World News Briefs For Saturday, 23 March 2019
Hello Australia!! - The special prosecutor's report on Trump is in - France calls out the troops against the Yellow Vests - Boeing loses a big order for the troubled 737 MAX 8 - And more in your CareerSpot Global News Briefs:
US Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller has completed his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and Donald Trump's campaign. He turned the final report over to Attorney General Robert Barr, who informed lawmakers that he is "reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel's principal conclusions as soon as this weekend". Barr is a long-time Republican party loyalist, and will have the authority to redact any information before the report is sent to lawmakers.
No details of Mueller's findings have been released, though CNN is reporting that no additional indictments will be coming from Mueller. The investigation, which Trump has referred to as a "rigged witch hunt", has resulted in the indictments of 34 people and three companies (which by any count is a lot of rigged witches). There have been a number of guilty pleas and convictions - but none of the charges have directly accused anyone in Trump's orbit of conspiring with the Russian intelligence operation to help Trump get elected in 2016.
While he was fretting over the report's imminent release, Trump publicly back-stabbed his own National Security Adviser John Bolton by cancelling day-old economic sanctions involving North Korea. Bolton hailed it as "important" when the US Treasury blacklisted two China-based shipping companies for reportedly violating sanctions against North Korea by facilitating clandestine, ship-to-ship transfers at-sea of banned imports to the hermit kingdom and exports of North Korean coal. Before 24 hours had passed, Trump announced the sanctions were off. The White House was unable to give any details explaining the policy shift other than Trump "likes" North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un.
The French government will for the first time use the military to confront the Yellow Vest protesters, who've come out every weekend in often raucous and riotous demonstrations against the conservative economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron. That decision has sparked a lot of criticism, and the members of the elite anti-terrorism Sentinelle patrol force spoke of discomfort at being deployed to control the protests: "Sentinelle guys are all soldiers - we don't know how to keep order." The main leader of the opposition Republicans called the decision a "serious mistake" and called on Macron to "reverse this disastrous decision". The Yellow Vests are banned from the Champs Elysees this weekend, after several upscale businesses were looted and burned last time around.
Meanwhile, Mr. Macron is defending the European Union's decision to give the UK government just a couple of weeks more to get its act together before the Brexit. "April 12 is the leave date," Macron said, adding: "The European project must not remain a prisoner to Brexit." European Council President Donald Tusk said it is "in the hands of our British friends" if the UK approves the deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May or crashes out without replacement trade deals in place: "It means that until 12 April, anything is possible: A deal, a long extension if the United Kingdom decided to rethink its strategy, or revoking Article 50."
Venezuela filed terrorism charges against the top aide to opposition leader Juan Guiado who was arrested in a early morning raid in Caracas a day earlier. Authorities say 49-year old Roberto Marrero was planning "acts of sabotage" against officials and that "weapons and foreign currency" were found by intelligence services during a raid on his home. The US-backed Guiado, who declared himself to be interim leader of Venezuela without the mandate of a democratic election, is demanding Marrero's release.
Garuda Indonesia Airlines wants to cancel its order for 49 Boeing 737 Max 8 jets, after the deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia that killed 346 people. "Passengers always ask what type of plane they will fly as they have lost trust and confidence in the Max 8 jet," said Garuda spokesman Ikhsan Rosan, "This would harm our business." Meanwhile, Reuters is reporting that many pilots were unaware of a key change in airplane controls introduced by Boeing on the MAX 8. Previously, pilots could turn off an automatic leveling system by giving a sharp tug of the 737's yoke; but that function was not included on the MAX 8, and it could explain why pilots struggled to control the ill-fated MAX 8s after takeoff.
Italian investigators have apparently ruled out radiation in the death of a key witness against former Prime Minister Sylvio Berlusconi in his trial for paying for sex with underage prostitutes. Imane Fadil checked into Milan's Humanitas research hospital on 29 January with stomach pains, saying she had been poisoned - by 1 March she was dead. The 33-year-old Moroccan model had gave evidence in 2012 about Berlusconi's "bunga bunga" parties at his private villa near Milan. He was convicted and acquitted on appeal, but convicted again in a separate tax fraud case.