Latest News Zio-Watch News Round-up

Romania’s Parliament passes law providing more money for Holocaust survivors: Zio-Watch, May 24, 2017

From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Romania’s Parliament passes law providing more money for Holocaust survivors

(JTA) — Romania’s Parliament passed legislation that would provide increased direct financial support for Holocaust survivors.

The funds, a monthly payment of up to $97.98 per month for each year of deportation or detention, will be available beginning in July to those who were persecuted in Romania between 1940 and 1945, including deportees to ghettos and concentrations camps, survivors of the death trains and forced labor detachments, refugees and those who were imprisoned for ethnic reasons or forcefully removed from their homes in that period.

Survivors who no longer have Romanian citizenship or reside in the country, as well as the spouse of a deceased Holocaust survivor if they did not remarry, also are eligible.

The law was initiated by Silviu Vexler, a Parliament member representing the Federation of the Jewish Communities in Romania, the vice chairman of the Romania-Israel Parliamentary Group of Friendship and the vice chairman of the Labor and Social Protection Committee in the Chamber of Deputies.
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Fox News removes stories on WikiLeaks link to slain Jewish DNC staffer Seth Rich

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Fox News Channel removed stories based on unfounded allegations that Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer slain last year, was targeted because he was leaking information to WikiLeaks.

“On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich,” Fox said Tuesday on its website.

“The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.”

The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, removed a similar site; the story now redirects to a not found page. Breitbart, a conservative news site that had picked up the Fox story, still has its story online.
Click here for the full story



From The Times of Israel

Philippine president threatens martial law

After beheading of policed chief, Duterte warns of ‘harsh’ measures against Islamic militants on southern Mindanao island

May 24, 2017, 3:50 pm

Philippine policemen check evacuees from Marawi at a checkpoint by the entrance of Iligan City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on May 24, 2017. /AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE

Philippine policemen check evacuees from Marawi at a checkpoint by the entrance of Iligan City, on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on May 24, 2017. /AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE

PHILIPPINES (AFP) — Islamist militants rampaging through a southern Philippine city beheaded a local police chief, President Rodrigo Duterte said Wednesday.

“The chief of police in Malabang on his way home, going back he was stopped by a checkpoint manned by terrorists and I think they decapitated them right then and there,” Duterte said as he justified his decision Tuesday to impose martial law on the southern region of Mindanao after militants, loyal to so-called Islamic State, battled with security forces and burnt buildings.

Duterte also said he may expand martial law to other parts of the country.

The Philippine president warned that martial law would be “harsh” and like a dictatorship in an effort to quell not just the gunmen in Marawi, a mostly Muslim-populated city of 200,000 people, but the rising threat of IS-inspired militancy emanating from Mindanao.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech to military personnel in Manila, on October 4, 2016. (AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. (AFP/Ted Aljibe)

Click here for the full story



From The Times of Israel

Trump lauded Duterte for bloody drug crackdown

Transcript shows US president praised Philippine leader, whose shoot-to-kill policy has claimed thousands of lives

May 24, 2017, 1:36 pm

Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a press conference at the end of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders' summit in Manila on April 29, 2017.  (Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte gestures during a press conference at the end of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit in Manila on April 29, 2017. (Ted ALJIBE / AFP)

US President Donald Trump last month congratulated his Philippine counterpart, Rodrigo Duterte, for his brutal approach to reducing the country’s drug problem, a transcript showed.

It was a marked contrast to the policy of the State Department, which in a March annual human rights report referred to “apparent governmental disregard for human rights and due process” in the Philippines.

Trump praised Duterte — who on Tuesday declared martial law in the south of the country — for doing “an unbelievable job on the drug problem,” according to the transcript of the conversation, picked up by The Washington Post on Tuesday.

During the conversation, which emerged from a Philippine foreign affairs department transcript, Trump also revealed that two US nuclear submarines were stationed off the North Korean coast.

