5 Things to Know by March 1: Jared Kushner, India and Pakistan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Firearms Reform, Pedestrian Deaths


1. Jared Kushner

President Donald Trump dismissed the objections of White House officials and the intelligence community to get Jared Kushner's secret security clearance. This is alleged in an article in the New York Times, which stated in May that the president had ordered then-chief of staff John Kelly to grant Kushner – the son-in-law and advisor to Trump – the authorization the next day from the White House Council Bureau urged against it. White House officials had previously said that Kushner's security clearance was being handled "in the usual process" without any pressure from the administration. The White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, did not want to comment on the report. Democrats in the House say they want an investigation into this.

2. India and Pakistan

The captured Indian pilot who became the face of one of the most serious military crises that devastated South Asia in two decades was to be released from Pakistani detention today. A man identified as the commander of the Abhinandan squadron must be released at the Wagah border crossing on the dividing line between the two countries, the Pakistani foreign minister said. Abhinandan is being held in Pakistan after his MiG-21 plane was shot down during an air fight Wednesday between Pakistani and Indian planes on the ceasefire line in the disputed Kashmir region. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said the pilot would be made public as a "gesture for peace". Click here for the latest updates on this border crisis.

3. Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may soon be charged with corruption, the country's attorney general said. Netanyahu is accused of accepting expensive gifts from foreign billionaires in exchange for an attempt to provide tax relief for businessmen. Authorities also said that the prime minister had tried to help some Israeli newspapers and some online media in exchange for more favorable media coverage. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and calls the entire investigation a witch hunt. He is entitled to a hearing before being formally charged. The announcement comes at a crucial time in Israeli politics. The general elections, in which Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term, will take place next month.

4. Firearms Reform Legislation

For a second day in a row, Democrats in charge of the House of Representatives passed a law on the control of firearms. On Thursday, the House passed the "Charleston loopholes" bill. It is intended to correct a flaw in current legislation that allows certain firearms to be transferred by firearms dealers before the required background checks are completed. That is this loophole that allowed Dylann Roof – who should not have bought a gun because of a drug possession charge – to get his hands on the weapon. that he had used to kill nine people in a church in South Carolina in 2015.
On Wednesday, the House passed a bill requiring background checks on all firearm sales. It is the most important gun control bill to be introduced in the House for over 20 years. The legislation had some bipartisan support, with eight Republicans voting for it. But these two bills are almost dead when they arrive in the Senate led by the GOP, where Republicans say they do not intend to consider a law on gun control. Ronald Brownstein, a political analyst at CNN, said the Democrats were no longer afraid of gun control.

5. Pedestrian deaths

2018 may have been the deadliest year for pedestrians for nearly three decades. This sinister statistic comes from a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The association estimates that 6,227 pedestrians were killed by vehicles last year, which would be the highest number since 1990. The number of pedestrians killed by cars has been on the rise since 2009. So why this increase ? The association says that it's a combination of more people walking outdoors and dangerous behaviors of drivers: driving while intoxicated, drowsy or being distracted by smart phones.


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