27 July 2017

Russia To Stay In Syria For The Next 50 Years
While the Trump administration appears set to withdraw US troops from Syria in the not too distant future, as hinted by the recent decision to reverse the Obama-era decision to stop arming “moderate rebels” fighting the Assad regime, Vladimir Putin has a slightly different strategic vision for the proxy war-torn nation.

Meet Five Men Who All Think They’re the Messiah
The Bible’s penultimate verse, prophesying the return of Jesus Christ, has always fascinated me. When is “soon”? And who is “I”? For the past three years I’ve followed seven men who claim to be the Second Coming of Christ (five are shown here). By immersing myself in their revelations and spending time with their disciples, I’ve tried to produce images that illustrate the human longing for faith, meaning, and salvation.

Rabbis call on Jews to visit Temple Mt ‘to strengthen our claim to this holy place’
Several dozen prominent national-religious rabbis issued a statement on Thursday encouraging Jews to visit the Temple Mount, a call which comes against the background of severe tensions that have surrounded the site since two Israeli policemen were murdered there by three Arab-Israeli men two weeks ago.

Putin signs Syria base deal, cementing Russia’s presence there for half a century
Vladimir Putin has signed a law ratifying a deal with the Syrian government allowing Russia to keep its air base in Syria for almost half a century, official documents show.

Saudi Arabia says king’s contact with US helped ease Jerusalem tensions
Saudi Arabia said on Thursday King Salman had been in contact with the United States and other world powers to try to prevent Al-Aksa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City being closed to Muslims and to defuse political and religious tensions. Israel overnight removed all security infrastructure it had put in place this month at Muslim entrances to the al-Aksa mosque compound and on Thursday Muslim elders urged worshipers to return there to pray.

Muslim authorities approve Temple Mount prayers after cameras removed
The Muslim Wakf along with the Mufti of Jerusalem announced Thursday morning that Muslims would once again be encouraged to worship at the al-Aksa compound after Israel removed newly installed security measures at the holy site…Security cameras and barricades at Temple Mount were dismantled Thursday morning as a result of the Israeli Security Cabinet’s decision to remove the heightened security measures implemented at the site after the July 14 attack…

Israel supporters are the enemy within Germany, Social Democrat says
The Ministry of Economic Affairs for the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia started an investigation on Tuesday of an employee and Social Democratic Party official who said Israel supporters undermine the Federal Republic, sparking accusations of antisemitism. Stefan Grönebaum…labeled pro-Israel members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and other supporters of the Jewish state , an “organized, good networked ‘fifth column’ in the interests of Israel’s policies.”

France wildfires force mass evacuation
Wildfires in south-eastern France have forced the evacuation of 10,000 people overnight, officials say. Hundreds of firefighters have been deployed to battle the fires near Bormes-les-Mimosas, in the country’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. France earlier asked its EU neighbours for more help fighting the fires.

Venezuela crisis: US hits 13 top officials with sanctions
The US government has imposed sanctions on 13 senior Venezuelan officials as pressure mounts on President Nicolás Maduro ahead of a controversial vote for a new constituent assembly. The sanctions freeze the US assets of those affected, and stop US entities from doing business with them. Those targeted include the interior minister and the head of the army.

First Human Embryos Edited in U.S.
The first known attempt at creating genetically modified human embryos in the United States has been carried out by a team of researchers in Portland, Oregon, Technology Review has learned. The effort, led by Shoukhrat Mitalipov of Oregon Health and Science University, involved changing the DNA of a large number of one-cell embryos with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, according to people familiar with the scientific results.

Thousands attend Temple Mount terrorists’ funerals
Some 10,000 residents of Umm al-Fahm took part in the funerals of the three terrorists who carried out the Temple Mount shooting attack earlier this month, with attendees greeting the bodies with shouts of joy and fireworks while praising the young men as “martyrs” and “heroes.”

Russia to Raise Firepower in South to Neuter NATO Air ‘Threat’
Russia’s Defense Ministry has vowed to increase its firepower in its southern regions near Ukraine and the Black Sea, in response to U.K. jets in Romania. The Royal Air Force (RAF) currently runs patrols on behalf of NATO ally Romania, with four Typhoon jets deployed near the Romanian port city of Constanta. London made the deployment in April, just as the U.S. deployed two of the world’s most advanced warplanes, the F-22. One of the RAF’s jets scrambled on Tuesday to track a group of Russian bombers flying across the Black Sea.

Congressman Luis Gutierrez Calls Trump A “Major Criminal” That Must Be “Eliminated”
Is it proper for a sitting member of Congress to call for the president of the United States to be “eliminated”?

Newly declassified memos detail extent of improper Obama-era NSA spying
The National Security Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation violated specific civil liberty protections during the Obama years by improperly searching and disseminating raw intelligence on Americans or failing to promptly delete unauthorized intercepts, according to newly declassified memos that provide some of the richest detail to date on the spy agencies’ ability to obey their own rules.

Trump: No Transgender People Will Serve in U.S. Military
President Donald Trump is barring transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity,” citing “tremendous medical costs and disruption.” Trump’s announcement Wednesday morning on Twitter did not say what would happen to transgender people already in the military.

U.N.’s Guterres concerned about risk of escalating violence in Jerusalem
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday he is concerned about the risk of violence escalating in the Old City of Jerusalem, where recent clashes between Israelis and Palestinians have been the bloodiest in years.

Lawmakers halt bill to let VA doctors prescribe pot for pain
Republican lawmakers have blocked a vote on a bill that would have allowed Veterans Affairs doctors to recommend medical marijuana as a pain treatment in states where the drug is legal.

Swedish Government On Verge Of Collapse After Admitting ‘Accidental Leak’ Of Entire Nation’s Info
“This is a disaster,” Swedish PM Lofven said. “This has exposed Sweden and Swedish citizens to risks.”