Yahoo News - Latest News & Headlines : 2020/02/17 08:00

1. In sign of thaw, Israeli PM says flight crosses Sudan skies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that an Israeli aircraft made a historic first flight over Sudan just two weeks after he met with the Arab state's leader in Uganda. The Israeli premier met with the head of Sudan's transitional government, Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan, in a major step toward improving ties with an Arab state that has long been hostile to Israel.


2. California to apologize for internment of Japanese Americans

Les Ouchida was born an American just outside California's capital city, but his citizenship mattered little after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States declared war. Based solely on their Japanese ancestry, the 5-year-old and his family were taken from their home in 1942 and imprisoned far away in Arkansas. On Thursday, California's Legislature is expected to approve a resolution offering an apology to Ouchida and other internment victims for the state's role in aiding the U.S. government's policy and condemning actions that helped fan anti-Japanese discrimination.


3. Democratic hopefuls now test strength among minority voters

For I.S. Leevy Johnson, the Democrats’ search for a challenger to take on President Donald Trump is personal. “There is what I call an ‘ABT mood’ in the black community: Anybody but Trump,” said the 77-year-old who was the first black graduate of the University of South Carolina’s law school. Now, as the election calendar turns to Nevada and South Carolina, states with substantial minority populations, that "anybody” moves closer to being identified.


4. Assad's forces make advances, further securing Aleppo region

Syrian troops have made significant advances against the last rebel held enclaves in the country's northwest, state media said on Sunday, consolidating the government's hold over the key Aleppo province. The Syrian government advance also appeared to put the provincial capital of Aleppo out of the firing range of opposition groups for the first time in years, another sign of Syrian President Bashar Assad's growing control of the area. The armed opposition had been driven out of Aleppo city's eastern quarters in late 2016, which they controlled for years while battling government forces who were in charge in the western part.


