Finland elects youngest-ever prime minister

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)

 

Finland elects youngest-ever prime minister

Sanna Marin narrowly won Sunday’s vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne, who resigned on Tuesday after losing the confidence of the coalition partner Centre Party over his handling of a postal strike.

WORLD Updated: Dec 09, 2019 08:13 IST

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse

Helsinki
Sanna Marin narrowly won Sunday’s vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne
Sanna Marin narrowly won Sunday’s vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne(via REUTERS)

Finland’s Social Democrats elected a 34-year-old former transport minister to the post of prime minister on Sunday, making her the youngest head of government in the country’s history.

Sanna Marin narrowly won Sunday’s vote to replace outgoing leader Antti Rinne, who resigned on Tuesday after losing the confidence of the coalition partner Centre Party over his handling of a postal strike.

“We have a lot of work to do to rebuild trust,” Marin told reporters on Sunday night, while deflecting questions about her age.

“I have never thought about my age or gender, I think of the reasons I got into politics and those things for which we have won the trust of the electorate.”

At 34, Marin also becomes one of the world’s youngest state leaders, ahead of Ukraine’s prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, who is currently 35.

Former PM Antti Rinne had headed Finland’s centre-left five-party coalition since June, and Marin’s appointment is unlikely to lead to significant policy changes by the Social Democrat-led administration.

“We have a shared government program which we have committed to,” Marin said.

The SDP won April’s legislative elections on promises to end years of economic belt-tightening introduced by the Centre Party to lift Finland out of a recession.

Rinne stepped down after several weeks of political crisis over a plan to cut wages for 700 postal workers.

Finland’s postal service withdrew the reform plans in November after widespread strikes, but questions emerged over whether or not Rinne had previously endorsed the cutbacks, leading to the Centre Party declaring it had lost its trust in the prime minister last Monday.

Parliament is expected to formally swear in the new prime minister on Tuesday.

Trump calls Canada’s Prime Minister ‘Two Faced’ at NATO meeting

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

London (CNN)After President Donald Trump called him “two-faced,” Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, admitted Wednesday that he and other world leaders were talking about the US President when they were caught on camera at a Buckingham Palace event the night before.

The video, which has gone viral, shows British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, Trudeau and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appearing to have a laugh about Trump’s behavior during the summit. But none of the leaders explicitly named Trump.
“Last night I made reference to the fact that there was an unscheduled press conference before my meeting with President Trump. I was happy to be part of it but it was certainly notable,” Trudeau said during a Wednesday press conference.
Trudeau indicated that he wasn’t concerned about his comments impacting the US-Canadian relationship, but Trump reacted angrily earlier Wednesday calling Trudeau “two-faced,” before adding, “honestly with Trudeau, he’s a nice guy.”
Trump also canceled his own press conference scheduled for the end of his trip to the NATO summit. The President was caught on a hot mic of his own after the cancellation, saying, “Oh, and then you know what they’ll say. ‘He didn’t do a press conference. He didn’t do a press conference.’ That was funny when I said the guy’s two-faced, you know that.”
The 25-second clip was first reported by CBC, begins with Johnson asking Macron why he was late.
“Is that why you were late?” Johnson asked.
Macron nodded, as Trudeau replied, “He was late because he takes a … 40-minute press conference at the top.”
At no time in the video do the leaders mention Trump by name.
None of them seemed to be aware that the conversation was being recorded, although they were talking openly and loudly enough to be heard by others.
“You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau also appears to say at one point. Trudeau said during his press conference that the comment was made in reference to Trump’s announcement during their bilateral meeting that the upcoming G7 summit will be hosted at Camp David.
“Every different leader has teams who now and then (had) jaws drop at unscheduled surprises, like that video for itself, for example,” Trudeau said.
Johnson at a press conference said it was “nonsense” to suggest the video indicated he didn’t take Trump seriously.
“I don’t know where that’s come from,” he added.
Microphones could only pick up snippets of the conversation at the reception, which the press was given limited access to.
Trump also criticized Trudeau over the fact Canada does not currently meet NATO’s 2% defense spending target.
“The truth is I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying 2% and I guess he’s not very happy about it,” Trump said, adding that “he should be paying 2%” and that Canada “has money.”
“I can imagine he’s not that happy, but that’s the way it is,” Trump said.
A spokeswoman for Macron at the Elysée Palace told CNN they had “no comment. This video does not say anything special.” A spokesperson for Rutte also told CNN they do not comment on closed-door sessions.

Clash with Macron

Trump spent Tuesday in meetings in London headlined by a clash with a key ally, France. He met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Macron and Trudeau, making extended remarks and taking questions from the press on each occasion.
Trump’s one-on-one meeting with Macron was remarkably tense as the French President refused to back down from remarks that Trump called “nasty” and “insulting.” Last month, Macron had described NATO as suffering from “brain death” caused by American indifference to the long-time alliance.
But the two leaders appeared to be on good terms as they walked onto the road leading to 10 Downing Street together for another reception following the gathering at the palace. It appeared that Trump had given Macron a lift in his motorcade vehicle commonly referred to as “the beast.”

Brazil: 7 youths died at the scene and police changed crime scene, says human rights commission

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Paraisópolis: 7 youths died at the scene and police changed crime scene, says human rights commission

“These bodies could not have been taken to hospitals. This changed the scene of the crime,” Sao Paulo State Council of Human Rights (Condepe) President Dimitri Sales told a news conference. “It was a massacre”, defines

(Photo: OSP / Playback)
 

247 – The president of the São Paulo State Council for the Defense of the Rights of the Human Person (Condepe), Dimitri Sales, informed on Tuesday 3 that, of the nine victims resulting from an action of the Military Police in Paraisópolis, south zone of São Paulo, seven died on the spot.

He also denounced the PM for altering the crime scene. “These bodies could not have been taken to hospitals. That changed the crime scene,” he explained. “What happened was a massacre,” he added.

In his view, the manner in which the killings occurred without firing may indicate a new pattern of police violence, which also makes it difficult for police officers to identify themselves.

The lawyer also criticized the position of the governor of São Paulo, João Doria, in defense of the PM. According to him, the governor’s statements stimulate the PM’s institutional violence.

This afternoon, while commenting on another video circulated on social networks that shows a police officer beating and laughing at teenagers in the same Paraisópolis, Doria said she demanded “exemplary punishment of aggression” and stated that “practices like this do not match the SP Police procedure and will be strongly condemned “.

“The rigorous investigation into the sad episode of this weekend continues and, whenever serious transgressions are identified, they will be punished. In SP, we are not committed to the mistake. Once again, I sympathize with friends and family of young people who lost their lives “he wrote further.

TV Globo report also revealed that a Fire Department soldier canceled a Samu distress call to Paraisópolis in the early hours of Saturday to Sunday claiming that the PM was already rescuing the victims. Witnesses say police prevented relief from victims. 

Israel: Attorney general blasts ‘threats, lies, slander’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Attorney general blasts ‘threats, lies, slander’ against judiciary over PM cases

As Likud supporters gather at Tel Aviv rally, Avichai Mandelblit issues rebuke of Netanyahu, who has accused law enforcement of staging an ‘attempted coup’

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, announcing his decision that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different corruption cases, dubbed by police Case 1000,  Case 2000 and Case 4000. November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit holds a press conference at the Ministry of Justice in Jerusalem, announcing his decision that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will stand trial for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three different corruption cases, dubbed by police Case 1000, Case 2000 and Case 4000. November 21, 2019. (Hadas Parush/FLASH90)

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit on Tuesday condemned “threats,” “lies” and “baseless slander” directed against law enforcement, in a thinly veiled rebuke of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters’ efforts to discredit the justice system after criminal charges against the premier were announced last week.

“The dignified approach we take is not always embraced by others,” Mandelblit said, hours before a Likud rally was to be held in Tel Aviv under the banner “Stopping the coup.”

“I am hearing expressions that don’t have a place in public discourse that are directed at the law enforcement system, and certain senior officials inside it. I am hearing threats. I am hearing lies. I am hearing baseless slander. That is simply shocking,” the attorney general said at a conference of state attorneys in Eilat.

After Mandelblit announced indictments against Netanyahu in three corruption cases last Thursday, the prime minister held a press conference in which he accused prosecutors of seeking to oust him from power with false charges in an “attempted coup.”

Supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demonstrate outside his residence following the announcement by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit that he will charge the premier in three graft cases, November 21, 2019. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

Netanyahu claimed the investigation had been tainted by various improprieties and accused law enforcement authorities of “selective enforcement” against him. He demanded to “investigate the investigators.”

