WASHINGTON

US charges Assange with

violating Espionage Act

In a case with significant First Amendment implications, the U.S. filed new charges Thursday against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, accusing him of violating the Espionage Act by publishing secret documents containing the names of confidential military and diplomatic sources.

The Justice Department's 18-count superseding indictment alleges that Assange directed former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning in one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history. It says the WikiLeaks founder, currently in custody in London, damaged national security by publishing documents that harmed the U.S. and its allies and aided its adversaries.

 

LONDON

WHO offers strategy

to address snake bites

The World Health Organization is publishing its first-ever global strategy to tackle the problem of snake bites, aiming to halve the number of people killed or disabled by snakes by 2030.

Nearly 3 million people are bitten by potentially poisonous snakes every year, resulting in as many as 138,000 deaths. Last week, Britain's Wellcome Trust announced a $100 million program to address the problem, saying there were new potential drugs that could be tested.

 

WASHINGTON

Weather experts predict

normal hurricane season

The Atlantic hurricane season is off to yet another early start, but U.S. weather officials say it should be a near normal year.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday predicted nine to 15 named storms. It says four to eight of them will become hurricanes and two to four of those would become major hurricanes with 111 mph winds or higher.

Acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs said a current El Nino, a periodic natural warming of the central Pacific that changes weather worldwide, suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic. But other forces, including warmer-than-normal seawater, counter that.

 

LONDON

Prime minister faces

resignation showdown

Increasingly isolated, Prime Minister Theresa May backed down Thursday from plans to seek Parliament's support for a Brexit bill already rejected by much of her Conservative Party, as expectations rose that she would cave in to demands that she resign and let a new leader try to complete the U.K.'s stalled withdrawal from the European Union.

Conservative lawmakers have given May until Friday to announce a departure date or face a likely leadership challenge. Several British media outlets reported that she would agree to give up the prime minister's post June 10, sparking a Conservative leadership contest.

 

 

WASHINGTON

Trump considers waiver

for Saudi arms sales

The Trump administration is considering an emergency declaration that would allow it to make an arms shipment to Saudi Arabia without the approval of Congress, two U.S. officials and lawmakers opposed to the move said Thursday.

The officials say a decision on invoking a national security waiver in the Arms Export Control Act to bypass congressional review of proposed sales to the Saudis could be made as early as Friday. The officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

 

NEW DELHI

Prime minister headed

for landslide victory

Narendra Modi, India's charismatic but polarizing prime minister, was headed Friday for a landslide election victory, propelling his Hindu nationalist party to back-to-back majorities in parliament for the first time in decades.

With most of the votes counted, Modi's stunning re-election mirrored a global trend of right-wing populists sweeping to victory, from the United States to Brazil to Italy, often on a platform promoting a tough stand on national security, protectionist trade policies and putting up barriers to immigration.

 

JOHANNESBURG

Botswana lifts ban

on elephant hunting

Botswana has lifted its ban on elephant hunting in a country with the world's highest number of the animals, a decision that has brought anger from some wildlife protection groups and warnings of a blow to lucrative tourism.

The southern African nation is home to an estimated 130,000 elephants. The lifting of the ban raised concerns about a possible increase in illegal poaching of elephants for their tusks to supply the ivory trade.

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires