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March 13, 2017- Millions of people on the brink of Famine


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Headline:     Trump mulls Middle East peace conference

Headline:     Top Trump adviser Greenblatt to meet today with Netanyahu, Abbas

US President Donald Trump is mulling the option to hold a peace conference in the Middle East in an effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, after speaking on Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Friday’s 10-minute phone call was the first between Trump and Abbas since the former took office. “The president emphasized his personal belief that peace is possible and that the time has come to make a deal,” the White House said. Trump underscored that such a peace agreement must be negotiated directly between the two parties and that the United States will work closely with Palestinian and Israeli leadership to make progress toward that goal, the statement said. The White House said in a statement that the two leaders on Friday discussed ways to advance peace throughout the Middle East, including a comprehensive agreement that would end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. “The president noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world,” the White House clarified.  In a statement made by the Palestinian authority, Trump is stated to have said that “it is time we end the suffering which lasted for 70 years.” Abbas responded that they are “committed to peace, as a strategic achievement in an overall effort to found a Palestinian state alongside Israel.”
March 13, 2017,7340,L-4934077,00.html

Headline:  Palestinian marchers seek Abbas resignation over Israel ties

Several hundred Palestinians marched in an anti-government protest Monday, calling for the resignation of President Mahmoud Abbas and criticizing his security coordination with Israel. Separately, Palestinian journalists staged a sit-in nearby to protest the violent dispersal of an anti-government protest by Palestinian riot police a day earlier. In Sunday’s incident, helmeted troops beat demonstrators and journalists with clubs. Jihad Barakat of Palestine Today TV said he was pushed and that his camera was broken. He said he saw three colleagues being beaten with clubs. Meanwhile, several hundred protesters marched through the center of the West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday, calling on Abbas to resign. Abbas heads the Palestinian Authority, a self-rule government that administers parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Marchers also chanted that “security coordination is treason.” The policy, in which Abbas’ forces and Israeli troops cooperate against gunmen, is unpopular among Palestinians.
March 13, 2017

Headline:  Wave of threats at Jewish centers across the US sends police scrambling

Jewish community centers and synagogues across the United States received another series of phoned-in threats Sunday, prompting another round of police response. No suspicious items were found.
In Brighton, New York, police checked and cleared a Jewish community center, located outside of Rochester. It wasn’t the first threat to the community they had responded to in recent weeks.
“We do believe that this is part of, as I mentioned on Tuesday, a larger picture – a national trend. That’s why I did mention that the FBI was involved. They are assisting us. The state police has taken a lead role from a New York state perspective,” Brighton Police Chief Mark Henderson said. Bomb threats were received on Sunday by Jewish community centers in Indiana, Texas, New York, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Vancouver, British Columbia, the Jewish Community Center Association of North America said. Sunday’s threats brought the total this year to 128 incidents at 87 community centers, the association said. So far, all have been hoaxes. The American incidents prompted all 100 US senators last week to ask the federal government to help Jewish groups enhance security.
March 13, 2017

Headline:  Chilean Palestinians threaten to boycott Christians over anti-BDS meeting

Palestinians in Chile threatened to boycott a local Christian organization over a scheduled meeting with the Israeli Christian-Zionist leader Father Gabriel Naddaf. Last week, Naddaf, the head of the Christian Empowerment Council, was on a tour of the South American country, sponsored by the local JNF-KKL chapter and the Zionist Federation of Chile, to speak out against the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. He was scheduled to meet with the leaders of ACN-Chile, a Catholic charity organization, and with the head of the Benedictine Monastery in Santiago. However, Palestinian groups said they would take action to financially harm the Christian groups for meeting with the Israeli representative against BDS. The Christian organizations eventually bowed to the pressure and canceled the meeting. Naddaf, who encourages Christian Israelis to enlist and integrate into the larger Israeli society, said that the religious leaders need to get deeper into the hearts and minds of the common people in order for them to make a difference for the good. Chile is home to about half a million Palestinians, most of them Christian, who immigrated when the Ottomans ruled the Holy Land. They have a large influence on all sectors of life in the country, and the Chilean-Palestinian community is believed to be the largest Palestinian community outside of the Arab world.
March 13, 2017

Headline:     Intel Minister: Hezbollah’s ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’ increases Iran risk

Headline:  IRGC-controlled Iraqi militia forms ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’

The formation of a new Hezbollah brigade which aims to liberate the Golan Heights from Israel increases the threat posed by Iran on the northern border, Minister of Intelligence and member of Security Cabinet Israel Katz told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. “The so called ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’ sharpens the threat posed by the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria in general and on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in particular,” he said. “I have been saying for a long time that if Iran is allowed to base itself in Syria it will be a threat to Israel’s national security and a constant source of regional instability and tension and friction with the Sunni majority in Syria and with the Sunni countries in the region as well,” Katz added.  The latest Iranian proxy to be formed in Syria is a brigade that was announced last week by the spokesman for the Iranian-controlled Iraqi militia known as Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, Seyed Hashem Moussavi at a press conference in Iran. “After the latest victories [in Syria and Iraq], we established the ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’. This is a trained army with specific plans. If the government of Syria requests, we and our allies are ready to take action to liberate Golan,” Moussavi was quoted by Iran’s Tasnim news agency as saying. “We will not permit Arab and Islamic countries in the region to remain in the grasps of the occupiers,” he added. According to Moussavi, the brigade members are well trained special forces and well-armed, ready to assist the Syrian regime in retaking the Golan Heights, territory won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day War. The group also released a 45-second video promoting the newly formed Golan liberation brigade, with dozens of balaclava-wearing fighters marching with a banner reading “Israel will be destroyed.”
March 13, 2017


Headline:    Proposed Temple Mount advocacy foundation raises ire among Arab MKs

In a move arousing resentment and anger, Likud Ministers Ze’ev Elkin and Miri Regev are seeking to establish an advocacy foundation to promote Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. The proposed Temple Mount heritage foundation, similar to the existing Western Wall Heritage Foundation, will be budgeted at NIS 2 million a year, taken from Elkin’s Jerusalem Affairs Ministry and Regev’s Culture Ministry. Among other things, the foundation would produce movies and clips in a variety of languages and develop courses on the subject and raise awareness on social media. “In recent years, Israel has been dealing with a de-legitimization campaign, which in part uses the Temple Mount, its heritage and its connection to the Jewish people in a negative manner that is inconsistent with factual truth as reflected in historical and archaeological research,” Elkin and Regev said in a joint statement. According to the ministers, the initiative was undertaken in response to the controversial UNESCO decision, which failed to recognize the Jewish people’s connection to the holy site. The Joint List attacked the initiative, saying the area is “holy to Islam and regardless of whatever foundation is established, nothing will change that facts.”
March 13, 2017,7340,L-4934611,00.html



Headline:      Hezbollah, Syrian Army to withdraw from border area if Syrian rebels agree to fight ISIS

In a bid to resolve several years of deadlock in the mountainous West Qalamoun region, Moscow offered local rebel factions on the border between Syria and Lebanon a deal which would have the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and Hezbollah (Lebanese paramilitary) withdraw from its checkpoints in the area if opposition groups agree to expel ISIS insurgents. However, Islamist militants loyal to newly formed Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (Syrian Al-Qaeda branch) are not part of the agreement but were nevertheless offered an option to evacuate their forces to Idlib province, considered rebel heartland. If local opposition factions comply and kick out ISIS militants, the SAA will allow government institutions in the area to run under rebel control, somewhat similar to the compromise situation in the East Qalamoun. According to an opposition source, the unorthodox deal was offered under the table by the Russian Centre for Reconciliation on Sunday. Rebel commanders are yet to reply to the enquiry. Across the border in Lebanon, ISIS controls most of the northern part of Arsal while Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham controls the southern part. The two jihadist groups often clash with one another, as well as the Lebanese Army and Hezbollah.
March 13, 2017

Saudi Arabia

Headline:    Pakistan in talks with Saudi Arabia to send combat troops to protect the kingdom

Pakistan is in discussions with Saudi Arabia to send combat troops to protect the kingdom amid growing concern over threats from ISIL militants and Houthi rebels. Plans are underway to dispatch a brigade-sized deployment following a request from Riyadh, which wants the troops as an emergency response force. A brigade is usually made up of between 1,500 and 3,500 troops. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have long had a close military and security relationship, with troops from Pakistan’s large and combat-hardened army regularly deployed for training Saudi soldiers. Although the kingdom, like other Arab Gulf countries, does not make the numbers public, experts say there are as many as 70,000 Pakistanis serving across the Saudi military services at any one time. But requests for Pakistani combat brigades have usually only been made during times of heightened tensions in the kingdom. A senior Pakistani military source confirmed the Saudi request, but stressed troops would “not go across the border” with Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition against the Iran-backed Houthi rebel movement. Instead, the source said troops will be kept on standby in case of any major internal security threat or terrorist incident.
March 13, 2017

Headline:  Fifteen killed in fighting near Yemen Red Sea port

Headline:  Saudi-led coalition’s port op would cut off Yemen from food & aid supplies, Russia warns

Seven Yemeni soldiers and eight rebels were killed in heavy fighting over the past 24 hours near the Red Sea coastal town of Mokha, medical and security sources said Saturday. The historic port was captured by government forces on Feb. 10 as part of a major offensive launched in January to try to recapture Yemen’s 450-kilometer Red Sea coastline, which had previously been almost entirely in rebel hands. But there have been repeated clashes over the past month both inland and north of the town as the rebels seek to take it back. The latest fighting focused on the village of Yakhtul, 14 kilometers north of Mokha, which is currently in government hands. It came as an airstrike on a rebel-held port further north by an Arab-led coalition supporting the government killed at least 22 civilians and six rebels and wounded dozens. The strike on the town of Khokha targeted rebel fighters who had taken refuge at the entrance to a market selling the mild narcotic qat, which is a central part of Yemeni social life.
March 13, 2017


Headline:      Egyptian general tells millions to stop complaining about crisis

A major general in the Egyptian security services told Egyptians to stop complaining about hunger and poverty for the sake of the country’s prosperity, during a meeting at an unidentified location on Saturday. In a video, circulated on social media, Mohamed Mansour was seen telling Egyptians it was “rude” of them to complain about rising prices or a shortage of food supplies. He went on to encourage Egyptians to “go hungry” and “sacrifice their dinner” for the sake of Egypt. Egyptians took to the streets in several cities on Tuesday in angry demonstrations at government cuts to bread subsidies. Reports and videos on social media showed crowds in central Alexandria protesting after bakeries refused to take paper subsidy cards, which many poor Egyptians use to gain a government ration of bread. Protests were also reported in Egypt’s southern Minya governorate and the Cairo suburb of Imbaba.
March 13, 2017

Headline:      Assad calls U.S. forces ‘invaders’, but still hopeful on Trump

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said U.S. forces in Syria were “invaders” and he had yet to see “anything concrete” emerge from U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to prioritize the fight against Islamic State. Assad has said he saw promise in Trump’s statements emphasizing the battle against Islamic State in Syria, where U.S. policy under President Barack Obama had backed some of the rebels fighting Assad and shunned him as an illegitimate leader. “We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric,” Assad said in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix. “We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we have heard,” he said. The United States is leading a coalition against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In Syria, it is working with an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias. Their current focus is to encircle and ultimately capture Raqqa – Islamic State’s base of operations in Syria. This week, the U.S.-led coalition announced that around 400 additional U.S. forces had deployed to Syria to help with the Raqqa campaign and to prevent any clash between Turkey and Washington-allied Syrian militias that Ankara sees as a threat. Asked about a deployment of U.S. forces near the northern city of Manbij, Assad said: “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation … are invaders.” “We don’t think this is going to help”.
March 13, 2017



Headline:    Syrian Al-Qaeda affiliate claims twin bombing in Damascus

Headline:  Al Qaeda is resurgent

A Syrian jihadist group affiliated with al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for a twin bombing on Friday in the capital Damascus that killed at least 40. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham said the attack was “a message to Iran” over the country’s support for Syrian president Bashar al Assad. The majority of dead were Iraqi pilgrims, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory put the death toll at 74, but the figure was not confirmed. The blast wounded 120, according to Iraq’s government. According to the Observatory, the attack consisted of a roadside bomb detonated as a bus passed, and a suicide bombing. It took place near the Bab al-Saghir cemetery, which houses Shia mausoleums. Sunni militants often target Shias but attacks in the capital are uncommon. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (Liberation of the Levant Organisation) is a new group formed from Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (previously al-Nusra Front) and four smaller factions.
March 13, 2017

Headline:   Rebels agree to leave last Homs enclave

Syrian rebel fighters have agreed to leave their last enclave in the city of Homs, government officials say. Homs Governor Talal Barrazi said the evacuation of al-Wair was part of an existing deal with community leaders and would take six to eight weeks. Opposition activists said the rebels would be allowed to depart with their families for rebel-held northern Syria. The pro-opposition Orient News website reported that the rebels planned to head to Jarablus, a town near the border with Turkey that was captured from so-called Islamic State last August. In a separate development on Monday, several rebel factions said they were not yet ready to send a delegation to attend talks with the government that are scheduled to begin in Kazakhstan on Tuesday. Ahmed Othman of the Sultan Murad brigade told Reuters that one of the reasons for the boycott was unfulfilled promises relating to a cessation of hostilities agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey at the end of December. Mr Othman complained that Russia, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad, had failed to halt the government’s bombardment of rebel-held areas.
March 13, 2017


Headline:     Iraqi Army overruns more ISIS-held villages on the western outskirts of Mosul

The Iraqi Armed Forces are slowly but surely on their way to victory in Mosul after new advancements were achieved inside the city and in rural areas of Nineveh province on Sunday. Pushing southwards along the Tigris River from the recently liberated water plant, the Iraqi Army’s 16th Division and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) were able to impose full control over the villages of Subaih and Darnajoj, northwest of Mosul. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Federal Police and Rapid Response Division stormed Bab Al-Tob and made great progress in the area, coming within 300 meters of the Old Bridge and 500 meters of Al-Nuri mosque, the site where ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi held his first speech. In addition, the Iraqi special forces finally imposed full control over the Al-Aghwat district after a prolonged battle with ISIS militants. Effectively, the Iraqi Armed Forces have reached the Old City in the central part of western Mosul. This neighborhood consists of small, narrow streets that favor ISIS’ style of urban warfare which relies mostly on sniper nests, booby traps and suicide bombers. After the Iraqi Armed Forces also entered the New Mosul District earlier today, ISIS controls little more than 15% of Iraq’s second largest city.
March 13, 2017

Headline:   After Mosul, Iraqi troops to target Islamic State in Anbar: commander

Iraqi security forces will turn to Islamic State strongholds in western Anbar after expelling the extremist group from western Mosul, a senior army commander in the province said. Maj. Gen. Qassem al-Mohammadi was quoted saying Islamic State strongholds in Anbar’s western towns of Annah, Rawa and Qaem “will be liberated soon”. Mohammadi said operations targeting those areas will launch soon after the security campaign against IS in western Mosul. Earlier on Monday, Anadolu Agency quoted an army officer saying that 2000 U.S. army soldiers had arrived in a military base in Anbar to back up Iraqi forces in anticipated offensives against IS in the west of the province. Islamic State held Anbar’s western regions, close to the borders with Syria, since 2014. Those areas have sustained occasional bombardments by Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition fighter jets. There has not been an officially-declared military campaign to free those regions, but the province’s military command launched a brief assault early January that managed to recapture some western villages before stopping again.
March 13, 2017










Headline:      Turkey referendum: Clashes as Dutch expel minister

Headline:     German MPs call for troop withdrawal from Turkish airbase amid rally row

Dutch riot police have clashed with protesters in Rotterdam, amid a diplomatic row that saw a Turkish minister escorted out of the country. Water cannon and police on horseback were used to disperse about 1,000 people outside the Turkish consulate. The minister was trying to win support among expatriates for a referendum on expanding Turkish presidential powers. The Dutch government says such rallies would stoke tensions days before the Netherlands’ general election. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stepped up the war of words on Sunday, telling a ceremony in Istanbul: “Holland! If you are sacrificing Turkish-Dutch relations for the sake of the elections on Wednesday, you will pay a price.” Fatma Betul Sayan Kaya, Turkey’s family minister, had arrived by road on Saturday ahead of her planned rally. However, she was denied entry to the consulate in Rotterdam and taken to the German border by police. Earlier, the Netherlands had barred Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu from entering the country by plane. He has now travelled to Metz in northern France to address a rally there on Sunday. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Sunday that Turkey would respond in the “harshest ways” to this “unacceptable behaviour”. Meanwhile, Amid a row with Turkey over its presidential powers referendum, some German MPs are calling for the withdrawal of troops deployed at Incirlik airbase. Germany is flying reconnaissance sorties from the Turkish base as part of the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition. Florian Hahn, spokesman for security and foreign policy of the Christian Social Union (CSU), said the Germans soldiers and officers may become pawns in Turkish power games. “Amid this heated atmosphere, it has become increasingly uncertain that the Turkish government can and will guarantee the protection of our soldiers in Incirlik,” he told Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper. He called on the government to stop investing in the infrastructure of the airbase and transfer the Tornados stationed there elsewhere.
March 13, 2017


