lunedì 22 maggio 2017
US President Donald Trump has landed in Israel, being welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire cabinet after the Israeli leader made it mandatory for all ministers to attend the reception, having learned that some planned to skip the ceremony.......
US President Donald Trump has landed in Israel, being welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the entire cabinet after the Israeli leader made it mandatory for all ministers to attend the reception, having learned that some planned to skip the ceremony.
Trump arrived at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion Airport alongside his wife Melania, daughter and adviser Ivanka, and senior adviser Jared Kushner. The Americans were greeted on the tarmac by Netanyahu, who said “welcome, our good friend” as he shook hands with Trump. Netanyahu’s wife Sara and the US ambassador to Israel were also present, along with members of Israel's armed forces.
Trump and his entourage were met with 28C (82F) heat, prompting some to question the attire of Ivanka and Kushner.
Despite the seemingly formal welcome, it appeared that much of the procedure was off-the-cuff. Israeli PM Netanyahu confessing that “we have all this protocol, we never know what it is," Channel 2 reported.
Trump replied, “what is the protocol? You have any idea what it is?”
"I think they'll just tell us where to stand," Netanyahu then said, according to NBC News, as the two leaders walked towards their spots to listen to the national anthem.
Trump then spoke on the tarmac, saying he "came here to reaffirm the unbreakable bond between the US and Israel," Haaretz reporter Barak Ravid tweeted.
The president went on to state that "we have a rare opportunity to bring peace to this region," adding that "we love Israel and we respect Israel." He departed for Jerusalem after the ceremony.
Netanyahu made it mandatory for all ministers to attend Trump's welcome ceremony after hearing that several were planning to skip it, the Times of Israel reported, citing Army Radio and a senior official.
The desire to ditch the event came after the ministers learned they would not be included in the receiving line on the tarmac at Ben Gurion Airport and would therefore not be shaking Trump's hand after he disembarked from Air Force One.
One Knesset member, Oren Hazan, failed to impress Netanyahu when he posed for a selfie with Trump.
Footage shows the Israeli PM lightly pushing his arm away, in an apparent effort to show his disapproval.
Trump's 28-hour visit to Israel and the West Bank is part of a nine-day trip through the Middle East and Europe.
"Your visit here, Mr. President, is truly historic. Never before has the first foreign trip of a president of the United States included a visit to Israel. Thank you, Mr. President," Netanyahu said in an address following Trump's arrival.
Trump's first stop will be the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built at the site where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried, and resurrected.
He is then expected to become the first sitting US President to visit the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray.
Trump will meet with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday, and separately with Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Tuesday, in an attempt to revive stalled peace talks between the two sides.
The US president has previously expressed confidence in facilitating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, stating during a meeting with Abbas earlier this month that "it is something that I think is frankly maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years."
Although Trump has declined to elaborate on how he will approach the conflict, he showed skepticism over years of international efforts to foster a two-state solution during a February meeting with Netanyahu at the White House.
Meanwhile, Trump's stay at Jerusalem's King David Hotel is expected to be highly comfortable, at a cost of around $5,700 per night. His room will be bomb-proof, poison gas-proof, and bulletproof, the hotel's operations managed told NBC News.
Trump's arrival comes after a visit to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a route which might represent the first official direct flight from Saudi Arabia to Israel. The two nations have no diplomatic relations, and there are no commercial routes between the countries. Israeli airplanes are not even allowed to fly through Saudi Arabian airspace, according to Haaretz.
L’Italia deve reintrodurre la tassa sulla prima casa per i proprietari ad alto reddito. Ce lo chiederà l’Europa oggi, nel pacchetto di «raccomandazioni specifiche per Paese» che verrà diffuso alle 11.30. Al primo punto della lista, Bruxelles dirà all’Italia che la manovra per il prossimo anno dovrà portare a uno sforzo di bilancio «robusto», senza però entrare nel merito delle cifre. ......
Il ministro dell’Economia, Pier Carlo Padoan
L’Italia deve reintrodurre la tassa sulla prima casa per i proprietari ad alto reddito. Ce lo chiederà l’Europa oggi, nel pacchetto di «raccomandazioni specifiche per Paese» che verrà diffuso alle 11.30. Al primo punto della lista, Bruxelles dirà all’Italia che la manovra per il prossimo anno dovrà portare a uno sforzo di bilancio «robusto», senza però entrare nel merito delle cifre. La trattativa sarà rimandata all’autunno, ma nel frattempo - secondo quanto risulta a La Stampa - la Commissione indicherà già nel dettaglio alcune misure concrete da prendere: reintroduzione dell’Imu sulla prima casa (ma solo per le famiglie sopra un certo reddito), riforma del catasto, ampliamento dell’obbligo di fatturazione e di pagamento elettronici.
