been arrested in recent days in a nationwide investigation into the sale of rotten meat. Three meat-packing plants have been closed and another 21 are being investigated.
The World Happiness Index is out, an annual ranking of 155 countries published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Australia once again comes in ninth, no more or less happy than the previous survey, and is tied in the position with New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden. First place goes to Norway with its wonderful social systems. The United States fell in at No. 14, down a spot from last year as political and economic uncertainty set in. Last place went to the Central African Republic, beset by sectarian civil war.