'The Story' host reflects on inflammatory rhetoric used by lawmakers on 'America Reports'
International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Wednesday announced her intention to open an investigation into crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian territories since 2014. Why it matters: The investigation is expected to consider possible war crimes by Israel and Hamas during the 2014 war in Gaza, as well as the construction of West Bank settlements by Israel. It could sharply increase tensions between Israel, which fiercely opposes the probe, and Palestinian leaders, who requested it.Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeThe investigation will also force the Biden administration to wade into the Israel-Palestine conflict, which had been very low on its foreign policy priorities list.Israel is very concerned that any investigation could lead to international arrest warrants against Israeli officials and military officers and could boost BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns against Israel.The latest: The Palestinian foreign ministry welcomed the decision as an opportunity for justice and accountability and called for a swift investigation.Netanyahu called the investigation an "attack" on Israel and vowed to "fight for the truth.""The biased International Criminal Court took a hypocritical and anti-Semitic decision," he said. "The court doesn't say anything about the real war crimes Iran and Syria commit."What's next: Bensouda said the priorities of the investigation will be determined in the coming weeks, taking into consideration coronavirus-related operational challenges, the limited resources of her office and the current heavy workload.Bensouda made this decision in her final months in office, and it's unclear whether she coordinated the move with her successor.What she's saying: “Any investigation undertaken by the Office will be conducted independently, impartially and objectively, without fear or favor," Bensouda said in a statement.She added that the investigation will take time and be grounded in facts and the law. "My office will take the same principled, non-partisan approach that it has adopted in all situations over which its jurisdiction is seized. We have no agenda other than to meet our statutory duties under the Rome Statute with professional integrity," she said.Flashback: The Trump administration joined Israel in mounting a vigorous campaign in 2019 to block a potential investigation, including by placing sanctions on Bensouda and other court officials.ICC judges cleared the way for a potential investigation last month when they ruled that the court has jurisdiction in the West Bank and Gaza. (Israel isn't a party to the Rome Statute, which set the court's mandate, but the Palestinian territories are.)Behind the scenes: Israel had asked dozens of allies to convey a "discreet message" to urge Bensouda not to move forward with the probe, as Axios reported two weeks ago. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu also asked President Biden to keep U.S. sanctions on the court in place as leverage.Like this article? Get more from Axios and subscribe to Axios Markets for free.
Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations in New York has formally staked his claim as the country's legitimate representative while the junta seeks to replace him in a dispute that will likely have to be settled by the world body's 193 member states. Myanmar state television announced on Saturday that Kyaw Moe Tun had been fired for betraying the country, a day after he urged countries to use "any means necessary" to reverse a Feb. 1 coup that ousted the nation's elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. But in letters to the U.N. General Assembly president Volkan Bozkir and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken - seen by Reuters on Tuesday - Kyaw Moe Tun said he remains Myanmar's U.N. ambassador.
- The Daily Beast
Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via ReutersA criminal case against Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and others in the Saudi hierarchy has been filed in a German court for the brutal 2018 murder, dismemberment, and disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, despite the kingdom’s denial of MBS’ direct involvement and the Biden administration’s flaccid response to the killing.The 500-page complaint filed by the press-freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is the first time a criminal case has been lodged outside of what was largely considered a show trial in Saudi Arabia. That trial saw the conviction of eight people who were later pardoned after members of the Khashoggi family were said to have forgiven them.Saudi’s Crown Prince Is a Killer. So Why Is Biden Just Shrugging?On Monday, the Saudi ambassador to the United Nations disputed a four-page CIA report released last week that pointed to MBS’ involvement, tweeting, “Let us all move forward to tackle the serious business of world issues!!”Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi called the American report, which has been widely criticized as weak, as being “based on could’ve, should’ve and would’ve and does not rise to anywhere close to proving the accusation beyond reasonable doubt.”The report, which was held back by the Trump administration and released last week by Biden, does not directly accuse MBS of ordering the hit on Khashoggi but does say he had “absolute control” over all activities carried out by the kingdom’s intelligence service. Al-Mouallimi argued in a Twitter tirade that “the Prince courageously accepted moral responsibility, presented the accused to the justice system, and pledged to reform the intelligence organizations. Case closed!”Khashoggi was ambushed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul by a 15-member hit squad that includes a bone-saw-wielding surgeon and seven members of MBS’ elite personal security team in October 2018. The journalist’s body has never been found.The complaint in Germany was filed Monday with public prosecutors in the city of Karlsruhe, according to an RSF statement. The dossier outlines the arbitrary detention of 34 journalists and the brutal murder of Khashoggi to underscore what it calls the kingdom’s “widespread and systematic” persecution of the press.“These journalists are the victims of unlawful killing, torture, sexual violence, and coercion and forced disappearance,” Christophe Deloire, RSF secretary-general, said at a press conference Tuesday morning. “Those responsible for the persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia, including the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, must be held accountable for their crimes.”The RSF statement names MBS and four other suspects: Saud Al-Qahtani, a close adviser to the crown prince who they allege took direct part in the planning and execution of the murder as well as in the implementation of the policy of persecution of journalists in Saudi Arabia; Ahmad Mohammed Asiri, the former deputy head of intelligence, who is suspected of personally supervising Khashoggi’s murder; Mohammad Al-Otaibi, the consul general in Istanbul at the time of the murder; and Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, an intelligence officer who led the team that “tortured, killed, and forceably disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.”The complaint was filed in Germany because laws there can extend “universal jurisdiction” to some serious international crimes, even when the victims are not German. The case is bolstered by the recent conviction in a German court of a Syrian secret-service officer for aiding and abetting crimes against humanity for the torture of protesters at one of Bashar al-Assad’s prisons, according to The Guardian.“The official opening of a criminal investigation in Germany into the crimes against humanity in Saudi Arabia would be a world first,” RSF’s Germany director Christian Mihr said. “We ask the public prosecutor general to open a situation analysis, with a view to formally launching a prosecutorial investigation and issuing arrest warrants.”RSF ranks Saudi Arabia 170th out of 180 countries in its press-freedom index. “Saudi Arabia permits no independent media,” the RSF rationale states. “Despite his talk of reform, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has intensified the repression since his appointment as crown prince in June 2017. The number of journalists and citizen-journalists in detention has tripled since the start of 2017.”The German court has not yet accepted the claim and no court date has been set.Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
- Business Insider
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasts Democrats' last-minute compromise on stimulus checks as an 'own-goal'
Other progressives criticized "Senate silliness." Biden struck a deal with Senate Democrats pushing to lower income thresholds for direct payments.
Turkey's government plans to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the ruling AK Party's deputy parliament chairman was quoted as saying on Tuesday, the most senior official to endorse nationalist demands for its closure. President Tayyip Erdogan's government and its nationalist MHP allies accuse the HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), accusations that escalated after Ankara said Turkish captives were killed by the PKK in Iraq last month. The MHP have repeatedly called for the HDP's closure over links to the PKK, which Turkey, the European Union, and United States designate a terrorist organisation.
- LA Times
Op-Ed: It's official. Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Hold him accountable
President Biden's failure to punish the Saudi crown prince defies justice and weakens the rule of law everywhere.
- Business Insider
The 5 biggest takeaways from FBI Director Christopher Wray's testimony about the Capitol insurrection
Wray debunked GOP conspiracy theories about the attack and disputed claims that the FBI failed to alert other agencies about the threat of violence.
- The Independent
5,000 National Guard troops remain in DC amid QAnon frenzy that Trump will be inaugurated again this week
QAnon followers believe that on 4 March, which was once the inauguration date of US presidents, Donald Trump will become president again
- USA TODAY
Andrew Cuomo accused of sexual harassment. Texas, Mississippi end statewide mask mandate. It's Tuesday's news.
During a recent interview on Good Morning America with host Robin Roberts, former First Lady Michelle Obama opened up about how she and her husband, former President Barack Obama, have open communications with their two young-adult daughters. “I always have wanted them to start practicing the power of their voices very early on,” Mrs. Obama shared of Sasha, 19, and Malia, 22.
- Associated Press
A national panel of vaccine experts in Canada recommended Wednesday that provinces extend the interval between the two doses of a COVID-19 shot to four months to quickly inoculate more people amid a shortage of doses in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also expressed optimism that vaccination timelines could be sped up. The current protocol is an interval of three to four weeks between doses for the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.
- NBC News
All federal government agencies have until noon Friday to download the latest software update to block the perpetrator.
- The Telegraph
The Duchess of Sussex wore earrings given to her by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, against advice from palace aides, The Telegraph understands. The Duchess, 39, had been given the Butani earrings as an official wedding present from the Saudi Royal Family. When she wore them to a formal dinner in Fiji in October 2018, during a royal tour, the media were told that they were “borrowed” but unusually, declined to offer further information or guidance. The dinner took place three weeks after Mr Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Duchess’s lawyers insisted that at the time of the dinner, she was unaware of speculation that the crown prince was involved in the murder of the journalist. However, a royal source claimed that palace staff had advised the Duchess not to wear the jewellery. “Members of Royal Household staff sometimes advise people on their options,” one said. “But what they choose to do with that advice is a very different matter.”
- Business Insider
Biden cuts 16 million people off from stimulus checks after striking deal with moderate Senate Democrats, study says
Biden approved phasing out direct payments entirely for individuals making above $80,000 a year and married couples earning more than $160,000.
