Briefing: Former intel chief questions Trump's fitness, suicide vest found in Spain

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  • The Trump Administration has halted $97 million in foreign aid and $195 in military funding reserved for Egypt, citing the government’s poor human rights record under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, according to a report from the New York Times. This decision comes four months after President Trump stated that he was “very much behind President el-Sisi” during a White House summit between the two leaders.
  • Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to diplomatic visits for the first time since January of last year, says Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.  
  • Spanish police have found a “viable” suicide vest in the rubble of a home destroyed by an explosion before the Catalonian terror attacks, raising fresh questions as to whether the later attacks could have been averted, according to a report in Britain’s Guardian.
  • Three people have been killed and 34 injured in Macau as a typhoon batters Hong Kong and Southern China.
  • Martin Schulz, the centre left candidate running against Angela Merkel for Germany’s chancellorship, has promised to eject the U.S.’s nuclear weapons from the country if elected.


  • President Donald J.Trump used a campaign style rally of cheering supporters in Phoenix to round on what he called a “dishonest” media misrepresenting him and which “don’t like our country”. Trump also talked of shutting down the U.S. government to press Democrats to fund his proposed wall with Mexico.
  • The latest outburst from the 45th president prompted former National Security Agency head James Clapper to publicly question Trump’s fitness for office, a growing topic of conversation in even moderate media and political circles after ambiguous comments on white nationalistic protests. In a CNN television interview Clapper said: “I really question his ability to be — his fitness to be — in this office, and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it.”
  • U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking after Trump announced a reinforcement of troop numbers in Afghanistan, said Pakistan was providing a safe haven for terrorists and needed to change its approach.

What we’re reading and watching:

  • In the Reuters Investigative series, Shock Tactics,  data journalists track police killings by use of Taser in the United States.
  • Photographers from the New York Times powerfully illustrate the commitment of U.S. troops to 16-years of war in Afghanistan
  • In A Most American Terrorist in GQ magazine, Rachel Kaadzi Ghanash dives deep into the background and beliefs of Dylann Roof, the white supremacist who killed eight black worshippers and their pastor in a Charleston church in June 2015, in the hope of igniting a race war.
  • In a moving and shocking report from the frontline of the civil war in Yemen, a BBC journalist showed the impact of what UN agencies are calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world.
  • Who Owns the Internet, asks the New Yorker‘s Elizabeth Kolbert in a major report on the corporations that are increasingly influencing life and culture.
  • Angola heads to the polls today to elect a new government and president after incumbent Jose Eduardo dos Santos confirmed that he will step down after 38 years in power. (Jack – it will be worth observing the democratic standards to which this election is held. Dos Santos’s rule has been plagued by allegations of human rights abuses and recent reports have noted a crackdown on civil society.)
  • Powerful piece in The Cut magazine by Ellen Pao on sexism in Silicon Valley.

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– Peter Bale is the launch editor of WikiTribune. He is a former Reuters news agency correspondent and has held senior roles in news organisations from CNN to The Times and investigative news service, The Center for Public Integrity

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