News Roundup: Here's What You Missed 2/20/2017

By Oluwakemi Ike

1. U.S. Promises to Not Seize Iraq Oil:
President Trump developed a plan last month to seize Iraqi oil, a plan which was put to rest on Monday by Defense Secretary James Mattis. Mattis made an unannounced trip to Baghdad with hopes to alleviate tension and calm Iraqi leaders who were offended by Trump's past remarks to seize the country's oil in order to pay for U.S. military assistance as well as the travel ban Iraq was listed in. Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi was pressured to halt communication with the U.S because of Trump's threats. "I think all of us here in this room, all of us in America have generally paid for our gas and oil all along, and I'm sure we will continue to do that in the future. We're not in Iraq to seize anybody's oil," Mattis told reporters.
- Source: USA Today

2. Trump's Sweden Comment:
President Trump recently took back a false comment pertaining to an immigration related security incident in Sweden. The President admitted on Sunday that he received the information from a television news report he had viewed. No such incident occurred in Sweden and the country's government asked Trump to explain his rumor. "My statement as to what's happening in Sweden was in reference to a story that was broadcast on @FoxNews concerning immigrants & Swden," Trump said on a tweet. A White House spokeswoman explained to reporters Sunday that Trump was referring to rising crime in Sweden, not necessarily a specific incident. Most of the Scandinavian country was not only shocked but perplexed by Trump's inaccurate comment in await of his explanation. This would not be the first time Trump has been condemned for making false comments with little to no evidence.
- Source: Reuters

3. Pence's 'Scant' Attempt at Reassurance:
Vice President Mike Pence told European Union (EU) officials on Monday that the Trump administration would like to "deepen our relationship" with the 28-nation trading bloc. The comment was a proposed attempt to reassure EU leaders' questions and concerns over President Trump's approval of Brexit. Pence also attended the Munich Security Conference, the worlds most important foreign policy gathering, over the weekend along with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in order to relieve European officials. The audience waited uneasily for the mention of the Trump administration's stance on NATO or the European Union, but most left the conference honing many unanswered questions. "People were not reassured," said Daniela Schwarzer, director of the German Council on Foreign Relations. "They think that Trump is erratic and incalculable. We all want to hear what we want to hear. But everyone knows that any Trump official could be gone tomorrow, or undercut in another tweet."
- Source: The New York Times

4. North Korea Deems Malaysian Investigators Untrustworthy:
Tensions rose between North Korea and Malaysia after Pyongyang's envoy stated that Malaysia was untrustworthy of carrying out the investigation into last week's assasination of Kim Jong Nam—Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother. Malaysia's prime minister later called the murder investigation as "objective." Malaysia has upheld a reputation of being deceitful to North Korea. North Korea has grown angrier over the case, accusing Malaysia of conspiring with South Korea to pin the murder on Pyongyang and of committing "human rights abuses" by the nature in which the autopsy was conducted. Kang Chol, Pyongyang's envoy, told reporters of his distrust for Malaysian police, but that North Korea and Malaysia should both open an investigation.
- Source: The Washington Post

5. Suicide Bombing in Somalia Kills 30:
A suicide bomb plummeted through a busy Somalian market on Sunday, killing 30 people and challenging the country's new president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed. Somali security officials said the bomb was located in a truck that the suicide bomber drove through the Kawo Godey market, near the center of the capital. Officials blamed the attack on the Islamist extremist group al-Shabab, who consistently terrorizes the country. The attack happened just hours after the new president announced a new offensive against militant group. "The market was full of blood," said Fa'izo Shimbir, a shopper who was by the market during the explosion and a witness to the death around him.
- Source: The New York Times