South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been impeached. The country’s Constitutional Court upheld a December parliamentary vote to remove her from office. Park was embroiled in corruption scandals that have brought down politicians and business leaders, including those from Samsung, in the country. South Koreans must now vote for a new president within the next 60 days. Initial reports say the snap election will be held on May 9. The court’s decision happened during a tumultuous time in the region, as North Korea increases tensions with missile tests. Prosecutors in South Korea have already recommended 13 charges against Park for alleged bribery. Now that she has been impeached, she has lost her immunity and could now face prosecution.
—South Korean President Park Geun-hye has been impeached. More here
—One man was detained and several other people injured during an axe attack at the Düsseldorf Central Station in western Germany. More here
—The House Ways and Means Committee approved the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act after an 18-hour session. More here
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
South Korean President Removed From Office
Axe Attack at German Train Station Leaves Several People Injured
One man was detained and several other people injured Thursday evening during an axe attack at the Düsseldorf Central Station in western Germany. Rainer Kerstiens, a police spokesman, told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that multiple people are believed to be behind the attack, which took place at approximately 9 p.m. local time, and that police are looking for additional suspects. The number of people injured is unknown.
Here is the view from outside the station:
This story is developing and we will update it as we learn more.
EU Leaders Re-Elect Donald Tusk President of the European Council
EU leaders voted 27-1 to re-elect Donald Tusk, the former Polish prime minister, president of the European Council. The sole no vote came from Poland, whose government alleged Tusk had tried to interfere in domestic politics and strongly opposed his re-election. Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo had proposed another candidate, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, a relatively unknown member of the European Parliament. Tusk and Szydlo are from rival parties. Tusk 2½-year term ends in November 2019; he is expected to play a pivotal role in negotiations between the U.K. and the EU on Brexit. The U.K. was among the countries that voted for him. Tusk was Poland’s center-right prime minister from 2007 to 2014.
Assange Says WikiLeaks Will Work With Tech Companies on Latest CIA Leak
Updated at 1:01 p.m.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said the website would give tech firms access to information about tools it says the CIA possesses that can be used to break into smartphones, TVs, and servers. “The Central Intelligence Agency lost control of its entire cyberweapons arsenal,” Assange said at a news conference in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London where he has been since seeking asylum there in 2012. The remarks come two days after WikiLeaks published a trove of documents it says comes from the CIA’s Center for Cyber Intelligence. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive. The authenticity of the claim has not been verified, but WikiLeaks’s previous revelations, including material revealed by Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, illustrated the scale of U.S. surveillance worldwide. Assange said WikiLeaks has “decided to … give [tech companies] some exclusive access to some of the technical details we have, so that fixes can be pushed out” on software vulnerabilities that may exist. USA Today reported this week the FBI has opened a criminal investigation into the leak of the information. The CIA in a statement Thursday said: “Julian Assange is not exactly a bastion of truth.”
North Korea Allows Two Malaysians to Leave Despite Travel Ban
North Korea permitted two Malaysian nationals to leave the country Thursday despite tensions with Kuala Lumpur that resulted in both countries invoking travel bans on each other’s citizens. Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Razak said the nationals, both employees of the UN’s World Food Program, arrived Thursday in Beijing. The move follows a week of rising tensions between the two countries over the killing of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, last month at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Malaysia accused North Korea of being behind the assassination—a charge Pyongyang denied, and one which led to its announcement this week of a temporary ban on all Malaysians leaving the country. Malaysia responded in kind with its own travel ban on North Koreans leaving the country. Thursday’s decision could signal a possible settling in diplomatic tensions. In a statement Wednesday, the Malaysian prime minister said that “diplomatic relations between Malaysia and North Korea will not be severed, as we need to continue communicating with them to find a solution.”
Barcelona's 'Victory for Our Faith and Our Belief'
FC Barcelona staged an improbable victory against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to enter the quarterfinal of the Champions League soccer tournament Wednesday night in front of a 96,000-strong home crowd at Camp Nou. The margin of victory, 6-1, looked decisive, but to get there Barcelona had to overcome a four-goal deficit against PSG, which won the first leg in Paris 4-0. Luis Suarez scored in the first three minutes, giving Barcelona the early lead. PSG’s Kurzawa’s own goal made it 2-0. A penalty from Messi in the 50th minute made it 3-0. PSG were still in with a chance, though: Cavani scored in the 62nd minute, increasing the net lead PSG enjoyed. But Neymar’s back-to-back goals in the 88th and 90th minute (a penalty) made is 5-1. Substitute Sergi Roberto deftly netted the sixth to make it 6-1. There was joy at Camp Nou and tears, as fans watched what’s being described as one of the great comebacks in Barcelona history. It was “a victory for our faith and belief,” Luis Enrique, Barcelona’s coach, said.
Watch the highlights here:
GOP's Obamacare Replacement Plan Clears First Hurdle
The House Ways and Means Committee, after an 18-hour session, approved the Republican plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement that is also called Obamacare. The fate of the measure is unclear: Doctors and hospitals have come out against it, as have Republicans lawmakers, many of whom see it as Obamacare-lite, as well as Democrats, who want to protect Obama’s legacy. President Trump supports the legislation. Read my colleague Russell Berman’s coverage of the legislative prospects of the measure, officially called the American Healthcare Act, here.