Rio De Janeiro, Nov 2 (AP/UNB) — The Brazilian judge at the center of one of the largest corruption investigations in history said Thursday he would become justice minister in the government of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro, a decision that will be hailed by Brazilians eager for a crackdown on graft but also add to deep polarization after a bruising presidential campaign.
Moro is wildly popular among conservatives and loathed by many on the left, so his decision to join the incoming administration will feed the suspicion of many Brazilians that the judge was politically biased in jailing ex-President Luiz Inacio da Silva, a conviction that forced the poll-leading leftist out of the presidential race.
Moro met with Bolsonaro at the president-elect's home in Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Upon emerging, Moro did not speak to reporters but soon put out a statement confirming he had accepted an offer to lead both the justice and public security ministries, which will be combined in Bolsonaro's government.
Moro said it would be hard to give up being a federal judge after 22 years, but he saw an opportunity to "implement a strong agenda of anti-corruption and anti-organized crime" in his new role.
"In practice, this will mean consolidating the advancements against crime and corruption the last years and remove any risks of going backward," he wrote.
He added that the sprawling "Car Wash" investigation would continue in the hands of local judges in the southern city of Curitiba, where Moro lives and many of the cases have been tried. He also said he would provide more details on his new role next week.
Launched in 2014, the "Car Wash" probe uncovered elaborate schemes in which construction companies received bloated contracts and then kicked back billions of dollars in bribes to politicians and other government officials over more than a decade.
The level of corruption was breathtaking for Brazilians long inured to graft, and the scandal has reverberated across several Latin American countries where Odebrecht, one of the companies at the center of the scandal, did business.
The investigation has led to the jailing of many of the country's biggest names. That list includes da Silva, convicted by Moro of corruption for trading favors with construction company Grupo OAS for the promise of a beachfront apartment. Da Silva began serving a 12-year sentence in April.
The cases made Moro a wildly popular figure with Brazilians exhausted by numerous stories of politicians plundering government coffers; Earlier this year, he tracked highly in presidential polls even though the judge, quiet and wonky, never expressed interest in running.
However, many of his tactics have been highly controversial, such as the use of extended pre-trial detentions and plea bargains, both aimed at getting high-profile suspects to talk.
On social media Thursday, many Brazilians shared a 2016 story in daily Estadao, which quoted Moro saying he had no political ambitions.
"No, never. Never," he said when asked about running for office or getting into politics. "I am a man of the justice system."
Moro has been accused of being partisan, with supporters of da Silva and the left-leaning Workers' Party claiming Moro was at the center of a conspiracy to keep da Silva, who Brazilians call Lula, from running for president this year. Even after being jailed, da Silva led preference polls. In September, his candidacy was barred.
"Moro will become Bolsonaro's minister after having a decisive role in his election (victory) by impeding Lula from running," tweeted Gleisi Hoffman, chairwoman of da Silva's Workers' Party, adding: "He helped elect. Now he'll help govern."
In reality, Moro has convicted politicians from across the political spectrum. But he has also made decisions that many interpret as biased, such as releasing wiretapped conversations between da Silva and then President Dilma Rousseff in 2016.
For Bolsonaro, a former army captain who ran on promises to crack down on graft and rising crime, landing Moro is a huge boon. Moro, who studied law in Brazil and did a special program at Harvard University, has received numerous awards and honorary degrees related to his work. He frequently speaks in the United States and other countries, and is arguably the world's most famous anti-corruption crusader.
Bolsonaro told reporters outside his home late Thursday that Moro had asked for "total liberty" to operate, and he would have it.
Still, the decision comes with huge risks, both for Moro personally — he now will become "political" as part of an administration — and the future of the "Car Wash" investigations.
Members of the "Car Wash" task force have said much work remains, but it's hard to imagine any judge having the gravitas of Moro, who rose to fame because of his ability to sort through complicated white-collar crimes and write decisions that are rarely overturned.
In leading the combined ministries of justice and public security, Moro will be ultimately responsible for areas that include intractable problems, such as security. Last year, nearly 64,000 people were killed in Brazil, a record for the country that has long been the world leader in annual homicides.
Moro will oersee the federal police, highway police, the penitentiary system, immigration and several other agencies that in total encompass thousands of employees.
"Moro is making a complicated bet" in taking on a political role, said Mauricio Santoro, a political science professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro. "Every government in the world has corruption. How will Moro deal with that? What will he do?"
Johannesburg, Nov 1 (AP/UNB) — One by one, five to a grave, the coffins are buried in the red earth of this ill-kept corner of a South African cemetery. The scrawl on the cheap wood attests to their anonymity: "Unknown B/Male."
These men were migrants from elsewhere in Africa with next to nothing who sought a living in the thriving underground economy of Gauteng province, a name that roughly translates to "land of gold." Instead of fortune, many found death, their bodies unnamed and unclaimed — more than 4,300 in Gauteng between 2014 and 2017 alone.
Some of those lives ended here at the Olifantsvlei cemetery, in silence, among tufts of grass growing over tiny placards that read: Pauper Block. There are coffins so tiny that they could only belong to children.
As people worldwide flee war, hunger and a lack of jobs, global migration has soared to record highs, with more than 258 million international migrants in 2017. That is an increase of 49 percent from the turn of the century, according to the United Nations.
Far less visible, however, has been the toll of this mass migration: The tens of thousands of people who die or simply disappear during their journeys, never to be seen again. A growing number of migrants have drowned, died in deserts or fallen prey to traffickers, leaving their families to wonder what on earth happened to them. At the same time, anonymous bodies are filling cemeteries around the world, like the one in Gauteng.
In most cases, nobody is keeping track: Barely counted in life, these people don't register in death, as if they never lived at all.
An Associated Press tally has documented at least 56,800 migrants dead or missing worldwide since 2014 — almost double the number found in the world's only official attempt to try to count them, by the U.N.'s International Organization for Migration . The IOM toll as of Oct. 1 was more than 28,500. The AP came up with almost 28,300 additional dead or missing migrants by compiling information from other international groups, requesting forensic records, missing persons reports and death records, and sifting through data from thousands of interviews with migrants.
The AP's tally is still low. Bodies of migrants lie undiscovered in desert sands or at the bottom of the sea. And families don't always report loved ones as missing because they are illegal, or because they left home without saying exactly where they were headed.
The official U.N. toll focuses mostly on Europe, but even there cases fall through the cracks. The political tide is turning against migrants in Europe just as in the United States, where the government is cracking down heavily on caravans of Central Americans trying to get in. One result is that money is drying up for projects to track migration and its costs.
For example, when more than 800 people died in an April 2015 shipwreck off the coast of Italy, Europe's deadliest migrant sea disaster, Italian investigators pledged to identify them and find their families. More than three years later, under a new populist government, funding for this work is being cut off.
Beyond Europe, information is even more scarce. Little is known about the toll in South America, where the Venezuelan migration is among the world's biggest today, and in Asia, the top region for numbers of migrants.
The result is that governments vastly underestimate the toll of migration, a major political and social issue in most of the world today.
"No matter where you stand on the whole migration management debate....these are still human beings on the move," said Bram Frouws, the head of the Mixed Migration Centre , based in Geneva, which has done surveys of more than 20,000 migrants in its 4Mi project since 2014. "Whether it's refugees or people moving for jobs, they are human beings."
They leave behind families caught between hope and mourning, like that of Safi al-Bahri. Her son, Majdi Barhoumi, left their hometown of Ras Jebel, Tunisia, on May 7, 2011, headed for Europe in a small boat with a dozen other migrants. The boat sank and Barhoumi hasn't been heard from since. In a sign of faith that he is still alive, his parents built an animal pen with a brood of hens, a few cows and a dog to stand watch until he returns.
"I just wait for him. I always imagine him behind me, at home, in the market, everywhere," said al-Bahari. "When I hear a voice at night, I think he's come back. When I hear the sound of a motorcycle, I think my son is back."
EUROPE: BOATS THAT NEVER ARRIVE
Of the world's migration crises, Europe's has been the most cruelly visible. Images of the lifeless body of a Kurdish toddler on a beach, frozen tent camps in Eastern Europe, and a nearly numbing succession of deadly shipwrecks have been transmitted around the world, adding to the furor over migration.
