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Curated top stories of the day
- Zuma resigns as president of South Africa – President Jacob Zuma is stepping down as head of state after a day of intense pressure from peers in the African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s dominant political party. He initially refused the ANC’s formal request, triggering ANC leadership to threaten a no-confidence vote, which would have forcibly removed Zuma from the presidency.
- Zuma said he disagreed with how he was treated, but would step down to keep the country and party united. “No life should be lost in my name. And also the ANC should not be divided in my name,” he said in a farewell address.
- South African police raided the compound of the wealthy Gupta family in Johannesburg and made two arrests early Wednesday morning, according to Al Jazeera and The Guardian. The Guptas are accused of improper relations with President Zuma. (A former U.S. diplomat and a South African conflict resolution expert told WikiTribune how Zuma got in this position, and where South Africa goes from here.)
- U.S. House committee opens investigation into former White House aide’s clearance – The U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform opened an investigation into how former presidential aide Rob Porter was able to gain the security clearance required for his position, despite accusations that he’d abused both of his ex-wives. The former White House staff secretary, Porter resigned on February 7 after both of his ex-wives went to the media with allegations of physical abuse. The House committee sent requests for information to the FBI and White House after differing accounts of what the White House knew of the allegations emerged yesterday during FBI Director Christopher Wray’s testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
- Britain remaining subject to EU laws ‘intolerable’ says UK minister – British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said remaining subject to European Union laws after Britain exits the bloc would be “intolerable” and “undemocratic.” He made the statement as part of a fresh series of speeches by ministers that Prime Minister Theresa May hopes will show a “road to Brexit.” Britain is due to exit the EU by March 2019, after a referendum in 2016 on leaving or staying in the bloc received more votes for Britain to leave.
- Netanyahu says government is stable – Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government would continue to govern despite police recommending he be charged for criminal offences. “I want to reassure you, the coalition is stable,” Netanyahu said in a televised speech on February 14. Israeli authorities said that bribery charges facing Netanyahu were credible. The charges allege he accepted nearly $300,000 from international billionaires in exchange for political favors. A final decision on indicting the prime minister lies with Israel’s Attorney General.
- While Netanyahu disputes the corruption allegations, a poll conducted by the Israeli television channel Reshet found that most Hebrew-speaking Israelis believe the police. 49 percent believe the police, 25 percent believe the Prime Minister, the remaining 26 percent being unsure.
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- Google announced that it’s testing new features for its email service, Gmail. The plans would allow emails to be more than passive threads of text, but living pages that can update automatically, writes WikiTribune journalist Charlie Turner. Help us report on Google’s plans, Accelerated Mobile Pages technology (AMP), and how email might change in the future.
- WikiTribune spoke to two experts who witnessed the end of apartheid, who explained the anger at South Africa’s outgoing leader, Jacob Zuma. Read, edit, and contribute to: “What went wrong in Jacob Zuma’s South Africa, where it goes from here.”
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- You can help WikiTribune journalist Jack Barton report on the situation in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria swept across the Caribbean, destroying buildings and crippling infrastructure. Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, was among the worst-hit islands.
What we’re reading
- British author Kenan Malik’s op-ed in The New York Times on the U.S. president’s admiration of British laws on defamation and libel outlines why President Donald J. Trump would like to impose similar legislation. It notes this view, held despite Trump having voiced criticisms of the UK, most recently about the national health service. The piece, entitled “Trump Wants British Libel Laws. America Does Not”, also looks at how Britons and Americans hold vastly different views on freedom of speech, partly due to one side of the Atlantic having the First Amendment which protects freedom of expression. – Lydia Morrish
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