The 116th Congress was seated Thursday, with Democrats taking the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives after eight years out of power. The first order of business was electing Rep. Nancy Pelosi to be House speaker for the second time. Within hours of Pelosi taking the speaker’s gavel, the House voted to reopen the government without funding for the border wall. Mr. Trump congratulated Pelosi on her victory in a surprise statement to reporters in the White House briefing room Thursday afternoon.
Sensitive data belonging to hundreds of German politicians has been hacked and leaked online via a Twitter account. The huge cache of documents included personal phone numbers and addresses, internal party documents, credit card details and private chats, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz confirmed on Friday. The documents were published online via Twitter in December but only came to light when reports emerged in the newspaper Bild and public broadcaster RBB on Thursday night.
Saudi prosecutors sought the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects accused of killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Thursday as their trial began in Riyadh, Saudi Press Agency reported. The trial comes three months after the Washington Post columnist and Saudi royal family insider-turned-critic was killed and allegedly dismembered at the consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh has maintained that neither bin Salman nor King Salman knew of the operation to target Khashoggi.
South Korea’s spy agency has told officials that North Korea’s ambassador to Italy has disappeared. The announcement follows unconfirmed reports that Pyongyang’s top diplomat in Italy had sought asylum from an unidentified Western country. The last senior diplomat to defect was the deputy ambassador in London. As one of the highest-ranking officials to ever defect from the North, his move was seen as a blow to Kim Jong-un’s regime.
Thailand’s south is bracing for the country’s most powerful tropical storm in decades, which is expected to disrupt oil and gas production and force thousands of international tourists to flee its beaches and islands. The affected areas include Phuket, Krabi, and Surat Thani, where Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao — among the country’s most popular destinations — sit just off the coast. The storm has disrupted the peak period for the Thai tourism industry, which makes up about a quarter of the economy.