• Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Behind closed doors at the Israeli Ofer Military Base in the West Bank, Ahed Tamimi, the Palestinian teenager who slapped an Israeli soldier, appeared in an Israeli military court Tuesday morning.Minutes after Ahed was brought into the courtroom Tuesday, Military Judge Lt. Col. Menachem Lieberman told the crowd of journalists, diplomats and non-profit group representatives they could not stay. He made the trial private on the grounds that Ahed is a minor, though that status has been under debate."I don't see how it's in the minor's interest that a 100 people are here all the time,” he said. “Her family can stay. Everyone else must leave."The curly-haired teenage girl, who is 17, has garnered harsh criticism and has bitterly divided public opinion. Human rights organizations, the European Union and United Nations have all voiced their concern.Ahed's Israeli lawyer Gaby Lasky protested today's decision to remove observers from the court."My client's arrest was filmed by the army and police, despite being a minor," Lasky told the judge. "So I think the media should stay here now. It's for her protection."Ahed's fight has become symbolic of the next generation of Palestinian resistance, many Palestinians hail Ahed as a brave young fighter.Some pro-Israel blogs have dubbed her "Shirley Temper," and right-wing Israelis accuse her of using social media to distribute propaganda and discredit Israel. One Israeli deputy minister and former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, even investigated whether the Tamimis were "a real family,” according to Haaretz.Ahed is facing years in jail. She has been charged with twelve offenses, including assaulting security forces and incitement to violence.She turned 17 two weeks ago in jail, appeared to be in good spirits today, according to journalists who were briefly in the courtroom. Her father, Bassem Tamimi, shouted: “Stay strong! Stay strong! You will win!”"The military judge decided to have a closed session, justifying it because Ahed is a child," her father Bassem told ABC News Tuesday. "But he forgets that you do not put children in jails, so if she is a child she must be free and out of jail."“The Israeli military occupation does not want diplomats, human right organizations and the press to see and witness the ugly face of the Israeli military occupation," he continued. "This is why he kicked all the international observers out of the military court today."Representatives from the EU, Norway and Germany were all present Tuesday.At her bail hearing in January, Human Rights Watch notes that Lasky argued that international human rights law permits the detention of children only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. But the Israeli military judge ruled that he “did not think the articles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child should be viewed as absolute.”On Monday, Human Rights Watch said "Tamimi’s pre-trial detention – 56 days and counting – is both a violation of international law and unnecessary. Her case raises concerns that Israel’s military justice system, which detains hundreds of Palestinian children every year, is incapable of respecting children’s rights."Amnesty International has also called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to free Ahed, and the other 300 other Palestinian minors in Israeli jail cells. The group said that while in detention, "she endured aggressive interrogations, sometimes at night, and threats made against her family."Ahed is a well-known teenage activist, from a family of well-known activists in the Palestinian village of Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, which is occupied by Israel. The village has held weekly protests almost every Friday since 2009.The incident for which she is on trial was captured in a now-viral video, shot and distributed by her family on December 14, 2017. An
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Citing concerns of tainted alcohol being served in Mexico, Sen. Tammy Baldwin is calling on the State Department to reform the way it handles deaths and injuries to Americans vacationing in the country.Baldwin's letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson -- obtained by ABC News -- points to reports of tourists fainting or blacking out after drinking only small amounts, and comes just weeks before many Americans travel to Mexico for spring break.Some tourists have reported being victims of robbery or assault after they passed out, according to the letter. Baldwin, D-Wis., estimates approximately 140 Americans have been involved in possible tainted alcohol incidents, often while staying at Mexico's upscale, all-inclusive resorts in places like Cancun, Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta.The State Department warned American citizens traveling to Mexico last year to be conscious of "allegations that consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in illness or blacking out."Baldwin writes that the State Department is currently only providing "limited guidance" to American victims of tainted alcohol. She is calling on the State Department to reform the way it operates in Mexico so that consulate staffers can help Americans navigate Mexico's legal system, rather than letting "them fend for themselves.""The State Department must do more to protect and assist our citizens when abroad," Baldwin writes."We are concerned about reported incidents that the consumption of substandard or unregulated alcohol in some tourist areas in Mexico has resulted in illness or blacking out," a State Department spokesperson told ABC News, noting that the State Department has only received 17 reports of Americans who are concerned they may have consumed tainted alcohol.At the State Department briefing Tuesday, spokesperson Heather Nauert reminded reporters that the U.S. is limited in what they can do in these cases."We are not able to prosecute because it is not our country. That's up to the Mexican government to do," Nauert said."We would like to reiterate that if any U.S. citizen traveler becomes ill and suspects they consumed substandard alcohol in Mexico, they should seek immediate medical attention and contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate," the State Department spokesperson added.Baldwin requested that all reports of tainted alcohol be shared with the State Department's Office of the Inspector General, which is currently conducting an inquiry into the department's response to incidents involving Americans and tainted alcohol in Mexico.A spokesperson for the State Department's Office of the Inspector General told ABC News that inquiry is ongoing.The State Department has designated the whole country of Mexico as "travel advisory Level 2," meaning tourists should "exercise increased caution."Just last month, parts of Mexico were designated Level 3 or 4, but that advisory does not include many popular tourist destinations.Mexico's secretary of tourism, Enrique de la Madrid Cordero, disputed reports of tainted alcohol in his country during an appearance on CNBC in December. "There is no evidence about tainted alcohol. The case that I've seen, where I have medical evidence, gives the evidence that the amount of alcohol that was drunk was excessive," Cordero said.
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  • NOAA(NEW YORK) -- Two days after Tropical Cyclone Gita ravaged the small South Pacific island nation of Tonga, the cleanup continues.The Japanese Meteorological Agency's Himawari-8 satellite captured the massive size of the Category 4 storm on thermal infrared imagery Monday. The storm had sustained winds of nearly 145 mph as it moved west past Tonga, bringing heavy rains with it.Only one other Category 4 or stronger storm has ever passed within 200 miles of the island -- Cyclone Ian in 2014, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's historical database.Acting Prime Minister Hon. Semisi Sika declared a state of emergency for Tonga, urging residents to stay where they were to prevent injury and avoid further damage to property or the environment.Following that declaration, Tonga's Police Commissioner Stephen Caldwell ordered a curfew in the Central Business District area of Nuku'alofa, saying in a statement, "We are urging people to seek refuge from this severe cyclone that could be the most powerful in the country's history."As of Tuesday night, over 3,000 people were staying in 41 different evacuation centers as crews were working to have the power up and running for the Vaiola Hospital. Tonga Power had seven teams out assessing the damage to see how early they could have the power up and running for the rest of the area.Tongatapu, Tonga's main island, saw three major injuries and 30 minor injuries due to the cyclone, according to Sia Adams, Tonga police's media officer. A 72-year-old man from Fuaamotu died from a heart attack but it is still unclear if the cyclone contributed to his death.Over 5,000 miles away in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the most famous face of Tonga is competing in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Cross-country skier and Tongan flag bearer Pita Taufatofua, 34, has been following the storm from South Korea as he tried to make contact with friends and family. This morning, Taufatofua announced on social media that his family was safe despite damage to their homes.Red Cross teams, the Australian Defense Force and the U.S Peace Corps are all conducting humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations to support Tonga. After a request from the Tongan government, Australia has deployed $350,000 in lifesaving equipment, including emergency shelter, kitchen and hygiene kits to assist.
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  • Alexey Navalny/YouTube(MOSCOW) -- Russia has threatened to block access to YouTube and Instagram if the sites do not remove video and photographs that show a senior government official sailing on a yacht with a billionaire oligarch, who has links with the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.Russia’s state-controlled media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, on Saturday ordered that 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube videos be deleted that show metals magnate Oleg Deripaska on a yacht with a Russian deputy prime minister, Sergey Prikhodko, and a woman who has described herself as an escort.The watchdog listed the posts on its register of banned sites after Deripaska won an injunction from a court in his hometown Ust-Labinsk, which ruled they violated his privacy. Roskomnadzor said it had informed the sites that they must delete the images within three days.The images are at the heart of the public battle between Deripaska and the anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny, who first drew attention to the posts in an investigative video piece he released last week. In the report, he accused the oligarch of bribing Prikhodko by hosting him on the yacht in August 2016.Navalny has built an anti-Kremlin political movement around similar investigations into alleged official corruption and was recently barred by a court from running against Russian President Vladimir Putin in elections this year. In the 25-minute video, there are accusations of Deripaska flying Prikhodko to the yacht in Norway on his private plane and of allegedly paying for the services of six more escort girls aboard the boat.Navalny’s video also attracted attention because of a speculative link he makes in it with the 2016 U.S. election. He alleges, without offering proof, that on the yacht Deripaska may have been passing information to Prikhodko that he acquired from Manafort.Manafort is a former business partner of Deripaska and in 2016 he offered to give the billionaire private briefings on the election shortly after joining Trump’s campaign, according to the Washington Post. Manafort, who has been indicted on money laundering charges in the course of the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election, has denied any briefing ever took place.Deripaska in a statement last week called Navalny's investigation "part of a planned campaign to damage my reputation" and warned media against disseminating "these mendacious accusations." Representatives for Deripaska have said the video illegally makes use of private images and makes false assertions.Prikhodko responded to Navalny's video last week with a statement to the Russian news outlet, RBC, that “such stuff should be answered man-to-man, but we will leave in within the bounds of the legal field."Roskomnadzor also ordered Navalny to delete the video and text versions of the investigation from his website.On Tuesday, Oksana Baulina, a member of Navalny’s political organization said it had received messages from YouTube to take down the video, posting a screenshot of it on Twitter. Navalny has so far refused to do so and has filed suit against Roskomnadzor, arguing its block on the images is illegal. Over 4 million people have watched the video on YouTube, so far.The video and photos highlighted by Navalny were first posted in 2016 by the woman onboard the yacht with Deripaska. The 21-year-old Belarussian goes by the name Nastya Rybka and has promoted herself as an expert in seduction in video blogs and a book.In some of the videos on Rybka's Instagram, Deripaska can be seen with her and Priokhodko relaxing aboard the yacht. At one point, Deripaska and Prikhodko joke about the poor relations between Russia and the United States.Rybka has also written a book in which she describes the encounter, using pseudonyms, and where she claims there were other women aboard the boat. The book presents itself as a manual for women on how to seduce an oligarch.Ryb
