Zio-Watch News Round-up

Obama nominates Jewish Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court: Zio-Watch, March 16, 2016


Dr. Patrick Slattery’s News Roundup
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From Ynet News

Obama nominates Jewish Judge Merrick Garland to Supreme Court

The Court of Appeals judge is known as a consensus builder and has a record of bipartisan support; while expected to align with the more liberal members of the court, he has a reputation of a centrist on criminal defense and national security issues.

WASHINGTON – US President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he is nominating federal appeals court judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, challenging Republicans to reject a long-time jurist and former prosecutor known as a consensus builder on what is often dubbed the nation’s second-highest court.

Garland, 63, is the chief judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, a court whose influence over federal policy and national security matters has made it a proving ground for potential Supreme Court justices.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

German FM: Refugees must take up fight against anti-Semitism

BERLIN (JTA) — Refugees who want to become part of German society today must take up the fight against anti-Semitism, Germany’s foreign minister told a conference on combating anti-Semitism.

‘This applies to whoever lives with us, whether they have been here for years, whether they are staying or just temporarily here: Anti-Semitism is against our constitution, against our civilization, against everything we believe in and all we have learned,” Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Tuesday at the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism, addressing some  some 140 parliamentarians from nearly 40 countries.

Germany has taken in about 1 million refugees, mostly from Muslim countries, in the past year, in an open door policy that has cost Chancellor Angela Merkel much political support — as demonstrated in last Sunday’s elections in three states, where an anti-immigrant party posted major gains.

Jewish leaders, including Josef Schuster, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, have said they are worried that many Muslim newcomers have been schooled in anti-Semitism in their home countries and are now bringing this to Germany.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Merrick Garland emotionally recalls Jewish roots in accepting Supreme Court nomination

(JTA) — New U.S. Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland credited his Jewish grandparents, who he said fled to the United States from anti-Semitism in Russia, for putting him in position to be nominated.

“My family deserves much of the credit for the path that led me here. My grandparents left the Pale of Settlement at the border of western Russia and Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, fleeing anti-Semitism and hoping to make a better life for their children in America,” he said, choking up Wednesday morning in the White House Rose Garden as he accepted President Barack Obama’s nomination.

Garland said his father, who ran an advertising business from the basement of his family home, impressed upon him the “importance of hard work and fair dealing.” He said his mother’s volunteer work taught him the value of community service.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

With Trump’s latest wins, will Jewish conservatives finally embrace him?

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Has Donald Trump’s time come, and will Jewish political conservatives embrace him?

Trump, the real estate magnate and front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, rolled closer to victory on Tuesday with wins in at least three primary states. His strong showing, earning 161 delegates or more depending on the final tally in Missouri, brought his delegate tally to 621, halfway to the 1,237 he needs to secure the nomination.

The question for Jewish political conservatives is whether to hold their noses and embrace him.

With Sen. Marco Rubio’s departure from the race after losing decisively in his home state of Florida, the alternatives for Jewish conservatives are narrowing: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who remained locked in a dead heat with Trump in Missouri as of Wednesday morning, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who won his home state.
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From PressTV

Wed Mar 16, 2016 5:58PM
Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop Antoine Audo (file photo)
Syrian Chaldean Catholic bishop Antoine Audo (file photo)

A bishop from the Syrian province of Aleppo says the majority of the Arab country’s Christian community supports President Bashar al-Assad in any future election.

The Chaldean Catholic bishop, Antoine Audo, said on Wednesday that about 80 percent of Syria’s Christian population would support Assad if he stood for reelection.

Speaking to reporters in Switzerland’s city of Geneva, Audo criticized “propaganda” against the Syrian leader, insisting that there was no persecution of Christians by the government.

He further said that ongoing deadly conflict in the country aimed to “destabilize the Syrian society and transform the war into a confessional war.”

The bishop added that other minorities and communities in the country also supported Assad in his fight against “the extremists.”

Audo stated that different terrorist groups including the Daesh militants fighting the government in Damascus posed a serious threat to Syrian Christians, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee the country.
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From Russia Today

Kurds want lands they control in Syria to become federation under Damascus – reports

Published time: 16 Mar, 2016 11:06

Kurdish-controlled autonomous areas in northern Syria are expected to declare a federal system, local media and RT’s sources on the ground have said. The conference to declare the federation of three Western Kurdistan enclaves will be in Rmelan.

Barzan Iso, a Kurdish journalist, has confirmed the news to RT. “Now the conference has just started in Rmelan, about 200 representatives of Rojava have joined [the event]. They represent different ethnicities and nationalities. There are Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians, Syriacs, Turkomans, Armenians, Circassians and Chechens,” he told RT on Wednesday. “Also we have representatives from the Syrian democratic forces, YPG, women defense units.”

“This conference is supposed to announce a federation as a political project for Rojava region in northern Syria,” Iso added.