“I deeply respect the justice system in Israel. But you have to be blind not to see that something bad is happening to police investigators and the prosecution. We’re seeing an attempted coup by the police with false accusations” against him, Netanyahu charged.

His political allies soon took up the refrain, with Communications Minister David Amsalem singling out State Attorney Shai Nitzan and Liat Ben-Ari, the lead prosecutor in the cases.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to the decision to indict him in corruption cases, November 21, 2019 (Channel 11 Kan screenshot)

Nitzan, Ben-Ari and Mandelblit have all been receiving additional police protection over the past year due to threats from supporters of the prime minister.

In his remarks on Tuesday, Mandelblit said the tightened security arrangements for the prosecutors was “unacceptable.”

“Benjamin Netanyahu is the prime minister of us all. He heads the government, which we serve. The state prosecution is not, God forbid, in a confrontation with the prime minister or any minister,” he said.

State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan speaks at a Justice Ministry conference in Tel Aviv, on November 4, 2019. (Flash90)

Mandelblit announced on Monday that Netanyahu could continue to hold office as a caretaker prime minister despite criminal charges against him, but left open the question of whether he could legally be tasked with forming a new government in the future.

Netanyahu has vowed to stay in office while he fights the criminal charges, which include bribery, fraud and breach of trust in one case, and additional fraud and breach of trust charges in another two cases.

Mandelblit’s announcement Thursday did not include the official filing of an indictment, as the Knesset must first decide on whether to grant Netanyahu procedural immunity, a process that — due to the current political gridlock and the lack of a functioning government — could drag on for months.

The prime minister has called his devotees to his side at several recent Likud party rallies.

On Tuesday evening, a mass rally in the center of Tel Aviv by Netanyahu backers is expected to include fierce criticism of the justice system and calls to investigate the prime minister’s prosecutors.

“There are places where there is a military coup and the military removes elected officials, and there is also a legal coup that takes place above the table in front of our eyes,” Simcha Rothman, a leader of the Movement for Governance and Democracy, one of the groups sponsoring the event, told Channel 12.

Organizers say they are expecting at least 10,000 people to participate — most of whom are being bused to the nation’s liberal heartland from around the country.

The rally will begin at 8 p.m. outside the Tel Aviv Museum.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Netanyahu had not made clear whether he would address the rally. Channel 13 news said he had not yet decided.

Supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, November 23, 2019. Sign bottom right, reads ‘Investigate the investigators.’ (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Some in Likud have also expressed misgivings about the rally, with at least two ministers from the party announcing Tuesday that they would not attend. Both Culture Minister Miri Regev and Science Minister Ofir Akunis said they had prior engagements.

A Likud source speaking on condition of anonymity told The Times of Israel that the party was considering asking lawmakers not to attend in order to avoid the possibility of too many no-shows after many expressed disquiet at attending a rally that claimed a “coup” was underway.

Netanyahu’s chief political rival, Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz, slammed Netanyahu for the rally.

“The right to protest and freedom of expression are the centerpiece of democracy. In a healthy democracy a person has the right to freely express their opinion,” Gantz tweeted on Tuesday, adding, “In a healthy democracy a prime minister doesn’t organize a protest against the law enforcement system that he oversees.”

Blue and White No 2. Yair Lapid issued a scathing statement accusing Netanyahu of fomenting civil war on Monday.

“Avichai Mandelblit was assigned personal security. The state prosecutor, Shai Nitzan, was assigned personal security. Taxation and economic crimes prosecutor Liat Ben Ari was assigned personal security. They are facing death threats,” he said in a statement. “There’s no question about the cause. It’s clear Netanyahu is inciting against them. They need security because otherwise his people will hurt them. That’s what we’ve come to. He’s called on his people to go out to the streets for a violent revolt against the country.”

Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz (R) and No. 2 Yair Lapid at a faction meeting in the Knesset on November 18, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Likud’s Justice Minister Amir Ohana has attacked the state prosecution, for which he is responsible, saying in recent days that it acts unprofessionally and without oversight. “There are prosecutors breaking the law and nobody checks them,” he said. “I call on the state comptroller to look into this and examine these accusations,” he said.

Most Likud leaders have remained conspicuously silent since the Thursday announcement of the indictments, neither backing Netanyahu nor criticizing him.

The only senior Likud figure who spoke out against Netanyahu’s attacks on the justice system was his rival Gideon Sa’ar, who has launched a leadership challenge against Netanyahu. Netanyahu’s rhetoric, he has said, “harms the Likud’s statesmanlike approach” and “aims not for reform but to destroy the institutions of law enforcement.”

JOIN US!
A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR OF TIMES OF ISRAEL
DAVID HOROVITZ

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We’ve achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
READ MORE:

UK chief rabbi: What will be the fate of Jews if Labour ‘poison’ comes to power?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

UK chief rabbi: What will be the fate of Jews if Labour ‘poison’ comes to power?

Dismissing claim by Corbyn’s party to be working to root out anti-Semitism in its ranks as ‘mendacious fiction,’ Ephraim Mirvis asks: ‘What should we expect of them in government?’

Illustrative: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

Illustrative: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis took an unprecedented stand against the Labour party ahead of next month’s election, urging voters to see the “new poison” that has taken root in the party, and expressing fear for the fate of Jews in the country should Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister.

In a column published Monday on The Times website, Mirvis said he was compelled to intervene in politics because Britain’s Jews were “gripped by anxiety” over the future of the community and of Judaism in the country amid the prospect of a Labour win on December 12.

Without explicitly calling on people not to vote for Labour, or even mentioning Corbyn by name, Mirvis warned that “a new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party.”

“The question I am now most frequently asked is: What will become of Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour Party forms the next government?” he wrote.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s opposition Labour Party, addresses party members during the Labour Party Conference at the Brighton Centre in Brighton, England, September 24, 2019. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)

“This anxiety is justified. Raising concerns about anti-Jewish racism in the context of a general election ranks among the most painful moments I have experienced since taking office,” the chief rabbi wrote, explaining his bombshell intervention by saying that “challenging racism is not a matter of politics, it goes well beyond that.”

Polls suggest that just six percent of UK Jews plan to vote Labour. Nearly half say they will “seriously consider” emigrating if Corbyn — a man 87% of those polled believe is an anti-Semite — gets to Downing Street.

Jewish groups have accused Corbyn, a far-left politician, of allowing a massive rise in anti-Semitism within the ranks of the party that was once considered the natural home of British Jewry. Thousands of cases of alleged hate speech against Jews have been recorded within Labour since 2015, when Corbyn was elected to lead the party.

The Labour leadership has strenuously defended itself, with Corbyn himself arguing in recent weeks: “Antisemitism and racism is an evil within our society. I’ve done everything to confront it throughout my life, and will always do so.”

Much of the fear of Corbyn is spurred by revelations about his past record that have emerged since he became Labour leader. These include him describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”; defending an anti-Semitic mural in East London; and a seeming willingness to associate with alleged anti-Semites, terrorists and Holocaust-deniers.

Mirvis described the last four years of having Labour repeatedly minimize and deny the rampant anti-Semitism in the party and the attacks, and even death threats, Jewish party members faced for speaking out about it, with many hounded out of the party.

Illustrative: People hold up placards and Union flags as they gather for a demonstration organized by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism outside the head office of the British opposition Labour Party in central London on April 8, 2018. (AFP/Tolga Akmen)

He noted Labour’s “quibbling and prevarication” over whether to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance‘s (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism, finally only doing so after adding an amendment that emphasized the right to “free speech” on Israel.

And he highlighted the party being formally investigated by the UK’s anti-racism watchdog.

“And all of this while in opposition. What should we expect of them in government?” Mirvis asked. “Therefore, with the heaviest of hearts, I call upon the citizens of our great country to study what has been unfolding before our very eyes.”

Mirvis dismissed Labour’s claims that it was doing everything possible to root out anti-Semitism as a “mendacious fiction.”

“According to the Jewish Labour Movement, there are at least 130 outstanding cases before the party, some dating back years, and thousands more have been reported but remain unresolved.

“The party leadership have never understood that their failure is not just one of procedure, which can be remedied with additional staff or new processes. It is a failure to see this as a human problem rather than a political one. It is a failure of culture. It is a failure of leadership. A new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party,” he wrote.

Mirvis said given Labour’s record, it “can no longer claim to be the party of equality and anti-racism.”

“How far is too far? How complicit in prejudice would a leader of Her Majesty’s opposition have to be to be considered unfit for office?” he asked.

“Would associations with those who have incited hatred against Jews be enough? Would describing as ‘friends’ those who endorse the murder of Jews be enough? It seems not,” he said. referring to Corbyn’s calling terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah “friends” when inviting members for a parliamentary meeting in 2009. Corbyn later downplayed the comment and said he regretted using the term.

Jeremy Corbyn (second from left) holding a wreath during a visit to the Martyrs of Palestine, in Tunisia, in October 2014. (Facebook page of the Palestinian embassy in Tunisia)

“It is not my place to tell any person how they should vote,” Mirvis said. “I regret being in this situation at all. I simply pose the question: What will the result of this election say about the moral compass of our country?”

Therefore, he added, “When December 12 arrives, I ask every person to vote with their conscience. Be in no doubt, the very soul of our nation is at stake.”

JOIN US!
A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR OF TIMES OF ISRAEL
DAVID HOROVITZ

For as little as $6 a month, you can help support our independent journalism — and enjoy special benefits and status as a Times of Israel Community member!

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We’ve achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

JOIN OUR COMMUNITY
READ MORE:
COMMENTS

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday tapped Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu


(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NBC NEWS)

 

Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as Israeli Leader, to End Netanyahu’s Grip

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

Arab Parties Back Benny Gantz as Israeli Leader, to End Netanyahu’s Grip

ImageAyman Odeh, center, with other candidates from the Arab Joint List, an alliance of predominantly Arab parties.
CreditCreditAhmad Gharabli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

JERUSALEM — After 27 years of sitting out decisions on who should lead Israel, Arab lawmakers on Sunday recommended that Benny Gantz, the centrist former army chief, be given the first chance to form a government over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a watershed assertion of political power.

Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Arab Joint List, wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed published on Sunday that the alliance’s 13 incoming lawmakers — the third-largest faction in the newly elected Parliament — had decided to recommend Mr. Gantz because it would “create the majority needed to prevent another term for Mr. Netanyahu.”

“It should be the end of his political career,” Mr. Odeh wrote.

The Arab lawmakers’ recommendation, which Mr. Odeh and other members of the Joint List delivered to President Reuven Rivlin in a face-to-face meeting Sunday evening, reflected Arab citizens’ impatience to integrate more fully into Israeli society and to have their concerns be given greater weight by Israeli lawmakers.

“There is no doubt a historic aspect to what we are doing now,” Mr. Odeh said in the meeting with the president, which was broadcast live.

It was also a striking act of comeuppance for Mr. Netanyahu, who for years had rallied his right-wing supporters by inflaming anti-Arab sentiments. Before the Sept. 17 election, he accused Arab politicians of trying to steal the election and at one point accused them of wanting to “destroy us all.”

Israeli Arabs “have chosen to reject Benjamin Netanyahu, his politics of fear and hate, and the inequality and division he advanced for the past decade,” Mr. Odeh wrote in the Op-Ed for The Times.

Still, Mr. Odeh wrote that the Joint List would not enter a government led by Mr. Gantz because he had not agreed to embrace its entire “equality agenda” — fighting violent crime in Arab cities, changing housing and planning laws to treat Arab and Jewish neighborhoods the same, improving Arabs’ access to hospitals, increasing pensions, preventing violence against women, incorporating Arab villages that lack water and electricity, resuming peace talks with the Palestinians and repealing the law passed last year that declared Israel the nation-state only of the Jewish people.

The last time Arab lawmakers recommended a prime minister was in 1992, when two Arab parties with a total of five seats in Parliament recommended Yitzhak Rabin, though they did not join his government.

“We have decided to demonstrate that Arab Palestinian citizens can no longer be rejected or ignored,” Mr. Odeh wrote.

In the 1992 election, Mr. Rabin initially held a narrow majority in the 120-seat Knesset even without the Arab parties’ support, though he came to rely on it a year later after Shas, an ultra-Orthodox party, quit the government when Mr. Rabin signed the Oslo peace accords.

Mr. Odeh wrote that the decision to support Mr. Gantz was meant as “a clear message that the only future for this country is a shared future, and there is no shared future without the full and equal participation of Palestinian citizens.”

