Live Coverage

Today's News: Feb. 22, 2017

Marine Le Pen’s chief of staff charged, North Korean official sought for high-profile killing, and more from the United States and around the world.

Marine Le Pen Eric Gaillard / Reuters

—Marine Le Pen’s chief of staff was charged with breach of trust as part of an on-going investigation into allegations the far-right National Front leader misused European Union funds to pay her parliamentary assistants. More here

—Malaysian authorities say they want to question a North Korean diplomat in connection with the killing last week of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader. More here

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).


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Turkey Lifts Ban on Female Army Officers Wearing Headscarves

A woman wearing a headscarf makes a gesture at a demonstration in Istanbul, Turkey on August 1, 2015. (Osman Orsal / Reuters)

Turkey’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday lifted a ban on female officers wearing headscarves in the country’s armed forces, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reports. Under the new regulations, female officers will be permitted to wear headscarves as part of their uniform as long as the headscarves match the color of the army’s uniform and are worn underneath caps or berets. The military is the last Turkish institution to overturn its ban on headscarves. In 2010, the secular Muslim-majority country lifted its ban on headscarves on university campuses, and in 2013 and 2014 overturned the ban on headscarves in state institutions and high schools, respectively. The ban on female police officers wearing headscarves as part of their uniform was lifted in August. While critics of the move have accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of pushing a conservative agenda, proponents argue it allows for more religious freedom.

Anti-Defamation League Receives Bomb Threat at New York Headquarters

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt speaks in New York City on October 2, 2015. (Leigh Vogel / Getty)

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) received a bomb threat to its New York headquarters Wednesday, marking the latest in a series of threats targeting U.S. Jewish organizations. Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL’s CEO, said the organization is working with law enforcement to determine if the anonymous threat is connected to similar threats targeting Jewish institutions across the country. “This is not the first time that ADL has been targeted,” Greenblatt said in a statement. “It will not deter us in our efforts to combat anti-Semitism and hate against people of all races and religions.” As my colleague Emma Green reported, approximately 170 graves at a Jewish cemetery were desecrated over the weekend and more than 50 Jewish Community Centers in 26 states reported receiving threatening calls over the last two months.

The calls may be a novel form of intimidation, but the context around them is not. American Jews are victims of more reported hate crimes than any other group in the United States, and have been subject to the majority of religiously motivated offenses every year since 1995, when the FBI first started reporting these statistics. The phone calls may not result in violence, but they contribute to an atmosphere of anti-Semitism already well-established in the United States.

U.K. Supreme Court Upholds Minimum-Income Rule for Immigrant Spouses

People walk outside the U.K. Supreme Court building in London on September 4, 2009. (Andrew Winning / Reuters)

The U.K. Supreme Court upheld an immigration rule Wednesday that requires British citizens to meet a certain income threshold before they can bring foreign spouses to Britain. Under the 2012 rule, British citizens must earn at least 18,600 pounds (approximately $23,100) annually in order to bring a foreign spouse to live with them. The law does not take into account the income of the foreign spouse. Four couples challenged the law, which they argued violates their human right to a family life. The seven justices acknowledged that certain aspects of the law, such as not taking into account the best interest of any children involved or the lack of consideration for alternative sources of income, “are defective and need to be amended,” but ultimately decided the rule did not constitute a violation of human rights. A Home Office spokesman said while the income threshold is “in the national interest,” the government will be “carefully considering what the court said in relation to exceptional cases where the income threshold has not been met, particularly where the case involves a child.” The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, an immigration advocacy group, lauded the court for acknowledging the need for revisions to the law, which it said “offers hope to families and gives an opportunity for further campaigning to reunite families.”

North Korean Diplomat Is Sought for Questioning in High-Profile Killing

Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia's police chief, demonstrates Tuesday how Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, was killed. (Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters)

Malaysian police said Wednesday they want to question Hyon Kwang Song, a diplomat at the North Korean Embassy in Kuala Lumpur, in connection with the killing last week of Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader. At a news conference, Khalid Abu Bakar, the Malaysian police chief, said the two women—one Indonesian and the other Vietnamese—who are alleged to have carried out the attack were trained to wipe toxins on Kim Jong Nam’s face, and then wash their hands. Kim, who was estranged from the North Korean leader, died as a result of the poisoning at Kuala Lumpur airport. Both women are in custody. One of the women previously said she thought she was taking part in a televised prank. Abu Bakar said four North Koreans believed to have played a role in the attack returned to their country; three others, he said, were still in North Korea. They were identified as Hyon, a second secretary at the embassy; a worker with Air Koryo, the North Korean airlines; and a third individual. Abu Bakar said there were attempts made to break into the morgue where Kim Jong Nam’s body is being kept. The remarks are the most direct linking the North Korean government to the killing, and they are certain to raise tensions between Malaysia and North Korea, which have relatively good relations. Pyongyang has denied any role in the killing, and has called the investigation politically motivated. Kim Jong Nam, 45, was once seen as a likely successor to his father, Kim Jong Il. But he fell out of favor after an incident in 2001 in which he attempted to use a forged passport to travel to Tokyo. He is believed to have lived in exile ever since.

Hong Kong's Former Chief Executive Sentenced to 20 Months in Prison

Former Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang and his wife, Selina, arrive Monday at the High Court in Hong Kong. (Bobby Yip / Reuters)

Donald Tsang, who served as Hong Kong’s chief executive from 2005 to 2012, was sentenced Wednesday to 20 months in prison for misconduct in public office. At issue were allegations Tsang hid his connection to a Chinese developer seeking a broadcast license while Tsang ran Hong Kong; the license was approved. The charge for which he was convicted Monday carried a maximum of seven years in prison, but the judge considered Tsang’s nearly five decades in public service before sentencing him to 20 months in prison. Tsang, 72, the highest-ranking Hong Kong official to be sentenced to prison, said he would appeal the ruling. The former chief executive was acquitted of another misconduct charge; the jury failed to reach a verdict on a corruption charge. Tsang will be retried on that charge later this year.