World News (January 30, 2018)



DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — President Donald Trump threatened to withhold aid money from the Palestinians until they return to peace talks with Israel as he sat down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of an economic summit in Switzerland.

Trump’s decision last year to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital roiled Arab nations and led the Palestinians to refuse to meet with Vice President Mike Pence during his visit to the Mideast this week. They also declared a new U.S.-led peace push dead, saying Washington can no longer be trusted as an honest broker.

Trump said that decision has consequences. The U.S., he said, gives “hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support” to the Palestinians, and “that money is on the table and that money’s not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace.”

The Palestinian envoy to Washington, Husam Zomlot, accused the president of “backstabbing” the Palestinians. In a speech at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, Zomlot said Trump had reneged on his promise not to prejudge solutions to the conflict and chided the president for acting “triumphant” and “victorious” in Davos.

“We don’t understand, triumphant and victorious, what is it? For killing the only possible solution? For pushing us to the Armageddon?” Zomlot said.



WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared he’s “looking forward” to being questioned — under oath — in the special counsel’s probe of Russian election interference and Trump’s possible obstruction in the firing of the FBI Director.

Trump said he would be willing to answer questions under oath in the interview, which special counsel Robert Mueller has been seeking but which White House officials had not previously confirmed the President would grant.

“I’m looking forward to it, actually,” Trump said when asked by reporters at the White House. As for timing, he said, “I guess they’re talking about two or three weeks, but I’d love to do it.”

He said, as he has repeatedly, that “there’s no collusion whatsoever” with the Russians, and he added, “There’s no obstruction whatsoever.”

The full scope of Mueller’s investigation, which involves more than a million pages of documents and dozens of witness interviews, is unknown. And there have been no signs that agents aren’t continuing to work on ties between Trump’s campaign and a Russian effort to tip the 2016 election.



SAO PAULO (AP) — A day after a corruption conviction cast serious doubts on his future, Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva insisted that he’ll be on October’s presidential ballot, while also appearing to acknowledge that he could be sidelined.

The comments to high-ranking members of his left-leaning Workers’ Party underscored the conundrum facing the party that governed Brazil between 2003 and 2016. Its best chance of winning the presidency rests with da Silva, but the once wildly popular former leader may ultimately be ineligible or even jailed.

His chances of running went down sharply when an appellate court upheld a graft conviction against him and even increased the sentence to more than 12 years.

“I hope this candidacy does not depend on Lula,” the former leader stated, hinting that others in the Workers’ Party must be ready to carry forward its vision for the country. “You have to put the Brazilian people in motion.”

Party stalwarts at the meeting doubled down on their insistence that da Silva will run and that nobody is entertaining alternatives.

“There is no plan B to Lula’s candidacy,” said party chairwoman Gleisi Hoffmann. “Lula is plan A to Z.”

A few hundred members symbolically voted in favor of da Silva’s candidacy and the party intends to register him on Aug. 15, the last day to do so. Many members expressed interest in registering da Silva even if he is in jail.