In the Mediterranean, scores of tankers, cargo boats, cruise ships and military vessels tower over tiny, crowded rafts powered by an outboard motor for a one-way trip. Even larger boats carrying hundreds of migrants may go down when soft breezes turn into battering winds and thrashing waves further from shore.
Two shipwrecks and the deaths of at least 368 people off the coast of Italy in October 2013 prompted the IOM's research into migrant deaths. The organization has focused on deaths in the Mediterranean, although its researchers plead for more data from elsewhere in the world. This year alone, the IOM has found more than 1,700 deaths in the waters that divide Africa and Europe.
Like the lost Tunisians of Ras Jebel, most of them set off to look for work. Barhoumi, his friends, cousins and other would-be migrants camped in the seaside brush the night before their departure, listening to the crash of the waves that ultimately would sink their raft.
Khalid Arfaoui had planned to be among them. When the group knocked at his door, it wasn't fear that held him back, but a lack of cash. Everyone needed to chip in to pay for the boat, gas and supplies, and he was short about $100. So he sat inside and watched as they left for the beachside campsite where even today locals spend the night before embarking to Europe.
Propelled by a feeble outboard motor and overburdened with its passengers, the rubber raft flipped, possibly after grazing rocks below the surface on an uninhabited island just offshore. Two bodies were retrieved. The lone survivor was found clinging to debris eight hours later.
The Tunisian government has never tallied its missing, and the group never made it close enough to Europe to catch the attention of authorities there. So these migrants never have been counted among the dead and missing.
"If I had gone with them, I'd be lost like the others," Arfaoui said recently, standing on the rocky shoreline with a group of friends, all of whom vaguely planned to leave for Europe. "If I get the chance, I'll do it. Even if I fear the sea and I know I might die, I'll do it."
With him that day was 30-year-old Mounir Aguida, who had already made the trip once, drifting for 19 hours after the boat engine cut out. In late August this year, he crammed into another raft with seven friends, feeling the waves slam the flimsy bow. At the last minute he and another young man jumped out.
"It didn't feel right," Aguida said.
There has been no word from the other six — yet another group of Ras Jebel's youth lost to the sea. With no shipwreck reported, no survivors to rescue and no bodies to identify, the six young men are not counted in any toll.
In addition to watching its own youth flee, Tunisia and to a lesser degree neighboring Algeria are transit points for other Africans north bound for Europe. Tunisia has its own cemetery for unidentified migrants, as do Greece, Italy and Turkey. The one at Tunisia's southern coast is tended by an unemployed sailor named Chamseddin Marzouk.
Of around 400 bodies interred in the coastal graveyard since it opened in 2005, only one has ever been identified. As for the others who lie beneath piles of dirt, Marzouk couldn't imagine how their families would ever learn their fate.
"Their families may think that the person is still alive, or that he'll return one day to visit," Marzouk said. "They don't know that those they await are buried here, in Zarzis, Tunisia."
AFRICA: VANISHING WITHOUT A TRACE
Despite talk of the 'waves' of African migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean, as many migrate within Africa — 16 million — as leave for Europe. In all, since 2014, at least 18,400 African migrants have died traveling within Africa, according to the figures compiled from AP and IOM records. That includes more than 4,300 unidentified bodies in a single South African province, and 8,700 whose traveling companions reported their disappearance en route out of the Horn of Africa in interviews with 4Mi.
When people vanish while migrating in Africa, it is often without a trace. The IOM says the Sahara Desert may well have killed more migrants than the Mediterranean. But no one will ever know for sure in a region where borders are little more than lines drawn on maps and no government is searching an expanse as large as the continental United States. The harsh sun and swirling desert sands quickly decompose and bury bodies of migrants, so that even when they turn up, they are usually impossible to identify.
With a prosperous economy and stable government, South Africa draws more migrants than any other country in Africa. The government is a meticulous collector of fingerprints — nearly every legal resident and citizen has a file somewhere — so bodies without any records are assumed to have been living and working in the country illegally. The corpses are fingerprinted when possible, but there is no regular DNA collection.
South Africa also has one of the world's highest rates of violent crime and police are more focused on solving domestic cases than identifying migrants.
