As Donald Trump Jr. Drums Up Business in India, Some Ask What’s Being Sold
Donald Trump Jr. has spent the week in India pitching new luxury high-rises as his family’s business seeks a windfall from India’s admiration for President Donald Trump. He may have low approval ratings at home, but he appears well liked in a country with a fast-growing population of millionaires. But the trip was creating controversy for blurring the lines between the Trump White House and the Trump Organization. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., sought assurances from the U.S. Embassy in Delhi it was not helping Trump, and one ethics expert said it was “unprecedented” for a sitting president’s son to drum up business overseas like this.
U.S. Says Troops Can Stay in Syria Without New Authorization
The Trump administration says it needs no new legal authority from Congress to indefinitely keep U.S. military forces deployed in Syria and Iraq, according to Pentagon and State Department officials. In a pair of letters, the officials illuminated the plan for an open-ended mission of forces in Syria beyond the Islamic State fight. The letters said the continued threat from the Islamic State provided a legal rationale to keep troops deployed there indefinitely. About 2,000 U.S. troops are in Syria, even though nearly all the territory once held by the Islamic State has now been liberated.
Blocked by Russia, U.N. Fails to Pass Syria Cease-Fire Resolution
The U.N. Security Council, facing opposition from Russia, failed to pass a resolution that would have imposed a 30-day cease-fire in Syria to allow humanitarian aid to reached a besieged Damascus suburb. With new reports Thursday of a rocket attack that took 42 lives, the death toll this week in the rebel-held suburb rose to more than 300. Britain’s representative, Stephen Hickey, described the conditions as a “hell on earth.” But Russia’s ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, whose veto is the lone obstacle to the resolution, dismissed images of stacked bodies, bombed-out hospitals and families huddling from rockets as “propagandistic scenarios of catastrophe.”
Former Spymaster to Lead North Korea’s Olympic Ceremony Delegation
North Korea said Thursday that a high-ranking official, who many in the South believe orchestrated a deadly attack in 2010, would lead a delegation to Sunday’s Winter Olympics closing ceremony in the South, another sign the two Koreas are trying to work toward improving ties. The North’s delegation will be led by Kim Yong Chol, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, who was widely believed to have helped engineer the sinking of a South Korean ship in 2010, killing 46 sailors.
As China Puts Pressure on Taiwan, Signs of a U.S. Pushback
As China ratchets up pressure on Taiwan, the self-governing island it claims as its territory, the United States is cautiously starting to push back. In recent months, Chinese strategic bombers have been conducting “island encirclement” flights, and its government has discouraged tourism to Taiwan and imports of goods. Meanwhile, Washington has started to gradually reinforce its ties to Taiwan. Bills have been introduced in Congress to promote visits to Taiwan by warships and by civilian officials and, in June, a U.S. institute that functions as an informal diplomatic channel plans to open an elegant new complex in Taiwan’s capital.
With Dozens of Schoolgirls Missing in Nigeria, Angry Parents Demand Answers
Parents of girls who disappeared after their school in northern Nigeria was attacked by militants this week heckled state officials Thursday and pummeled a motorcade after being told that, despite government reports to the contrary, their daughters had yet to be found. Militants from Boko Haram attacked the Government Girls Science and Technical School in Dapchi on Monday evening in an episode that evoked memories of the 2014 mass abduction of schoolgirls in Chibok. An official count of the missing in Dapchi hasn’t been released, but initial accounts from the police and state officials put the number somewhere between 50 and 100.
Greece Approves Bribery Investigation Involving Political Elite
After 20 hours of acrimonious debate, Greek lawmakers Thursday approved the formation of a parliamentary committee to investigate accusations linking 10 high-profile politicians to bribery by the Swiss drug manufacturer Novartis. The investigation will examine whether the politicians took kickbacks from the pharmaceutical company or were aware of illicit payments. A report sent to Parliament earlier this month by prosecutors said evidence suggested Novartis made payments to Greek doctors and politicians in exchange for fixing the prices of its medicines at artificially high levels and increasing its access to the Greek market.
Kremlin Opponent Navalny Is Briefly Detained for Organizing Protests
A prominent Russian opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, said he was briefly detained by police Thursday as authorities initiated legal proceedings against him for organizing illegal protests. The legal maneuvering was widely interpreted as a precaution to ensure that Navalny could be safely tucked away, if need be, in the prelude to the Russian presidential election March 18. Earlier, Navalny had predicted that he was likely to be jailed for the period around the election. Navalny, who is leading a campaign to boycott the vote, is barred from running in the election because of a criminal conviction that he and advocates say was fabricated.
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