Corbyn calls for investigation of Israel’s influence in British politics: Zio-Watch, January 17, 2017
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Corbyn calls for investigation of Israel’s influence in British politics: Zio-Watch, January 17, 2017

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Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Labour’s Corbyn calls for investigation of Israel’s influence in British politics

Jeremy Corbyn

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, right, at a Q&A following a keynote speech on the future of the economy, held at the Bloomberg headquarters in London, Sept. 15, 2016. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

(JTA) — British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has called on the government to investigate “improper interference in our democratic politics,” after an Israeli embassy official was recorded as saying he wanted to “take down” several British politicians who he deemed unfriendly to Israel.

The comments by Shai Masot, described by Israel as a junior embassy employee, were made to a former aide to a British Conservative lawmaker during a meeting to discuss how to discredit anti-Israel lawmakers at a London restaurant and filmed by an Al-Jazeera journalist posing as a pro-Israel activist.

The recording was part of a four-part series aired by Al-Jazeera titled The Lobby, which the network says exposes how the Israel lobby influences British politics.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Analysis

Obama was, for better or worse, the face of liberal Zionism

Barack Obama delivering a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

President Barack Obama delivering a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, March 21, 2013. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

(JTA) — During his campaign for president in 2008, I wrote a column suggesting that Barack Obama was struggling to connect with Jews because they weren’t sure that he supported Israel’s cause in his gut — that is, in his kishkes. I may have been the first to apply the term “Kishkes Factor” in relation to Obama’s politics and Israel.

Obama himself even heard a reference to the term, at least once. In an interview with the candidate that year, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg asked Obama about “the kishke question, the gut question: the idea that if Jews know that you love them, then you can say whatever you want about Israel, but if we don’t know you … then everything is suspect.”

In some ways, I’ve come to regret the framing, which suggests that had Obama only worn his support for Israel on his sleeve, or taken a few more trips to the country, he would have won over the centrist and right-wing pro-Israel groups that dogged him for all eight years of his presidency.
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From The Times of Israel

Obama commutes sentence of WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning

Ex-army intel analyst was jailed for 35 years for leaking classified documents; president to pardon 64 people, commute sentences of 209

January 17, 2017, 11:54 pm

Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. (US Army)

Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick. (US Army)

 

US President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Chelsea Manning, who is serving 35 years behind bars for leaking classified US documents, the White House said Tuesday.

In one of his final acts as president, Obama pardoned 64 people and commuted the sentences of 209 others, including the imprisoned transgender soldier who was convicted in August 2013 of espionage and other offenses after admitting to handing classified documents over to WikiLeaks.

Manning tried to commit suicide in October 2016 while serving time in solitary confinement for a first attempt in July last year, her representatives said in early November.

Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst who was convicted of handing classified documents to WikiLeaks, tried to kill herself on October 4, according to a statement she dictated to supporters by phone 11 days later and released by The New York Times.

Manning, 28, who was previously known as Bradley, was convicted in 2013. She ended a five-day hunger strike in September 2016 after the Army agreed to provide surgery to treat her gender dysphoria.
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From The Times of Israel

Putin: Those besmirching Trump ‘worse than prostitutes’

Russian president says Obama administration working to undermine president-elect’s legitimacy, denies Moscow has compromising information

January 17, 2017, 4:55 pm

This combination of pictures shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, delivering a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 8, 2016; and President-elect Donald Trump, right, at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (AFP)

This combination of pictures shows Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, delivering a speech at the Kremlin in Moscow on December 8, 2016; and President-elect Donald Trump, right, at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. (AFP)

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the outgoing US administration of trying to undermine President-elect Donald Trump by spreading fake allegations.

Those behind the compiling of accusations against Trump in an unverified dossier are “worse than prostitutes,” Putin said.

The dossier, which alleges that Trump’s aides colluded with the Kremlin ahead of the US election and that Russia has compromising information of a sexual nature about Trump, was put together by a former intelligence agent.