"There's logic to that, as sad as it is....You want to find the killer if you're a policeman, because the killer could kill more people," said Jeanine Vellema, the chief specialist of the province's eight mortuaries. Migrant identification, meanwhile, is largely an issue for foreign families — and poor ones at that.
Vellema has tried to patch into the police missing persons system, to build a system of electronic mortuary records and to establish a protocol where a DNA sample is taken from every set of remains that arrive at the morgue. She sighs: "Resources." It's a word that comes up 10 times in a half-hour conversation.
So the bodies end up at Olifantsvlei or a cemetery like it, in unnamed graves. On a recent visit by AP, a series of open rectangles awaited the bodies of the unidentified and unclaimed. They did not wait long: a pickup truck drove up, piled with about 10 coffins, five per grave. There were at least 180 grave markers for the anonymous dead, with multiple bodies in each grave.
The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working with Vellema, has started a pilot project with one Gauteng morgue to take detailed photos, fingerprints, dental information and DNA samples of unidentified bodies. That information goes to a database where, in theory, the bodies can be traced.
"Every person has a right to their dignity. And to their identity," said Stephen Fonseca, the ICRC regional forensic manager.
Jakarta, Nov 1 (AP/UNB) — Divers on Thursday recovered a flight data recorder from the crashed Lion Air jet on the seafloor, a crucial development in the investigation into what caused the 2-month-old plane to plunge into Indonesian seas earlier this week, killing all 189 people on board.
One TV station showed footage of two divers after they surfaced, swimming to an inflatable vessel and placing the bright orange device into a large container that was transferred to a search-and-rescue ship.
"I was desperate because the current below was strong but I am confident of the tools given to me," said navy 1st Sgt. Hendra, who uses a single name, in a television interview. After narrowing the possible location, "I started digging and cleaning the debris until I finally found an orange object," he said, standing on the deck of a ship next to his diving mate.
The Boeing 737 MAX 8 plane crashed early Monday just minutes after takeoff from the Indonesian capital Jakarta. It was the worst airline disaster in Indonesia in more than two decades and renewed concerns about safety in its fast-growing aviation industry, which was recently removed from European Union and U.S. blacklists.
Navy Col. Monang Sitompul told local TV an object believed to be the aircraft's fuselage was also seen on the seafloor.
The device recovered by divers is the flight data recorder and the search continues for the cockpit voice recorder, Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi told a news conference.
The location of the find was about 500 meters (yards) northwest of the coordinates where the plane lost contact and at a depth of 30 meters, said search and rescue agency head Muhammad Syaugi.
Data from flight-tracking sites show the plane had erratic speed and altitude in the early minutes of a flight on Sunday and on its fatal flight Monday. Safety experts caution, however, that the data must be checked for accuracy against the flight data recorder.
Several passengers on the Sunday flight from Bali to Jakarta have recounted problems that included a long-delayed takeoff for an engine check and terrifying descents in the first 10 minutes in the air.
Lion Air has ordered 50 of the MAX 8 planes and one of its subsidiary airlines was last year the first to operate the new generation jet.
Investigators say a preliminary report into the accident could be released within a month but complete findings will take several months more.
The Lion Air crash is the worst airline disaster in Indonesia since 1997, when 234 people died on a Garuda flight near Medan. In December 2014, an AirAsia flight from Surabaya to Singapore plunged into the sea, killing all 162 on board.
Indonesian airlines were barred in 2007 from flying to Europe because of safety concerns, though several were allowed to resume services in the following decade. The ban was completely lifted in June. The U.S. lifted a decadelong ban in 2016.
Lion Air, a discount carrier, is one of Indonesia's youngest and biggest airlines, flying to dozens of domestic and international destinations. It has been expanding aggressively in Southeast Asia, a fast-growing region of more than 600 million people.
Istanbul, Nov 1 (AP/UNB) — Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as part of a premeditated killing, and his body was dismembered before it was removed, a top Turkish prosecutor said Wednesday.
Chief Istanbul prosecutor Irfan Fidan's office also said in a statement that discussions with Saudi chief prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb over the killing yielded "no concrete result" despite Turkey's "good-intentioned efforts to reveal the truth."
The statement was the first public confirmation by a Turkish official that Khashoggi was strangled and mutilated after he entered the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2. It also pointed to a lack of cooperation from Saudi officials in the investigation of the slaying.
"In accordance with plans made in advance, the victim, Jamal Khashoggi, was strangled and killed immediately after entering the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia," the prosecutor's office said.
"The victim Jamal Khashoggi's body was dismembered and destroyed following his death by suffocation, again in line with the advance plans," the two-page statement read.
The prosecutor's statement that Khashoggi was killed immediately conflicts with a report by pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak earlier this month, which cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi being tortured before being killed. The newspaper claimed that his fingers were cut off and that he was killed by being beheaded.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he doesn't feel "betrayed" by Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi's death.
Trump, who made Saudi Arabia the destination of his first foreign trip as president, said the Saudis didn't betray him but "maybe they've betrayed themselves." Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday: "I just hope it all works out."
Turkey is seeking the extradition of 18 suspects in the journalist's slaying who were detained in Saudi Arabia. It also is pressing Saudi Arabia for information about who ordered Khashoggi's killing and the location of his remains.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Riyadh to disclose the identity of an alleged local collaborator said to have been involved in getting rid of Khashoggi's body.
Saudi chief prosecutor al-Mojeb met with Fidan twice and also visited the Turkish intelligence agency's Istanbul headquarters this week before leaving for Riyadh on a private jet Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia has not commented directly on the prosecutor's visit and al-Mojeb did not respond to journalists' questions at the airport as he departed.
Fidan's office said the Saudi delegation submitted a written statement and invited the Turkish delegation to come to Saudi Arabia bringing "evidence obtained during the course of the investigation."
The Saudi representatives said the whereabouts of Khashoggi's remains and whether the killing was premeditated or not would only come to light through a joint interrogation by Turkish and Saudi investigators, according to the statement.
The statement said Turkey renewed its request for the 18 suspects to be extradited. It did not say if Turkish officials would travel to Saudi Arabia.
On Wednesday, a lawmaker and spokesman for Turkey's ruling party again called on Saudi Arabia to reveal where Khashoggi's body is, who gave the orders for the killing and who the alleged Turkish collaborator is.
"Instead of trying to find out what (evidence) Turkey has, Saudi authorities should give the answers to these questions," Omer Celik told reporters. "This is not an incident that could have taken place without a high-level order."
Celik added: "We are not blaming anyone in advance but we will not allow anything to be covered up."
Khashoggi, a 59-year-old columnist for The Washington Post, vanished after entering the consulate in Istanbul to pick up paperwork he needed for his upcoming marriage. His Turkish fiancee was waiting for him outside. A critic of the Saudi crown prince, Khashoggi had been living in exile in the United States.
Turkey alleges a hit squad from Saudi Arabia — including a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's entourage during a trip to the United States— went to Istanbul to kill the journalist and then tried to cover it up.
Under mounting pressure, Saudi Arabia changed its narrative about Khashoggi's killing several times, eventually admitting Khashoggi died inside the consulate. Saudi Arabia only recently acknowledged Turkish evidence showed the slaying was premeditated.
Hurriyet newspaper columnist Abdulkadir Selvi, who is known to be close to the Turkish government, said the Saudi prosecutor revealed nothing new to Turkish investigators during his three-day visit and left with several questions unanswered.
"Rather than share the information he has, the Saudi prosecutor tried to learn what information and evidence Turkey has in its hands," Selvi wrote Wednesday.
He added: "The chief prosecutor is not trying to shed light on the murder, he is trying to save the crown prince."
Washington, Nov 1 (AP/UNB) — At an apparent turning point in one of its hardest foreign policy challenges, the Trump administration is demanding a cease-fire and the launch of U.N.-led political talks to end the Saudi-Iran proxy war in Yemen. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis called for a halt to hostilities within 30 days.
The renewed diplomatic drive reflects a convergence of political pressures: international outrage over the slaying of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist and a Yemeni humanitarian crisis fueled by the dual threats of war and hunger in the Arab world's poorest country.
"The time is now for a cessation of hostilities," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a written statement late Tuesday. His plea came shortly after Mattis spoke in unusual detail about diplomacy to end a crisis that has put vast numbers of Yemenis on the brink of starvation.
The administration's new push comes amid mounting fears of a fresh Arab coalition assault on the Red Sea port of Hodeida, the entry point for 70 percent of food imports and international aid to Yemen.
