Pompeo, Netanyahu Vow to Roll Back Iranian Aggression

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are vowing to counter what they call Iran’s aggression in the Middle East.

“We need to increase it, we need to expand it, and together the United States and Israel are working in close coordination to roll back Iranian aggression in the region and around the world,” Netanyahu said Wednesday, noting U.S. pressure on Iran is already having an impact.

He made the comments after regional security talks with Pompeo, who arrived in Israel from Kuwait earlier in the day.

During Wednesday’s talks, Netanyahu and Pompeo emphasized the closeness of the U.S.-Israeli relationship and vowed to deter Iranian threats to Israel. Both leaders also announced President Donald Trump will host Netanyahu at the White House next week. 

The Israeli prime minister thanked the U.S. secretary of state for the Trump administration’s support for Israel and the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, calling the decision “historic.”

Pompeo noted what he called threats toward Israel from Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei.

“The Ayatollah has declared that the annihilation and destruction of Israel is his primary goal,” Pompeo said. “With such threats a daily reality of Israeli life, we maintain our unparalleled commitment to Israel’s security and firmly support your right to defend yourself.”

The top U.S. diplomat also said the Trump administration is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, and hatred and bigotry in all forms.

“With the dark wave of anti-Semitism rising in Europe and in the United States, all nations, especially those in the West, must go to the barricades against bigotry,” Pompeo said.

On Thursday, the secretary said he and his wife will visit the newly-opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, as well as historic and holy sites in the city.

Netanyahu’s government is headed to a tough April 9 re-election contest as the prime minister is embroiled in a corruption investigation and facing allegations of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. 

Pompeo, in comments to reporters on route to the Middle East, dismissed the suggestion that his meeting with Netanyahu could be seen as the United States intruding in the Israeli election in support of Netanyahu.

A senior State Department official said last week that Pompeo would not be meeting with Netanyahu’s opponents, but Netanyahu alone as the current head of the Israeli government.

Pompeo, speaking while traveling to the region, said the recent U.S. shift away from terminology describing the West Bank and Syria’s Golan Heights as “Israeli-occupied” to that of “controlled” by the Jewish state was not accidental. He said that the characterization in a recent State Department report on human rights around the world about Israeli control of the disputed territories “was a factual statement about how we observe the situation. And we think it’s very accurate, and we stand behind it.”

From Israel, Pompeo will travel to his third and final stop on his Middle East trip, Beirut, Lebanon.

“We’ll spend a lot of time talking with the Lebanese government about how we can help them disconnect from the threat that Iran and Hezbollah present to them,” Pompeo said.

The United States considers Hezbollah, a militant Islamist political group, as a pro-Iranian “terrorist” organization, even though it is represented in the coalition government of Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a U.S. ally.

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Поліція Нової Зеландії: підозрюваного затримали дорогою на третій напад

Поліція припускає, що підозрюваний у теракті в новозеландському місті Крайстчерч був затриманий дорогою на третій напад.

Поліцейські не розповіли деталі.

У місті Крайстчерч 15 березня загинули 50 людей, ще 40 зазнали поранень, коли 28-річний австралієць Брентон Таррант увірвався зі зброєю в дві мечеті і відкрив вогонь. Ця особа, яка висловлювала расистські погляди, перед початком стрілянини поширила так званий «маніфест», у якому описує мотиви свого вчинку.

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Trump Escalates Feud, Calling Aide’s Spouse the ‘Husband From Hell’

U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his feud Wednesday with the spouse of one of his top aides, Kellyanne Conway, calling George Conway “a stone cold LOSER & husband from hell!”

Trump later described Conway as a “whack job.”

Trump attacked George Conway for the second day in a row after the conservative Republican lawyer and critic of the president suggested that Trump is increasingly mentally impaired.

“George Conway, often referred to as Mr. Kellyanne Conway by those who know him, is VERY jealous of his wife’s success & angry that I, with her help, didn’t give him the job he so desperately wanted,” as a top-level Justice Department official, Trump claimed on Twitter.

Within 20 minutes, Conway responded with an acerbic tweet of his own, telling Trump, “You seem determined to prove my point. Good for you!,” adding, “#NarcissisticPersonalityDisorder.”