5. UN chief says Pakistan sets global example hosting refugees

6. A Presidency Increasingly Guided by Suspicion and Distrust

WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump suggested in recent days that he had, in fact, learned a lesson from his now-famous telephone call with Ukraine's president that ultimately led to his impeachment: Too many people are listening to his phone calls."When you call a foreign leader, people listen," he observed on Geraldo Rivera's radio show. "I may end the practice entirely. I may end it entirely."Trump has always been convinced that he is surrounded by people who cannot be trusted. But in the 10 days since he was acquitted by the Senate, he has grown more vocal about it and turned paranoia into policy, purging his White House of more career officials, bringing back loyalists and tightening the circle around him to a smaller and more faithful coterie of confidants.The impeachment case against Trump, built largely on the testimony of officials who actually worked for him, reinforced his view that the government is full of leakers, plotters, whistleblowers and traitors. Career professionals who worked in government before he arrived are viewed as "Obama holdovers" even if they were there long before President Barack Obama. Testifying under subpoena was, Trump has made clear, "insubordinate."The president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said on Twitter after the acquittal that the investigation was useful, in its own way, because it made it easier "unearthing who all needed to be fired." The president and his staff have increasingly equated disloyalty to him with disloyalty to the nation. All of which makes for a volatile eight months ahead as Trump fights a rear-guard battle with his own government while facing off against Democrats on the campaign trail to win a second term."I think he feels like the people are out to get him, going overboard. I mean just put yourself in his shoes," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and a staunch ally, told reporters this past week as the president railed on Twitter against Justice Department prosecutors. "There's just a general frustration that the system is -- there's a double standard in the media and actually in the law."In the last week and a half, Trump has pushed out two witnesses who testified in the House inquiry, stripped a nomination from an official he blamed for being insufficiently loyal and assailed prosecutors, a judge and even the jury forewoman in the case of his friend Roger Stone.His national security adviser has just finished transferring more than 50 career professionals out of the White House and back to their home agencies. The president has brought back two of his earliest and most trusted aides, Hope Hicks and Johnny McEntee, as he retreats into a cocoon of his original 2016 campaign team. And more personnel moves are likely in the days to come.Trump's personal loyalty test now extends not to whether someone has worked in his White House since his inauguration, but to whether someone was part of his 2016 campaign and there from the beginning, according to interviews with more than a half-dozen administration officials and advisers to the president. His decision to turn the Office of Presidential Personnel over to McEntee, a 29-year-old aide who was once ordered marched out of the White House by John Kelly, the White House chief of staff at the time, was born out of concern about who is surrounding him, people familiar with the move said.While some officials cited a lack of responsiveness from officials working in the personnel office, others said that Trump had taken to blaming them for appointments that he made, on the advice of other advisers. That included Gordon Sondland, a Republican donor he appointed ambassador to the European Union who became a key witness in the impeachment inquiry and has now been dismissed. It also included John Bolton, his former national security adviser, who plans to publish a book next month revealing Trump's machinations about Ukraine.In private conversations, Trump has complained bitterly that none of his enemies have been criminally charged, citing James Comey, the former FBI director, and his onetime deputy, Andrew McCabe. Bolton in particular has been a source of his anger in several conversations, according to people familiar with what the president has said. He has accused Bolton of betraying him, and made clear his anger extends to anyone he believes helped Bolton.Trump's suggestion that he may bar government officials from listening into his phone calls with foreign leaders would reverse decades of practice in the White House. Presidents traditionally have multiple aides from the National Security Council and State Department monitor foreign leader