As US Jerusalem Embassy Move Draws Near, Abbas Vows He Won’t Allow It

Patrick Goodenough – April 23, 2018

( – With a ceremony to dedicate the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem drawing closer, Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas said at the weekend his self-rule government will not allow the U.S. or any other country to move its embassy to the city.

In comments reported by the official P.A. news agency Wafa, Abbas said his government would “fight” President Trump’s decision.

“Palestine’s government will fight against Trump’s decision and not let any country to move its embassy to Jerusalem until Palestine-Israel issue is resolved,” he was quoted as telling a medical conference in Ramallah.

Alfie Evans Defied Death And Breathed For 17 Hours Without Life Support. Now His Parents Are Fighting For His Life Again

Joshua Gill – April 24, 2018

Alfie Evans’ parents are headed back to court after Alfie defied his court-ordered death and breathed on his own for 17 hours without life-support.

Doctors at Alder Hey Hospital removed Alfie from assisted breathing at 9:17 p.m. local time after U.K. judges approved plans to end his life support treatment despite the fact that hospital staff missed the initial court ordered time, 12 p.m., for ending his treatment, according to The Sun.

Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, said that it was apparent within minutes of being removed from assisted breathing that Alfie was breathing on his own, leaving doctors “gobsmacked.” Alfie continued to breathe throughout the night, for 17 hours, and is still alive despite being temporarily denied water, food, and oxygen assistance. Doctors expected him to last only minutes after being taken off life support. (RELATED: Judge Strikes Down Appeal For Alfie Evans’ Life)

German military draws up 450-million-euro wish list

DW – April 23, 2018

Amidst criticism that the Germany’s military hardware is fast becoming obsolete, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen will ask the government for a massive cash injection to update its equipment.

According to a list obtained by two German newspapers, von der Leyen is requesting 450 million euros ($553 million) for 18 separate items. A defense ministry spokesman said the Bundeswehr would present its procurement requests to the Bundestag “soon.”

“We hope that the material situation of the Bundeswehr will be improved,” Defense Ministry spokesman Holger Neumann said at the government’s Monday press conference.

Part of the money is intended for upgrades to Germany’s Puma tanks and maintenance of its NH90 helicopters. Money would also go toward a nine-year contract to lease Heron TP drones capable of carrying arms — all in all the cost of this deal will be one billion euros.

State Department: Abortion ‘is not a human right’

Joel Gehrke – April 20, 2018

Abortion “is not a human right” under international law, a U.S. diplomat emphasized Friday as he explained why the State Department human rights report doesn’t monitor “restrictions” on abortion around the world.

“We don’t report on it, because it’s not a human right,” Ambassador Michael Kozak told reporters at the State Department.

The State Department has taken criticism in recent months over the decision to remove the term “reproductive rights” from the annual report, one of the most widely-read documents produced by U.S. diplomats. The term first appeared in the human rights reports in 2010, but Kozak — who has held his current post since 2014 — said the decision to replace the term with “coerced family planning” sharpens the State Department’s focus on forced abortions, as required by law.

EU ‘systematically & forensically annihilates’ May’s Irish border plans

RT – April 20, 2018

The EU has comprehensively rejected UK proposals for a new customs relationship that sought to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland, plans that suffered a “systematic and forensic annihilation,” says a senior EU diplomat.
The EU source, who was privy to Wednesday’s meeting in Brussels between Britain’s lead negotiator Olly Robbins and senior EU officials, reportedly told The Telegraph: “It was made clear that none of the UK’s customs options will work. None of them.”

The latest revelations to emerge from the EU negotiations could risk creating parliamentary instability for British Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons. It may strengthen the case put forward by staunch remain MPs that staying in the EU Customs Union is the only option, and possibly harden the devoted Brexiteers’ view that moving on to WTO arrangements is the only alternative.

The UK PM has consistently reiterated that she will not allow the return of a hard border to Northern Ireland, but at the same she has also promised to leave the EU Customs Union – believing that remaining would be seen as a “betrayal” of Brexit.

Prince Charles to succeed Queen as head of the Commonwealth

DW – April 20, 2018

The Commonwealth’s heads of government confirmed on Friday that Prince Charles would be the next head of the association of former British colonies once he succeeds his mother Queen Elizabeth II on the throne.

The 53 Commonwealth leaders released a statement announcing Charles’ future appointment following a private two-day retreat at the royal residences in Windsor.

“We recognize the role of the Queen in championing the Commonwealth and its peoples,” the statement read. “The next head of the Commonwealth shall be His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales.”

The announcement had been expected after the Queen on Thursday said she hoped her son would lead the Commonwealth after her.

Netanyahu Says at Least Six States Considering Moving Embassies to Jerusalem

Newsmax – April 19, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that “at least half a dozen” countries were considering moving their embassies to Jerusalem following the U.S. decision to do so.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in December that the United States recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, infuriating even Washington’s Arab allies and dismaying Palestinians who want the eastern part of the city as their capital.

The U.S. Embassy is due to relocate to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv on May 14, the date on which Israel declared its independence in 1948.”

In order to promote peace … move your embassies here,” Netanyahu told foreign diplomats at a reception in Jerusalem celebrating the 70th anniversary of that declaration.

Israel Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary of Independence

Debkafioles – April 18, 2018

Independence Day in Israel beginning Wednesday night is traditionally celebrated with music and bright lights across the country’s towns and villages at the end of Memorial Day. Quadcopters with LED bulbs create multicolored Star of David images on the walls of Jerusalem. The air force stages a spectacular fly-past Thursday. Many people will visit the army and police sites which are opened to the public, along with outdoor picnics and family gatherings. Forty ambassadors to the United Nations have arrived to take part in Israel’s 70th anniversary celebrations. They hail from Africa, Asia-Pacific, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America. Accompanying the diplomats is Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the UN.

In Israel’s Ministry of Economy and Industry contest, the public ranked as the greatest Israeli inventions of all time, the Iron Dome missile-defense system, followed by Waze international navigation, drip irrigation and Disk On Key data storage (Memory Stick.)

Pennsylvania House passes bill banning abortions for Down syndrome

April 16, 2018

The Pennsylvania House on Monday passed a bill to ban abortions based on a Down syndrome diagnosis in the fetus.

The GOP-backed bill passed with bipartisan support in a 139-56 vote, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The bill now heads to the Senate for a vote. If it passes, it will face Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, who opposes the bill and would be expected to veto it, according to the paper. Wolf also vetoed a 20-week abortion ban in December.

Ohio passed a similar bill on Down syndrome abortions late last year, which GOP Gov. John Kasich signed in December, making the state the third to have such a law.

The Ohio law is facing multiple legal challenges, and a federal judge has temporarily blocked the law from taking effect, saying that it is an unconstitutional violation of abortion rights.

Israel planning for direct retaliatory attack from Iran

Anna Ahronheim – April 17, 2018

Israel is preparing for a crossborder attack by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, in response to a strike allegedly carried out by the Jewish state against an Iranian-operated air base in Syria that killed seven of its soldiers.

Israel believes the attack will come in the form of precision- guided missiles or armed drones launched from a base in Syria by the IRGC itself – not by proxies, as was done before – under the command of Quds Force commander Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

“Israel will react strongly to any Iranian action from inside Syria,” a senior IDF source told Sky News in Arabic, adding that Iran plans to attack Israel from Syria.

Aerial photos of Iranian bases in Syria were released Tuesday morning that show Tehran has increased the scope of its military relationship with the Assad regime under the auspices of the IRGC’s air force commander Brig.-Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh.