DEBKAfiles – October 13, 2017
US President Donald Trump unveiled a new US strategy for Iran, while outlining the Islamic Republic’s 38-year record of violence since its 1979 coup. He listed the massacres of Americans its proxies perpetrated in Beirut in the 1980s, support for such terrorist groups as Al Qaeda (after 9/ll) and Hizballah and fomenting vicious civil wars in Yemen and Syria that destabilized the Middle East.
Trump then listed some of the measures he had approved:
- Action to counter Iran’s destabilizing operations in the Mid-East and outside.
- New sanctions to block financial revenue which serves to fund its nuclear and
ballistic missile programs. The $100 billion Tehran received in sanctions relief
for signing the nuclear deal – Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – in 2015
was spent on those activities.
- The United States will prevent Iran from conducting ballistic missile tests a further developing its ICBM program.
- Iran would not be allowed to continue its threat to international navigation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba.
- Tougher sanctions for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), “the corrupt arm of the supreme leader, which has hijacked Iran’s financial assets to foment terror and supply proxies with weapons.” Those further sanctions will apply to the entire IRGC, which controls one-third of Iran’s national economy, including its oil industry and its nuclear program, as well as its agents and the terrorist proxies it runs. He urged US allies to join in this step.
- International inspections of Iran’s compliance would be tightened. Among Iran’s direct violations of the accord, Trump cited production in excess of 130 metric tons of heavy water, failure to meet commitments on advanced centrifuges, and “intimidating international nuclear inspectors,”
John Waage – October 13, 2017
The US State Department has announced the United States will withdraw from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) after a series of decisions by the UN body displayed what the Trump administration sees as clear hostility toward Israel. (Photo Credit: CBN News)
Washington cut off funding under the Obama Administration in 2011 because UNESCO admitted the Palestinians as full members, and the UN body retaliated by taking away the US vote in UNESCO decisions.
In May of this year, UNESCO voted on Israel’s Independence Day to approve a resolution rejecting any legal or historical claims by Israel to the city of Jerusalem, a move strongly condemned by the Israeli government.
Gareth Davies and Scott Campbell – October 15, 2017
The leader of Austria’s right-leaning People’s Party has declared victory in a national election that puts him on track to become the world’s youngest leader.
Austrian foreign minister Sebastian Kurz, 31, claimed the win on Sunday night after projections gave his party a comfortable lead with more than 90 percent of the ballots counted.
He fell well short of a majority, but has not ruled out the possibility of forming a minority government once the final result comes in.
The young leader, dubbed Wunderwuzzi in his home country, which translates to Wonderkid, has pledged to cut benefits for all foreigners in Austria and has vowed to stop the European Union meddling in the country’s politics.
Kurz, dubbed the Conservative Macron due to his age and his party reform, said: ‘I would of course like to form a stable government. If that cannot be done then there are other options,’ adding that he planned to talk to all parties in parliament but would first wait for a count of postal ballots that begins on Monday.
Joseph Serna, Laura J. Nelson, Chris Megerian, Sonali Kohli – October 16, 2017
As the death toll rose to 40, firefighters struggled to get the upper hand against several massive wildfires that have ravaged Northern California for almost a week.
The winds that bedeviled firefighters Saturday are expected to die down Sunday, allowing firefighters to go back on the offense after a day of new evacuations. Cooler temperatures are also forecast. So evacuations in Napa city were lifted Sunday.
Officials said Sunday they are making good progress on the Tubbs and Atlas fires, which are both more than 50% contained. Firefighters will concentrate their forces on the Nuns fire, which is 30% contained.
At a Sunday afternoon briefing, Cal Fire Cmdr. Bret Gouvea told reporters that “overall things are feeling optimistic for us — we are very cautious about that.”
It was a different story Saturday, when strong winds kicked up overnight in the central Napa Valley region, causing some fires to spread and triggering evacuations in Sonoma and elsewhere, officials said.
ABC 7 – October 13, 2017
Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the deadly hepatitis A outbreak in California.
The emergency proclamation, which was issued by Brown on Friday, allows the state to increase its supply of hepatitis A vaccines in order to control the current outbreak.
Immunizations from the federal vaccine program have been distributed to at-risk populations in affected areas, but additional supplies are needed, according to a statement released by Brown’s office.
September 26, 2017
Postings to the Faithful Watchman will be suspended from today until October 16, to allow the staff to make preparations for the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles and Last Great Day.
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for understanding.
Judah Ari Gross – September 18, 2017
For the first time in history, the United States on Monday established an official, permanent military base in Israel: an air defense base in the heart of the Negev desert.
Dozens of US Air Force soldiers will call home the new base, located inside the Israeli Air Force’s Mashabim Air Base, west of the towns of Dimona and Yerucham.
Brig. Gen. Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the IAF’s Aerial Defense Command, announced the establishment of the installation on Monday evening.
“It’s nothing short of historic,” he said. It demonstrates the “years-old alliance between the United States and the State of Israel.”
Alex Perala – August 31, 2017
Mexico’s National Banking and Security Commission (CNBV) has issued a new regulation requiring all banks in the country to implement fingerprint scanners for clients within the next 12 months, reports Riviera Maya News.
Banks will be required to scan all of an individual’s fingerprints at the time of account creation and also for loan and credit card applications. The biometric data will then be matched against records held by the National Electoral Institute in an effort to confirm the individual’s identity.
For services transacted online, banks will be permitted to use facial and speech recognition technologies for identity verification purposes.
Mark Tapson – September 20, 2017
he still-unnamed Iraqi refugee who tried to set off an IED on the London underground last Friday has already been arrested (as have a few other suspects), and in a grim twist of irony, now we learn that the bombing suspect was actually part of the UK’s PREVENT “deradicalization” program, according to terrorism expert Patrick Poole at PJ Media.
The BBC reported that the 18-year-old suspect is believed to have moved to the UK from Iraq at the age of 15 when his parents died, and lived in a foster home in Sunbury-on-Thames.
Apparently he had been referred to a CVE (countering violent extremism) program, likely the one known as PREVENT, before his arrest. PREVENT is managed locally by multi-agency teams of social workers, police officers and other specialists.
Poole and others have called out the PREVENT “deradicalization” program in the past for its ineffectiveness. Some in the Muslim community have attacked it too — as “Islamophobic,” of course.
Ian Johnston – September 21, 2017
Mosquitoes capable of spreading serious and potentially deadly diseases such as Zika, dengue and yellow fever could invade about three-quarters of mainland United States, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention have warned.
The CDC, a US federal agency, has previously warned that climate change could affect human health in many ways including increasing the number of “disease carriers such as mosquitoes and ticks”.
In a paper published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, it revealed maps showing areas where the habitat was suitable for two particular species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus to survive.
A study found 71 per cent of counties in the 48 contiguous states were suitable for aegypti and 75 per cent could support albopictus.