Nation and world news in brief, Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024

FILE - Special counsel Jack Smith speaks to the media about an indictment of former President Donald Trump, Aug. 1, 2023, at an office of the Department of Justice in Washington. Trump's lawyers are pressing to haveSmith's team held in contempt. The Republican former president's lawyers said Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, prosecutors have taken steps to advance the 2020 election interference case against him in violation of a judge's order that put the case on hold. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Special counsel asks SCOTUS to let Trump’s 2020 election case proceed without delay

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Jack Smith urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to let former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case proceed to trial without further delay.


Prosecutors were responding to a Trump team request from earlier in the week asking for a continued pause in the case as the court considers whether to take up the question of whether the former president is immune from prosecution for official acts in the White House. Two lower courts have overwhelmingly rejected that position, prompting Trump to ask the high court to intervene.

The case — one of four criminal prosecutions confronting Trump — has reached a critical juncture, with the Supreme Court’s next step capable of helping determine whether Trump stands trial this year in Washington or whether the proceedings are going to be postponed by weeks or months of additional arguments.

Johnson says House won’t be ‘rushed’ to approve aid for Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Speaker Mike Johnson said Wednesday the U.S. House will not feel “rushed” to pass the $95.3 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other allies, signaling a further stall over sending military hardware and munitions Kyiv badly needs to fight Russia.

Johnson made the remarks behind closed doors at a morning meeting of House Republicans, who are largely aligned with Donald Trump, the party’s presidential front-runner, in opposing the Senate-passed foreign assistance for Ukraine’s fight against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

The speaker let colleagues know that the House will instead “work its will,” in considering the package, said a person familiar with the private remarks and granted anonymity to discuss them.

Judge to consider whether to remove Willis from Georgia election case

ATLANTA (AP) — A Georgia judge has scheduled a hearing on a motion to bar Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis from continuing to pursue her election interference case against former President Donald Trump and others. That hearing is slated for Thursday. A defense attorney in the case argued in a court filing last month that a romantic relationship between Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade disqualifies them both. The filing says Willis personally benefited from the prosecution when Wade paid for vacations for the pair, creating a conflict of interest. Willis has acknowledged the relationship but has said it has no bearing on the serious criminal charges against Trump and others.

Former Indonesian general linked to human rights abuses claims victory in election

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A former general linked to past human rights abuses claimed victory Wednesday in Indonesia’s presidential election, a result that would raise questions about the commitment to democratic values in the sprawling island nation that is the world’s third-largest democracy.

Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto, 72, presented himself as an heir to immensely popular sitting President Joko Widodo, whose son was his running mate. Citing unofficial results, Subianto told thousands of supporters in the capital, Jakarta, that his victory was “the victory of all Indonesians.”

There was no declaration by election officials, and the two former provincial governors who also competed in the balloting did not concede defeat.

Myanmar to start drafting 5,000 people a month into military; some think of fleeing

BANGKOK (AP) — Myanmar’s military government on Wednesday said it will draft 60,000 young men and women yearly for military service under its newly activated conscription law, with call-ups beginning after the April festival marking the country’s traditional New Year.

The conscription measure was activated on Saturday by order of the chairman of the ruling military council, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

His surprise announcement appeared to confirm that the military has been stretched thin by increasing pressure from armed pro-democracy resistance forces that emerged after the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

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