Sen. Bob Menendez indicted on corruption charges
A federal grand jury on Wednesday indicted Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) on corruption charges over his alleged use of his office to secure business deals for a friend in exchange for gifts. The product of a years-long investigation, the 14-count indictment alleges Menendez received free trips on a private plane and that he improperly lobbied on behalf of a top donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. The ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez has said he did nothing wrong. It is the first indictment of a sitting senator since prosecutors charged the late Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska in 2008.
Source: The Associated Press
California imposes mandatory water restrictions amid extreme drought
Faced with one of the worst droughts in California history, Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Wednesday announced the state’s first ever mandatory water restrictions. With 98 percent of the state suffering from the drought — including two-thirds experiencing “extreme” drought conditions — the executive order would slash water usage by 25 percent statewide for a projected savings of 1.5 million acre-feet of water over the next nine months. The move comes one day after the state’s Department of Water Resources announced California had its lowest snowpack since 1950, when record-keeping began. “As Californians, we must pull together and save water in every way possible,” Brown said in a statement.
Source: Los Angeles Times
1. UNIVERSITY IN KENYA ATTACKED
Al-Shabab gunmen attack a college in the northeast, targeting Christians and killing at least 15 people and wounding 60 others, witnesses say.
2. PROGRESS SEEN IN NUCLEAR TALKS
Iran says “significant progress” has been made in negotiations meant to reach a preliminary pact on the curbs Tehran must accept on atomic activities.
3. RUSSIAN RIG SINKS OFF KAMCHATKA PENINSULA
A Russian freezer trawler with an international crew of 132 goes down in the Sea of Okhotsk, and at least 54 crew members were killed and 63 rescued.
4. NEW JERSEY SENATOR DEFIANT AFTER ACCUSATIONS
Democrat Bob Menendez declares he’s “not going anywhere” after he was charged with accepting nearly $1 million in gifts and campaign contributions from a friend in exchange for political favors.
5. HOW AMERICANS FEEL ABOUT RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS LAW
An AP poll suggests sympathy for religious objectors may be limited to those who refuse to provide services for wedding-related businesses.
6. CELLPHONES RECOVERED AMID FLIGHT 9525 DEBRIS
But the devices have not yet produced any clues about what happened aboard a Germanwings jetliner deliberately crashed in the French Alps.
Disasters and accidents
• Two United States Marine Corps F-18 fighters make a precautionary landing at Taiwan’s Tainan Air Force Base. (Focus Taiwan) (The Washington Times)
• Flames engulf a Mexican state-run Pemex oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico, killing four workers. (AP)
• The Russian trawler Dalniy Vostok with 132 crew sinks off of the Kamchatka peninsula leaving at least 54 dead and 15 missing. (AP) (BBC)
• The governor of California Jerry Brown orders mandatory water restrictions. (AP)
Law and crime
• Turkish police shoot two attackers outside Istanbul’s central police headquarters, killing one of them. The exchange of fire wounds two officers. (The Guardian)
• An apparent murder and suicide leaves four dead in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (AP)
• A federal grand jury indicts New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez on corruption charges. (AP)
• A court convicts eleven Atlanta, Georgia teachers as part of a mass cheating scandal. (BBC)
• The Obama Administration targets overseas cyber attackers with a sanctions program. (Reuters)
Politics and elections
• Thailand’s junta escalates their control from martial law to absolute power. (AP)