Nation and World briefs for March 22

Indictment of Donald Trump Could Unfold This Week

A Manhattan, New York, grand jury could decide whether to indict Donald Trump as early as Wednesday, potentially launching a sequence of events that could include the unprecedented sight of a former president in handcuffs. But an indictment is not a certainty. The grand jury that has been hearing evidence about Trump would have to vote to charge him, and a majority of jurors must agree to do so. The investigation, by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office, has been focused on Trump’s involvement in the payment of hush money to a porn actress during the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign.


DeSantis, Doubling Down, Presses Differences from Trump

Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, the closest prospective rival to Donald Trump in early polls of the 2024 Republican presidential primary, pointed to himself as a low-drama “winner” in an interview this week with British media personality Piers Morgan. In the interview, which Morgan wrote about Tuesday for The New York Post, DeSantis took aim at Trump’s often-criticized penchant for chaos and for hiring people who were at odds with his professed policy. “So, the way we run the government, I think, is no daily drama, focus on the big picture and put points on the board, and I think that’s something that’s very important,” DeSantis said.

Los Angeles Schools Shut Down After Workers Launch 3-Day Strike

Across Los Angeles, the normal school week gave way to disruption Tuesday, when school employees and teachers went on a three-day strike, facing off against administrators in the nation’s second-largest school district. It meant no classes for the district’s more than 420,000 students — news that many children greeted with glee, though a number of parents felt blindsided. Children tagged along with parents, were sent to recreation centers or stayed with relatives. Teachers and school employees of the Los Angeles Unified School District hit the streets, where they hoisted signs of outrage and chanted for better pay and working conditions.

Teacher Shot by 6-Year-Old Will ‘Never Forget’ the Look on His Face

The Virginia teacher who was shot by a 6-year-old student in her classroom in January said in a television interview broadcast Tuesday that she would “never forget the look on his face that he gave me while he pointed the gun directly at me.” In her first interview since the shooting, Abigail Zwerner, 25, told NBC’s “Today” show, “It’s changed me. It’s changed my life.”On Jan. 6, Zwerner was at a table in her classroom in Newport News, Virginia. The boy pulled out a handgun at his desk, aimed it at her and fired. A single bullet passed through her hand and struck her chest.

Wisconsin Court Candidates Clash Over Abortion and Democracy

The contenders in Wisconsin’s Supreme Court race collided Tuesday in their lone debate, which illustrated their stark disagreements over cultural issues and the role of a justice on the state’s high court. Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal Milwaukee County judge, and Daniel Kelly, a conservative former state Supreme Court justice, did not shake hands before or after the debate, repeatedly called each other liars and argued that electing the other would lead to a demise of Wisconsin’s democracy. It represented the enduring dynamics of the past two decades of Wisconsin politics, with factions in both parties convinced of the necessity not merely of winning but of destroying their opponents.

Xi and Putin Bind China and Russia’s Economies Further

President Vladimir Putin of Russia and China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, declared an enduring economic partnership on Tuesday, promising to bring more Russian energy to China and more Chinese companies to Russia as the two leaders sought to insulate their countries from consequences of the war in Ukraine. The economic pledges were a sign that China would continue to do business as normal with Russia and that Moscow and Beijing were circling their wagons, economically at least, against any punitive measures from the United States or Europe.

Macron Presses On After Bitter Victory in Pensions Dispute

President Emmanuel Macron of France vowed to stay the course Tuesday after his government barely survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament that ensured the passage of his unpopular pension overhaul but did little to quell the swirling political uncertainty about the future of his second term. Despite months of massive street protests and strikes, Macron has not said much publicly about his pension overhaul. He is expected Wednesday to publicly address the political turmoil and popular anger surrounding his pension plan for the first time in a television interview.

Johnson Admits Misleading Parliament Over Lockdown Parties

A day before he was to face a potentially make-or-break hearing, Boris Johnson conceded that he had misled the British Parliament about lockdown-breaking parties at 10 Downing St. while he was prime minister. But he insisted that he did not do so “intentionally or recklessly.” Johnson will testify Wednesday before Parliament’s privileges committee, which is investigating whether he lied to lawmakers about violating COVID-19 lockdown rules. A finding against him could cost him his seat in Parliament and extinguish any possibility that he could resuscitate his political career.

Israel Scraps Law That Barred Settlers From Some West Bank Sites

Israel’s parliament on Tuesday repealed legislation that barred settlers from four Jewish communities in the occupied West Bank that were evacuated in 2005, a preliminary move for now, but one that comes as tensions rise over government efforts to assert greater control over Palestinian territories. The action, which will now allow visits to the settlements, is of great symbolic importance to the settler movement, but it is unlikely to mean any immediate new construction. Nevertheless, the U.S. State Department strongly condemned the legislative change, saying it was “extremely troubled” by it.

Saudi Arabia Releases U.S. Dual Citizen Jailed in Crackdown

A Saudi-American dual citizen who spent more than a year in a Saudi prison over Twitter posts critical of the kingdom’s government was released from detention Tuesday, but he will not be able to leave the country, according to his son. Saad Almadi, a 72-year-old Florida resident, is staying with family members in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, his son, Ibrahim Almadi, said. The younger Almadi said he would continue to campaign to overturn a Saudi bar on his father leaving the kingdom. “The fight will continue and hopefully we’ll have him back soon,” he said.

Australian State Moves to Ban Nazi Salute After Clashes at Rally

It was a startling sight on the stone steps of Parliament House, the grand seat of state government in Melbourne, Australia: more than two dozen people dressed in black, many with their faces covered, each extending an arm in an unmistakable Nazi salute. The 30 or so people appeared Saturday amid a crowd of about 300 people at a protest against transgender rights. The display shocked political leaders in Victoria, the southeastern state of which Melbourne is the capital, who on Monday said they would move to ban Nazi salutes in the state.

By wire sources

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