In a followup tweet, Conway told Trump: “You. Are. Nuts.”

Questioned about Conway as he left for the midwestern state of Ohio to visit a manufacturing plant, Trump told reporters, “He’s a whack job. I think he’s doing a tremendous disservice to his wife. She’s a wonderful woman.”

Kellyanne Conway, in an interview with the political news site Politico, defended Trump’s attacks on her husband.

“You think he shouldn’t respond when somebody, a non-medical professional accuses him of having a mental disorder?” the presidential adviser said. “You think he should just take that sitting down?”

“Don’t play psychiatrist any more than George should be,” she added. “You’re not a psychiatrist and he’s not, respectfully.”

Conway, who on occasion has represented Trump in legal transactions, said Tuesday he decided not to take the position Trump offered him, as head of the civil division in the Justice Department, after Trump attacked top officials at the agency and fired James Comey, then director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Conway has been a frequent critic of the president, co-founding Checks and Balances, a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers who have attacked Trump for the way he has handled legal and political situations during his 26-month presidency.

Conway is without qualifications in psychology.

But on Sunday, as Trump vented his wrath at a variety of targets in a hail of Twitter comments, Conway cited the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to claim that the president embodies “a grandiose sense of self-importance,” is “pre-occupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance” and shows signs of “irritability and aggressiveness.”

“His condition is getting worse,” Conway said.

His wife, a fixture on U.S. news shows defending Trump and by now accustomed to her husband’s months of taunts against the president, dismissed his armchair assessment of Trump’s mental stability.

“No, I don’t share those concerns,” she said Monday.

But the feud between George Conway and the president first ratcheted up Tuesday when Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said on Twitter that Trump “turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted. He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny?”

He added, “Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success,” claiming that Trump “doesn’t even know him!” The couple, however, has attended black tie events together with Trump.

Trump retweeted Parscale’s disparaging assessment of George Conway, saying, “A total loser!”

Within minutes of Trump’s comment, George Conway replied, “Congratulations! You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism! Great job!”

The president’s doctor, after examining Trump last month, said he is healthy although overweight.

“I am happy to announce the president of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond,” White House doctor Sean Conley said.

Trump’s assessment of his key aide’s spouse was once decidedly more favorable.

The Washington Post published a 2006 letter, a decade before Trump ran for the presidency, in which Trump, then a real estate mogul, praised George Conway for his work representing him in a dispute with tenants at his Trump World Tower condominium in New York.

“I want to thank you for your wonderful assistance in ridding Trump World Tower of some very bad people,” Trump wrote Conway. “What I was most impressed with was how quickly you were able to comprehend a very bad situation.”

Conway, 55, and Kellyanne Conway, 52, married in 2001 and have four children together.

Conway told one interviewer last year that he knows his wife does not appreciate his barbed comments about her boss, the president.

“But I’ve told her, I don’t like the administration, so it’s even,” he said.

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Happy Birthday! Trump’s Youngest Son, Barron, Turns 13

A teenager is calling the White House home again.

President Donald Trump’s youngest child, Barron, turned 13 on Wednesday, the first day of spring break at the Maryland private school where he’s a seventh-grader.

 

Barron and his mother, Melania Trump, are keeping to tradition and spending the break at their Palm Beach, Florida, home.

 

The Republican president was in Washington with plans for a trip to Ohio later Wednesday.

 

There’s no word on plans for a birthday celebration for Barron, whose full name is Barron William Trump. But the first lady tweeted a photo of a gold-tone Mylar balloon in the shape of “13” and a caption that said “Happy Birthday BWT” followed by three hearts.

 

President Barack Obama’s daughters, Malia and Sasha, also turned 13 in the White House.

 

 

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Єврокомісія оштрафувала Google на 1,7 мільярда доларів за недобросовісну конкуренцію

Європейська комісія оштрафувала компанію Google на 1,7 мільярда доларів за недобросовісну конкуренцію. Це третя така санкція проти глобального інтернет-гіганта. ЄС заявив, що рекламна служба Google AdSense незаконно забороняє веб-сайтам клієнтів показувати рекламу конкурентів.