American media and politicians have been in possession of versions of the 35-page report for months but, unable to corroborate its claims, had declined to publish it. But earlier this month, after several media outlets reported that Trump had been briefed on the allegations circulating about him, the BuzzFeed website took the controversial step of publishing the dossier in full — while admitting it was “unverified.”

The dossier includes unsubstantiated claims that Russians possess videos involving prostitutes, filmed during a 2013 visit by Trump to a luxury Moscow hotel for the Miss Universe contest, supposedly as a potential means for blackmail.
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From The Times of Israel

White supremacist outed for having Jewish wife

‘Daily Shoah’ podcast host Mike Peinovich, who went by name of Mike Enoch, leaves popular alt-right blog amid criticism

January 17, 2017, 4:51 pm

Illustrative. A man performs the Nazi salute outside an event hall at Texas A&M University on December 6, 2016, where the leader of the so-called alt-right movement, Richard Spencer, was speaking. (Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel)

Illustrative. A man performs the Nazi salute outside an event hall at Texas A&M University on December 6, 2016, where the leader of the so-called alt-right movement, Richard Spencer, was speaking. (Ricky Ben-David/Times of Israel)

 

A white supremacist blogger and podcast host was forced to resign from the popular “alt-right” website he had created after it was revealed that his wife is Jewish.

Mike Peinovich, who used the online pseudonym Mike Enoch, was the founder of the popular white nationalist website The Right Stuff (TRS) and co-host of the podcast “The Daily Shoah,” a play on the Hebrew term for the Holocaust.

Prior to the unmasking of his true identity over the weekend, Peinovich had been considered one of the leading figures of the emerging white nationalist movement in America, along with Daily Stormer founder Andrew Anglin and Richard Spencer, who helped coin the term alt-right, according to Salon web magazine.

The first cracks in Peinovich’s facade as Mike Enoch first appeared in December, when a white nationalist rival told his followers that a key figure in the movement “is morbidly obese and is married to a Jewish woman,” Salon reported.

Logo of the white-nationalist podcast "The Daily Shoah." (Screen capture: YouTube)

Logo of the white-nationalist podcast “The Daily Shoah.” (Screen capture: YouTube)

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From PressTV

Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:21PM
Militants with the so-called Free Syrian Army play with a dog at a checkpoint belonging to the Daesh terror group near the town of Qabasin, located northeast of the city of al-Bab, some 30 kilometers from Aleppo, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Militants with the so-called Free Syrian Army play with a dog at a checkpoint belonging to the Daesh terror group near the town of Qabasin, located northeast of the city of al-Bab, some 30 kilometers from Aleppo, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The United States vows to step up support for the Turkish forces by conducting airstrikes in Syria’s al-Bab, says the American military spokesman for the so-called US-led coalition against Daesh terrorists.

US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian made the remarks Tuesday, adding that four strikes had recently been conducted near the Syrian town.

“These strikes eliminated Daesh’s capabilities around the forward line of enemy troops near the city,” Dorrian said. “This is something we expect to continue doing… Those targets were mutually developed, and we decided to strike them.”

The two countries’ military officers “will continue to work in combined headquarters, de-conflicting, coordinating and developing targets to maximize effects against Daesh, and avoid negative effects on this complex and crowded battlefield.”

Dorrian further suggested that the US might have forward air controllers on the ground with Turkish forces calling in the airstrikes, saying, “One of the things that we very much prize is to have boots on the ground operating in proximity or directly with our partner forces.”

“So that is the preferred alternative. And that is one of the reasons why we have to be very careful, especially in a very crowded and complex battlefield with a lot of different actors to make sure that we are hitting the targets that we intend to hit,” he said.
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From PressTV

Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:41AM
A view of the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after the Friday prayer in Jerusalem al-Quds on November 11, 2016 (Photo by AFP)
A view of the Dome of Rock at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after the Friday prayer in Jerusalem al-Quds on November 11, 2016 (Photo by AFP)

US House Republicans are preparing a letter addressed to US-President-elect Donald Trump, calling on the incoming administration to immediately relocate the American embassy from Tel Aviv to occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

The letter has so far been signed by over 100 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives, and is currently being passed around to garner more signatures.