- The Week
During the campaign for the two Georgia Senate races, Joe Biden repeatedly promised to pass $2,000 stimulus checks if the Democrats won. After they did, the administration argued that $2,000 really meant $1,400 in addition to the $600 that had already gone out in the December rescue package. Whether that is true or not, now Biden is inarguably breaking his promise. Under pressure from moderate Senate Democrats, he has reportedly agreed to cut down the formula under which the checks will be sent out. In the previous packages, the amount started phasing out at $75,000 in income for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers, and vanished entirely at $100,000 and $200,000 respectively (as of 2019). Now the phase-out will start start in the same place but end at $80,000 for singles and $160,000 for couples. The $1,400 promise clearly implied at least that the checks would go out according to the previous formula used under Trump. But now singles making between $80,000-100,000 and couples making between $160,000-200,000 will get nothing. The Washington Post's Jeff Stein reports that roughly 17 million people who previously got checks now will not. The supposed justification here is that moderates want the aid to be more "targeted." In fact this formula is horribly inaccurate, because the income data the IRS uses is from the year before the pandemic (unless people have already filed their taxes — and by the way, if your income decreased in 2020, you should do that immediately). This formula is therefore doubly wrong — there are no doubt millions of people who have lost jobs and should qualify but won't, and a smaller number that have gotten raises and shouldn't qualify but will. And this change will only save a pitiful $12 billion. The survival checks are one of the most popular government programs in American history. Polls have them at something like 4-1 approval. "Moderation," for Senate Democrats, apparently means breaking their party's promises in the service of unpopular, pointless actions that make their president seem less generous than Donald Trump. More stories from theweek.com7 scathingly funny cartoons about Trump's CPAC appearanceAfter 50 years, a long-lost family photo has made its way back where it belongsThe complicated quagmire of Dr. Seuss
QAnon influencers are attacking their movement's hyped March 4 event, calling it a false flag conspiracy theory
QAnon planned for March 4 as its next big date. The movement's influencers are already looking forward to the next goal post.
- Business Insider
Dr. Fauci has a stunningly simple way to explain how Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine differs from Pfizer's and Moderna's shots
All three of the COVID-19 shots authorized for use in the US train the body to recognize the coronavirus, but J&J's uses a cold virus instead of mRNA.
- Business Insider
The Trumps are trying to sell a Florida home for $49 million after buying it from the former president's sister for $18 million in 2018
Eric Trump tweeted a listing for a home that the family is trying to sell through a limited liability company for more than twice its 2018 value.
- The Daily Beast
Seth Wenig/GettyAt his first press conference since three women accused him of unwanted sexual advances, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized while insisting he didn’t know his alleged actions—grabbing a woman’s face, bringing up an aide’s sexual assault, giving an aide a kiss on the cheek—made people uncomfortable.“I never touched anyone inappropriately. I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable. And if I did, I apologize for it. But let’s let the attorney general’s office decide the facts,” he said Wednesday, adding that he has no plans to resign.Cuomo discussed the most recent allegation, from former Biden campaign worker Anna Ruch, who said that the governor had grabbed her face and asked to kiss her shortly after they met at a 2019 wedding. She provided a picture and texts to corroborate her story.My Cuomo ‘Crush’ Turned Out to Be Stockholm SyndromeHe said the face-grabbing and kissing-on-the-cheek was a greeting habit he picked up from his father, former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo, who served from 1983 to 1994.“You can find hundreds of pictures of me making this gesture,” Gov. Cuomo says. “It was my father’s way of greeting people. You’re the governor of the state, you want people to feel comfortable.”“But it doesn’t matter,” he continued. “It doesn’t matter my intent. What matters is whether anybody was offended by it. I could intend no offense but if they were offended by it it was wrong."Beyond that, however, the governor was short on specifics. When asked by a reporter whom specifically he was apologizing to, Cuomo did not provide a name.“I am apologizing to the young woman who worked here who said I made her feel uncomfortable in the workplace,” Cuomo said. “I’m embarrassed that someone felt that way in my administration.”Two aides, Lindsay Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, both came forward in February describing repeated propositions from the governor. Boylan wrote in a Medium post that she resigned after Cuomo gave her an unwanted kiss on the lips; Bennett told The New York Times that Cuomo repeatedly brought up a past sexual assault of hers.Following news of Bennett and Ruch’s allegations, some Democratic lawmakers have called on Cuomo to resign, including one member of Congress, Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY). Cuomo, however, said Wednesday he didn’t plan on resigning, with no mention of whether or not he would run for a fourth term in 2022, as he has previously said he would do. In a statement following Wednesday’s news conference, Bennett’s lawyer Debra Katz—who also represented Dr. Christine Blasey Ford after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh—wrote that Cuomo lied.“My client... reported his sexually harassing behavior immediately to his Chief of Staff and Chief Counsel. We are confident that they made him aware of her complaint,” Katz wrote. “We fully expect that the Attorney General’s investigation will demonstrate that Cuomo administration officials failed to act on Ms. Bennett’s serious allegations.”She pointed to reporting from Politico on Wednesday, detailing how two Cuomo aides—senior adviser Gareth Rhodes and deputy press secretary Will Burns—had resigned in the wake of the scandal. “As reports are emerging of other staff resigning from the Governor’s office in the wake of his scandals, the people charged with helping him execute the duties of his office are once again bearing the consequences of his actions,” Katz wrote. “If they know anything or have experienced this themselves, we call on them to come forward and report this misconduct.”Boylan also expressed her frustration with Cuomo on Twitter, shortly after the conference. “How can New Yorkers trust you @NYGovCuomo to lead our state if you ‘don’t know’ when you’ve been inappropriate with your own staff?” she wrote. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Dolphins cut $51 million player after just one season in which he played through a painful hip injury
NFL linebacker Kyle Van Noy revealed details about what he went through in a recovery process with the Miami Dolphins after the team cut him on Tuesday.