AdSense є посередником між рекламодавцями і власниками веб-сайтів, що дозволяє рекламодавцям розміщувати рекламу на сайтах.

«Сьогодні Єврокомісія оштрафувала Google на 1,49 мільярда євро (1,69 мільярда доларів) за незаконне зловживання домінуючим становищем на ринку для брокерської реклами в інтернеті», – заявила комісар ЄС з питань конкуренції Маргрет Вестаґер.

Це третій штраф, накладений блоком на Google після 2,42 мільярдів євро в 2017 році і рекордного штрафу в 4,34 мільярди євро в 2018 році. Перший зі штрафів стосувався зловживань Google щодо порівняння товарів в інтернеті, а другий – використання операційної системи для смартфонів Android з метою нав’язування своєї пошукової системи.

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В Афганістані вдруге відклали президентські вибори – до вересня

Голова виборчої комісії Афганістану заявив, що президентські вибори в країні вирішили відкласти на два місяці, щоб дати владі більше часу для організації голосування і вирішення проблем, що виникли в перебігу жовтневих парламентських виборів. Очільник комічфї Хава Алам Нуристані 20 березня в Кабулі уточнив, що президентські вибори тепер заплановані на 28 вересня.

Вибори до місцевих рад і парламентські вибори в провінції Газні влаштують в один день, сказав очільник афганської виборчої комісії.

Президентські вибори в Афганістані спочатку були призначені на квітень, а потім відкладені до 20 липня.

Жовтневі парламентські вибори фактично провалилися, зокрема через відсутність достатньої кількості виборчих дільниць і матеріалів для голосування.

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First Asylum-Seekers Returned from Mexico for US Court Hearings

A group of asylum-seekers sent back to Mexico was set to cross the border Tuesday for their first hearings in U.S. immigration court in an early test of a controversial new policy from the Trump administration.

The U.S. program, known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), turns people seeking protection in the United States around to wait out their U.S. court proceedings in Mexican border towns. Some 240 people — including families — have been returned since late January, according to U.S. officials.

Court officials in San Diego referred questions about the number of hearings being held Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which did not respond to a request for comment. But attorneys representing a handful of clients were preparing to appear in court.

Migrants like 19-year-old Ariel, who said he left Honduras because of gang death threats against himself and his family, were preparing to line up at the San Ysidro port of entry first thing Tuesday morning.

Ariel, who asked to use only his middle name because of fears of reprisals in his home country, was among the first group of asylum-seeking migrants sent back to Mexico on Jan. 30 and given a notice to appear in U.S. court in San Diego.

“God willing everything will move ahead and I will be able to prove that if I am sent back to Honduras, I’ll be killed,” Ariel said.

While awaiting his U.S. hearing, Ariel said he was unable to get a legal work permit in Mexico but found a job as a restaurant busboy in Tijuana, which does not pay him enough to move out of a shelter.

Critics of MPP

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other advocacy groups are suing in federal court to halt the MPP program, which is part of a series of measures the administration of President Donald Trump has taken to try to curb the flow of mostly Central American migrants trying to enter the United States.

The Trump administration says most asylum claims, especially for Central Americans, are ultimately rejected, but because of crushing immigration court backlogs people are often released pending resolution of their cases and live in the United States for years. The government has said the new program is aimed at ending “the exploitation of our generous immigration laws.”

Critics of the program say it violates U.S. law and international norms since migrants are sent back to often dangerous towns in Mexico in precarious living situations where it is difficult to get notice about changes to U.S. court dates and to find legal help.

Scheduling glitches

Immigration advocates are closely watching how the proceedings will be carried out this week, especially after scheduling glitches created confusion around three hearings last week, according to a report in the San Diego Union Tribune.

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which runs U.S. immigration courts under the Department of Justice, said only that it uses its regular court scheduling system for the MPP hearings and did not respond to a question about the reported scheduling problems.

Gregory Chen, director of government relations at the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said there are real concerns about the difficulties of carrying out this major shift in U.S. immigration policy.

