Iran honors fallen general, designated terrorist and vows revenge » AUDIO: [Sound of Iran crowd]
In Iran, crowds continued to mark the death of General Qasem Soleimani on Monday.
AUDIO: [Sound of Iran crowd]
Mourners heard there in the streets of Tehran during his funeral procession. Iranian leaders have vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death.
A U.S. airstrike in Baghdad last week killed Soleimani, who led Tehran’s proxy wars—orchestrating attacks against U.S. interests and other nations in the Middle East. He headed Iran’s Quds force. The U.S. government considers it a terrorist organization.
President Trump on Monday once again defended his decision to green light the airstrike.
TRUMP: He should have been taken out a long time ago, and we had a shot at it and we took him out, and we’re a lot safer now because of it. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what the response is, if any, but you’ve seen what I said our response will be.
The president has responded to Iran’s threats by threatening to strike 52 Iranian cultural sites—one for each American held in the hostage crisis of 1979.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper cleared up confusion on Monday over whether U.S. troops will leave Iraq. He told reporters that the United States has no plans to pull out of the country.
A U.S. military commander in Iraq indicated the Pentagon would be—quote—repositioning troops “over the course of the coming days and weeks.” Many took that as a sign that American troops were on their way out. Esper said that is not the case.
Following the attack that killed Soleimani, many Iraqi lawmakers and the country’s prime minister say they want U.S. forces to leave.
House Democrats move to limit Trump’s war powers » Meantime, Democrats continue to condemn President Trump for the airstrike. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer took aim once again on Monday…
SCHUMER: His policies seem to be characterized by erratic, impulsive, and often egotistical behavior, with little regard to a long-term strategy that would advance the interests of the United States.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats in the House will introduce a resolution this week—similar to one introduced in the Senate by Tim Kaine of Virginia. It will mandate—quoting here—“that if no further Congressional action is taken, the administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days”
The speaker called the airstrike that killed Soleimani “provocative and disproportionate” and said it had “endangered our service members, diplomats, and others by risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.”
Australia commits more relief funds amid wildfires » Australia’s government says it’s willing to pay “whatever it takes” to help communities recover from devastating wildfires.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Monday that the government’s committing more money to the effort.
MORRISON: This is an initial, an additional investment of $2 billion. If more is needed and the cost is higher, then more will be provided.
That’s on top of the tens of millions of dollars that have already been promised. The money will go toward rebuilding towns and infrastructure.
Nationwide, the fires have killed at least 25 people and destroyed roughly 2,000 homes.
5.8 magnitude quake hits Puerto Rico » A 5.8-magnitude quake hit Puerto Rico Monday, unleashing small landslides, knocking out power, and damaging homes. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones reports.
LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: The pre-dawn quake was one of the strongest yet to hit the U.S. territory that has been shaking for the past week.
A string of smaller temblors followed, including another quake measured at magnitude 5. There were no immediate reports of casualties but residents are still surveying the damage. The island’s infrastructure remains fragile after Hurricane Maria struck more than a year ago.
The flurry of quakes in Puerto Rico’s southern region began December 28th. Previous smaller quakes in recent days cracked homes and rattled goods off supermarket shelves.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.
Weinstein faces new charges in L.A. as New York trial beings » Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is facing new sex crime charges in Los Angeles, just as his trial on separate charges in New York is set to begin.
LA County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that Weinstein is now charged with raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in 2013.
Numerous accusers spoke out on Monday as Weinstein arrived at court ahead of his trial, including actress Rosanna Arquette.
ARQUETTE: Time’s up on blaming survivors. Time’s up on empty apologies without consequences. And time’s up on the pervasive culture of silence that has enabled abusers like Weinstein.
Speaking at the New York courthouse Monday before the announcement of the new charges, Weinstein’s lawyers suggested they knew charges might be coming. They asked the judge for potential jurors to be sequestered over concerns that the announcement of new charges elsewhere could influence jurors. The judge denied that request.