Israel’s Foreign Ministser Avigdor Lieberman, one of the country’s most prominent and polarizing political figures, was acquitted of fraud charges on Wednesday in a closely watched case.
Lieberman, who is known for his hard-line policies against the Palestinians and Arab countries, is now expected to return to the job from which he resigned a year ago while the case was working its way through the courts.
“This chapter is now behind me. I am now focusing on the challenges ahead,” Lieberman told reporters.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has kept the foreign minister’s post for himself, in effect babysitting the position until the court ruled on Lieberman.
Netanyahu called Lieberman immediately after the verdict to congratulate him.
Lieberman’s right-wing Yisrael Beitenu party is a close ally of Netanyahu’s Likud party and together they constitute the foundation of the ruling coalition.
The fraud charge revolved around an Israeli diplomat, Zeev Ben Aryeh, who allegedly provided Lieberman with confidential information about a police investigation concerning Lieberman. Several months later, Lieberman named Ben Aryeh as his diplomatic advisor, the newspaper reported.
Britain The Guardian
Masked protesters from the group Anonymous threw fireworks and bottles outside of Buckingham Palace on Tuesday night to protest government austerity cuts.
At one point, a fire broke out near the gates of the palace and 11 people were arrested.
The protest was billed as part of an Anonymous Million Mask March that also included demonstrations in Japan, Australia and New Zealand to oppose “austerity cuts, corruption and an increase in state surveillance,” the newspaper reported.
“I joined Anonymous because I was arrested under the Computer Misuse Act,” said Sean Roesner, 21, a self-employed computer programmer. “I spent eight months on police bail last year and had done nothing wrong. We are here to stand up for what we believe in, to make the world a better place.”
Japan Japan Times
Japan has subsidized its rice farmers for decades, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration has now proposed reducing that assistance and abolishing it entirely by 2018.
The rice farmers are a powerful political force in Japan and nearly 1 million participate in a program to limit production in order to keep rice prices high. In addition, tariffs of up to 778 percent are imposed on imported rice, the Japan Times reported.
Trade negotiations could force the government to cut those tariffs.
The newspaper said that Abe’s administration “has set its sights a policy that will invite more competition, apparently because government controls, including numerous protective measures, have failed to prevent the rice industry from shrinking.”