Più in generale, Bruxelles chiederà all’Italia di spostare l’imposizione fiscale dai fattori di produzione (per esempio le imposte sul lavoro) ai fattori che hanno meno impatto sulla crescita (come la tassa sulla prima casa per i redditi alti). E inviterà a ridurre la spesa pubblica. Tutto questo perché da qui a ottobre bisognerà trovare tra i 5 e i 10 miliardi. Stando ai parametri attualmente in vigore - che saranno ricordati in un paragrafo introduttivo - i Paesi come l’Italia dovrebbero fare uno “sforzo strutturale” pari allo 0,6% del Pil, poco più di 10 miliardi nel nostro caso. Ma il confronto interno alla Commissione ha portato a una linea più morbida che permetterà di prendere in considerazione le circostanze particolari. Nelle raccomandazioni verrà infatti scritto che lo sforzo richiesto all’Italia dovrà essere «robusta» per assicurare la sostenibilità delle finanze pubbliche, ma non dovrà pregiudicare la crescita. Una mezza vittoria per il ministro Pier Carlo Padoan, che con i colleghi di Francia, Spagna e Portogallo aveva scritto una lettera alla Commissione chiedendo proprio di tenere in considerazione questi fattori.
Ma per Padoan è solo un primo passo: il secondo sarà quello di convincere gli altri colleghi ministri economici a rimettere mano alla tabella allegata al Patto di Stabilità che stabilisce l’entità delle correzioni dei conti pubblici. Proprio oggi è in programma una riunione dell’Eurogruppo e gli occhi sono puntati sul bilaterale tra Bruno Le Maire, il nuovo ministro francese, e l’omologo tedesco Wolfgang Schaeuble: il loro confronto servirà a capire quali margini ci sono per il futuro.
Tra le altre raccomandazioni all’Italia, Bruxelles metterà l’accento sulla lunga durata delle cause civili che va ridotta, sulla necessità di insistere nella lotta alla corruzione, sul processo di riforma della pubblica amministrazione che va portato avanti e sull’esigenza di migliorare l’efficienza delle aziende pubbliche. Verrà poi chiesto di migliorare gli interventi per i disoccupati, in modo da favorire il loro reinserimento nel mondo del lavoro. Ci sarà un focus sui non-performing loans, i crediti bancari deteriorati: il problema delle insolvenze verrà sottolineato per molti Paesi, non solo l’Italia.
Per il resto, le Raccomandazioni di oggi serviranno a certificare il via libera alla manovra correttiva approvata dal governo (0,2% del Pil). Promosso anche il Programma delle Riforme e nessuna contestazione sugli investimenti non fatti nel 2016: la Commissione ha accolto le motivazioni dell’Italia e la flessibilità ottenuta non sarà più in discussione.
di Marco Bresolin per "lastampa.it"
Several Israeli ministers expressed concern over the arms deal signed by the US and Saudi Arabia during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh, saying Israel should maintain military superiority and demand an explanation from Washington.......
Several Israeli ministers expressed concern over the arms deal signed by the US and Saudi Arabia during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Riyadh, saying Israel should maintain military superiority and demand an explanation from Washington.
“This is a matter that really should trouble us,” Israeli Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources Minister Yuval Steinitz said ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting, Reuters reports.
“Hundreds of millions of dollars in arms deals is something we need to get an explanation for,” he also said, adding that Saudi Arabia “is a hostile country and we need to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge is maintained.”
He went on to say that Israel still does not have diplomatic relations with the Saudis and “nobody knows what the future holds,” as reported by Ynet News.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz expressed similar concerns on Sunday, saying that “Israel’s qualitative military edge should be maintained.” He also said, however, that the US president’s visit to the region could contribute to building a broad coalition against Iran.
“President Trump’s visit strengthens the anti-Iranian camp in the region and presents an opportunity to advance regional security and economic cooperation as a foundation for regional peace,” he said, as cited by the Times of Israel.
“A regional coalition should be built under American leadership to block and push back Iran,” the minister added.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ayoob Kara addressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the issue and asked him if he was not concerned about the US-Saudi deal. He also warned that Saudi Arabia might become a “world power with military superiority over” Israel.
