Jun 8, 2019

American defense firm authorized to build bomb parts in Saudi Arabia

President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 20, 2018. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

An emergency authorization in May from the Trump administration allowed the American defense firm Raytheon Company to work with Saudi Arabia to "build high-tech bomb parts" in the country, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Human rights groups have reported the use of these precision-guided bombs in airstrikes on civilians. Raytheon is now prepared to ship at least 120,000 precision-guided bombs to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, as part of a larger arms package — and "some in Congress fear the surplus would let the countries continue fighting in Yemen long into the future," per the NYT.

Where it stands: Raytheon representatives say they are still negotiating specifics with the Saudi government, per the Times. Congressional review of the weapon sales was waived as a result of the Trump administration's emergency authorization; Congress has been "informally blocking" the sale since at least May of last year.

The bottom line: "Lawmakers ... were seeking assurances that the Saudis could prevent the American technology from falling into the wrong hands," per the NYT. A CNN exclusive investigation found that Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners transferred the American-made weapons to al Qaeda-linked fighters, Salafi militias and others involved in the Yemen war, violating agreements with the United States.

Go deeper ... Trump: The Saudis "don't know how to use" U.S. bombs

Go deeper

In photos: India welcomes president with massive "Namaste Trump" rally

First Lady Melania Trump, President Trump and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend the "Namaste Trump" rally at Sardar Patel Stadium in Motera, on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, on Monday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump told a massive crowd at a rally in Ahmedabad, northwest India, Monday he hopes to reach a trade deal with his ""true friend" Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to the country "except he's a very tough negotiator."

Why it matters: The countries are forging deeper ties, particularly in the military dimension, as India’s location, size and economic growth making it the "obvious counterweight to China" for American policymakers, per Axios' Dave Lawler and Zachary Basu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi demonstrated the importance of the visit with a "Namaste Trump Rally" at a packed 110,000-capacity Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad — the world's largest cricket venue.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - World

Coronavirus spreads to more countries as cases in South Korea surge

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain each reported their first cases of the novel coronavirus, Al Jazeera first reported, as infections in South Korea, Italy and mainland China continued to increase on Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,619 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 18 mins ago - Health

Sanders reveals free childcare plan for preschoolers

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Saturday in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Cengiz Yar/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders announced on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday a new plan to guarantee free child care and pre-kindergarten to all American children from infancy to age four.

Details: In the wide-ranging interview, Sanders told Anderson Cooper he planned to pay for universal childcare with a wealth tax. "It's taxes on billionaires," he said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy