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  • Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the Group of 77 on January 15, 2019 at the United Nations in New York (Don EMMERT / AFP)

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas assumed the chairmanship of the largest bloc of countries at the United Nations on behalf of “the State of Palestine” on Tuesday in New York City.

    The Palestinians are slated to serve as the leader of the bloc, known as the Group of 77, for the next year.

    Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas assumed the chairmanship of the largest bloc of countries at the United Nations on behalf of “the State of Palestine” on Tuesday in New York City.

    The Palestinians are slated to serve as the leader of the bloc, known as the Group of 77, for the next year.

    “I am pleased to take over today the chairmanship of the Group of 77 on behalf of the Palestinian people and the State of Palestine,” he said, addressing the bloc. “It is a great responsibility that the State of Palestine will bear with complete humility, sincerity and dedication.”

  • President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 4, 2019 following a meeting with Congressional leaders on the government shutdown. - Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

    "Starting the long overdue pullout from Syria while hitting the little remaining ISIS territorial caliphate hard, and from many directions," Trump says on Twitter.

    "Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds," he adds.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu responds, saying that nothing could be achieved with economic threats and that partner nations shouldn't communicate over social media.

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas extends his hand to US President Donald Trump at the Presidential Palace in the West Bank city of Bethlehem May 23, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

    Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni talks about negotiations with the Palestinians a lot. It’s become her calling card. And yet, it was jarring to read a press release her spokesman sent this week in which she talked about “an immediate dialogue with the Palestinian Authority,” saying that “separation [from the Palestinians] is an Israeli interest.”

    Livni’s comments - which were so characteristic for her - were still a shock to the system because, well, talks have been so low on the agenda for so long.

    Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni talks about negotiations with the Palestinians a lot. It’s become her calling card. And yet, it was jarring to read a press release her spokesman sent this week in which she talked about “an immediate dialogue with the Palestinian Authority,” saying that “separation [from the Palestinians] is an Israeli interest.”

    Livni’s comments - which were so characteristic for her - were still a shock to the system because, well, talks have been so low on the agenda for so long.

  • Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi speaks in an interview with The Associated Press at the headquarters of Iran's atomic energy agency, in Tehran, Iran, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

    TEHRAN (AP) — The head of Iran’s nuclear program said Sunday that the Islamic Republic has begun “preliminary activities for designing” a modern process for 20-percent uranium enrichment for its 50-year-old research reactor in Tehran, signaling new danger for the nuclear deal.

    Restarting enrichment at that level would mean Iran had withdrawn from the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers, an accord that US President Donald Trump already pulled America out of in May.

    However, Ali Akbar Salehi’s comments to state television appeared aimed at telling the world Iran would slowly restart its program. If it chooses, it could resume mass enrichment at its main facility in the central Iranian town of Natanz.

    “Preliminary activities for designing modern 20% (enriched uranium) fuel have begun,” state TV quoted Salehi as saying.

  • Al Arabiya photo

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Riyadh in the latest stop as part of a wider tour of the Middle East where he is expected to meet with Saudi Arabia’s leadership to discuss several regional issues.

    Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Washington Prince Khalid bin Salman and Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir were at the airport to receive Pompeo.

  • US National Security Advisor John Bolton unveils the Trump administration’s Africa Strategy at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, December 13, 2018. (Cliff Owen/AP)

    Following a September mortar attack near the US embassy in Baghdad that Washington blamed on Iran, US National Security Adviser John Bolton and the National Security Council he leads requested that the Pentagon provide options for striking Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

    The Pentagon did so, though the report said it was not clear what became of those plans and how close such a potential strike actually was, or if US President Donald Trump was even aware of the exchange.

    Still, officials in the Pentagon and State Department were said to have been shocked by the offhand nature of the request — to provide plans for military action against a major regional power in response to a minor attack that caused no casualties.

    “It definitely rattled people,” a former senior official in the administration told the paper. “People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”

  • US troops in Syria - Reuters photo

    The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials clarified Friday, according to AFP.

    A military spokesman had said earlier the US had already begun "the process of our deliberate withdrawal" from Syria.

    US defense officials quickly sought to clarify the remark, stressing that the withdrawal was only of certain types of gear, and not troops.

    "We are not withdrawing troops at this stage," one US defense official said.

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and his wife Susan disembark from their plane as they arrive at Abu Dhabi International Airport in Abu Dhabi on January 11, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool/AFP)

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that he was confident the United States and Turkey could agree on a way to protect Kurdish rebels in Syria after the American troop withdrawal.

    Pompeo has spoken to Turkey’s foreign minister and says a possible agreement is a work in progress.

    The top US diplomat said he was “optimistic” a way could be found to protect Syrian Kurds while allowing Turks to “defend their country from terrorists.”

    “We are confident we can achieve an outcome that achieves both of those,” Pompeo told journalists in Abu Dhabi, his latest stop in a regional tour.

     

  • © Photo The New Arab

    A massive swarm of locusts plagued Mecca, Saudi Arabia, earlier this week, prompting authorities at Islam’s holiest site to launch a cleaning operation to remove them.

    Videos posted to social media showed the insects swarming around cleaners and worshipers in the city’s Grand Mosque, where millions of Muslim pilgrims congregate every year.

    “Specialized teams have been directed to work in the fight to eliminate these insects,” authorities in Mecca said, according to the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news site.

    “We have harnessed all efforts available to speed up the eradication of the insects in the interest of the safety and comfort of guests of God’s house,” the authorities said.

    According to CNN, officials identified the locusts as migratory “black grasshoppers” and said that 22 teams consisting of 138 people were dispatched to deal with the infestation.

     

  • US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C-R) is greeted by Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (C-L) after arriving in Manama International Airport in Manama on January 11, 2019. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Pool/AFP)

    The United States is organizing an international summit in Poland next month, focusing on Iran’s Middle Eastern influence, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

    Pompeo made the announcement in an interview with the network during a regional tour aimed at reassuring US allies after President Donald Trump’s shock decision to withdraw all American troops from Syria, which sparked concerns that Iran’s influence could grow.

    “We’ll bring together dozens of countries from all around the world,” Pompeo told Fox News.

    They will “focus on Middle East stability and peace and freedom and security here in this region, and that includes an important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilizing influence,” the top US diplomat said.

    The event will take place on February 13 and 14.

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Provocative Commentary


“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds

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