It calls on Trump to “take swift action to relocate our embassy to Jerusalem (al-Quds) as soon as you take office.”

“Moving the embassy will strengthen the unique alliance between Israel and the United States and send a clear message to the world that we support Israel in recognizing Jerusalem as its eternal capital,” the text said.

The letter lashed out at the outgoing US administration for allowing the recent UN resolution against Israel’s settlement construction in the West Bank to be passed by the Security Council.

On December 23, 2016, the UNSC passed the resolution after the US refused to veto it, reversing its longstanding policy of shielding Israel from condemnatory resolutions at the world body.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Slovak lawmaker probed for opposing national honors for Jews

(JTA) — The speaker of Slovakia’s parliament initiated a criminal probe for alleged hate speech against a lawmaker who criticized the conferring of a national honor on Jewish laureates due to their ethnicity.

Andrej Danko, the speaker of the National Council of the Slovak Republic, on Thursday said he would subject the far-right lawmaker Stanislav Mizik to disciplinary action in addition to the probe over his posting on Jan. 10 on Facebook of a text slamming the initiation into the Ľudovit Stur Order of three Jewish recipients out of 20 this year, the news website Dennik N reported.

The honor bestowed on Jewish recipients by Slovak President Andrej Kiska “turns logic on its head,” Mizik, a member of Slovakia’s Kotleba – People’s Party Our Slovakia, wrote on Facebook, because the founders of the Slovak nation “had a negative relationship to the Jews due to their selling out of the Slovak nation, usury and also because of religious issues,” Mizík wrote.

The honoring of Ivan Kamenec, a respected scholar on the Holocaust in Slovakia, Mizik wrote, was inappropriate because Kamenec is “a Communist Party candidate who has often worked as an undercover agent” for the communist-era secret police and a “Marxist, who himself admitted in an interview that he is a Jew.”
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From The Times of Israel

In Israel, religious single moms gain greater acceptance

As observant women increasingly seek to have children by themselves, critics double down on ‘slippery slope’ arguments

January 15, 2017, 9:36 pm

Jerusalem resident Alexandra Benjamin and her son at his bris in 2016. (Yitz Woolf via JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — When Alexandra Benjamin was pregnant recently with her son, she went shopping for appliances for her new apartment in Jerusalem.

At the store, the religious salesman asked about her husband. Benjamin explained that she was having the baby on her own.

“That’s so great!” she recalled him saying.

“That was the typical reaction I got,” said Benjamin, 39, whose son is now 6-months-old. “Not negative, not neutral, but really warm and positive, even from religious people.”

Of course, it wasn’t always this way — not too long ago, single motherhood was frowned upon in certain segments of Jewish Israeli society.
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From The Times of Israel

Trump to take office with dismal ratings — except on jobs

President-elect half as popular as Obama was before taking office in January 2009, latest polls show

January 18, 2017, 1:42 am

This file photo taken on January 11, 2017 shows US President-elect Donald Trump whispering to his daughter Ivanka during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York. (AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

This file photo taken on January 11, 2017 shows US President-elect Donald Trump whispering to his daughter Ivanka during a press conference at Trump Tower in New York. (AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)

 

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Donald Trump is poised to take office with the lowest approval ratings of any new president in recent history, but despite a chaotic transition Americans trust the billionaire on one crucial point: jobs.

Since the real estate developer’s White House win in November, companies have lined up to announce new factories or jobs in the United States, including air conditioning manufacturer Carrier, Japan’s SoftBank, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Amazon with a headline-grabbing promise to create 100,000 jobs.

The latest additions to the growing list: Wal-Mart announced Tuesday it would invest $6.8 billion in the United States and create 10,000 jobs, General Motors announced $1 billion in new US investments and pledged to create 5,000 new jobs.

Trump — who since his election has wielded a mix of threats and incentives to push an America-first jobs agenda — has been quick to take credit.