Netanyahu has not expressed his opinion on the matter so far, but said that he would discuss the issue during the next cabinet meeting. He said earlier that he would like to improve relations with the Saudis and other Gulf States as part of an initiative aimed at striking a peace deal with Palestinians and forming a broad coalition against Iran, as reported by Reuters.
On Friday, Trump signed an arms deal with Saudi Arabia worth $350 billion over 10 years, with nearly $110 billion to take effect immediately. The deal involves US sales of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, including tanks, artillery, helicopters, light close air support, intelligence-gathering aircraft, and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense systems, as well as “offers of extensive training.”
The agreement comprises deals in five categories, including border and coastal security, cybersecurity, air force modernization, as well as air and missile defense, according to the US Department of State.
The new equipment contributes to Saudi Arabia’s “long-term security” in the face of “malign Iranian influence and Iranian related threats,” the State Department added.
Trump will visit Israel on Monday as part of his first overseas trip.
Relics of St. Nicholas, one of the most worshipped Christian saints, have arrived in Russia – the first time in almost a thousand years the relics have been moved from the Italian city of Bari.....
Relics of St. Nicholas, one of the most worshipped Christian saints, have arrived in Russia – the first time in almost a thousand years the relics have been moved from the Italian city of Bari.
Medical experts managed to extract one of the saint’s ribs, located next to his heart, RIA Novosti reported. For their safety, the fragments were placed in a special ark weighing 40kg and covered in gold leaf. The ark was passed through the entire city of Bari in a special ceremony and put on a plane to Moscow.
At 6:00pm Moscow time, all churches in the Russian capital were scheduled to ring their bells to celebrate the arrival of the relics. Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill is holding a special ceremony in Christ the Savior Cathedral later on Sunday evening.
The general public will be able to view the relics from Monday, May 22 to July 13, according to Moscow authorities. The event coincides with a religious holiday celebrating the ‘translation’ of the relics of Saint Nicholas from Myra, where the saint once lived, to Bari. Then the sacred fragments will be transported to St. Petersburg where they will remain for two weeks.
St. Nicholas, a Christian bishop, lived in the 3rd to 4th century in present-day Turkey. Also known as ‘Nikolaos the Wonderworker,’ the saint became famous for his miracles.
A protector of children, St. Nicholas was also associated with gift-giving.
According to Christian tradition, he saved people from famine, rescued those who were unjustly accused, and calmed storms for sailors. The saint did the majority of his kind deeds in secret.
The body of St. Nicholas had been kept in the Italian city of Bari since 1087. Many pilgrims and tourists flock to the holy place believing that the saint still helps people who address him in prayer.
In February, Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis agreed to transport some fragments of the saint’s relics to Russia.
The ceremony is unique, as the relics had never been moved from Bari, Chairman of the Department for External Church Relations Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev told TASS in April.
“They [relics] never left the city. They are walled underground. However, specifically for this event, part of the relics was recovered,” he said.
Mass protests calling for the ouster of President Michel Temer over bribery allegations have gripped Brazilian cities. Hundreds of people took to the streets in at least 16 regions on Sunday, as more groups joined the calls for impeachment.....
Mass protests calling for the ouster of President Michel Temer over bribery allegations have gripped Brazilian cities. Hundreds of people took to the streets in at least 16 regions on Sunday, as more groups joined the calls for impeachment.
In San Paolo, several hundred people poured onto the streets despite the torrential rain. The protesters, mobilized by major labor unions and Brazil’s Communist Party, carried party banners emblazoned with slogans such as “Temer Out” and “Direct Elections.”
“We’re here to get Temer out of government because he is a coup leader, because he is against teachers,” a participant of the march, Tatiana Camargos, said, as cited by AP, referring to the impeachment of former Brazilian President Dilma Rouseeff that her supporters considered a coup.
Rouseeff was accused of manipulating statistical data to cover the growing budget deficit and secure reelection in 2014. Her supporters argue that the allegations were a part of a plot by Temer and other political opponents to seize power.
Among the attendees of the anti-Temer protest were politicians. Addressing the crowd, city councilor Eduardo Suplicy pointed to hypocrisy of Temer, who had not delivered on his pledge to quit if someone in his government was accused of corruption.
"Temer himself said that if one of his ministers were to be investigated, he resigns. As he is now being investigated, he must leave to pacify these wonderful Brazilian people," Suplicy said, as cited by Estadao.
In Rio de Janeiro, some 200 demonstrators gathered for a rally in front of the house of speaker of the lower house of Congress Rodrigo Maia. The relatively low number of those who turned up was attributed by the organizers to heavy rain.
Some 400 people filled in the square in front of the Republic Museum in the federal capital, Brasilia, waving the flags of CONTAG, Brazilia’s largest federation of agricultural labor unions and distinctive red star flags.
In contrast to Brazil’s biggest cities, where many were no-show due to the bad weather, tens of thousands of people marched in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte in the country’s south on Sunday morning, the Globo reported.
According to various estimates provided by the organizers, the left-wing movements and labor unions, from 30,000 up to 50,000 people took part in the march.
Meanwhile, Brazil’s bar association voted overwhelmingly to launch impeachment proceedings, stating that it is poised to file an impeachment request to the parliament in addition to at least eight impeachment requests already submitted by the lawmakers.
“We are requesting the impeachment of another president of the republic, the second time… in one year and four months,” the association’s president, Claudio Lamachia said, as cited by the Financial Times.
Temer, who insists he is innocent in the corruption scandal, was on the verge of losing support of his key coalition partner, PSDB, on Sunday. It was supposed to decide whether to walk out of the coalition with Temer’s PMDB, but Temer was spared as it cancelled the session last minute.
The Brazilian leader is accused of approving a bribe to the former parliament speaker Eduardo Cunha, who is now serving a prison sentence on corruption charges involving the country’s state-run oil giant Petrobras. Cunha was one of the key senior lawmakers pushing for the ouster of Rousseff last year.
The current revelations stem from tape recordings submitted in the case of Joesley Batista, co-owner of Brazil’s largest meatpacking company, JBS. Temer has rejected all the claims implicating him in the scandal, arguing that the tapes were tampered with. Temer has insisted he will not step down.
1. The US and Middle Eastern countries have backed a new pact that promises to provide extra troops for defeating Islamic State, singles out Iran for destabilizing the region, and says that Riyadh is to become the heart of the region’s counter-terrorism operations. - 2. Described as the Riyadh Declaration, the document was signed following US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Saudi capital for a summit that brought in Islamic representatives from 55 countries, and vowed “to combat terrorism in all its forms, address its intellectual roots, dry up its sources of funding and to take all necessary measures to prevent and combat terrorist crimes in close cooperation among their states.”.........
The US and Middle Eastern countries have backed a new pact that promises to provide extra troops for defeating Islamic State, singles out Iran for destabilizing the region, and says that Riyadh is to become the heart of the region’s counter-terrorism operations.
Described as the Riyadh Declaration, the document was signed following US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Saudi capital for a summit that brought in Islamic representatives from 55 countries, and vowed “to combat terrorism in all its forms, address its intellectual roots, dry up its sources of funding and to take all necessary measures to prevent and combat terrorist crimes in close cooperation among their states.”
“The leaders welcomed the establishment of a global center for countering extremist thought to take base in Riyadh, and praised the center's strategic objectives of combating intellectual, media and digital extremism and promoting coexistence and tolerance among peoples,” said the text of the document, published by the Saudi Press Agency.
The exact membership of what the communique called the Middle East Strategic Alliance will be decided next year, but putative members have committed to assembling “a reserve force of 34,000 troops to support operations against terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria when needed.”
Currently the burden of anti-IS combat in both states is being shouldered mostly by local troops and Kurdish forces, with the international coalition providing air support, equipment and funding.
Despite a stated desire for inclusivity and tolerance – the declaration advocates “a rejection of any attempt to draw a link between terrorism and any religion, culture or race, affirming their determination to protect and promote a culture of tolerance, coexistence and constructive cooperation among different countries, religions and cultures” – an entire third of the resolution was aimed specifically against Iran, a Shia-majority state, and its “sectarian agendas.”
“The leaders confirmed their absolute rejection of the practices of the Iranian regime designed to destabilize the security and stability of the region and the world at large and for its continuing support for terrorism and extremism,” said the final communique, which also accused the Islamic Republic of running a “dangerous ballistic missiles program” and “continuing interference in the domestic affairs of other countries.”
While rich in specific epithets, the declaration broadly followed the agenda of Sunday’s Sunni-dominated Riyadh summit, and the speech delivered by Trump, which mentioned Iran a dozen times, and accused it of “spreading destruction and chaos across the region.”
‘Drive them out’
Trump’s speech called on the leaders of the Muslim world to join their efforts in fighting terrorism and extremist ideologies, and pledged unconditional support to the US’s old and new allies in the region.
“Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God,” Trump said.