Headline:   Iran sending troops, ammunition to Syria and Yemen battlefields via civilian flights

Iran is using civilian flights to secretly send soldiers and ammunition to war zones in Syria and Yemen, an Iranian military official said. The Iranian troops ride in the rear of the planes and exit via a rear door “separate from the regular passengers,” an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) official told the anti-government “Amed News” website. Teheran is also using the civilian flights to transfer wounded and dead soldiers, the official said.  According to the reports, which were translated and published by the MEMRI institute which tracks media outlets in the Middle East, the flights by Iran’s Mahan Air to Damascus in Syria and Sana’a in Yemen are being used to ship large quantities of ammunition in the cargo holds of the civilian planes which are then sent to battle zones. The IRG official said that “last year, one of these airliners transported regular passengers [as well as] military forces and ammo from Iran to Syria, and on its way back to Iran, it brought dead and injured Iranians, Syrians, Afghanis, and Pakistanis for treatment or burial in Iran.” The official added: “On the return trip from Syria, these airliners carry people in Zone C, which is in the rear of the plane and the regular passengers cannot see it. They disembark via the rear door and occupy a separate part [of the plane] from the regular passengers. These are the same people Iran trains in armed combat and guerrilla warfare at IRGC bases. In fact, the IRGC commanders use the regular passengers on Mahan Air flights as a cover to transfer weapons, ammo, and [fighters] trained [to wage] guerrilla warfare in the region.”
March 12, 2017


Headline:    Blast destroys bus in Afghan capital, killing at least one

An explosion in the center of the Afghan capital Kabul destroyed a bus carrying employees of one of the country’s biggest telecoms firms on Monday, killing at least one person and wounding eight, Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said. Security forces surrounded the smoking remains of the bus, which appeared to be completely burned out. A security official said earlier the blast was caused by a suicide bomber on foot, but Sediqqi said it appeared to have been caused by a roadside bomb. The explosion, as people were leaving work in a well-to-do area of the city, came less than a week after dozens of people were killed and wounded in an attack on the country’s largest military hospital by gunmen dressed in medical uniforms. Officials are still investigating that assault, which was claimed by Islamic State, but the two attacks underline the broad security threat in Afghanistan, where the Taliban have stepped up their insurgency against the Western-backed government.
March 13, 2017


Headline:     South Sudan Army Clash With Rebels Leaves 23 People Dead

A clash between South Sudanese government forces and rebels in the oil-rich northeastern state of Bieh left at least 23 people dead, army spokesman Lul Ruai Koang said. Two senior rebel officers were among the dead, Koang said by mobile-phone text message on Sunday. The fighting took place two days after national prayers seeking to end more than three years of conflict in the East African nation. The violence has claimed tens of thousands of lives, with both government forces and rebels accused of atrocities, according to the United Nations.
March 12, 2017


Headline:      Libya’s deepening split finds battleground at oil terminals

Hundreds or thousands of armed men are converging on Libya’s main oil-shipping terminals, which the rival powers in the country’s east and west are fighting to control in a battle being watched by global oil markets. The struggle for the Ras Lanuf refinery and nearby Sidr depot threatens to spiral into an all-out conflict between east and west. Already, it has seen the bloodiest fighting yet between the two camps: About 40 troops from the east were killed over four days as militias backed by western factions stormed the area Friday, losing a handful of casualties. Now forces from the east loyal to military strongman Khalifa Hifter are massing nearby, threatening a new assault to wrest back the facilities, which nominally are in the hands of the Tripoli government. In another step, the eastern parliament Tuesday voted to withdraw support from the United Nations peace deal that created the Tripoli government in January 2016 in hopes of ending years of chaos in the North African country. The withdrawal of support undermines the government, which has had difficulty asserting authority even in Tripoli.
March 13, 2017


Headline:       Deadly attack on security forces in southern Tunisia

Four attackers on motorcycle attacked on Sunday a security checkpoint in the southern Tunisian city of Kebili, killing one guard, according to the country’s interior ministry. Two attackers were killed in the ensuing shootout. Tunisian authorities said the attack took place early Sunday at around 00.40 local time. “There was a terrorist attack on a checkpoint just outside Kebili. Four alleged terrorists on two motorcycles that were armed with explosives arrived on the scene. They killed one of the security agents. There were only three of them present manning the checkpoint,” Sarah Souli, a freelance journalist in Tunis, told FRANCE 24. Two attackers out of four were then killed by security forces. A third attacker was wounded and is now in hospital. The fourth one was arrested Sunday evening, according to an Interior Ministry statement. The identity of the attackers have not been revealed.
March 12, 2017









