South Korea's ousted President Park Guen-hye was arrested in Seoul early Friday morning. Park, who was impeached and formally removed from office earlier this month over a corruption scandal, is facing charges "including bribery, extortion, and abuse of power," The New York Times reported. A South Korean court had approved Park's arrest after a hearing called on Thursday, and warned that if she was not quickly taken into custody she may "destroy evidence."
Park's ouster and subsequent arrest stemmed from a bribery scandal with her childhood friend, Choi Soon-sil, to extort millions of dollars in bribes from big businesses, including Samsung.
Park is South Korea's first female president, and The New York Times reported she is also the first former South Korean leader to be jailed since the 1990s, when "two former military dictators were imprisoned on corruption and mutiny charges."
The North Carolina House and Senate approved legislation Thursday that would repeal House Bill 2, the controversial "bathroom" law that prohibits transgender people from using restrooms that match their gender identity; Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper is expected to sign the bill.
Details about the measure weren't released when it was announced by North Carolina state Senate leader Phil Berger (R) and state House Speaker Tim Moore (R) on Wednesday night, but the bill would reportedly repeal HB2, block local governments from passing anti-discrimination ordinances for three years, and prohibit cities from regulating restrooms and locker rooms.
LGBTQ groups panned the package, but Cooper said in a statement, "It's not a perfect deal, but it repeals House Bill 2 and begins to repair our reputation." The NCAA threatened that North Carolina had until Thursday to repeal HB2, or else no college sports championships would be held in the state through at least 2020, The Washington Post reports. Jeva Lange
Depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability around the world, the World Health Organization announced Thursday. "A better understanding of depression and how it can be treated, while essential, is just the beginning," explained Dr. Shekhar Saxena, who serves as the director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at WHO. "What needs to follow is sustained scale-up of mental health services accessible to everyone, even the most remote populations in the world."
More than 300 million people live with depression, an uptick of more than 18 percent between 2005 and 2015. But worldwide, there is still very little support for mental disorders. On average, governments only spend 3 percent of health budgets on mental health, despite the fact that "every $1 [U.S. dollar] invested in scaling up treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 in better health and ability to work," WHO writes. But even in high-income countries, only about half of people suffering from depression get treatment.
Depression is strongly linked to the increased risk of substance abuse as well as diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Hundreds of thousands of people every year additionally commit suicide.
"These new figures are a wake-up call for all countries to re-think their approaches to mental health and to treat it with the urgency that it deserves," said WHO director-general Dr. Margaret Chan. Jeva Lange
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer indicated that the Trump administration will revisit health care following the bruising failure of the Republican replacement bill last week.
Trump "talked about repealing and replacing," Spicer explained. "It's a commitment he made. He'd like to get it done."
Spicer dismissed Trump's comments about the ease of replacing Affordable Care Act as being "a lighthearted moment" and added that health care is an "ongoing discussion" for the White House. Either way, Republican health-care efforts will likely be temporarily abandoned as the party turns its attention to the budget and tax reforms. Jeva Lange
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) March 29, 2017
Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez has requested all DNC staffers submit their letters of resignation by April 15, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the organization. While turnover isn't unusual when a new chair takes over, Perez's complete house-cleaning signals how drastically he plans to reorganize the Democratic Party.
Perez was elected in late February to replace interim chair Donna Brazile, who filled the position after former chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) stepped down just before the Democratic National Convention last summer. NBC News reported the "top-to-bottom review process" is intended to discern "how the party should be structured in the future," after it was pummeled in the 2016 elections.
The British government on Tuesday rejected Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's request for an independence referendum. The announcement came shortly after the Scottish Parliament voted 69-59 in favor of backing Sturgeon's bid for a vote on Scotland's independence.
In a statement, the British government said it would not engage in negotiations with Scotland because it would be "unfair to the people of Scotland to ask them to make a crucial decision without the necessary information" about the U.K.'s "future relationship with Europe," or about "what an independent Scotland would look like."
Sturgeon has argued that while the U.K. may have voted to leave the European Union last year, Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favor of remaining, and thus Scottish citizens deserve an independence vote before the Brexit process begins. "The people of Scotland should have the right to choose between Brexit — possibly a very hard Brexit — or becoming an independent country, able to chart our own course and create a true partnership of equals across these islands," Sturgeon said Tuesday ahead of Parliament's vote.
Britain is slated to exit the EU in 2019. Becca Stanek
Shaken over President Trump's failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Wall Street is now raising questions about his ability to keep financial promises like reforming the tax code and slashing regulations on banks.
The cooling "Trump bump" has left the Dow at risk of suffering a ninth-straight day of decline Tuesday, which would mark the longest losing streak for the Dow since Jimmy Carter was in the White House in 1978. While the index is still up 11 percent since the election and the Nasdaq has actually closed higher in three of the past four days, CNN Money observes "a notable shift in terms of sentiment." Jeva Lange
The Trump administration reportedly tried to restrict fired Attorney General Sally Yates' Russia testimony
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that President Trump's administration apparently attempted to greatly limit the scope of former Attorney General Sally Yates' testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Letters obtained by The Washington Post revealed Yates, who Trump fired in January after she would not back his immigration executive order, "was notified earlier this month by the Justice Department that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege." Yates served as deputy attorney general under former President Barack Obama and was the acting attorney general at the start of Trump's term, playing a role in the investigation of ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's communications about sanctions with a Russian ambassador.
In response, Yates' lawyer David O'Neill acknowledged the restrictions on Yates' testimony and assured the Justice Department that Yates would not disclose information protected by "client confidences" unless she were granted explicit permission by the department. However, O'Neill took issue with how "overbroad, incorrect, and inconsistent with the department's historical approach" its orders to Yates were. "In particular, we believe that Ms. Yates should not be obligated to refuse to provide non-classified facts about the department's notification to the White House of concerns about the conduct of a senior official," O'Neill wrote.
A Justice Department official responded, saying that Yates would need to consult with the White House before disclosing information covered by the presidential communications privilege, but that she did not need "separate consent from the department."
On Friday, Yates' lawyer sent a letter notifying White House Counsel Don McGahn that "any claim of privilege 'has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications,'" The Washington Post reported. "Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates' intention to provide information," O'Neill wrote.
Update 11:16 a.m. ET: The White House has since released a statement denying The Washington Post's report.
Statement from White House on Washington Post story concerning Sally Yates: pic.twitter.com/tur7D06vLS
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) March 28, 2017