23 Apr 2017

Fatah Calls for Day of Rage
The West Bank’s ruling party Fatah called on Palestinians to participate in a day of rage this Friday in support of the hunger-striking Palestinian prisoners. Maan, a Palestinian news agency, reported on Saturday that Fatah is urging Palestinians “to clash with the occupier at all friction points.” More than a thousand Palestinian prisoners, led by Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti, who was convicted of five counts of murder, are carrying out a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

Report: Pro-Assad militia base targeted in alleged Israel airstrike
The IDF struck a base belonging to a pro-Syrian militia near Quneitra early Sunday morning, al-Jazeera reported. In a statement released by The National Defense Forces (NDF), a pro-regime militia, the alleged Israeli strike targeted the Naba Fawar base, killing three fighters and wounding two others. The unconfirmed airstrike comes after the army confirmed that the IDF struck several positions in Syria following projectiles which landed in Israel’s Golan Heights on Friday…

Report: Global antisemitism drops 12%, but surges by 45% on US campuses
While violent incidents of antisemitism dropped 12% worldwide in 2016, US campuses saw a surge of 45% in antisemitism, according to data released Sunday…One of the most startling findings is a 45% increase in antisemitism on US campuses, which the report stated have become a hot-bed for antisemitism, often under the guise of anti-Zionism and due to increased pro-Palestinian movements, such as BDS on campuses.

Russian chief rabbi: France’s Jews should leave if Le Pen wins election
Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar called on French Jews to leave their country if the far right politician Marine Le Pen is elected president next month…Le Pen recently called for banning the wearing of the kippah in public and for making it illegal for French nationals to also have an Israeli passport — steps she said were necessary because of the principle of equality in order to facilitate similar limitations on Muslims.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reverses public sector pay cuts
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has reinstated bonuses and special allowances for civil servants and military personnel that had been cut last September as part of austerity measures when oil revenues were low. The king fired his civil service minister and put him under investigation for abuse of office. He also named his son Prince Khalid as new ambassador to the US.

“Total Chaos” – Cyber Attack Feared As Multiple Cities Hit With Simultaneous Power Grid Failures
The U.S. power grid appears to have been hit with multiple power outages affecting San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles. Officials report that business, traffic and day-to-day life has come to a standstill in San Francisco, reportedly the worst hit of the three major cities currently experiencing outages…The cause of the outage has not yet been made clear, though given the current geo-political climate it is not out of the question to suggest a cyber attack could be to blame.

North Koreans Go Back to Work at Nuclear Site, Analysts Say
North Korea appears to have resumed work at its nuclear test site after a perplexing series of volleyball matches were held there, according to analysts who studied satellite images of the site, renewing concerns that a major weapons test could be imminent…From the commercial imagery dating from Wednesday, they noted what looked like trailers near the portal of a tunnel where they said North Korea appeared to have been preparing for a nuclear test, which would be its sixth.

North Korea says ready to strike U.S. aircraft carrier
North Korea said on Sunday it was ready to sink a U.S. aircraft carrier to demonstrate its military might, as two Japanese navy ships joined a U.S. carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific. U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group to sail to waters off the Korean peninsula in response to rising tension over the North’s nuclear and missile tests, and its threats to attack the United States and its Asian allies.

Germany AfD: Right-wingers set to move further right
The populist, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) has rejected a bid by its co-leader to move the party closer to the mainstream. Frauke Petry had wanted the AfD to seek coalition with other parties and reject extremist views but delegates in Cologne rejected her approach.

“The Retail Bubble Has Now Burst”: A Record 8,640 Stores Are Closing In 2017
“Thousands of new doors opened and rents soared. This created a bubble, and like housing, that bubble has now burst.” – Richard Hayne, Urban Outfitters CEO, March 2017

Central Banks Give “All Clear” To BTFD If French Election Upsets Market
“The central bank is ready for any shocks that should materialize [after the French election]… Intervening very quickly is really very easy now given the instruments we have… But as we have seen in similar cases, no need has really been observed. And the reason is that all market participants know that these instruments are there to be used.”

Did Russia Shoot Down US Missiles In Syria
“The missing [missiles] were either brought down by S-300 battery or were taken over by Russian electronic jamming and were plunged into the sea,” explains Dr. Karasik. “Now, this alternative theory means that the US and Russia have already clashed if you will—technically—with the use of the TLAMs (Tomahawk missiles) and then being intercepted or taken over by Russian control.”

Opposition: Missiles knock out hospital in Syria’s north
Missiles struck a medical center in Syria’s northern rebel-held province, putting the facility built underground for protection out of service and killing a number of its staff, opposition activists said Saturday.

Venezuelans march in memory of those killed in unrest
Thousands of Venezuelans dressed in white marched in the capital Saturday to pay homage to the at least 20 people killed in anti-government unrest in recent weeks.