SPLASH! News for February 15, 2017

Dive Into The News of the Day

Photo Credit: Kiran Opal


Tennessee Lawmaker Resigns Amid Allegations of Inappropriate Sexual Contact

USA Today – Hours after freshman state House Rep. Mark Lovell resigned amid allegations he had inappropriate sexual contact with a woman last week, Speaker Beth Harwell said any investigation into the conduct of an outgoing member would end with his departure.

But House Democrats say the legislature must continue to delve into what happened because allegations about Lovell’s behavior mark the second time in two years that concerns about inappropriate sexual contact by a lawmaker have rocked the Tennessee state Capitol.

The resignation comes a day after the USA TODAY Network-Tennessee began asking legislative leadership about the allegations and the existence of an investigation into Lovell. Several sources, including a Tennessee Republican lawmaker, told the USA TODAY Network-Tennessee Lovell engaged in “inappropriate touching” with a woman last week.

Malaysia Arrests Female Suspect in North Korean Assassination

Bloomberg – Malaysian police arrested a woman carrying Vietnamese travel documents who is suspected of involvement in the murder of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s half-brother.

Doan Thi Huong, 28, was arrested on Wednesday morning at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, according to a statement by Malaysian police Inspector General Khalid Bin Abu Bakar. The suspect was positively identified from closed-circuit television footage and was alone at the time, he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a South Korean lawmaker said that two Asian women had approached Kim Jong Nam in the airport on Monday and later fled in a taxi. South Korean officials believe he was poisoned with either a needle or a spray, Lee Cheol-woo, chairman of the intelligence committee in South Korea’s parliament, told reporters after meeting the nation’s intelligence chief.

U.S. Special Ops Chiefs: ‘U. S. Government in Unbelievable Turmoil’

CNN – The head of US Special Operations Command said Tuesday that the US government is in “unbelievable turmoil,” a situation that he suggested could undermine US efforts to fight adversaries such as ISIS.

“Our government continues to be in unbelievable turmoil. I hope they sort it out soon because we’re a nation at war,” Army Gen. Raymond “Tony” Thomas told a symposium in Maryland.
While it wasn’t exactly clear what Thomas was referring to, his remarks come less than 24 hours after retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was forced to step down as national security adviser, becoming by far the shortest tenured adviser in history.

Thomas oversees America’s elite Special Operations troops, including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, which have played a large role in carrying out the nation’s conflicts since 9/11.

Trump May Not Pursue Two-State Option for Israel and Palestinians

The Guardian – The Trump administration has said peace between Israel and the Palestinians may not come in the form of a two-state solution – a dramatic shift from the stance of Barack Obama who said he saw no alternative.

Speaking to reporters ahead of President Donald Trump’s meeting on Wednesday with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a senior White House official said Trump was eager to begin facilitating a peace deal between the two sides and hoped to bring them together soon.

But the official, who previewed the visit on condition of anonymity, said it would be up to the Israelis and Palestinians to determine what peace entailed.

“If I ask five people what a two-state solution is I get eight different answers,” the official said.

“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve. Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution, if that’s what the parties want, or something else.

Russia Tells White House it Will Not Return Crimea to Ukraine

Reuters – Russia said on Wednesday it would not hand back Crimea to Ukraine or discuss the matter with foreign partners after the White House said U.S. President Donald Trump expected the annexed Black Sea peninsula to be returned.

Moscow says an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted to become part of Russia in a 2014 referendum wanting protection from what the Kremlin cast as an illegal coup in Kiev.

Ukraine says the referendum was a sham held at gunpoint after Russian troops illegally annexed the peninsula, that Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych was ousted by people power, and that Moscow should return Crimea.

“We don’t give back our own territory. Crimea is territory belonging to the Russian Federation,” Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, told a news briefing on Wednesday.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News for February 15, 2017