"Yemen has more problems than any people deserve to carry," Mattis said.
The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of the capital, Sanaa, and the toppling of the government by the Houthis, a Shiite Muslim minority in the country. The Saudi-led coalition allied with the government has been fighting the Houthis since 2015.
An estimated 10,000 people have been killed. The war has also left around two-thirds of Yemen's population of 27 million relying on aid, and more than 8 million at risk of starvation.
The fact that the Pentagon chief offered detailed thoughts on the urgency of a need for diplomatic progress, even before Pompeo had weighed in, strongly suggests that the administration has reached a turning point in its approach to Yemen, which also confounded the Obama administration. At stake is not only the humanitarian crisis in Yemen but also the future of the American relationship with Saudi Arabia, long the linchpin of U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf.
"It's about time," said one congressional critic, Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif. "After more than three years of war, thousands of dead, millions on the brink of starvation, and growing pressure from Congress, the Trump administration is finally calling for an end to the Saudi-led war in Yemen," Khanna said in a statement.
The Oct. 2 killing of Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate in Turkey has prompted critics of the Saudi ruling family to urge an end to American arms sales to the kingdom and a reappraisal of U.S. military support for the Saudi-led Arab coalition that has been bombing Iranian-supported Houthi rebels, sometimes at the expense of killing civilians.
A top Turkish prosecutor said Wednesday that Khashoggi, who wrote columns critical of the Saudi government for The Washington Post, was killed and dismembered in a premeditated murder at the consulate. As details about the case have emerged, U.S. lawmakers stepped up demands for responses to the murder and to the crisis in Yemen.
Pompeo urged a cease-fire, citing both missile and drone strikes into Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by Houthis and the airstrikes "in all populated areas" of Yemen by the U.S.-backed Arab coalition. He urged implementation of "confidence-building measures" to address the underlying issues of the conflict.
Mattis was more specific than Pompeo in his call for urgent movement toward a political solution to the fighting under peace talks being urged by the U.N. special envoy, Martin Griffiths. Mattis said a cease-fire should take effect within 30 days.
"We're calling on all the parties, specifically the Houthis and the Arab coalition, to meet in Sweden in November and to come to a solution," Mattis said.
The U.S. proposal was greeted with skepticism in Houthi-controlled Sanaa. Sultan Al-Samaey, a member of the Houthi political council, said that while the war needed to be brought to an end, the group would only support "a peace which will preserve our independence."
Ayoub Al-Tamimi, a Sanaa resident and political activist, said: "This is simply a solution that will only plant land mines in the future of this region. There is no solution that can come from Trump or the Democrats, only booby traps."
Sweden on Wednesday said it had accepted Griffiths' request that it host such talks but that nothing was definite.
Griffiths on Wednesday welcomed the U.S. calls for immediate resumption of the political process and said the United Nations remains committed "to bring the Yemeni parties to the negotiations table within a month."
Mattis called for demilitarization of Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia "so that the Saudis and the Emirates do not have to worry about missiles coming into their homes and cities and airports." He also said measures should be taken to "ensure that all Iranian-supplied missiles to the Houthis" are put under "international watch."
"This has got to end. We've got to replace combat with compromise," Mattis said.
Mattis put the primary blame on Iran. He said its proxies and surrogate forces are fueling the conflict.
"They need to knock it off," he said. Mattis said the political process should "set the conditions for a return to traditional areas inside Yemen and a government that allows for this amount of local autonomy that Houthis or that southerners want."
A group of five Republican senators cited the situation in Yemen as well as the Khashoggi killing as reasons for calling on the administration to halt ongoing negotiations with Saudi Arabia on a civilian nuclear energy agreement. Among them, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has proposed legislation that would stop arms sales to the Saudis.
The administration's diplomatic push highlights the severity of the crisis in the Yemeni port city of Hodeida. A protracted siege of Hodeida by the U.S.-supported Arab coalition could imperil the international lifeline to the port.
The International Committee for the Red Cross said Wednesday that its team in Hodeida this week found dreadful living conditions for thousands of displaced families "who own only the clothes they wear and survive on a little rice or a thin mix of flour and water, if they find any food to eat at all."