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with the President of the Palestinian  Authority Mahmoud Abbas (not seen) presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

US President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (not seen) presidential palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, May 23, 2017. (AFP/MANDEL NGAN)

Click here for the full story



From PressTV

Wed May 24, 2017 9:0AM
Los Angeles Times’ Readers React page as seen on May 23, 2017
Los Angeles Times’ Readers React page as seen on May 23, 2017

The Los Angeles Times readership has questioned Washington’s claims of supporting democracy and social freedoms worldwide, asking why the US opts for amity and economic reciprocity with Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, but antagonizes democratic Iran.

The reactions were published in the paper on Tuesday under the title, “Iran just held an election. So why is the theocratic monarchy Saudi Arabia our friend?”

The readers asked the reason why US President Donald Trump befriended a regime, which was defiant of what the US upholds as its core values.

“We go around the world selling and evangelizing equality, freedom of choice, free elections, self-determination and democracy,” said one reader.

This is while the kingdom does not select its rulers through election and has the radical ideology of Wahhabism as its state religion, he added, asking, “How can we look at ourselves in the mirror without seeing two faces?”

Another said Saudi Arabia does not tolerate religious diversity unlike Iran, and that its money had financed the 9/11 attacks, while no terrorist attack in the US had been linked to Iran.

“In Saudi Arabia, women are not even allowed to drive,” he noted. “Can someone explain exactly why we ally with Saudi Arabia against Iran?”

US President Donald Trump speaks during the Arabic Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on May 21, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

A third reader said the Takfiri al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorist groups, which have been responsible for unspeakable acts of terror worldwide, have been inspired by Wahhabism, again questioning the rationale behind the American-Saudi rapport.

He also said the US commander-in-chief had received a royal welcome in the kingdom while he faced much controversy and dissidence at home, referring to the scandal involving the president that his electoral campaign benefited from Russian assistance.
Click here for the full story



From PressTV

Tue May 23, 2017 1:35PM
A French Rafale fighter jet takes off from the deck of France's aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on December 9, 2016, as part of a US-led coalition against Daesh. (AFP photo)
A French Rafale fighter jet takes off from the deck of France’s aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle operating in the eastern Mediterranean Sea on December 9, 2016, as part of a US-led coalition against Daesh. (AFP photo)

A coalition of military forces allegedly fighting Daesh and other terror groups in Syria under the leadership of the United States has killed the highest number of civilians in a matter of one month since it began operations three years ago.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group mostly advocating anti-government forces in the war in Syria, said on Tuesday that the US-led coalition killed a total of 225 civilians between April 23 and May 23, the highest 30-day toll since the campaign began in 2014.

“There has been a very big escalation … The past month of operations is the highest civilian toll since the coalition began bombing Syria,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

Abdel Rahman said the previous record of casualties left by the air strikes by US and allies in Syria belonged to the period between February 23 and March 23 this year when 220 civilians were killed.

He said some 1,481 people, including 319 children, have been killed as a result of the coalition campaign, which lacks any approval from the Syrian government.

The US and allies formed the coalition earlier in 2014 to fight Daesh in neighboring Iraq, but they later expanded it to include territories in east and north of Syria. Damascus, which itself is busy fighting terrorists on multiple fronts, condemned the decision at the time, saying it violated Syria’s territorial integrity. The Syrian government has never sought assistance from the West as it insists that Washington and allies in Europe have helped the surge in militancy in the Arab country by providing direct finance and weaponry to certain militant groups.

The new Pentagon chief and US Secretary of Defense, James Mattis (L), meets with commanders from the US-led coalition fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria, during his visit in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on February 20, 2017. (AFP photo)

The US military has admitted that the attacks in Syria have claimed hundreds of civilian lives, although Washington rejects figures provided by monitors on the ground and always tries to cut back on the number of the casualties. It said earlier this month that 352 had been “unintentionally” killed since the campaign began.
Click here for the full story



From PressTV

Mon May 22, 2017 10:27AM
US President Donald Trump waves from inside his car upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
US President Donald Trump waves from inside his car upon arrival at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Saudi Arabia, not the Islamic Republic of Iran, is the “fountainhead” of terrorism in the Middle East, according to Robert Fisk, a celebrated English writer and journalist.​

Fisk made the remarks in an article, titled “Donald Trump’s speech to the Muslim world was filled with hypocrisy and condescension,” published by The Independent on Monday, a day after the US president spoke to a gathering of Muslim and Arab leaders in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

In his speech, Trump said the United States seeks “a coalition of nations” to stamp out extremism in the Middle East and urged Muslim countries to ensure “terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.”