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  • Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli police on Tuesday recommended indicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption investigations, a move that could lead to the first indictments after months of corruption investigations focusing on the prime minister and his family.Israeli police said in a statement they had "sufficient evidence" against the prime minister in both cases "for the offense of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust."Israeli police alleged Netanyahu received at least 1 million shekels, around $283,000, in lavish gifts and bribes.Case 1,000 alleges that Netanyahu accepted gifts from wealthy patrons in return for advancing their interests. In so-called Case 2,000, Netanyahu is accused of striking a deal with Israel's second largest newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, to provide him with positive coverage in return for damaging the reputation of Israel Hayom, a free newspaper in Israel.Case 1,000 names two wealthy businessmen, an Israeli Hollywood producer and an Australian businessman. In regards to the producer, the police said they had evidence for accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust. With respect to the businessman, the police only named fraud and breach of trust.The police also added it had sufficient evidence of bribery to charge the producer, too.Netanyahu blasted the development in a televised address this evening."I have not known a day in office without vicious allegations against me and my family," he said. "Fifteen investigations have been launched against me. I know the truth. This time as well, it will end in nothing."Netanyahu indicated he was committed to remaining prime minister."Nothing will divert me from my commitment to the good of the nation," he said. "I feel a deep commitment to continue to lead this people."Last week, the embattled prime minister took to Facebook to criticize the police, calling the claims "ludicrous." He also attacked the credibility of the investigation after Israel Police Chief Roni Alshiech insinuated Netanyahu may have hired private investigators to follow those involved in the investigation.He has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying more than once "there will be nothing, because there is nothing."Tuesday's recommendations are just that, recommendations, and while they are damaging politically and will certainly fuel calls for the prime minister to step down, the real decision to charge the prime minister lies with Israel's attorney general. Only a conviction with the charge of moral turpitude would legally force Netanayahu to step down.By making the recommendations, though, the police are signaling they believe there is enough evidence to charge Netanyahu.The police's reported recommendations would now go to Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit, who will decide whether to file charges. This process could take months.
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  • Kevin Hagen/Getty Images(SOUTH AFRICA) -- The African National Congress, the party of the late Nelson Mandela and the ruling party in South Africa, has ordered the country's president, Jacob Zuma, to hand in his resignation, though giving him no deadline to do so.The party’s secretary general, Ace Magashule, made the announcement at a news conference today after a marathon special ANC National Executive Committee meeting outside Pretoria that lasted into the early hours.The executive committee had reportedly resolved to give Zuma the option to resign or be recalled.Although Zuma indicated his willingness to resign, Magashule said, he wanted a grace period of between three and six months to step down, which the executive committee rejected.When Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa’s deputy president who also heads the ANC, went to see Zuma Monday night, the president reportedly said: "Do what you want to do."Ramaphosa has been in ongoing discussions with Zuma to negotiate an exit plan while South Africans waited with bated breath.Last week saw the unprecedented cancellation of the State of the Nation address that was scheduled for Thursday.Opposition parties Monday called for the dissolution of Parliament and fresh elections to be held to elect a new president.It’s unclear when Zuma will resign. Officials have not given him a deadline, Magashule said, but are “leaving it to him to do the right thing.”Zuma stands accused of more than 780 charges of fraud, money laundering and racketeering related to an arms deal scandal. Although he has consistently denied the charges, prosecutors are gearing up to reinstate them. The beleaguered president was also found by the highest court in South Africa to have failed in his duty to uphold, defend and respect the country’s Constitution after making improvements to his private homestead with taxpayers’ money.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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