Headline:       ACLU launches nationwide training on protest, resistance

The American Civil Liberties Union staged a nationwide training event Saturday to make sure people are aware of their rights as protesters and urge organized, public resistance by those opposed to policies of President Donald Trump. Organizers said the event at a sports arena on the University of Miami campus was livestreamed to locations in all 50 states. ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said 200,000 people had signed up to attend one of an estimated 2,000 local events. The event, staged in town hall style, was aimed at capitalizing on numerous demonstrations since Trump’s election in November and to make sure people know their rights to protest, Romero said. He said priority issues are immigration, the First Amendment free speech and religious freedom rights, civil and reproductive rights and rights of gay, lesbian and transgender people. “We will bring all the lawsuits necessary to defend these rights,” Romero said. “We’ll do the work in the courts. You do the work in the streets. People are motivated. They want to be engaged.”
March 11, 2017

Headline:   Schumer Warns of Government Shutdown Over Trump’s Border Wall

Senate Democrats warned Republicans Monday that attempts to take funding away from Planned Parenthood or pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall in a stopgap spending bill that must pass by late April would result in a government shutdown. The threat from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democratic leaders sets up a climactic first showdown with the president, particularly with their inclusion of Trump’s signature border wall proposal. “If Republicans insist on inserting poison pill riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, or starting a deportation force, they will be shutting down the government and delivering a severe blow to our economy,” Schumer said in a statement. Up until now, Trump hasn’t needed Democratic votes to stock his cabinet or advance the repeal of Obamacare, but a spending bill keeping the government open is subject to a 60-vote threshold in the Senate. If Congress doesn’t act, a partial government shutdown would begin on April 29. Democrats also warned against including funding for a “deportation force” as the Trump administration emphasizes ramped up arrests and deportations of immigrants in the country illegally.
March 13, 2017

Headline:  Car bomb kills at least 13 in Somali capital

A car bomb near a hotel on a busy street in the Somali capital killed at least 13 people on Monday, police and the emergency medical services said, hours after a man was killed by a blast as he tried to ram through a checkpoint. Police said the blast damaged a house on Maka al Mukaram street but did not destroy its target, the Wehliye Hotel. “We have carried 13 dead people and 14 others are injured. The death toll may rise further,” Abdikadir Abdirahman, director of aid-funded Aamin Ambulance services, told Reuters. A spokesman for Somali Islamist insurgent group al Shabaab claimed the attack. “We were behind the Maka al Mukaram street blast. We killed 17 people, including senior officials of military and security and former lawmakers,” Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, al Shabaab’s military operation spokesman, told Reuters by phone. Earlier on Monday, police shot at a minibus, also in Mogadishu, when the driver refused to stop as it approached a checkpoint. The minibus exploded, wounding two bystanders and killing the driver, police officer Nur Osman told Reuters.
March 13, 2017

Headline:   Scottish independence: Nicola Sturgeon to seek second referendum

Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed she will ask for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence. Ms Sturgeon said she wanted a vote to be held between the autumn of 2018 and the spring of the following year. That would coincide with the expected conclusion of the UK’s Brexit negotiations. The Scottish first minister said the move was needed to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the UK voting to leave the EU. She said she would ask the Scottish Parliament next week to request a Section 30 order from Westminster. The order would be needed to allow a fresh legally-binding referendum on independence to be held. Prime Minister Theresa May has so far avoided saying whether or not she would grant permission. Responding to Ms Sturgeon’s announcement, Mrs May said a second independence referendum would set Scotland on course for “uncertainty and division” and insisted that the majority of people in Scotland did not want another vote on the issue.
March 13, 2017


Headline:    Japan plans to send largest warship to South China Sea, sources say

Headline:   Philippines’ Duterte asks military to tell China vast sea area ‘is ours’