A newly established system would see the autonomous cantons in Syria Kurdistan (Rojava) replaced.
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From Russia Today

CIA ignored rise of ISIS since 2013, Syrian rebel ‘spy chief’ says

Published time: 16 Mar, 2016 08:18

© Saul Loeb © Saul Loeb / AFP

The Free Syrian Army’s ‘spy chief’ told Le Monde his agents had been gathering intelligence from within Islamic State’s ranks since its emergence, but the CIA largely ignored data that could have helped suppress the terror group from the outset.

The Free Syrian Army’s spymaster, codenamed “M”, in an exclusive to Le Monde, told the newspaper he had been sending “very detailed reports” on Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), based on field data from his agents, to his CIA contacts for two years.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Sheldon Adelson on supporting Donald Trump: ‘Why not?’

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Sheldon Adelson said, “Why not?” when asked if he could support Donald Trump’s candidacy.

Tal Schneider, an Israeli political blogger, reported recently that she had obtained video of a Las Vegas charitable event attended by Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate, pro-Israel philanthropist and Republican kingmaker.

Adelson was asked if he could support Trump, the front-runner among Republican presidential candidates, as his candidacy has raised concerns among politically conservative Jews because of his professions of neutrality on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and his broadsides against Muslims, Mexicans and others.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

State Department raps Israel for West Bank land ‘expropriation’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The State Department criticized Israel for the “expropriation” of West Bank land around Jericho and near the Dead Sea.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon approved the declaration turning 580 acres into Israeli state land, Army Radio reported Tuesday. The declaration was signed March 10 by the Civil Administration’s head of the government property during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority by Vice President Joe Biden.

State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked about the conversion during a briefing Tuesday afternoon with reporters and said the United States was “concerned,” noting it was a “significant increase” over two conversions in 2014: nearly 1,000 acres near Bethlehem in the Gush Etzion bloc and another 250 acres in the same area.
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From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

5 things to look out for at the AIPAC confab

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Here are five things to watch for at this year’s annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, which is taking place here March 19-22:

It’s Yoooooooooge.

Organizers are expecting 18,000 activists, 3,000 more than last year, the largest number ever.

So large, for the first time, plenary sessions are moving out of the Washington Convention Center to the Verizon Center, a sports arena a few blocks away.
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From Russia Today

1 in 3 Europeans say Crimea is Russia 2 years after historic referendum – poll

Published time: 16 Mar, 2016 07:33

© Sergey Malgavko / Sputnik

Two years ago an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted in favor of reuniting with Russia – a move that was met by Western condemnation and sanctions. While the sanctions persist, attitudes towards the people’s choice are changing.

A fresh poll conducted by British Populus and French Iflop research companies, ordered by Russia’s Sputnik news agency, revealed that roughly a third of Europeans and a quarter of Americans consider Crimea a part of Russia.

Some 39 percent of Italians, 37 percent of Germans and 33 percent of UK citizens said that Crimea is Russia, according to the survey.

In the US, 26 percent of respondents said Crimea was part of Russia, with 42 percent saying that they had no idea about the Crimean issue.

The Crimean peninsula refused to recognize the new government in Kiev, which came to power on February 21, 2014. The majority Russian autonomous republic feared the coup-imposed Ukrainian leadership wouldn’t represent their interests and respect their rights.
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From Russia Today

Second batch of Russian jets leaves Syria airbase

Published time: 16 Mar, 2016 04:36

Pilots of Russian Su-34 bomber jets from Syria welcomed home at an airbase in Voronezh region. © Igor Kovalenko Pilots of Russian Su-34 bomber jets from Syria welcomed home at an airbase in Voronezh region. © Igor Kovalenko / Sputnik

The second group of Russian warplanes left the Khmeimim airbase in Syria’s Latakia province on Wednesday morning, the Russian Ministry of Defense has announced.

“Another group of Russian aircraft took off from the airbase in Khmeimim heading to places of permanent deployment on the territory of the Russian Federation,” the military statement said.

The ministry added that the new batch of planes comprising Su-25 fighter jets is led by a strategic airlifter, the Il-76. All planes returning to home bases in Russia are flying in “flocks” headed by a “leader” aircraft – either Tu-154 or Il-76 transport aircraft – that carries the technical engineering crew, along with other cargo.

Once the group reaches the Russian border, each individual plane separates from the squadron and heads to its original place of deployment.
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From Russia Today

Energy giants take Merkel govt to top court over nuclear phase out

Published time: 15 Mar, 2016 21:25

General view of the nuclear power plant in Biblis near Frankfurt, Germany March 15, 2016. © Ralph Orlowski General view of the nuclear power plant in Biblis near Frankfurt, Germany March 15, 2016. © Ralph Orlowski / Reuters

The three biggest energy companies in Germany have taken Angela Merkel’s government to the Constitutional Court over its decision to shut down all nuclear plants, seeking billions of euros in compensation for their losses.

On Tuesday, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany opened a two-day hearing into a legal argument between the Merkel government and Germany’s E.ON, RWE and Sweden’s Vattenfall.
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