U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: April 10, 2017

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Harry How/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. G-7 ministers meet to show a united front on Syria
Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations are gathering in Italy on Monday for a meeting expected to focus on the next steps to take on Syria, following last week’s U.S. missile strike against the Syrian air base believed to have launched a nerve gas attack that killed more than 80 civilians, including children, in a rebel-held town. G-7 leaders are expected to pressure Russia to stop supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano, the meeting’s host, said Europe’s broad support for the U.S. strikes had contributed to a “renewed harmony” between the U.S. and the European Union, which had appeared to be “moving apart” over the last 100 days. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov after the G-7 meeting.

Source: The Associated Press, Fox News

2. Sergio Garcia claims his first major title, winning the Masters in a playoff
Sergio Garcia won the 81st Masters on Sunday, beating Justin Rose with a birdie on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. Rose had a two-stroke lead going into the final five holes, but Garcia caught up to finish regulation play tied with Rose at 9 under par, missing a seven-foot birdie that would have won the tournament on the final hole. It was Garcia’s first major title in 74 starts despite finishing as runner-up four times, including a playoff loss in the 2007 British Open to Padraig Harrington. “Obviously, this is something I wanted to do for a long time,” Garcia said, “but, you know, it never felt like a horror movie. It felt like a little bit of a drama, but obviously with a happy ending.”

Source: CBS Sports, The New York Times

3. ISIS claims responsibility for Egypt church bombings
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for suicide bombings that killed at least 44 people at two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday. ISIS said the bombers were Egyptian nationals, although Egyptian authorities did not immediately released details on the identity of the suspected attackers. ISIS warned that it planned more attacks, saying: “The Crusaders and their tails from the apostates must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God willing.” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency, calling the attacks “outrageous” and ordering security forces to “hunt down the perpetrators.”

Source: CNN

4. U.S. officials send mixed signals on Syria after strike
National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Sunday that the U.S. might take further military action against the Syrian government, but that the U.S. would not try to remove President Bashar al-Assad on its own. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the Trump administration’s top priority in Syria was still defeating the Islamic State. After that is accomplished, he said, the U.S. would turn its focus to helping to broker ceasefire agreements between rebels and the government, although it would be up to the Syrian people to decide Assad’s fate. The remarks by McMaster and Tillerson appeared to contradict an earlier statement by United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, who said defeating ISIS is the top priority but “we don’t see a peaceful Syria with Assad in there.”

Source: The Associated Press, The Washington Post

5. Another National Security Council member leaves
Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland, who was hired by ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, is expected to step down from the National Security Council and take the job of U.S. ambassador to Singapore, Bloomberg News reported Sunday, citing an administration official. The report was the latest sign that National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who replaced Flynn, is consolidating his power further after getting President Trump’s chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, removed from the powerful standing committee of the NSC. Flynn was pushed out in February for misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his communication with Russian officials before Trump’s inauguration.

Source: Bloomberg

6. Suicide bombing targeting army chief kills civilians in Somalia
A suicide bomber tried to ram a vehicle into the convoy of Somalia’s newly installed army commander, Gen. Ahmed Mohamed Jimale, outside the defense ministry in Mogadishu, but instead blew apart a minibus, killing 15 civilians. Jimale, who had just taken the oath of office, escaped unscathed. Authorities blamed the al-Shabab militant group, which acknowledged that it was behind the attack and claimed that several military officials were among the dead. The bombing came three days after the country’s new president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (also known as Farmajo), declared war on al-Shabab, and shook up the leadership of the army, police, and national intelligence service to go after the Islamist extremist organization.

Source: The New York Times

7. Authorities hunt for Wisconsin man who allegedly sent manifesto to Trump
Police increased security around churches in Janesville, Wisconsin, on Sunday as local, state, and federal law-enforcement agencies intensified the search for Joseph Jakubowski, who allegedly stole high-caliber weapons from a Janesville gun store and mailed an anti-government manifesto to President Trump. Authorities ordered the security presence at churches due to “anti-religion sentiment” in the 160-page manifesto, which investigators believe Jakubowski wrote. Jakubowski, described by a friend as “highly agitated” by recent national politics, allegedly stole 16 high-caliber rifles and pistols from the Armageddon Gun Shop in Janesville on Tuesday.

Source: NBC News, The Associated Press

8. North Korea defiant after U.S. show of strength
North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that the isolated communist nation was “not frightened” by the U.S. Tomahawk missile strike against Syria, or by the Navy carrier strike group the U.S. has redirected toward the Korean Peninsula. “What happened in Syria once again taught a bitter lesson that … one can defend oneself from the imperialist aggression only when one has one’s strength,” the foreign ministry spokesman said according to state media. “Any aggression should be countered with force only and we were entirely just when we have bolstered our nuclear force remarkably.” Pentagon officials said it was necessary to redirect the Navy ships to the area due to rising tensions caused by North Korea’s recent tests of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons.

Source: MarketWatch

9. Israel closes Egyptian border crossing after deadly church attacks
Israel has closed its Taba border crossing to Egypt’s Sinai peninsula following intelligence suggesting an “imminent” terrorist attack, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said Monday. Sinai is a popular vacation spot during the upcoming Passover break. Israel said the border crossing will be open for Israeli citizens coming home, following the deadly attacks on two Coptic Christian churches in Egypt during Palm Sunday services. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency after the attacks, which killed at least 44 people, but Parliament needs to approve his declaration. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Source: The Associated Press, BBC News

10. 21st Century Fox investigates sexual harassment claim against Bill O’Reilly
Fox News’ parent company 21st Century Fox announced Sunday that it will have a law firm investigate the sexual harassment claims against Bill O’Reilly, host of The O’Reilly Factor. “This is not blowing over,” said civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents Wendy Walsh, a former contributor to O’Reilly’s show, who triggered the investigation by calling 21st Century Fox’s anonymous hotline last week to say that O’Reilly had promised to get her a job at the news channel but backed out after she rejected his romantic advances. She earlier gave the same account to The New York Times, which reported a week ago that O’Reilly and his employer had paid $13 million to five women who accused him of sexual harassment and other abuse. O’Reilly has denied the claims, saying accusers “target” him due to his fame. Sixty advertisers have dropped the show since the Times report.

Source: Variety, The New York Times

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