calls to help interpret their meaning, record any agreements and inform relevant parts of government.Trump, however, felt burned early on when transcripts of his calls with the leaders of Mexico and Australia were leaked to The Washington Post. During subsequent conversations with foreign leaders, he sometimes kicked out aides for more private talks and in the case of President Vladimir Putin of Russia even demanded that his own interpreter turn over notes of the discussion."He knows that anything even reasonably controversial out of his mouth, on the phone or off, will be reported out and construed in the most evil way possible," said Rivera, a friend of the president's who interviewed him for his Cleveland radio show, said Saturday. "As a result, he indicated to me that he's dramatically scaling back" the number of people "looped into a state call."Going back to his days in the real estate business, Trump has long considered suspicion a key to success. "Be paranoid," he advised in a motivational seminar in 2000. "Now that sounds terrible. But you have to realize that people, sadly, sadly, are very vicious. You think we're so different from the lions in the jungle? I don't know."Nor is presidential paranoia a new phenomenon even as Trump seems to have elevated it to a guiding philosophy of his White House. From Thomas Jefferson to Franklin D. Roosevelt to John F. Kennedy, other presidents turned at times to unseemly and even ruthless methods against their enemies like illegal wiretapping. Probably no previous presidents were as paranoid as Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon and in the latter case it helped bring down his presidency."The paranoid style is an old and recurrent phenomenon in our public life which has been frequently linked with movements of suspicious discontent," as Richard Hofstadter, the famed midcentury American historian, wrote in his landmark 1964 essay, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics." In Trump's case, it connects with supporters suspicious of the elite.John A. Farrell, a Nixon biographer, said most other presidents managed to contain or disguise their paranoid elements, but it drove Johnson and Nixon to extremes that were ultimately self-destructive. Trump, he said, sees no need to hide it."He has responded to criticism, opposition and other curbs on his power with a vulgar energy and the vile Nixonian strategy that making Americans hate each other is a potent way to seize and secure power," Farrell said. "It is no accident that a president acting this way comes from a chain of influences that includes Roy Cohn and Roger Stone."Trump's advisers and defenders turn to the old nostrum -- just because he may be paranoid does not mean people are not out to get him. The relentless investigations against him, the Trump-bashing text messages by FBI officials, the excesses of the surveillance warrant on a former campaign adviser, the longtime lawyer-fixer who turned against him, the whistleblower who took his concerns to House Democrats, all of it, they said, has contributed to an understandable defensiveness."Trump came to office with an almost pathological distrust of others and an irresistible impulse to attack any perceived threat," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University who testified against impeachment last year before the House Judiciary Committee. "The well-documented bias in the FBI and Justice Department against Trump fuels his suspicions and tendency to counterpunch. Both his perceptions and his responses became more exaggerated."However," Turley added, "his suspicions were validated to some degree in these investigations -- something that many refuse to acknowledge. He came to Washington with an agenda that was highly antagonistic and threatening to the status quo. It was immediately clear that he faced deep opposition to his agenda."As with so many aspects of his personality, the seeds of Trump's reaction may lie in his biography. Michael D'Antonio, the author of "The Truth About Trump," recalled that the future president was raised by a father who taught him that all of life is a battle for power and that he should be a "killer." Trump, D'Antonio said, came to see others as useful for his own purposes or obstacles to be crushed."In this way, he's forcing us all to live in the world that once existed only in Trump's mind and in his close circle," D'Antonio said. "Here, in Trump's America, we're to believe that all institutions are corrupt. No one is to be trusted. Those who would speak against him hesitate. Words of protest and revelations that might be made by whistleblowers are stifled by fear. This is the world Trump has always inhabited and he wants us to live there, too."This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