Headline:   Vietnam demands China stop cruises in South China Sea

Japan plans to dispatch its largest warship on a three-month tour through the South China Sea beginning in May, three sources said, in its biggest show of naval force in the region since World War Two. China claims almost all the disputed waters and its growing military presence has fueled concern in Japan and the West, with the United States holding regular air and naval patrols to ensure freedom of navigation. The Izumo helicopter carrier, commissioned only two years ago, will make stops in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka before joining the Malabar joint naval exercise with Indian and U.S. naval vessels in the Indian Ocean in July. It will return to Japan in August, the sources said. “The aim is to test the capability of the Izumo by sending it out on an extended mission,” said one of the sources who have knowledge of the plan. “It will train with the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea,” he added, asking not to be identified because he is not authorized to talk to the media. A spokesman for Japan’s Maritime Self Defense Force declined to comment.
March 13, 2017,7340,L-4934500,00.html

Headline:   US Deploys Attack Drones to South Korea Amid Tension with North

Headline:   U.S. Navy SEALs to take part in joint drills in S. Korea

The United States has started to deploy attack drones to South Korea, a U.S. military spokesman said on Monday, days after it began to deploy an advanced anti-missile system to counter “continued provocative actions” by isolated North Korea. The drones, Gray Eagle Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) coming to South Korea are part of a broader plan to deploy a company of the attack drones with every division in the U.S. Army, the spokesman said. “The UAS adds significant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability to U.S. Forces Korea and our ROK partners,” United States Forces Korea spokesman Christopher Bush said in a statement. He did not say exactly when the drones would arrive in South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK). North Korea has conducted two nuclear tests and a string of missile tests since the beginning of last year, despite the imposition of new U.N. sanctions. Last week, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, said Washington was re-evaluating its North Korea strategy and “all options are on the table.”
March 13, 2017


Headline:     Impressions From the 2017 World Government Summit

As is the case with geopolitics, power abhors vacuum and this retreat from the U.S. and the UK will give rise to new actors. Indeed, the free movement of people, services, and ideas will not halt anytime soon. It will happen regardless. New champions will support and recalibrate how it’s done. But is the new champion of the liberal international order, Chinese President Xi Jinping? If you were in Davos in January, you may have thought so. The discussions there centered around what global leaders can do to help better communicate the benefits of international cooperation, trade, and globalization. The anxiety stemming from the unknowns of a new American president taking office just days from Davos was palpable. I witnessed the exact opposite in Dubai at the fifth installment of the World Government Summit.  In Dubai, the focus was the future and the mood from the international media corps was jubilant. An assortment of leaders was in attendance: media personalities, heads of the world’s top organizations, corporate, academic, and diplomatic leaders, and many more. The center theme? How can leaders dream boldly for a better future?
March 13, 2017


Headline:  Fighting Famine: The four countries where millions are starving- VIDEO/GRAPHIC PHOTOS

In a week of special coverage, ITV News is taking a closer look at how widespread starvation is threatening countries in parts of Africa and the Middle East. The United Nations has this week warned that drastic action is needed to help 20 million people facing starvation and famine across four countries.
SOUTH SUDAN- Millions of people are in need of humanitarian assistance, with 100,000 facing starvation now and a further one million on the brink of famine in Unity State. It is estimated that more than one million children are acutely malnourished across South Sudan, with more than a quarter of these severely malnourished. The combination of violence, drought and an economic crisis have created the humanitarian emergency.
NIGERIA- Around five million people are in food crisis, according to Oxfam, with this number predicted to reach 5.7 million by June this year. In areas cut off from humanitarian aid, it is thought at least 400,000 people could already be living in famine-like conditions. It is estimated that 250,000 children are severely malnourished, with up to 50,000 at risk of dying without immediate intervention. Conflict between militant group Boko Haram and government forces in the north-east of the country has forced around 2.5 million people from their homes. Many have had to shelter in areas that are already extremely deprived of food and water, while aid agencies have struggled to access certain regions because of the fighting.
YEMEN- It is estimated around 14 million Yemenis do not know where their next meal will come from, while the UN says around 80% of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance. Millions of people have been displaced from their homes by conflict and nearly half a million children are at risk of life-threatening malnutrition. The impacts are being felt in many parts of Yemen, including Taiz and Hodeida, where acute malnutrition rates among children under five are more than double the emergency threshold set out by the UN.
SOMALIA- Drought has created a major food crisis in Somalia and if the rains do not come soon then there is likely to be a famine. The last time this happened – in 2011 – 258,000 people died, half of them under the age of five. People are already dying from hunger, according to the country’s prime minister. The World Food Programme estimates that nearly three million people cannot meet their daily food requirements and another 3.3 million need support to prevent them sliding into crisis. The UN predicts that nearly one million children will be acutely malnourished this year, including 185,000 who will be severely malnourished and in need of urgent lifesaving support, a figure that is expected to rise.
March 13, 2017