“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil,” Trump adding, stressing that the Muslim countries should take an active role in this battle and make a choice that no one else can make for them.
“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists… Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this Earth,” Trump said.
He then announced establishment of several international anti-terrorism centers, including two Riyadh-based groups joined by Gulf Cooperation Council members and co-chaired by the US that will be tasked with preventing the financing of terrorism.
Trump then went on to accuse Iran of providing terrorists with “safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment” as well as of being “responsible for so much instability in the [Middle East].”
He blamed Tehran for aggravating the Syrian crisis through what he called a “destabilizing intervention,” before calling on “all nations of conscience” to “work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism.”
Trump separately thanked King Salman, the leader of the Saudi Arabia, for his “massive investment in America, its industry and its jobs” as well as for “for investing in the future” of the Middle East, as he spoke about a recent arms deal signed by the US and Saudi Arabia, which is worth $350 billion over 10 years, with nearly $110 billion to take effect immediately.
While news agencies of the Gulf States presented the news on the signing of the alliance as a milestone event, critics were not impressed with the facade, saying it all boiled down to pragmatic interests, notably those of the US military-industrial complex.
Trump’s speech was “all about defense procurement,” Martin Jay, a Beirut-based journalist and a Middle East expert, told RT, adding that Trump basically told all the Muslim leaders who attended the summit that the US would support them as long as they bought US weapons.
“What [Trump] was basically saying to all of these [leaders], some of whom had poor human rights records in their own countries, is that the [US] does not care about their human rights records and does not care about what they do to their own people and would even help them stay in power… if they buy American guns,” Jay said.
Tehran’s initial reaction to the Riyadh declaration and Trump’s speech was sarcastic, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif tweeting: “Iran – fresh from real elections – attacked by @POTUS in that bastion of democracy & moderation.”
Zarif then wondered if the anti-Iran text could be explained by: “Foreign Policy or simply milking KSA of $480[billion]?”
domenica 21 maggio 2017
The 26-year-old Navy veteran who went on a drug-fueled car rampage in New York’s Times Square, killing one woman and injuring 22 other people, now says in a jail interview that he attempted to “fix his life” and sought help but failed to receive it on time..........
The 26-year-old Navy veteran who went on a drug-fueled car rampage in New York’s Times Square, killing one woman and injuring 22 other people, now says in a jail interview that he attempted to “fix his life” and sought help but failed to receive it on time.
In an interview with the New York Post, the suspect Richard Rojas made emotional pleas for forgiveness, while at the same time remaining seemingly dumbfounded about Thursday’s events, which he now claims he cannot recall.
Rojas says he attempted to consult a mental health counselor at a local veterans’ center, but the specialist was not available until Monday, May 22.
“I was trying to get help. I wanted to fix my life. I wanted to get a job. Get a girlfriend,” Rojas told the Post, speaking from Rikers Island. “He [the counselor] said he’d call me on Monday…Monday hasn’t come yet.”
Rojas claims that the last thing he remembers doing Thursday was driving his vehicle in an attempt to unwind.
“It was just a normal morning. I had a sandwich … I wanted to clear my head. I told my mom, I said I was just going around,” he says, adding that later he “woke up in the precinct” and was “terrified.”
At the time of his arrest following the shocking ramming of pedestrians in Times Square, which resulted in an 18-year-old woman being killed and serious injuries to several of the two dozen other people hit, the violent Rojas was recorded to be saying to police: “You were supposed to shoot me! I wanted to kill them.”Prosecutors says he also shouted that he smoked marijuana and laced it with Phencyclidine, a dissociative drug known as PCP or “angel dust” with hallucinogenic side effects.
However, speaking to the New York Post on Saturday, Rojas appeared less certain about what he smoked, saying: “I guess it was laced with something.”
Not directly accepting his guilt and saying that he still wants to “verify that I’m the person” behind the rampage, Rojas apologized to the victims of his crazed drive.
“I just want to apologize to all the victims’ families … I want to apologize to my mom,” he said.
Rojas is facing charges of a second-degree murder, as well as 20 counts of attempted murder and five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide. Four of the victims injured in the attack were hospitalized in critical condition.
Michigan teen Alyssa Elsman was killed in the rampage, while her 13-year-old sister Ava, who was also hit, is now recovering in the hospital. Elsman’s father, Thomas, reportedly suffered a breakdown following the tragedy, going to the precinct where Rojas was held and yelling that he was going to kill him. The Post reported at the time that Thomas was then offered help at the same hospital his younger daughter was at.