“The government did not have its shoes tied when they introduced this program,” he said.

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US-Russia Talks on Venezuela Stall Over Role of Maduro

High-level U.S.-Russian talks on how to defuse Venezuela’s crisis ended on Tuesday with the two sides still at odds over the legitimacy of President Nicolas Maduro.

Russia has said Maduro remains the country’s only legitimate leader whereas the United States and many other Western countries back Juan Guaido, head of the opposition-controlled National Assembly who invoked a constitutional provision in January to assume an interim presidency.

“No, we did not come to a meeting of minds, but I think the talks were positive in the sense that both sides emerged with a better understanding of the other’s views,” U.S. special representative Elliot Abrams told reporters.

The Russian side also said the two sides now understood their respective standpoints better after the two-hour talks in Rome but Moscow’s delegation chief, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was blunter.

“Perhaps we failed to narrow positions on this situation…,” Russian state news agency TASS quoted Ryabkov as saying. “We assume that Washington treats our priorities seriously, our approach and warnings.”

Ryabkov was quoted by Russia’s RIA news agency as saying the talks were difficult but frank and that Moscow had warned Washington not to intervene militarily in Venezuela.

Abrams said “who gets the title of president” in Venezuela was still a point of contention.

He called Tuesday’s talks useful, substantive and serious and said both sides agreed “on the depth of the crisis.” Ryabkov said Russia was increasingly concerned by U.S. sanctions on the Latin American country.

Hours earlier, the United States imposed sanctions against Venezuela’s state-run gold mining company Minerven and its president, Adrian Perdomo.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said all options are on the table for Venezuela, a position Abrams said the Russian side brought up at Tuesday’s meeting.

High-ranking military officers are seen as crucial to keeping Maduro in power in the face of a hyperinflationary economic meltdown that has spread hunger and preventable disease and led to an exodus of some 3 million people since 2015.

Maduro’s government, which retains the backing of Russia and China, drew widespread international condemnation after he was re-elected last year in a vote widely regarded as fraudulent.

Abrams cited recent estimates that over the next few months Venezuela’s vital oil exports would fall below a million barrels a day and that the country’s oil exports were declining by about 50,000 barrels a month.

“This a catastrophe for Venezuela,” Abrams said.

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Іран: у Тегерані загорівся літак з пасажирами на борту

В аеропорту столиці Ірану Тегерану загорівся літак з пасажирами на борту. Усіх їх евакуювали, ніхто не постраждав.

Вогонь спалахнув після приземлення літака. Очільники відомства з надзвичайних ситуацій пояснив, що шасі не відкрилися правильно.

Літак Fokker 100, за даними ЗМІ, належить іранській національній компанії Iran Air.

Напівофіційне агентство Fars повідомило, що пілот не міг відкрити шасі та спочатку кружляв навколо аеропорту.

Після десятирічь міжнародних санкцій іранський авіафлот застарів. Останніми роками зросла кількість інцидентів, пов’язаних із авіацією.

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Trump Renews Attack Alleging Social Media’s Political Bias

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday accused social media platforms Facebook, YouTube and Twitter of favoring his Democratic opponents over him and his fellow Republicans.

“But fear not, we will win anyway, just like we did before! #MAGA,” he said in a tweet. MAGA refers to Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Facebook and Twitter declined to comment. Alphabet’s Google, which owns YouTube, did not immediately comment.

The president and other conservatives have repeatedly complained that these big tech platforms treat them unfairly.

Trump has previously accused Twitter of restricting the visibility of prominent U.S. Republicans, without any providing evidence, and the avid social media user has promised to investigate the company’s practices.

Trump and other conservatives say Twitter targets fellow Republicans with a practice dubbed “shadow banning,” limiting the visibility of a Twitter user, including in the platform’s auto-populated dropdown search box.

Representative Devin Nunes of California has sued Twitter over the alleged practice, according to court documents.

Twitter Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey has said that algorithms have been changed to fix that issue.

The Justice Department held a meeting last fall between federal officials and state attorneys general to discuss allegations that conservative ideas are suppressed online, but so far no concrete action has been taken as a result.

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