Headline:   China reports 61 deaths from H7N9 bird flu in February

China reported 61 fatalities and 160 cases of human infection from H7N9 bird flu in February, the government said on Monday. The number of fatalities is much higher than that of previous years as it brought the death toll in this winter’s outbreaks to 161 since October. While the total for last month was lower than January’s 79, it was the highest number for the month of February since the deadly strain was first identified in 2013, according to data from the National Health and Family Planning Commission. The total of 140 deaths for the first two months of 2017 alone already surpasses the annual totals for avian flu in China in recent years. In 2010, 147 people died of the H1N1 strain of the virus.
March 13, 2017


Headline:       SXSW 2017: Why is the Vatican at a tech conference?

Ten years ago, SXSW Interactive enjoyed what’s still its most significant moment – the “launch” of Twitter. The service had been around for a little while before appearing at the festival, but it was here that its popularity skyrocketed. While it’s the Vatican’s first time at SXSW, it’s certainly not the first technology conference it has attended. Bishop Tighe also attended Web Summit in Lisbon last year, and there, as it is here, the hot topic was the growing power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As the Vatican’s Adjunct Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, one of Bishop Tighe’s many responsibilities is to run the social media accounts for the Pope, as well as considering ways in which the Catholic Church can stretch its influence into our digital lives. I put it to him that we are living at a time when the majority of people are far more likely to search Google for answers than they are to pray. When the Amazon Alexa in the corner of my kitchen can give me immediate answers based on data, why turn anywhere else? “All the data in the world will still leave room for choices that I have to make,” he said. “If we say big data will tell us what’s right or wrong, then I am no longer an agent, and my choices have been determined for me. That doesn’t correspond to my experience of being a human.” More profound, he said, will be the emergence of artificial intelligence and robotics in the working environment. Money aside, he argued we should be concerned about what a lack of work could do to our sense of self worth. “Let’s not romanticize it – some of the work that might be displaced is fairly tough, dangerous work and fairly menial. Maybe it’s no great loss. “[But] we need to reflect on how human beings who work are not just economic units producing products, they’re people with stories and families.”
March 13, 2017

Headline:  US Exorcists: Demonic Activity on the Rise

There is an alarming increase in demonic activity being reported by those who work in exorcism ministry, said the exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. Although steps are being taken to increase the number of exorcists, demand is still outpacing supply. Father Vincent Lampert has been an exorcist for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis since 2005 and is the pastor at St. Malachy’s in Indianapolis. He trained at the North American College in Rome and assisted with more than 40 exorcisms with longtime Italian exorcist Father Carmine De Filippi. Although the identities of most exorcists are hidden, Father Lampert often gives talks to warn against evil and turn people toward the power of God. In an interview with the Register, he said that he sees an increasing number of people involved in Satanic rituals and opening themselves up to evil. “The problem isn’t that the devil has upped his game, but more people are willing to play it,” Father Lampert said. He pointed to rampant pornography, illegal drugs use and the occult. “Where there is demonic activity, there is always an entry point,” he said.
March 11, 2017


Headline:     South Sudan Military: Rebels Kidnap 8 From Christian Charity

South Sudanese rebels have kidnapped eight local aid workers working for U.S. charity Samaritan’s Purse and are demanding aid deliveries to their area, a military spokesman said on Monday. The aid workers were taken from a village near Mayendit, about 420 miles (680 km) northeast of the capital of Juba, Brigadier General Lul Ruai Koang told Reuters. “The rebels attacked and abducted eight local staff from Samaritan’s Purse and they are being held to ransom. They have demanded that the organization takes aid to them,” he said. The charity confirmed the kidnapping in a statement but denied a ransom had been demanded. “We have been in contact with them and they have not been harmed. No ransom request has been made and we are hopeful that they will be released soon and safely,” it said. Last week, South Sudan announced plans to charge a levy of $10,000 per foreign aid worker, which with the danger of abduction, could hurt efforts to help the hungry. Nicholas Haysom, U.N. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, said: “It is … likely to lead to an exodus of humanitarian workers in a country that is already facing a dire humanitarian situation.
March 13, 2017


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Headline:    What’s shaking? an_eqList & map of USGS Earthquakes~Click the shaking house~

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  1. Donna Abbott says:

    Thank you so much for rightly dividing the word of God. Your research and long hours of study are a great blessing. Maranatha!

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