14 Feb 2021

Fmr. Iranian crown prince: Nuclear deal a mistake, Ayatollahs won’t change
Former crown prince of Iran Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late shah of Iran, warned that the Biden administration’s intent to rejoin the JCPOA nuclear deal with Iran is a mistake and that the deal was based on the misconception that the current regime would change its ways. He spoke in an interview with Israel Hayom published on Sunday.

US threatens to ban Israeli planes landing in America – report
If American planes are not allowed to operate emergency flights to Israel, Israeli planes will not be allowed to land in the US…The Biden administration accused Israel of violating the freedoms of the air and creating a crisis with the new administration following the Israeli border closure due to the coronavirus pandemic… The administration then demanded that planes from the US be allowed to land in Israel.

Israel carries out first-ever worldwide drone test without GPS, succeeds
The first worldwide test of drone flights in GPS-denied environments was successfully carried out in Israel last week. The delivery was part of the Israeli drone delivery pilot program, NAAMA, which is operated by the Transportation Ministry, Civil Aviation Authority, Israel Innovation Authority, and Ayalon Highways, and was carried out in a special test zone in Yeruham.

Rivlin: IDF must investigate Palestinian damage to Joshua altar site
President Reuven Rivlin called on the IDF to investigate the damage done by Palestinian workers last week to the outer biblical-era wall surrounding the site of Joshua’s altar on Mount Ebal. “The reports of damage to the altar site… concern me deeply, and I am writing to you to thoroughly investigate the case in order to ensure no further such damage is done to heritage sites,” Rivlin wrote…

Biden Makes History: First President in 40 Years to Punt on Contacting Israel
President Joe Biden is the first American leader in 40 years not to contact Israel’s leaders as one of his first actions in the White House, setting up what could be four years of chilly relations between America and its top Middle East ally. Biden has already phoned multiple world leaders, including Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping…

Psaki Asked If Israel Is Important Ally Of U.S.; She Doesn’t Answer
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked flat-out if Israel was an important ally of the United States. Psaki did not give a direct answer to that question. A reporter asked, “Does the administration still consider the Saudis and the Israelis important allies?” “Well, again, I think there are ongoing processes and internal inter-agency processes,” Psaki replied.

Myanmar coup: Fear and defiance at night-time arrests
People in Myanmar are reacting with defiance as authorities use night-time raids to arrest opponents of the military coup. Video footage showed people banging pots and pans to warn their neighbours of approaching security forces. Mass protests have taken place since the military seized control of the South East Asian country on 1 February.

US to allow in thousands of asylum seekers waiting in Mexico
The Biden administration says it will start gradually allowing into the US tens of thousands of asylum seekers currently forced to wait in Mexico. It says it will begin next week processing about 25,000 people with active cases. Asylum seekers will first be required to register and pass a Covid-19 test, before being allowed in via one of three border crossings.

Himalayan rescuers recover more bodies as flash flood death toll rises to 50
Rescuers pulled out nine more bodies from the site of a flash flood in a Himalayan region of northern India on Sunday…bringing the death toll to 50 with more than 150 people still missing, officials said. The flash flood in Uttarakhand state, triggered by what…could have been a large avalanche of glacier ice, sent water, rocks and debris surging down the Dhauliganga river valley, destroying dams and bridges.

Clear crypto rules urgently needed as major companies embrace asset: SEC official
A clear cryptocurrency regulatory regime is urgently needed as major companies like Tesla Inc, BNY Mellon Corp and Mastercard Inc embrace the alternative asset class, a top Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) official said. Hester Peirce, a Republican commissioner at the agency, also told Reuters…it was “wonderful” that a new generation of investors was able to participate in the market.

Dozens hurt as massive blaze erupts on Afghanistan-Iran border
A massive fire has engulfed a customs post in Afghanistan after fuel trucks caught alight, injuring many people and prompting authorities across the nearby Iranian border to send fire engines and ambulances, officials said. Several local people battled to control Saturday’s blaze in the border town of Islam Qala, which initial reports said had started after a gas tanker exploded.

White House says no call planned to Saudi Arabia
US President Joe Biden has no plans to call the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the White House said. Biden said he intends to make human right a key issue in US-Saudi relations, which he pledged during the 2020 election campaign. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Friday no call was planned to the crown prince

Japan earthquake sparks leak at Fukushima nuclear power plant
A nuclear power plant has reportedly been hit by a leak in Japan following a powerful earthquake. Reports on Saturday revealed a 7.1 magnitude quake had struck off the coast of Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 – with worries the facility could have been damaged. According to NHK, there has been a leak of nuclear fuel at the plant which is in the Fukushima Prefecture.

Asia is shaking hard: Just after the M7.1 earthquake off Fukushima, Japan, a M6.0 hit Papua New Guinea
Less than half an hour after the M7.1 earthquake off Fukushima, Japan, a M6.0 struck Papua New Guinea at 1:33 a.m. local time (3:33 p.m. UTC) on February 13/14, 2021. Similar to the Japan earthquake, the PNG quake struck at intermediate depth (52 km or 32 miles). There is no tsunami risk. There will be no damage, injuries or deaths related to the strong jolt.