“With all of the jobs I am bringing back into the US (even before taking office), with all of the new auto plants coming back into our country and with the massive cost reductions I have negotiated on military purchases and more, I believe the people are seeing ‘big stuff,’” he tweeted on Tuesday.
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From The Times of Israel

Wife of Orlando shooter indicted on terror charge

Noor Salman also hit with obstruction of justice charge; faces life in prison if found guilty

January 17, 2017, 10:49 pm

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen (R) with his wife Noor Zahi Salman and son (YouTube screenshot)

Orlando gunman Omar Mateen (R) with his wife Noor Zahi Salman and son (YouTube screenshot)

 

The widow of Orlando nightclub shooter Omar Mateen was formally charged Tuesday with a terror-related offense and obstruction of justice.

The two-count indictment states that Noor Salman, who was arrested Monday in northern California, aided and abetted her husband’s attempt to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely the Islamic State group.

She is also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly misleading local police in Florida and the Federal Bureau of Investigation on information relating to the attack.

Forty-nine people died in Mateen’s assault on the Pulse gay nightclub on June 12, the deadliest mass shooting in modern US history.

Salman, who had a four-year-old son with Mateen, made an initial appearance in federal court in Oakland, California, on Tuesday and had the charges read out to her.
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From The Times of Israel

Dismissing Trump, Rouhani rules out renegotiating Iran nuclear deal

Iranian leader rejects US president-elect’s threats to dismantle 2016 international agreement as mere ‘slogans’

January 17, 2017, 5:40 pm

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran Jaunary 17, 2017 (AFP/ATTA KENARE)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gives a press conference in Tehran Jaunary 17, 2017 (AFP/ATTA KENARE)

 

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday there is no chance of his country renegotiating its 2016 nuclear deal with world powers, even if US President-elect Donald Trump demands it.

Trump has strongly criticized the deal, under which Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief, but has not said what he plans to do about the agreement.

“The nuclear deal is finished, it has been approved by the UN Security Council and has become an international document. It is a multilateral accord and there is no sense in renegotiating it,” said Rouhani at a news conference a year on from the deal coming into force.

He compared talk of renegotiating the nuclear accord to “converting a shirt back to cotton,” and Trump’s talk of doing so as “mainly slogans.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) speaks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the UN atomic watchdog verifies that Iran has met all conditions of the July 2015 nuclear deal, in Vienna, Austria, on January 16, 2016. (AFP/Kevin Lamarque/Pool)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (left) speaks with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif after the UN atomic watchdog verifies that Iran has met all conditions of the July 2015 nuclear deal, in Vienna, Austria, on January 16, 2016. (AFP/Kevin Lamarque/Pool)

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From PressTV

Sun Jan 15, 2017 6:44PM
The photo taken on December 16, 2015, shows two Russian Sukhoi Su-25 bombers at Russia's Hmeimim Air Base in Latakia province, northwestern Syria. (Photo by AFP)
The photo taken on December 16, 2015, shows two Russian Sukhoi Su-25 bombers at Russia’s Hmeimim Air Base in Latakia province, northwestern Syria. (Photo by AFP)

Russia intends to improve and expand its naval and air bases in Syria to further contain terrorist groups operating in the war-torn country.

Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted an unnamed source as making the remarks on Sunday, adding that Moscow would begin repairing a second runway at Hmeimim Air Base in Syria’s western coastal province of Latakia.

Hmeimim is Russia’s permanent air base inside Syria, located southeast of Latakia, the provincial capital, and adjacent to Bassel al-Assad International Airport, with which it shares some airfield facilities. The base is home to dozens of Russian warplanes that are used to pound terrorist positions across the country.

On January 12, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said Moscow had withdrawn six Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jets from the air base and instead sent four Sukhoi Su-25 aircraft to the region.

