NY officials arrested
A Democratic state lawmaker was arrested along with five other politicians Tuesday in an alleged plot to pay tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to GOP bosses to let him run for mayor of New York City as a Republican.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called it an “unappetizing smorgasbord of graft and greed” that reveals a New York political culture defined by a single rule: “Show me the money.”
Malcolm Smith, 56, who has served at times as the state Senate’s majority and minority leader since becoming a senator in March 2000, was arrested along with Republican New York City Councilman Dan Halloran, 42, and four other political figures.
Smith, who was removed Tuesday from his leadership post in Albany, had not yet officially launched a campaign for mayor — the first New York City mayoral race in 12 years without Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Juror removed in Arias trial
The judge in the Jodi Arias murder trial threw a juror off the case and denied a defense bid for a mistrial Tuesday as a domestic-abuse expert resumed testimony about the defendant’s volatile relationship with the victim.
Judge Sherry Stephens met behind closed doors with lawyers in the case and announced the move from the bench to oust juror No. 5. Defense lawyers say the juror made comments about the case to a fellow panelist that raised questions about her impartiality. They did not provide specifics.
The move leaves five alternate jurors, in addition to the 12 who will decide the case.
UN adopts treaty to regulate arms trade
The U.N. General AssemblySFlboverwhelmingly approved the first international treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade Tuesday, after a more than decade-long campaign to keep weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists, warlords, organized-crime figures and human-rights violators.
Loud cheers erupted in the assembly chamber as the electronic board flashed the final vote: 154 in favor, 3 against and 23 abstentions.
“This is a victory for the world’s people,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. “The Arms Trade Treaty will make it more difficult for deadly weapons to be diverted into the illicit market. ... It will be a powerful new tool in our efforts to prevent grave human-rights abuses or violations of international humanitarian law.”
The United States, the world’s biggest arms exporter, voted yes.
Israeli planes strike Gaza
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip
The Israeli military says its warplanes have struck targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire toward southern Israel.
The airstrikes early this morning were the first launched by Israel since an informal cease-fire in November ended eight days of cross-border fighting, the bloodiest between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in four years.
An Israeli military statement said its planes targeted “two extensive terror sites” with “accurate hits.”
Palestinian officials say no one was hurt in the airstrikes, and no damage was reported in northern Gaza.
The air raids followed the third successful rocket attack on Israel since the November cease-fire.