A Turkish court trying 26 Saudi nationals in absentia for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi has refused to admit as evidence a recent US intelligence report implicating the kingdom’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, despite a petition from the journalist’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz.
The declassified US report released last Friday said Washington believed that Prince Mohammed approved the operation to “capture or kill” Khashoggi.
In the third session of the Istanbul trial on Thursday, Cengiz’s petition to add the report to the evidence case file was rejected on the grounds that it would “bring nothing” to the trial. The judge allowed her to file a new request with prosecutors leading the Turkish government’s case instead.
Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile in 2017, moving to the US and becoming a columnist for the Washington Post. While visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 to pick up paperwork for his marriage to Cengiz, a Turkish national, he was sedated, killed and dismembered by a 15-strong team of Saudi agents. His remains have never been found.
After a series of shifting explanations, Riyadh eventually admitted the 59-year-old had been killed in a “rogue operation”, but it has strenuously denied that the heir to the throne was involved.
Turkish prosecutors claim the Saudi deputy intelligence chief Ahmed al-Assiri and the royal court’s media chief Saud al-Qahtani masterminded the mission.
Biden has also promised to administer 100 million vaccines by his 100th day in office, which is April 30. As of Thursday, 54 million people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine was authorized for emergency use on Saturday, but those doses do not appear yet in the C.D.C. data.
The milestone was yet another sign of momentum in the nation’s effort to vaccinate every willing adult, even as state and city governments face several challenges, from current supply to logistics to hesitancy, of getting all of those doses into people’s arms.
An effort to restrict voting is under way across America, but there are few places where that assault is more clear, and more urgent, than in Georgia. I know we’ve talked about Georgia before, but this week, I want to dig in to exactly what Georgia lawmakers are proposing to make it harder to vote right now and why it matters.
On Monday, the Georgia house of representatives approved a bill, HB531, that would implement sweeping changes to the state’s voting system. Among other measures, the bill would:
- Require voters to provide identification information both with their absentee ballot application and the ballot itself.
- Limit election officials to offer just two days of early voting on the weekends, one of which is required to be a Saturday.
- Restrict early voting from 9am. to 5pm, with an option for election officials to extend hours from 7am to 7pm.
- Give voters less time to request an absentee ballot.
- Shorten the period for a runoff election from nine weeks to four.
In the state senate, there are also proposals to get rid of the state’s policy of automatically registering voters and to only allow voters to cast a ballot by mail if they are 65 or older or have a valid excuse. That would eliminate the so-called no-excuse absentee voting system Georgia Republicans – yes Georgia Republicans – enacted in 2005.
While proposals in states across the country are deeply alarming, the efforts in Georgia matter significantly for a few reasons:
- They come after an election in which there was record turnout in the state, including surges among Black and other minority voters, which helped power Democrats to stunning upsets.
- Georgia officials, including top Republicans, loudly dismissed allegations of fraud and there were statewide recounts and audits to back them up.
- They evoke Georgia’s well-documented and ugly history of passing laws designed to make it harder for Black people to vote
threatened to take away vaccines from seniors. “If Manatee County does not like us doing this we are totally fine with putting this in counties that want it,” he said.
“If you want us to send to Sarasota next time, or Charlotte, or Pasco, let us know. We are happy to do it.”
On Thursday, DeSantis denied having anything to do with the decision to direct hundreds of vaccines to Ocean Reef.
“That was one of the South Florida hospital systems [that] went to this community of seniors. I think they did a good job of doing that. We just weren’t involved with it in any way, shape, or form,” he said at a press briefing in Crystal River.
“I’m not worried about your income bracket, I’m worried about your age bracket.”
DeSantis’s denials, however, have failed to quell growing disquiet in Florida over his actions.
Nikki Fried, the state’s agriculture commissioner and the only Democrat in the governor’s cabinet, on Thursday called for the FBI to investigate.
“I will not stand by and let our vaccines be used as a political game and go to the highest bidders while so many of our Floridians are suffering, like my grandmother, like my mother, like your parents and grandparents,” she told journalists on Thursday morning.