Park Geun Hye, South Korea’s recently ousted leader, was formally indicted Monday on charges of taking and soliciting $52 million in bribes in a corruption scandal that brought down her presidency. Park faces a total of 18 criminal charges, including abuse of power, coercion, and leaking government secrets. If convicted, she could face anywhere from 10 years in prison to a life sentence. Others have also been arrested in the corruption scandal. Choi Soon Sil, Park’s longtime friend and confidante; Lee Jae Yong, Samsung Group’s chief executive; and Shin Dong Bin, the Lotte Group chairman, were also arrested for alleged collusion in the corruption scandal. All have denied wrongdoing.
Today's News: April 17, 2017
U.S. warns North Korea, Turkey’s referendum results upheld, and more from the United States and around the world.
—Vice President Mike Pence has warned that the U.S. “era of strategic patience” with North Korea’s nuclear program is over.
—The head of Turkey’s electoral commission has upheld the results of the referendum that granted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sweeping powers.
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Daylight Time (GMT -4).
South Korea's Ousted President Park Indicted in Corruption Scandal
Police Search for the Man Who Uploaded Video of a Murder to Facebook
Police in several states as well as federal authorities are searching for a suspect who recorded a video of himself shooting and killing a 74-year-old man in Cleveland and then uploaded the video to Facebook. Police said the suspect is Steve Stephens, and he is believed to be on the run and armed. Stephens made several Facebook posts before the shooting, saying he’d lost all his money gambling and that he was upset with his girlfriend. He also claimed to have committed a dozen other murders, though police have not verified if that is true. The killing happened Sunday afternoon, and the video, as described by The Washington Post, shows Stephens approach a man, then ask him to repeat the name of his girlfriend. The man does so, then Stephens says, “She’s the reason why this is about to happen to you.” Stephens then raises the gun and fires, according to the Post. The victim was identified as Robert Godwin Sr., and police said there was no indication the men knew each other. Authorities say they believe Stephens left the state, and they cautioned residents in Pennsylvania and New York that he is armed and dangerous. Stephens was last seen in a white Ford Fusion. The video was originally thought to have been broadcast live, but a Facebook representative has said it was previously recorded then uploaded.
SHOOTING UPDATE: Suspect vehicle is a white Ford Fusion with temp tag Wanted male still armed and dangerous https://t.co/c2Ypm1i5qx— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 16, 2017
German Authorities Investigate Far-Right Claim to Dortmund Attack
German prosecutors are investigating a far-right claim of responsibility for last week’s attack on German soccer team Borussia Dortmund’s bus that resulted in the injury of one player. Frauke Koehler, a spokeswoman for federal prosecutors, said Sunday that authorities are examining an email received by German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel Saturday from a far-right group that reportedly condemned multiculturalism, praised Adolf Hitler, and called the Dortmund attack a “last warning,” threatening another attack. German authorities previously investigated a 26-year-old Iraqi national with alleged ties to the Islamic State, though they were unable to find any evidence linking him to the attack. A claim of responsibility purportedly made online from a far-left group was also investigated. No arrests have been made.
Head of Turkey's Electoral Commission Says Referendum's Results Are Valid
Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET
The head of Turkey’s electoral commission says the results of the referendum that gave vast new powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are valid, comments that are a setback to the opposition, which demanded a partial recount. With all the ballots counted, the “Yes” vote, which granted Erdogan sweeping powers, garnered 51.18 percent (24.3 million votes), the “No” vote received 48.82 percent (23.2 million). The results were much closer than expected, and the Republican People's Party (CHP), the country’s main opposition, cited irregularities. But Sadi Guven, the head of the High Electoral Board, said the results were valid, noting that the unstamped ballot papers, which the opposition cited as an example of irregularities, had been used in previous elections as well. Turkey’s three largest cities—Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir—all voted against expanding the president’s power. The results prompted both celebrations and mass protests. As we reported yesterday:
The vote would change the constitution to allow the winner of the 2019 presidential election to gain nearly full control of the government. Among other things, the vote would get rid of the post of prime minister and transfer those power to the president; allow the president to issue decrees and appoint judges that review his decisions; allow the president to run for two five-year terms, with the caveat that parliament can vote to allow a third term.
Erdogan argues the changes are needed to usher in political stability, and cites last year’s coup attempt against him as a reason to bolsters his power. His critics say it’s another power-grab by Erdogan, who has now run Turkey either as prime minister or president since 2003.
Pence Warns North Korea: 'Era of Strategic Patience' Is Over
Vice President Mike Pence has reiterated that the U.S. “era of strategic patience” with North Korea is at an end. The remarks, which were made at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas, came at the start of Pence’s 10-day trip to the region. They come a day after the North’s failed missile test, an act that coincided with escalating tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Pence, who was accompanied to the DMZ by Hwang Kyo-ahn, South Korea’s acting president, also warned North Korea “not to test [the] resolve or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region,” pointing to the recent U.S. missile strikes in Syria and the use of the “mother of all bombs” in Afghanistan. Tensions spiked last week after the U.S. ordered an aircraft carrier and warships toward the Korean Peninsula, and satellite images suggested North Korea might be preparing for its sixth nuclear test.