World News Briefs For Saturday, 20 May 2017
Hello Australia!! - Julian Assange is making threats after the rape allegation is dropped - How many ways did Trump embarrass the US today? Lots of ways - A widening scandal threatens to spark Brazil's second impeachment in as many years - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
Julian Assange claims "the proper war is commencing" now that Swedish prosecutors have dropped their rape investigation against him. The Wikileaks founder's future is still in question, as London police still want to arrest him for breaching his bail and Assange still fears arrest by the US for his publishing classified secrets on Wikileaks. Still, Assange is defiant and resents the years he spent hiding inside the Ecuadoran Embassy in London: "Seven years without charge while my children grew up without me: that is not something I can forgive. That is not something I can forget." So, I guess that means more leaks that spies and officials will resent and for which will likely retaliate against him.
The three most recent presidents of Brazil have taken tens of millions of dollars in bribes, if testimony given to the country's supreme court is to be believed. Executives of the world's largest meat-packing firm JBS struck plea bargains in a massive corruption case, claiming they paid: US$4.6 Million to current President Michael Temer; US$30 Million to Dilma Rousseff; and US$50 to Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Lula denies it, Dilma's lawyer didn't immediately comment but she had repeatedly insisted she did nothing illegal. Temer is already in hot water after recordings revealed he authorized the same witnesses to pay hush money to the jailed former House Speaker Eduardo Cunha, who engineered the coup against Dilma last year.
The daily bombshells of Donald Trump's arrogance, incompetence, and corruption: Trump bragged to visiting Russians that his firing of the "nut job" FBI director James Comey eased "great pressure" from the official probe into the orange clown's ties to the Kremlin. The scoop in the New York Times showed Trump seemed to think that it would end the investigation; instead, it has gained steam in Congress and in the Justice Department via the naming of a Special Prosecutor. This means that Trump gave the Russians the truth about his decision to fire Comey while his staff was still lying to the American people and media and pinning it on the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It also means that Trump spoke higher of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who he referred to as a "smart cookie", than he did of the Director of the FBI.
Moments after that report dropped, the Washington Post revealed that the criminal investigation "has identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, showing that the probe is reaching into the highest levels of government", and a "senior White House adviser under scrutiny by investigators is someone close to the president". It doesn't necessarily mean that criminal charges against a top Trump official are near, but it's a sign that the investigation is increasing in intensity, and agents will start doing more of their work in public.
These stories are likely to follow Trump on his first overseas trip, which is already proving to be humiliating to the United States. Foreign Embassies and dignitaries apparently have been talking amongst themselves about the "best ways" to handle America's moron-in-chief. According to the New York Times, suggestions include: complimenting Trump on his electoral college win in last year's election; comparing him favorably to former President Obama; not expecting him to know the histories of or issues facing other countries; keeping presentations short to match his 30 second attention span. To this I would add keeping a sippy cup of apple juice and a bowl of cheerios nearby, and not asking too many questions if the hotel maids find his mattress soaked through. Earlier, the New York Times said Trump had unsuccessfully tried to shorten the trip from nine to five days after expressing "dread" over its length.
Former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner has pleaded guilty to sexting with a 15-year old girl, and may face prison time. Once a rising star, his political career came crashing to a halt after he was caught sending photos of his namesake body part to women via social media, many of whom who were definitely not expecting it. Weiner's wife Huma Abedein - a top aide to Hillary Clinton - filed for divorce.
Polls have closed in Iran's presidential election. Incumbent moderate (by Iranian standards) Hassan Rouhani is facing three more conservative challengers. If no one gets 50 percent of the vote, the top top finishers will go to a run-off in a week.
A Kenyan politician has been found dead, floating in a river 50 kilometers outside the capital Nairobi. Police say Thomas Minito was under investigation in the shooting of conservationist Kuki Gallman, whose life was turned into the book and movie "I Dreamed of Africa". Minito represented the drought-parched area around Gallman's ranch; herdsmen have been invading farms and ranches in search of grazing land for their dying stock. Gallman is recovering in Italy.