The Washington Post
“Putin offers to provide Congress with details of Trump disclosures to Russian envoys”
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he would be willing to provide the U.S. Congress a record of President Trump’s meeting with top Russian envoys, possibly offering new details on the disclosures of reportedly highly classified intelligence information.
The remarkable offer for the Kremlin to share evidence with U.S. oversight committees came with the caveat that the request for the transcript would have to come from the Trump administration. The Kremlin has denied reports that Trump shared classified secrets last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russia’s ambassador to the United States during an Oval Office meeting. But the full extent of Trump’s comments to the Russian envoys has not been made public.
As reported first by The Washington Post, Trump in a meeting with Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak shared classified information about an Islamic State plot to smuggle a bomb disguised as a laptop aboard a passenger plane. Subsequent reports have suggested the intelligence was provided by the Israeli government, and was so sensitive that it was not shared even with the United States’ closest allies.
On Tuesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman denied that Trump revealed classified information during last week’s meeting, while Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, called the report “another piece of nonsense, and we do not want to have anything to do with this nonsense at all.” Trump added in the tweets that he has the “absolute right” to share the information, which was described to The Washington Post as highly classified and intended to remain only within a tight circle of allies.
“German oil firm accused of withholding $900m from Libya”
A German oil producer has been accused by the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation of withholding more than $900m (£697m) from the Libyan state and colluding with unlawful efforts by Libya’s UN-backed government to take over the sale of the country’s vastly profitable oil contracts.
The power struggle between the NOC and Wintershall – which denied that it owed any money and said it had always met its obligations to the state – has long-term implications for global oil prices and the Libyan economy, since more than 80% of Libyan state revenues derive from oil.
Despite Libya’s political crisis, oil production has been gradually increasing of late, reaching 800,000 barrels per day. The NOC is seen as one of the few bipartisan Libyan institutions capable of keeping out of the political infighting that has dogged the country since Muammar Gaddafi fell in 2011. Libya was producing 1.6m barrels per day before the uprising, and the NOC has said output in 2017 could reach between 1.1m and 1.2m barrels per day if political obstacles are removed.
The NOC argued that the battle with Wintershall, and the support the company has enjoyed from the UN-backed government, was vital to its ability to keep control of decisions on oil contracts away from politicians, and ensure that the maximum amount of revenue reaches the state coffers.
“Indonesia’s Aceh: Two gay men sentenced to 85 lashes”
The men were found guilty of violating strict Islamic laws in conservative Aceh and will receive 85 lashes each. The pair, aged 20 and 23, were found in bed together by vigilantes in March. They have not been identified.
Gay sex is not illegal in the rest of Muslim-majority Indonesia and this is its first such conviction. Aceh is the only province where Sharia is in force. The sentence is due to be carried out next week.
While the judges did not give the maximum punishment of 100 lashes, the sentence is heavier than the 80 lashes asked for by the prosecution.
Public caning sentences have been handed down previously only for gambling and drinking alcohol.
Aceh has become increasingly conservative in recent years. Strict laws against homosexuality were passed in 2014 and came into effect the following year.
“Huge Brawl Broke Out Between Erdogan’s Bodyguards and Kurdish Protesters Outside Turkish Embassy”
Shortly after the meeting and joint-statement between president Trump and Turkish president Erdogan yesterday, a fight which saw the participation of Erdogan’s bodyguards erupted in front of the Turkish embassy in DC between supporters and Kurdish opponents of the Turkish president, in which nine people were injured and taken to a hospital and two arrests were made.
Witnesses reported that the brawl erupted when Erdogan’s security detail attacked protesters carrying the flag of the Kurdish PYD party outside the residence. A local NBC television affiliate reported Erdogan was inside the building at the time. Metropolitan Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck said the altercation broke out between two groups but he didn’t elaborate on the circumstances. He said two people were arrested, including one who was charged with assaulting a police officer.
Hours earlier Trump and Erdogan stood side by side at the White House and promised to strengthen strained ties despite the Turkish leader’s stern warning about Washington’s arming of a Kurdish militia. Erdogan, fresh from securing his grip on Turkey with a referendum to enhance his powers, arrived at the Oval Office with complaints about US support for Kurdish fighters and what Ankara says is Washington’s harbouring of the mastermind of a failed coup. But according to AP both leaders also tried to put a brave face on their differences and to renew a key alliance between Nato’s leading power and its biggest Muslim member, partners in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.