Mr. Gantz narrowly edged the prime minister in the national election last Tuesday. Afterward, both candidates called for unity, but differed on how to achieve it.

The former army chief appears to lack a 61-seat majority even with the Joint List’s support. He emerged from the election with 57 seats, including those of allies on the left and the Joint List, compared with 55 seats for Mr. Netanyahu and his right-wing allies.

Avigdor Liberman, leader of the secular, right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, which won eight seats, is in the position to be a kingmaker, but said on Sunday that he would not recommend any candidate. He said that Mr. Odeh and the Joint List were not merely political opponents, but “the enemies” and belonged in the “Parliament in Ramallah,” not in the Knesset.

Mr. Rivlin began hearing the recommendations of each major party Sunday evening and was to finish on Monday, before entrusting the task of forming a government to whichever candidate he believes has the best chance of being successful.

In remarks at the start of that process, Mr. Rivlin said the Israeli public wanted a unity government including both Mr. Gantz’s Blue and White party and Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud.

Isabel Kershner contributed reporting.

Iraq: Prime Minister to Head to China to Sign MoUs

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iraq: Prime Minister to Head to China to Sign MoUs

Saturday, 14 September, 2019 – 11:00
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi (Reuters)
Baghdad- Fadhel al-Nashmi
Iraqi political and economic circles are optimistic about the upcoming four-day visit of Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to Beijing on September 19.

It is reported in some economic circles that the visit will lead to the signing of about 30 memorandums of understanding (MoU) between Baghdad and Beijing including construction, services, trade, and industry.

The Iraqi Foreign Ministry said last week that Asia and Australia Department organized a consultative meeting for a number of representatives of Iraqi ministries and institutions. During the meeting, the officials discussed the MoUs to be signed during the PM’s visit to China.

PM’s advisor Abdul-Hussein al-Hunayen said that Abdul Mahdi will head to China on the 19th of September chairing a large delegation including ministers, advisers and businessmen.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Hunayen said that the program of the visit includes major projects in roads, transportation, services, education, and health among others.

He noted that both sides have prepared for the visit through continuous meetings with major Chinese companies, and the completion of the funding model through the Iraqi-Chinese joint reconstruction fund.

During the visit, the adviser expects the officials to sign a number of contracts and major agreements in the sectors of industry and agriculture, construction of schools, hospitals, housing, roads, trains, and bridges.

Hunayen also noted that Iraq is considering signing a number of agreements with US companies, such as Exxon Mobil, Gi Group, and others. In addition, Iraq opened its doors to neighboring countries for investments, namely Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, Gulf countries, and Jordan.

Earlier in April, a large delegation of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) visited Baghdad to discuss Chinese investments in the reconstruction of the liberated areas. The delegation met with Iraqi officials and discussed coordinating Iraqi-Chinese cooperation in the fields of reconstruction, security and economy.

China’s Ambassador to Iraq Zhang Tao told al-Sabah semi-official newspaper that the Chinese side attaches great importance to developing relations with Iraq and looks forward to seizing the opportunity of this visit to make joint efforts with the Iraqi side to further consolidate and deepen bilateral relations.

Zhang expressed his hope that Abdul Mahdi’s visit will contribute to upgrading the level of mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields. He also hoped it will enhance human and cultural communication between the two friendly countries in the framework of the strategic partnership.

England: Letter From Jerusalem: Boris the kibbutznik

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LONDON TELEGRAPH)

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Letter From Jerusalem 

Boris the kibbutznik

By Raf Sanchez Jerusalem Correspondent

Boris Johnson

Stefan Rousseau / PA

It was the summer of 1984 and in a kibbutz kitchen in the upper Galilee a sweaty Boris Johnson was washing dishes.

The future prime minister was 20 years old and his father had arranged for Boris and his sister Rachel to spend some time on Kibbutz Kfar HaNassi.

“He was so socially low on the pecking order,” Rachel told Haaretz that summer. “He was not a kibbutznik. He was not a soldier. And he was so pale he couldn’t even go in the sun.”

Notwithstanding his hardship posting, Johnson today describes himself as a “passionate Zionist” and an admirer of the Jewish state.

Does that mean he will shift UK policy when it comes to Israel?

The short answer is that Johnson’s views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are mainstream for UK politics and similar to those of his recent predecessors. (See Bicom’s briefing for a detailed breakdown.)