The Republican president said the Middle East’s potential has been held by ongoing conflicts and bloodshed, and called on Muslim nations to “honestly” confront what he called “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups.”

Trump also attacked Iran and accused the Islamic Republic of being the source of “so much instability in the region.” He said, “For decades Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.”

US President Donald Trump (L) and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (R) stop for coffee in the terminal of King Khalid International Airport following Trump’s arrival in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

Commenting on Trump’s speech, Fisk wrote, “So after inventing ‘fake news’, America’s crazed President on Sunday gave the world’s Muslims a fake speech.

The veteran British journalist censured Trump for lecturing Muslim leaders and not offering “an apology for his racist, anti-Muslim speeches of last year.”
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

22 killed in suspected terror attack at Ariana Grande concert in England

Police officers standing in front of the Manchester Arena in England, where a suspected suicide bomber killed at least 22 people, May 23, 2017. (Dave Thompson/Getty Images)

(JTA) – At least 22 people were killed in a suspected terrorist attack during a concert in northern England by the American pop star Ariana Grande.

Grande was not hurt in the explosion Monday night at the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena, which Prime Minister Theresa May said was likely a terrorist attack, The Guardian reported. British authorities said the explosion may have come from an explosive vest detonated in the crowd by a suicide bomber.

On Tuesday, the Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

The 7 most awkward moments from Trump’s Israel trip

President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands during a visit to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

(JTA) — Donald Trump’s trip to Israel passed by in a flash — after all, the president only stopped in the Jewish state for two days.

Nevertheless, Trump managed to do plenty of things during his visit. He checked out the Western Wall, Yad Vashem and the Israel Museum, and he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

The trip also managed to produce plenty of awkward moments involving Trump and his administration — there were some unfortunate typos, a failed attempt at holding the first lady’s hand (which went viral) and two geographic flubs.

Here’s a list of the most tweetable faux pas from Trump’s Israel visit.
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Analysis

Tel Aviv is the ‘home of Judaism.’ So is Boston, Sao Paulo, Marseille …

Ivanka Trump praying at the Western Wall, May 22, 2017. (Mendy Hechtman/Flash90)

(JTA) — Donald Trump and his staff may have left Israel feeling pretty friendly to the Jews, but man, we don’t make it easy for them.

Flying with reporters from Saudi Arabia to Israel on Monday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced that they were “[o]nto the second stop, Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.” Critics were not kind.

Jordan Schachtel of Conservative Review noted that because Tel Aviv does not have the religious significance of Jerusalem, Tillerson “managed to insult the people of Israel — and Jews worldwide.” Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin accused the former ExxonMobil CEO of “bumbling his lines and committing gaffes a junior Foreign Service officer would never make.” And Morton Klein of the Zionist Organization of America fumed that “Only those who are blind cannot point to Jerusalem as the center of Judaism and Israel.” (I am anxiously waiting a comment from the Jewish Institute for the Blind.)
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Trump calls for coalition against extremists, insists Israel and Palestinians ready for peace in Jerusalem speech

President Donald Trump speaking at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, May 23, 2017. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Donald Trump in the major address of his visit to Israel called for a coalition of nations to fight against extremism and insisted that both Israel and the Palestinians are ready for peace.

Trump was greeted with an extended standing ovation on Tuesday afternoon by a small audience of Israeli lawmakers and guests at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, and his speech was punctuated by applause.

