Congressional negotiators in the US reached an agreement “in principle” to prevent another government shutdown and finance construction of new “barriers” along the US-Mexico border, overcoming a late-stage hang-up over immigration enforcement issues that had threatened to scuttle the talks. Republicans were desperate to avoid another bruising shutdown. They tentatively agreed to far less money for President Donald Trump’s border wall than the White House’s $5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of nearly $1.4 billion - even less than an offer Trump turned down in December.
The agreement means 55 miles of new fencing — constructed through existing designs such as metal slats instead of a concrete wall — but far less than the 215 miles the White House demanded in December. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the popular sister of the head of India's main opposition Congress party, made her political debut with a roadshow drawing thousands in the most populous state months before a general election due by May. Congress President Rahul Gandhi pulled a surprise last month by appointing his younger sister a party general secretary. She will also be its face in Uttar Pradesh, the state that sends the highest number of lawmakers to the lower house of parliament and is currently dominated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
But a string of BJP defeats in state elections late last year and rising discontent over a weak farm economy and lacklustre jobs growth have weakened Modi's position, which an increasingly aggressive Congress is looking to capitalise on.
Refugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi returned home to Australia after two months of detention in Thailand. The Bahraini citizen was detained in Bangkok in November while on honeymoon, at the request of Bahrain authorities. Following an international outcry and diplomatic pressure, the Arab kingdom ended its extradition attempt this week. Hundreds of supporters cheered the arrival of the 25-year-old footballer at Melbourne Airport`.
Wearing his team's football jersey, al-Araibi told the crowd: "I would like to say thanks to Australia. It's amazing to see all of the people here and all of the Australian people who supported me." The professional footballer and vocal critic of Bahrain authorities had fled to Australia in 2014 where he was granted political asylum.
Private investigators working for Jeff Bezos, reputedly the world’s richest man, have concluded that the brother of the Amazon CEO’s mistress leaked the couple’s intimate text messages to the National Enquirer, a person familiar with the matter told The Associated Press.
The findings add to the intrigue surrounding the clash between the pro-Trump tabloid and the world’s richest man. Bezos’ investigators have suggested the Enquirer’s coverage of his affair was driven by dirty politics - his supporters have repeatedly suggested blackmail and extortion, based on communication sent to Bezos from the Enquirer. Trump has been highly critical of Bezos over his ownership of The Washington Post and Amazon, and the Post’s coverage of the White House.