7. 'The West is Winning,' Pompeo Said. The West Wasn't Buying It.

MUNICH -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared at an annual gathering of Western diplomats and business leaders to declare Saturday that "the West is winning,'' something that would be obvious to Trump administration critics, he said, if they were only willing to accept "reality."The Trump administration was hardly retreating from the world or its alliances, he insisted at the meeting, the Munich Security Conference, but leading it. The problem is that many American allies are reluctant to follow as the administration confronts Iran and insists on more contributions to collective defense.Pompeo was followed by the secretary of defense, Mark Esper, who described a bleak future if the U.S. and Europe did not work to contain China on all fronts. Countries thinking of letting Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, build next-generation communications networks, he warned, should be prepared to see American intelligence cooperation reduced.His remarks were met with silence by British and German officials, who are looking for ways to avoid offending the Chinese.This year's conference reflected the division and unease that have plagued the alliance in the era of Donald Trump and Brexit. The stated theme was "Westlessness,'' a sense that close allies were unmoored and uncompetitive in a world both more diverse and more autocratic.Emmanuel Macron, the French president, arrived to declare that allies were wrongheaded about Russia, and that Europeans needed to deal with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, on their own, not just through the lens of a growing cold war with America.Still, there were fears of coming Russian interference in elections, including in the U.S., despite an upbeat talk from Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, who was given more time on stage than most of the world leaders.His company -- with powers that exceed most of the nations represented in Munich -- is now spending more annually on security issues than it generated in revenue in 2012, he told the assemblage of presidents and foreign ministers.Hand-wringing is hardly new for this meeting of Atlantic allies, where Europeans expressed doubts about the depth of American commitment even during the Obama era. But that uncertainty has soared since Trump has hesitated to commit the U.S. to coming to the defense of American allies -- he would first measure their contributions to the alliance, he has often said -- and has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord and the Iranian nuclear deal.So it was striking that Pompeo felt it necessary to take on those who say the post-World War order is ending, telling the assembled leaders: "I'm here this morning to tell you the facts."Pompeo made the case that governments that "respect basic human rights" and "foster economic prosperity" are magnets for migrants."You don't see the world's vulnerable people risking their lives to skip illegally en masse to countries like Iran or to Cuba.''The Europeans in the room later noted that Pompeo did not mention the new restrictions in the U.S. that drastically limit the number of refugees who can enter the country.Pompeo tried to be upbeat, talking about the joint work the U.S. and Europe were doing to confront Russia. He announced $1 billion to bolster an energy project for Central European countries on the Baltic, Adriatic and Black seas, an effort to blunt Russian energy projects like Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.It was left to Esper to lower the boom on European nations so dependent on exports to China that they are trying to find a balance between Washington's demands to shun Chinese technology and Beijing's warnings against being excluded from Europeans markets.Esper argued that the presence of Huawei in commercial networks risked undermining the NATO alliance, dismissing China's argument that it has no capability to use its equipment to intercept messages or shut down networks in times of conflict."The Chinese Communist Party is heading even faster and further in the wrong direction -- more internal repression, more predatory economic practices, more heavy-handedness, and most concerning for me, a more aggressive military posture," he said. That has become a bipartisan view: His assessment was echoed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat.Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi later responded, telling the forum that Esper and Pompeo "say the same thing wherever they go about China" and dismissed their remarks as "lies.""The root cause of all these problems and issues is that the U.S. does not want to see the rapid development and rejuvenation of China, and still less would they want to accept the success of a socialist country," Wang said."The most important task for China and the U.S. is to sit down together to have a serious dialogue and find a way for two major countries with different social systems to live in harmony and interact in peace," he added. "China's ready, and we hope the U.S. will work with us."Esper later told reporters that he was cautiously optimistic about a seven-day "reduction in violence" in Afghanistan that could lead to a peace accord with the Taliban, saying that "we are going to suspend a significant part of our operations" in the country when the Taliban fulfill their part. But while U.S. forces could come down to 8,600, from about 13,000, he said there was not yet an agreed-upon timeline for further reductions.Many eyes were also on Macron, whose relations with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany have been somewhat rocky. Macron made a plea for better European integration and more unity in defining European interests, urging the Germans to help develop "a European security culture" and not to see every security issue "through American eyes.''On Russia, he said: "We need a European policy, not just a trans-Atlantic policy.''He insisted that he was not frustrated with the apparent paralysis of the current German government, but conceded that he is "impatient.''France and Germany "need to take risks together,'' he said. "That means our relationship has to change and adapt.''He argued that the Europeans needed to define their own interests to preserve their sovereignty in a world dominated by an increasingly nationalist U.S. and an ambitious Russia. But he insisted that a stronger European defense pillar would complement NATO, not weaken or replace it, as Washington and some European countries closer to Russia, like Poland and the Baltic nations, fear is his intention.Macron also tried to explain his outreach to Moscow, viewing it as a difficult neighbor but one that Europe cannot ignore. The current policy of harsh economic sanctions, in place since the Russian annexation of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine, has not changed Russian behavior, he argued. The sanctions "have changed absolutely nothing in Russia -- I am not proposing at all to lift them, I am just stating this," he added."We need in the long term to reengage with Russia but also emphasize its responsibility in its role" as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, he said. "It cannot constantly be a member that blocks advances by this council."There is "a second choice,'' Macron argued, "which is to be demanding and restart a strategic dialogue because today we talk less and less, conflicts multiply and we aren't able to resolve them."He said that he expected Russia will continue playing a destabilizing role in matters such as other countries' election campaigns, either directly or indirectly."I don't believe in miracles -- I believe in politics, in the fact that human will can change things when we give ourselves the means," Macron said.Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who was Merkel's hand-picked successor as leader of the conservative Christian Democratic Union, threw Germany into political uncertainty this past week when said she would not seek the chancellorship when the country votes next year. Her decision has raised concerns that Germany will again be occupied with domestic affairs at a time when it is needed as a leader in Europe and on the international stage.Still defense minister, Kramp-Karrenbauer appeared here and admitted that her country had not fully delivered on a promise made at the conference in 2014 to become more engaged in, and spend more on, security and defense."From the Munich 'consensus of words' must come a 'consensus of action,'" she said. "The impact of German and European security and defense policy must be larger, our international actions must be better coordinated and more visible."But Kramp-Karrenbauer insisted that Germany would not join an American "maximum pressure" mission aimed at Iran in the Gulf of Hormuz. Instead, Germany would seek to coordinate "a mission dedicated to free and secure navigation" with its European partners.This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company


8. Ivanka Trump lauds Saudi, UAE on women's rights reforms

Ivanka Trump lauded Sunday a handful of Mideast countries, including close U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, for embarking on “significant reforms” to advance women's rights, while speaking at a gathering of women entrepreneurs and regional leaders in Dubai. The daughter of U.S. President Donald Trump was delivering the keynote address at the two-day Global Women’s Forum held in an opulent resort overlooking the city's Persian Gulf coastline.