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|Middle East leaders kick back at US Golan Heights decision ||Reseeding the 2019 NCAA tournament field for the round of 32 |
President Donald Trump’s call for the United States to recognise Israeli sovereignty over occupied territory in the Golan Heights prompted global anger Friday, with Syria warning it would recover the area "through all available means". The call broke from decades of US foreign policy and a United Nations resolution, which treated the Golan Heights as occupied territory whose future would be negotiated in talks with Syria on a comprehensive peace. While Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, thanked the president in a phone call, telling him "you've made history", Damascus, its allies and fellow states in the region criticised the move as provocative. Syria’s foreign ministry said it showed “the blind bias of the United States” towards Israel but would not change “the fact that the Golan was and will always be a Syrian Arab territory”. "The Syrian nation is more determined to liberate this precious piece of Syrian national land through all available means," the ministry statement said. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, tweeted he was "shocked by @realDonaldTrump continuing to try to give what is not his to racist Israel." While the Israeli Prime Minister thanked Trump, other regional leaders criticised the move as provocative Credit: JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images Turkey, which hosted the last indirect peace talks between Israel and the Syrian government in 2008 but has backed Syrian rebels in the civil war, said the change risked plunging the region into a "new crisis". "We will never allow the occupation of the Golan Heights to be made legitimate," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. Russia warned that the policy U-turn could spark new conflicts. "Certainly, such appeals can considerably destabilise an already tense situation in the Middle East," Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesman, said. "It's just a call for now, hopefully it will remain a call." The Arab League said Mr Trump's comments were "completely outside international law". Some even accused the US president of interfering with a close upcoming election in Israel in order to help ally Mr Netanyahu. Israeli army Merkava tanks gather in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights Credit: AFP The White House endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over the plateau, which was seized from Syria in 1967, fulfills a request from Mr Netanyahu and came less than three weeks before the country’s April 9 vote. Mr Trump denied that was his intention, telling Fox News. “I wouldn’t even know about that. I have no idea. I hear he is doing okay,” adding that he had been thinking about it for a long time. The UN Human Rights Council yesterday criticised Israeli settlement expansion in the Golan Heights. The UN rights forum adopted an annual resolution on the Syrian Golan, brought by Pakistan on behalf of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), with 26 states in favour, 16 against and five abstentions. European members including Britain voted against it.
| We started with 68 on Tuesday night. Now we're down to 32. Here's how we rank them heading into Saturday. |
|'We just want the guns back': New Zealand announces immediate ban of assault rifles ||Meet UC Irvine, California's top college basketball team |
New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern announces ban on assault rifles, high-capacity magazines and military-style semi-automatic rifles after mosque shootings.
| Long overshadowed by fellow California schools such as UCLA, USC and Cal, UC Irvine pulled off the biggest upset of the NCAA tournament so far. |
|IDB bank calls off annual meeting next week in China ||D'Antoni: Harden's 61 'one of best performances' |
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Inter-American Development Bank is calling off its general assembly next week in China amid a dispute over the participation of a Venezuelan representative opposed by Beijing.
| After scoring 57 points on Wednesday, James Harden had his teammates and coach shaking their heads in awe by scoring 61 in Houston's 111-105 win over the Spurs on Friday night. |
|Missouri River flooding forces evacuation of 7,500 from waterfront city ||Zion sparks Duke to runaway win in tourney debut |
Record floodwaters that submerged vast stretches of Nebraska and Iowa farmland along America's longest river reached a new crest on Friday at the waterfront city of St. Joseph, Missouri, forcing chaotic evacuations of thousands from low-lying areas. With emergency sirens blaring as the Missouri River rose to the top of the three-story-high levee wall in St. Joseph, about 55 miles (88 km) north of Kansas City, Missouri, sheriff's deputies rushed door-to-door urging residents to flee to higher ground.
