World AM News Briefs For Tuesday, 26 March 2019
Good Morning Australia!! - Israel and Hamas are firing rockets at each other - US Feds arrest one of Trump's fiercest critics - Is Theresa May squandering her last chance? - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) says Hamas fired another volley of rockets at villages outside the Gaza strip, hours after Israel retaliated for an earlier Hamas rocket that hit a house 75 miles away, injuring seven people including children. The IDF's Twitter feed was strangely and entertainingly aggressive, name-checking foreign news organizations it says should have been covering the story, and taunting Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh about his Gaza workplace before concluding the post with, "We just destroyed his office".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut short his visit to Washington and flew back to Israel to deal with the Gaza situation. Earlier, he was at the White House to oversee Donald Trump signing a declaration changing US policy to recognize Israelii sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in 1967. Netanyahu hailed it as a "historic" move; pretty much all of America's top allies as well as Russia and China do not recognize this, marking yet another chasm Trump dug between the US and the International community. Trump's support does give a boost to Netanyahu two weeks before Israel's general election.
Trump spent much of the rest of the day falsely claiming that the Mueller report exonerated him of allegations of colluding with Russia to rig the 2016 presidential election. In fact, one of the only parts of the classified report that Trump's AG William Barr directly quoted was that part in which Mueller said that Trump was "not" exonerated of obstructing justice. Congressional Democrats are demanding that Barr make the entire report public - something that likely isn't going to happen without a court order - and they are taking steps to force Barr to testify before congress about the contents of the report.
But as Trump threatened his enemies, claiming they did "evil" and "treasonous things", US federal prosecutors were announcing the arrest of one of Trump's fiercest critics. Boisterous attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented adult film actress Stormy Daniels, just happened to be arrested and charged with extortion and bank fraud in two separate cases. Feds on the East Coast claim he tried to extort more than US$20 Million from sports apparel giant Nike, a day before he was to announce a lawsuit against the company, alleging a major payola scandal in college athletics. Feds in the West say he embezzled money from a client and defrauded a bank through fake tax returns. The penalties for these charges could land Avenatti in prison for decades.
The US' alleged designs on Venezuela just got a lot more complicated: Two Russian military planes landed at Caracas, Where a Russian general ordered a hundred of his troops to unload 35 tons of unknown kit. Russia's Sputnik news agency said the planes fulfilled "technical military contracts". Russian troops took part in military exercises with Venezuelan forces three months ago.
The outcome of Thailand's first election since the military coup in 2014 is murky, at best. The pro-junta party has way more votes than expected; but at the same time, the main opposition party currently has the biggest number of seats in parliament. Exiled former Prime Minister Thakshin Shinawatra said the weekend election was not free and fair. The election agency is coming under intense criticism for failing to announce the results in a timely manner.
UK PM Theresa May says she still does not have enough support to call her Brexit deal back to Parliament for a third vote. Commons rejected it twice before, and speaker John Bercow said it would not be put up for another vote in its current form. She's ordering her MPs to vote against a renegade Tory's motion to allow alternative Brexit plans to come up for a Commons vote. So despite getting extra time from the European Union to figure out how the divorce will work, it appears the UK is again careening towards the economic chaos of a no-deal Brexit.