Today's Intel

Dec. 12, 2018

REUTERS

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he would intervene with the U.S. Justice Department in the case against a Chinese telecommunications executive if it would help secure a trade deal with Beijing.

President Donald Trump said on Tuesday he was not concerned that he could be impeached and that hush payments made ahead of the 2016 election by his former personal attorney Michael Cohen to two women did not violate campaign finance laws.

French authorities have arrested a man suspected of committing war crimes in the Central African Republic and he will face extradition to The Hague, the International Criminal Court (ICC) said.

Pope Francis has removed from his group of close advisers two cardinals hit by sexual abuse scandals, including his economy minister, Australian George Pell, the Vatican said.

Police searched through eastern France on Wednesday for a man suspected of killing at least two people in a gun attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg and who was known to have been religiously radicalized while in jail.

Yemen's warring parties agreed on Wednesday to reopen Sanaa airport in the Houthi-held capital, sources said, as Western nations press the two sides to agree on confidence-building measures before the end of the first U.N.-led peace talks in two years.

Lebanese leaders expressed fresh confidence on Wednesday about reaching a deal to form a new government, with President Michel Aoun saying results of his efforts to break the months-long deadlock would appear this week.

OPEC said on Wednesday it had offset a drop in sanctions-hit Iranian oil exports and lowered the 2019 forecast of demand for its crude, underlining the challenge the producer group faces to prevent a glut even after last week's decision to trim output.

AP Top Stories

Former Phoenix-area Sheriff Joe Arpaio has filed a defamation lawsuit seeking $300 million against three news organizations, alleging their inaccurate references to his criminal case have hurt his chances at possibly running in 2020 for the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by John McCain.

Soldiers from North and South Korea crossed into each other's territory peacefully for the first time on Wednesday, Seoul said, as they began checking the dismantlement of guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone.

Nigeria on Wednesday faced calls to prosecute soldiers for using excessive force against Shiite Muslim protesters, exactly three years after a military crackdown killed more than 300.

Two launch units for anti-tank guided missiles recovered by a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen appear to have been manufactured in Iran during 2016 and 2017, according to a confidential United Nations report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

Several dozen journalists and activists held a rally Wednesday in Myanmar's biggest city to mark the anniversary of the arrest of two reporters for the Reuters news agency who are among a group of journalists being honored by Time magazine as its "Person of the Year."

A U.N. human rights watchdog has urged Saudi authorities to free over a dozen rights activists detained in the kingdom, alleging that some had been tortured or mistreated during interrogation.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry arrived in Baghdad on a trade mission Tuesday urging Iraq to reduce its energy dependence on Iran and open its own energy sector to American investment.

Nearly 114,000 Syrian refugees have returned home this year, the Russian military said Tuesday, a mere fraction of the nearly 6 million who have fled the country since the start of the seven-year conflict. U.N. agencies said they need $5.5 billion in the coming year to support Syria's neighbors hosting the refugees.

Oman will let Israeli planes fly through its airspace, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, in another sign of his country's efforts toward ties with Arab states despite the conflict with the Palestinians.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians on Wednesday to stay united, saying the United States would exploit divisions and was likely to launch plots against Iran in 2019.

Gas prices hit a low for the year on Monday as oil's plunge led to relief at the pump for American motorists. The average national price of gas was $2.42 on Monday, according to AAA. That was 4 cents lower than a week ago, 28 cents lower than a month ago and 4 cents lower than a year ago.

Afghan forces abandoned a remote district in the west of the country, leaving the area to Taliban insurgents after the government failed to resupply dozens of troops stationed there.

BBC

Goodyear employees in Venezuela are each to be given 10 tires as part of their severance payment, as the US firm halts operations in the country. Quality tires are valuable on the black market, in a country where there is a chronic shortage of all sorts of goods.

China has reportedly proposed cutting tariffs on US-made cars from 40% to 15%, the same tax levied on car imports from other countries.

Turkey will launch a new operation against US-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria "in the next few days", President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Russian cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are engaged on a spacewalk to investigate a mysterious hole that caused a loss of air pressure in August.

WND

State Rep. Dan Flynn of Van wants to make sure that any Texas teacher who wants to display the Ten Commandments in his or her classroom may do so. That's why he filed House Bill 307 that says school officials - particularly school board trustees - cannot prevent copies of those commandments from being posted "in a prominent location" in classrooms.

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