The source further said Russia also planned to upgrade its naval base in Tartus, the second largest port city in Syria, where Russia has been keeping a support and maintenance facility for its naval forces since 1977. It added that Moscow would improve the base, located some 86 kilometers south of Hmeimim, so that it becomes capable of handling bigger ships such as cruisers.

Moscow would also deploy S-300 surface-to-air defense systems and Bastion coastal missile launchers in the naval base, the source added.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Analysis

Britain again breaks ranks with Europe — this time over Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaking with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini during the Mideast peace conference in Paris, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images) Foreign ministers and representatives from around 70 countries are seeking to revive the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which could be dealt a further blow if Trump implements a campaign pledge to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital. / AFP / POOL / bertrand GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaking with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the Middle East peace conference in Paris, Jan. 15, 2017. (Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Two days after delegates from more than 70 nations attended the Paris summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is clear that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was wrong to label the meeting “useless.”

Admittedly the France-initiated event, which neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority attended, did not change the international community’s understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Nor did the gathering take any concrete steps to end the dispute.

But it was neither insignificant nor useless from Israel’s point of view. The summit saw Great Britain break ranks with the countries that did attend in a move that pleased Israel and perhaps the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Far-right political party no threat to German democracy, high court rules

Some 250 supporters of the far-right National Democratic Party marched, accompanied by riot police, on May Day in Rostock, Germany, on May 1, 2014. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Some 250 supporters of the far-right National Democratic Party marching, accompanied by riot police, on May Day in Rostock, Germany,  May 1, 2014. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

BERLIN (JTA) — Germany’s highest court has found no legal grounds to ban the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany.

The long-awaited decision announced Tuesday was met with disappointment from Jewish leaders in Germany and abroad. It marks the second time that the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has considered barring the NPD, which is anti-foreigner and anti-European Union, and belittles the Holocaust.

A 2003 attempt failed after the Supreme Court learned that government informants themselves instigated some of the allegedly unconstitutional activities.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Trump: Jared Kushner a ‘natural’ to solve Mideast conflict

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attending the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, March 9, 2011. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump attending the Comedy Central Roast of Donald Trump at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, March 9, 2011. (Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic via Getty Images)

(JTA) — President-elect Donald Trump reiterated that his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner could head efforts to broker a Middle East peace deal.

In an interview with the German newspaper Bild and The Times of London published Monday, Trump was asked what role Kushner, husband of Trump’s daughter Ivanka, would play in his role as an unpaid adviser to his administration

“Oh, really . . . Ya know what, Jared is such a good kid and he’ll make a deal with Israel that no one else can — ya know he’s a natural, he’s a great deal, he’s a natural — ya know what I was talking about, natural — he’s a natural deal-maker — everyone likes him,” replied Trump, according to a transcript of the interview in The Times of London.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Right-wing Israeli lawmakers, settler leaders to attend Trump inauguration

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Right-wing Israeli lawmakers and leaders of the settler movement reportedly will attend the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump.

The lawmakers, according to the Forward, include Likud Party member Yehuda Glick, a former U.S. citizen and Temple Mount activist who lives in the West Bank settlement of Otniel, and Likud lawmaker Sharren Haskel, an immigrant from Canada.

Among the settler leaders reportedly coming are Oded Revivi, chairman of the Yesha settlers’ council. The Yesha council was invited to send a delegation to the inauguration, The Times of Israel reported.

Revivi will be attending with Benny Kasriel, the mayor of Maale Adumim, a West Bank city and settlement with a population of 37,500, according to The Times of Israel. Yossi Dagan, the head of the Shomron Regional Council, also will attend.
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From The Times of Israel

Vandals scrawl ‘kill Jews’ at Massachusetts cemetery

Headstones at site knocked off their bases, spray painted with anti-Semitic graffiti

January 14, 2017, 6:26 am

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti (CC BY-zeeweez, Flickr)

Illustrative photo of anti-Semitic graffiti (CC BY-zeeweez, Flickr)

 

Unidentified perpetrators spray painted the words “kill Jews” and a white supremacist slogan on headstones at a cemetery in Cape Cod.

Several headstones were knocked over at Oak Neck, a 5.5-acre graveyard that is the only active cemetery in the village of Hyannis, 70 miles southeast of Boston, Fox25 reported last week. Oak Neck is not a Jewish cemetery.

Police in Barnstable are treating the investigation as a hate crime, Fox25 reported.

Some headstones were knocked off their bases, while spray paint was used to scrawl slogans on others. About a dozen or more tombstones were either kicked over or otherwise vandalized. Some of the graffiti was directed at police officers.

One headstone was defaced with the number 666, a number association with Satanic groups. Another featured the numbers “4.20,” ostensibly a reference to Adolf Hitler’s birthday.
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From The Times of Israel

Veteran rocker Rod Stewart announces Tel Aviv show

One of the best-selling music artists of all time to wrap up 2017 world tour with show in Yarkon Park in June

January 17, 2017, 4:10 pm

British rock star Rod Stewart announced Tuesday that he will wrap up his 2017 world tour with a show in Tel Aviv.

The performance is scheduled for June 14, 2017, at Yarkon Park in Tel Aviv, and will be the final performance of Stewart’s “Hits” tour.

The rocker also recorded a special video message for his Israeli fans, promising “a splendid night of fantastic music.”

“This is Rod Stewart here and I shall be coming to Tel Aviv on June 14, playing at Hayarkon Park,” he says in the clip uploaded to Facebook. “So don’t miss it, it’s going to be a splendid night of fantastic music where you’ll hear everything you want to hear. June 14, Tel Aviv. Don’t miss it.”

Stewart, who turned 72 last week, has played in Israel twice before, in 2010 and in 1983, at the height of his career.
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From PressTV

Sun Jan 15, 2017 9:4AM
Syrians wait to fill plastic containers with water provided by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the capital Damascus, January 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Syrians wait to fill plastic containers with water provided by the Syrian Arab Red Crescent in the capital Damascus, January 10, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Terrorists have assassinated a representative of the Syrian government, who would coordinate reconciliation talks between Damascus and militant groups, in the strategic Wadi Barada area in the countryside of the capital.

Ahmad al-Ghadban was shot dead by Takfiri militants on Saturday in Wadi Barada, home to Damascus’ main river Barada as well as a spring used as the source of water for the capital’s general area, the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The report cited local sources as saying that the victim had been shot after leaving a meeting with leaders of armed groups in the Ayn al-Figeh village, where the spring lies.

Since late December, 2016, government forces have been fighting in Wadi Barada against Takfiri militants, who have damaged the water processing facilities there and reduced water flow to some five million people in the city.

Damascus has been pushing to arrive at reconciliation agreements with the militant groups in the area to enable rehabilitation of those who are willing to put down arms and facilitate the entry of engineers into the village to repair the facilities.

In recent months, hundreds of militants have laid down weapons and surrendered to the Syrian army under such reconciliation agreements, particularly in the capital’s suburban areas.
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From PressTV

Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:32AM
Iraqi army members clash with Daesh from the roof of a building in the east of the northern city of Mosul, January 12, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
Iraqi army members clash with Daesh from the roof of a building in the east of the northern city of Mosul, January 12, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

Iraqi forces have entered the Mosul University compound in a key advance against Daesh in the northern city, the Takfiri terror group’s last stronghold in the Arab country.

On Friday, Iraqi special forces fought their way into the university’s compound and liberated a number of its buildings, Iraq’s al-Sumariah television network reported.

The university has served as a base to the terrorists, who have reportedly been using its laboratory to produce chemical weapons.

In another development, Iraq’s Elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) units liberated Freedom Bridge, the second one running across Tigris River in Mosul, raising the national flag over the structure.

Al-Sumariah, meanwhile, said Daesh had planned to blow up the bridges to slow the troops’ advances.

Iraqi forces also cleansed the Office of the Provincial Governor of Nineveh Province, of which Mosul is the capital, as well as two other government buildings in the province’s Mosul District of terrorist presence.
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