“Conflict cannot continue forever,” he said. Trump called for a coalition of partners of the nations of the world “who share the aim of stamping out extremists,” and said diverse nations can unite around such a goal.
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Trump, at Yad Vashem, calls Israel a ‘soaring monument’ to ‘Never again’

JERUSALEM (JTA) — President Donald Trump called the State of Israel “a soaring monument to the solemn pledge we repeat and affirm: ‘Never again’” during a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.

Trump and his wife, Melania, laid a wreath in the Hall of Remembrance on Tuesday afternoon.

The president, wearing a black kippah, also was accompanied by his daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who are both Jewish. Trump also lit a candle at the eternal flame in the hall.

Israel, Trump said, is “testament to the unbreakable spirit of the Jewish people.”
Click here for the full story



From The Times of Israel

Bennett vows to press Netanyahu for more West Bank construction

Education minister says Israel should take advantage of opportunity presented by Trump administration, seen as more favorable to settlements than Obama’s

May 24, 2017, 1:21 pm

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) seen with Education Minister Naftali Bennett at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on August 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/POOL)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, seen with Education Minister Naftali Bennett at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on August 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/POOL)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said Wednesday that he would urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to approve more construction in East Jerusalem and the West Bank so that Israel can consolidate its hold on the land.

Bennett, the leader of the pro-settlement Jewish Home party, told Army Radio that Israel should take advantage of the opportunity presented by the Trump administration, which, he claimed, recognized the Jewish claim to the West Bank.

He was speaking a day after US President Donald Trump concluded a 28-hour visit to Israel and the West Bank, during which he met with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. In a speech Tuesday at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Trump vowed to always stand by Israel.

Asked if he would raise the subject of settlement construction at upcoming cabinet meetings that will review Trump’s visit, Bennett responded with a definitive “yes.”

“I think [a construction boom] will happen naturally,” he said. “It needs to be a natural thing that we build in our country.” Noting that he had personally told Trump that the Jews were the indigenous people of the land, Bennett added, “We have to right to build in our land, and it will improve our security.”
Click here for the full story



From PressTV

Wed May 24, 2017 8:26AM
A file photo of Austrian military forces (by Reuters)
A file photo of Austrian military forces (by Reuters)

NATO member states have agreed to approve collaborations with non-members on a case-by-case basis following member Turkey’s move to veto cooperation between the military alliance and non-member Austria.

Relations between Turkey and Austria have been sour. Vienna has repeatedly censured Turkey’s human rights record and its decision to enforce constitutional changes. The Austrian government has also said that stalled talks for Turkey’s accession to the European Union (EU) should be indefinitely abandoned.

NATO countries on Monday decided to change the bloc’s rules as to work around that diplomatic dispute, according to a NATO official, who spoke anonymously.

“This will substantially reduce the risk of blockages to cooperation with partners across the board,” the official said.

Austria is not a NATO state, though it has been involved in joint operations with the military alliance through its current deployment of 400 troops in Kosovo.

“Turkey has been taking appropriate measures regarding Austria’s participation in NATO activities on the grounds that Austria brings its anti-Turkey attitude to the EU platforms,” said a Turkish diplomat as quoted in the local daily Hurriyet.
Click here for the full story



From the Jewish Telegraphic Agency

I may have ‘horsed around’ in Nazi camp in my youth, Bulgarian deputy PM says

Valeri Simeonov

Valeri Simeonov downplayed a member of his party making a Nazi salute at a Paris museum. (Screenshot from YouTube)

(JTA) — Bulgaria’s deputy prime minister said jokingly that he may have behaved inappropriately when visiting a former Nazi concentration camp.

Valeri Simeonov, also vice president of the United Patriots, a nationalist coalition of political parties, told the  Sega newspaper on Tuesday that he and some his friends may have taken spoof pictures of themselves in Buchenwald during the 1970s.

Simeonov, 62, was downplaying an incident from earlier this week that forced a member of his party, Pavel Tenev, to resign from the post of deputy minister. Tenev had been photographed performing a Nazi salute at a Paris museum while standing next to mannequins dressed in Nazi uniforms.
Click here for the full story



From The Times of Israel

Liberman seems to confirm Trump leaked Israeli intel

In radio interview, defense minister says ‘repairs’ were made after US president divulged info to Russian officials

May 24, 2017, 9:43 am

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset on March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attends a Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee meeting at the Knesset on March 6, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman said Wednesday that Israel made changes to its intelligence-sharing apparatus with the US after President Donald Trump gave Russian officials classified information.

Liberman also stressed the close relationship between the two countries on security issues.

“I can confirm that we did a spot repair and that there’s unprecedented intelligence cooperation with the United States,” Liberman said in an interview with Army Radio.

“What we had to clarify with our friends in the United States, we did. We did our checks,” he said.

Liberman added, however, that he would not discuss in public some aspects of the response to the apparent intelligence leak by Trump.
Click here for the full story



From The Times of Israel

Fox News removes stories on WikiLeaks link to slain DNC staffer

News channel says initial reports on murder of Seth Rich were not subjected to required ‘high degree of editorial scrutiny’

May 24, 2017, 8:30 am

Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who also was involved in Jewish outreach, was killed near his Washington, DC, home on July 10, 2016. (Facebook via JTA)

Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer who also was involved in Jewish outreach, was killed near his Washington, DC, home on July 10, 2016. (Facebook via JTA)

WASHINGTON — The Fox News Channel removed stories based on unfounded allegations that Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee staffer slain last year, was targeted because he was leaking information to WikiLeaks.

“On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth Rich,” Fox said Tuesday on its website.

“The article was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all our reporting. Upon appropriate review, the article was found not to meet those standards and has since been removed. We will continue to investigate this story and will provide updates as warranted.”

The Daily Caller, a conservative news site, removed a similar story; the story now redirects to a not found page. Breitbart, a conservative news site that had picked up the Fox story, still has its story online.

Last week, Rich’s family had called on Fox to retract the stories and threatened legal action.
Click here for the full story



From PressTV

Fri May 19, 2017 12:27AM
Migrant workers eating during a break at a construction site in the Qatari capital Doha on December 06, 2016 (Photo by AFP)
Migrant workers eating during a break at a construction site in the Qatari capital Doha on December 06, 2016 (Photo by AFP)

Migrant laborers working on stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar are still subject to abuse and exploitation, Amnesty International says.

“It’s a year since Amnesty International exposed the exploitation of migrant workers who helped to build the Khalifa International Stadium, but abuses on Qatar 2022 sites have continued,” James Lynch, Amnesty’s deputy director of Global Issues Programme, said in a Thursday statement.

“Qatar’s World Cup organizers have placed special requirements on contractors that are supposed to stop this happening, but the reality is that workers on their sites still live under Qatar’s repressive sponsorship system, which gives employers powerful tools to abuse them,” Lynch added.

Doha introduced the Wage Protection System in November 2015 to ensure that wages were paid electronically. Under the new system, employers that do not comply with the law face fines or imprisonment. In addition, a law making it easier for the migrant workers to change jobs and leave the country came into effect in December last year.

However, activists and trade unions said earlier this year that the Persian Gulf state violated the new labor reform by refusing to allow scores of the foreign workers to return home. Moreover, thousands of the migrant workers remain unpaid months after being recruited.

The file photo shows a foreign worker climbing scaffolding at a stadium being built for the 2022 World Cup in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by AP)

“With hundreds of thousands more people being recruited to build and service at least seven more World Cup stadiums, along with the infrastructure to support the tournament, many more migrant workers are at serious risk over the next five years,” the Amnesty International official stated.

The 80,000-seat Lusail stadium, which is among at least eight venues for the 2022 World Cup, is due to host its first match — the country’s Emir Cup final between Al Sadd and Al Rayyan — on Friday.

Since becoming the World Cup 2022 host in 2010, Qatar has spent billions of dollars in city renovations such as a new airport, seaport and an underground train system. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have been recruited for the task and reportedly account for around 90 percent of the country’s 2.2 million population.

Click here for the full story