| After a shaky first half for Duke, Zion Williamson dominated North Dakota State to open the second period as the Blue Devils ran away in an 85-62 victory. |
|The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support Israel ||Lakers officially miss playoffs for 6th year in row |
It never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport to inform progressives why the American Evangelical community is so devoted to the nation of Israel.The explanation goes something like this -- Evangelicals believe that the rebirth of Israel is hastening not just the second coming of Christ, but a particular kind of second coming, one that includes fire, fury, and war that will consume the Jewish people. The pithy, tweet-length version of this analysis comes from progressive Young Turks host Cenk Uygur:> You know what's REAL anti-semitism? Right-wing Evangelical Christians supporting Israel because they think it will bring about the End Times where all of the Jews die. Worst anti-Semitism in the world!> > -- Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) March 7, 2019Thus, the political marriage between American Evangelicals and Israelis represents a cynical form of mutual exploitation. Evangelicals support Israel to hasten the apocalypse, while Israelis (who obviously don’t believe Christian eschatology) are happy to humor the Evangelical community and milk that support for tourist dollars and political power.But the true narrative of American Christian support for Israel is substantially different. The intellectual and theological roots of Christian Zionism do not rest in end-times prophesies but rather in Old Testament promises. Last month Samuel Goldman at Tablet wrote an outstanding piece explaining the centuries-old history and legacy of Christian support for Jewish claims to the Holy Land. After tracing Christian support for a Jewish Israel to the Reformation, he writes this:> These arguments were products of the emphases on the plain meaning of Scripture and the theological significance of covenants that characterized Calvinism. Before the Reformation, most Christians read prophecies like Ezekiel’s as allegories for the transformation of the “carnal” Israel descended from the patriarchs into the “spiritual Israel” represented by the Church. Calvin and his followers, by contrast, insisted that allegorical interpretations were permitted only when literal ones made no sense. But why was it nonsensical to believe that the Jews might be reconstituted as a nation and return to their own land?In addition, I’d argue that Romans 11 has enduring significance in the American Christian mind. It begins, “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!” Paul declares that God “has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” The chapter continues with the assertion that Gentiles have now been “grafted in” to the same spiritual tree, and it concludes with the promise not that all Israel will be burned up in the apocalypse, but rather with the statement that “all Israel will be saved.”Now, the precise theological meaning of these verses has been and will be debated for some time, but the practical impact in contemporary American Christian culture has been to create a bond between American Christians and Jews that would be utterly mystifying to the vicious Christian persecutors of Jews in the not-so-distant European past.The end result is a community -- including a political community -- that believes two things with firm conviction. First, God has reserved Israel as the Jewish homeland, and second, that the creation of modern Israel was an act of divine providence. While there are many Christians who believe this act of divine providence may be a prelude to the Second Coming (whenever that may be), that is miles and miles away from the belief that Jews will burn in a fiery apocalypse.These beliefs are then reinforced by experience and basic morality. It’s difficult to overstate the profound impact that a visit to the Holy Land has on a believing Christian. I’ll never forget my time in Israel. Not only was it moving to stand where Jesus stood and to walk where Jesus walked, other aspects of the visit bring the miracle of Israel’s rebirth into sharp focus. How can you visit the ruins of the fortress of Masada and not grasp the improbability of the journey from total destruction to diaspora to renaissance?Then there’s basic morality. As I’ve written before, from the very moment of its founding, Israel has been subject to repeated, genocidal threats to its existence. It has defended itself in the face of overwhelming odds, faced enduring terrorist threats that we in the United States can’t imagine, and built an imperfect but well-functioning democracy that grants all its citizens (Jewish and Arab) a greater degree of individual liberty than the citizens of any other Middle Eastern nation.The pernicious persistence of anti-Semitism heightens the moral case for supporting Israel. There is zero justification for the U.N.’s obsessive focus on alleged Israeli crimes. Actual genocidal tyrants face less condemnation by the U.N. Human Rights Council than does the state of Israel. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement proudly holds Israel to higher standards than it holds the entire rest of the Middle East and most of the rest of the world. Some of its founders and leaders hope to eradicate Israel as a Jewish state.Finally, the fact that Evangelical support for Israel is rooted in part in Christian biblical interpretation does not mean that it is somehow less legitimate than purely secular support. In a nation full of believers, religious arguments have always been a part of our national life, and they always will be. They should be weighed and measured just like any other belief. Nor are religious arguments a right-wing phenomenon. There are liberal religious arguments for gun control, for laxer immigration policies, and for welcoming refugees, to take just a few, easy examples. And who can forget the mighty power of the Christian argument in the American civil-rights movement?Yes, you can find Christians who obsessively focus on the end times and try to match each and every significant news story in Israel with biblical prophecies. Those people are out there, no question. But the vast bulk of Evangelical support for Israel rests on faith in ancient promises, wonder at modern miracles, and a deep conviction that evil forces must not prevail against the Middle East’s most vibrant democracy.
| Friday night's loss to the Nets officially eliminated the Lakers from postseason contention for the sixth straight year. |
Belgium Local News
Belgium Views and Opinions
Why U.S. Engagement Policy Is The Correct One
Invariably, when one thinks of the efficacy of a nationâ€™s military, the mindâ€™s eye is drawn to the ability of that country to deliver a \"warhead onto the forehead\" of their enemies. Indeed, owing to the Pentagonâ€™s slick packaging of the First Gulf War, modern conflict, in the American mind, became synonymous with high-tech toys, grainy videos of successful missile shots, and a quick resolution of hostilities.
Living Wages Are A Global Problem
The recent protests for an increased minimum wage are part of a larger global protest. The purpose is the same for low wage earners all over the world; increase wages to match the cost of living, and allow workers to form unions if desired and needed. The global protest has gained media attention all over the world, but critics claim that is the only accomplishment the movement will have.
Ukraine: Not What It Seems
After tense days of fighting this week, people in Ukraine are mourning the dead and celebrating the removal of President Victor Yanukovych from power. The final struggle that began on February 18, was the bloodiest endured by the protesters of Euromaidan. By February 22 the fighting was over.
In a Five to Four Decision, Voting Just Got Harder
In a five to four decision along party lines, the Supreme Court ruled on the controversial Shelby County v. Holder case. The ruling, believed by many sets the nation back decades in Civil Rights, while others see it as the fault of Congress dropping the ball on updating the act when it should have years ago.
Coup Or Civil War In Egypt
The day after new protests erupted in Egypt the military in a show of support presented an ultimatum to Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Morsi was to step down from power and meet all of the demands of the Egyptian people, or face being removed by the military on Wednesday. As the ultimatum deadline draws closer in Egypt, Morsi refuses to leave, insisting that parliamentary elections are needed before he should be removed, and that he doesn't have permission from the United States to remove himself from power. Most recently he stated he will pay with his life to preserve the sanctity of the ballot box.