In a Telegraph article in October 2017, Johnson said he was committed to a Two-State Solution based on the 1967 borders.

“For Israel, the birth of a Palestinian state is the only way to secure its demographic future as a Jewish and democratic nation,” he wrote.

Like Theresa May, he doesn’t believe it is the right time to either move the UK embassy to Jerusalem or to recognise Palestine as a state.

Johnson criticised Israel for using disproportionate force in Gaza in 2014 but said Israel had a right to defend itself.

Like other British ministers, he is a supporter of the Iran nuclear deal but critical of Iran’s regional behaviour.

He said he was open to reimposing sanctions on Iran for breaching the nuclear agreement but would prefer to see them return to compliance with deal. War with Iran was not “a sensible option,” he said recently.

But the key question with Johnson is not what he believes now but what he might believe in the future if it is politically expedient.

It is possible that Johnson will try to flatter Donald Trump by shifting UK policy closer towards America’s position on Israel. You could see him supporting Jared Kushner’s peace plan if he thought it might help secure a US-UK free trade deal.

Similarly, you can see how he might use relations with Israel to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and exploit the anti-Semitism crisis shaking Labour.

Johnson may also be forced to take a harder line on Iran if the tit-for-tat tanker war between Iran and the UK escalates.

Those shifts may come in the future. For now, British policy in the Middle East is unlikely to change dramatically.

I welcome your feedback at [email protected] and @rafsanchez.

UK: Boris Johnson forms his new Cabinet

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE LONDON TELEGRAPH NEWS)

 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Front Page AM 

Good morning. As Boris Johnson prepares to be appointed prime minister today, Danny Boyle has The Telegraph‘s latest essential briefing
Johnson clears out Remainers for Cabinet with Brexit majority
Boris Johnson is preparing to enter Downing Street for the first time as prime minister. But even before his summons to Buckingham Palace to form a government, the new Conservative leader has begun to shape his top team. As Political Editor Gordon Rayner reports, Mr Johnson will begin assembling a majority Brexiteer Cabinet as he clears out Remainers to end “self-doubt” and get Britain ready for leaving the EU on Oct 31. These are the names already in the frame for the most ethnically diverse Cabinet in history. After Mr Johnson’s resounding victory, Camilla Tominey has the inside story on how he beat Jeremy Hunt. Theresa May holds her final PMQs today before leaving Number 10. Mr Johnson is then set to address the nation after being officially appointed by the Queen. Here is our hour-by-hour guide. And what about his girlfriend Carrie Symonds? These are the plans for her involvement in the historic day.

Europe gave Mr Johnson a lukewarm welcome yesterday. Here is how the world has reacted to his appointment – and what Telegraph readers think of the new Tory leader. A special edition of Chopper’s Brexit Podcast has been released this morning – listen to an interview with the man who knows Mr Johnson best.

Three meetings with Trump in crucial first 100 days of power
He has referred to him as “Britain’s Trump”. Boris Johnson is poised to meet the US president three times before the UK leaves the European Union in exactly 100 days’ time. Camilla Tominey and Gordon Rayner explain how the visits are intended to strengthen the special relationship. And US Editor Ben Riley-Smith examines which doors Mr Johnson’s charisma will open in Washington.
Theresa May leaves Number 10 with a trimmed-down legacy
How will history judge Theresa May’s period in Downing Street? She has sent a letter to Conservative MPs listing her achievements since announcing her resignation, as she attempts to salvage a legacy from her troubled premiership. But Harry Yorke reports that it was more notable for its omissions. As Mrs May leaves office, Senior Fashion Editor Caroline Leaper says farewell to her power dressing with this analysis of her nine most memorable signature styles.
Diana Qeblawi

Travel Tips I Share

Miles for places

Travel | Miles | Photography

Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Headline News

Nature photoblog la maro

My photographs and my reflections.

Harsh Travel Blogger

A Traveller's Guide to the Planet

Complete Christianity

The Catholic Blog of Shane Schaetzel

PEACEMAKERS

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

Ryan Callahan's Blog

A Christian Author's blog to help people come to Jesus, help people understand the Bible, and to minister to a lost and hurting world.

A Christian Worldview of Fiction

A look at fiction and other bits of culture through the lens of the Bible

%d bloggers like this: