Tuesday, June 20, 2017: Trump Administration Pressuring Israel to Move Ahead With Peace Deal, Senior Israeli Minister Says
A day ahead of the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner in Israel for talks in Jerusalem and Ramallah, Israel's finance minister said that the American administration is pressuring Israel to move forward on reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians.
"There's mounting American pressure to advance a deal," Moshe Kahlon told a conference in central Israel on Tuesday. "Something has happened. The American government feels it can reach an agreement, maybe because the good ties with the Israeli government allow Trump more influence than was possible during Obama's term," he said.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017: Southwest sees worst heat wave in years: Phoenix hits 119, Palm Springs 121, heat records throughout Arizona, California and Nevada
Meteorologists say the temperature has topped out at 119 degrees in Phoenix as a stifling heat wave blanketing the Southwest U.S. brought some of the hottest weather in years. Phoenix has been on watch for 120 degrees (49 degrees Celsius) for several days, a mark only reached three times in recorded history. But the high ended up a notch lower thanks to brief cloud cover over the city. It will still go down a tie for the fourth-hottest day in recorded history in Phoenix. Other cities in the Southwest hit the milestone or higher, including Yuma, Arizona, and Palm Springs, California. The California desert city reached 121.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Kushner sounds out Netanyahu, Abbas on ways to move forward
US President Donald Trump’s top adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner held two-and-a half hours of talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon, before going to Ramallah and talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, as the US continues to sound out the sides about renewing negotiations.
Kushner was accompanied in his meeting with Netanyahu by US Mideast envoy Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman. Netanyahu was joined by his chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, and Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer.
Following the meeting, the White House issued a statement, saying, “The three United States officials discussed Israel’s priorities and potential next steps with Prime Minister Netanyahu, acknowledging the critical role Israel plays in the security of the region.”
Wednesday, June 21, 2017: In Ramallah, Kushner and Abbas agree ‘peace will take time’
President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, Jared Kushner, met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday night as part of a 24-hour visit to the region in an effort to advance the administration’s ongoing push for peace negotiations.
The White House said in a statement that the meeting, which was also attended by Trump’s peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, was “productive” and that both Abbas and Kushner “reaffirmed their commitment to advancing President Trump’s goal of a genuine and lasting peace” between Israel and the Palestinians.
But hinting at challenges facing such efforts, both sides “underscored that forging peace will take time and stressed the importance of doing everything possible to create an environment conducive to peacemaking,” the statement added.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Tropical Storm Cindy Expanded and Strengthened
Cindy developed from a monsoonal low-pressure system near Central America. A heavily sheared tropical low-pressure system moved northward into the Gulf of Mexico and became a tropical storm.
The tropical storm strengthened and expanded as it moved northward. On June 21, winds increased to 60 mph and tropical-storm-force winds expanded to more than 250 miles from the storm's center.
Cindy made landfall as a tropical storm on the northern Gulf Coast between Cameron, Louisiana, and Port Arthur, Texas, early Thursday, June 22 with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
Wind gusts of 45 to 55 mph were clocked along the Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi coasts June 20-22. Damage from an EF0 tornado occurred in the morning in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. Two additional tornadoes were reported near Biloxi, Mississippi, where there was damage to trees, power lines and fences. Storm spotters reported a tornado just north of Onycha, Alabama, in the evening, but no damage or injuries were reported.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Phoenix nears 120 degrees as Southwest sees worst heat wave in years
The first day of summer brought some of the worst heat the Southwest U.S. has seen in years, forcing flights to be canceled, straining the power grid and making life miserable for workers toiling in temperatures that reached 120 degrees or higher in some desert cities. Arizona, Nevada and California saw dramatic temperatures Tuesday as researchers say deadly heat waves like this one were going to grow more frequent.
The forecast called for a high of 120 degrees in Phoenix, which it hasn't seen in more than two decades. Death Valley, Calif., reached 125 and Palm Springs hit 121, still a degree lower than the same day last year.
Phoenix has hit 120 only three times in recorded history. The record high was 122 degrees on June 26, 1990.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017: Trump and new Saudi heir vow to pursue Mideast peace
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday spoke by telephone with the newly appointed Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to congratulate him on his recent elevation as next in line for the Saudi throne.
The phone call came after Saudi King Salman earlier appointed his 31-year-old son as crown prince, placing him firmly as first-in-line to the throne.
Trump and Salman committed to “close cooperation to advance our shared goals of security, stability, and prosperity across the Middle East and beyond,” the White House said in a statement.
The two men also “discussed efforts to achieve a lasting peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” as well as prioritizing the severance of all support for terrorism.
Thursday, June 22, 2017: Tropical Storm Cindy comes ashore
Cindy made landfall as a tropical storm near the Louisiana-Texas border early Thursday morning. Early Thursday afternoon, a tornado was observed west of Birmingham, Alabama, with damage in Fairfield consistent with an EF2 tornado with 120 mph winds.
The highest rainfall amount so far is 12.30 inches near Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Here are a few select rainfall totals as of 8 a.m. Friday:
- Alabama: 6.80 inches near Prattville; 6.65 inches in Mobile
- Arkansas: 3.69 inches at Monticello Airport
- Florida: 8.30 inches in Navarre; 8.28 inches in Pensacola; 5.34 inches in Apalachicola
- Georgia: 7.51 inches near Rocky Plains; 6.85 inches in Starrsville
- Louisiana: 6.92 inches in Pearl River; 4.08 inches in New Orleans; 3.00 inches near Lake Charles
- Mississippi: 12.30 inches near Ocean Springs; 8.58 inches in Gulfport-Biloxi
- Texas: 5.36 inches in Mahaw Bayou; 3.35 inches in Sabine Ranch; 2.90 inches near Galveston
Friday, June 23, 2017: Abbas said enraged by Kushner meet, refuses to halt pay even to worst terrorists
A meeting between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and senior White House official Jared Kushner reportedly left the Palestinian leader fuming and refusing to agree to watered-down demands that Ramallah cut off payments for some convicted terrorists and their families.
According to Palestinian sources quoted in Hebrew and Arabic media Friday, Abbas and his advisers accused the US of taking Israel’s side and refused a demand to stop paying salaries to several hundred prisoners serving time for the most serious crimes.
Friday, June 23, 2017: Cindy to raise the risk of flooding in part of northeastern US
Multiple systems, including Tropical Rainstorm Cindy, will combine forces to raise the risk of flash flooding in parts of the northeastern United States into Saturday.
A surge in warmth and humidity will meet up with a press of cooler air from the Midwest. At the same time Tropical Rainstorm Cindy will move along the boundary between the warm and cool air.
"As moisture from Tropical Rainstorm Cindy sweeps through, areas from Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, northern Maryland, northern New Jersey and coastal New York state could have periods of torrential rain from later Friday night to Saturday morning," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Dombek.