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Is Israel Thinking About a Military Strike on Iran? History Tells Us It's Possible.

Is Israel Thinking About a Military Strike on Iran? History Tells Us It's Possible.Iran shot down a U.S. drone on June 19, further escalating tensions between Iran and its adversaries.Relations with Iran have been worsening for months. In early May, one year after the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal negotiated in 2015 between Iran, the U.S., the European Union and five other countries, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country may also withdraw from the agreement, which limits its ability to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting sanctions.In June, Rouhani announced that Iran will restart uranium enrichment, which could put the country on track to develop a nuclear weapon within a year. Rouhani’s government insists its uranium will go to civilian nuclear power, not weapons.As a “deterrent” to Iran, the United States is sending an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East.The U.S. is not the only country considering a military response in Iran.“Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on June 17. Netanyahu also said Iran must be punished for violating the nuclear agreement.Israel, which has faced threats to its national security since its founding as a Jewish homeland in the Middle East in 1948, is known to take aggressive, preventive action to protect itself – including by launching preemptive strikes on neighboring nations it perceives as threatening.If international relations with Iran grow more volatile, Israel could take dramatic, unilateral action against its neighbor and longtime adversary.How the Begin Doctrine justifies preemptive strikesI’m an international security scholar who studies Israel’s proactive use of its military to prevent nuclear buildup in the Middle East.



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UPDATE 1-Iran will "pay the price" if persists with aggression, Saudi minister tells Le Monde

UPDATE 1-Iran will "pay the price" if persists with aggression, Saudi minister tells Le MondeSaudi Arabia’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs warned regional rival Iran there would be more sanctions if it continued its “aggressive polices”, but said Riyadh wanted to avoid war. “Today, Iran is under severe economic sanctions,” Adel al-Jubeir told Le Monde newspaper in an interview published on Monday. Jubeir was speaking in Paris after meeting his French counterpart as European powers seek to defuse tensions in the region after Iran downed a U.S. military surveillance drone and was blamed for attacks on six oil tankers.



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China's Xi Tells North Korea's Kim World Wants More U.S. Talks

China's Xi Tells North Korea's Kim World Wants More U.S. Talks(Bloomberg) — China’s Xi Jinping told Kim Jong Un that the world wanted him to make progress in nuclear talks with the U.S., underscoring Beijing’s key role in negotiations ahead of his own summit with President Donald Trump.The Chinese president said during a landmark visit to Pyongyang on Thursday that he was willing to play a “positive and constructive role” toward achieving the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the official Xinhua News Agency said. “The international community hopes that talks between the DPRK and the United States will move forward and bear fruit,” Xi said, referring to North Korea’s formal name.Kim responded that North Korea had “taken many active measures to avoid tensions and control the situation on the Korean Peninsula, but has not received positive responses from the party concerned,” according to Xinhua. North Korea’s own state media reports made no mention of the nuclear issue, saying only that the two leaders agreed to strengthen “strategic” communication” amid a “grave and complex” international situation.“This sends a signal to the U.S. that China’s influence on peninsula issues shall not be undervalued,” said Wang Sheng, professor of international politics at Jilin University who specializes in Northeast Asian affairs. “The U.S. should take this into account, that it needs China’s backing on improving its relations with North Korea and promoting denuclearization.”Why the Trump-Kim Nuclear Show Needs a Third Act: QuickTakeThe talks came amid a flurry of pageantry in the North Korean capital, in which Kim rolled out the red carpet for the first visit by a Chinese president in 14 years. Besides showcasing ties that stretch back to the 1950-53 Korean War, Xi and and Kim were expected to use the visit to stake out common ground in their current struggles with Trump. Xi left Pyongyang en route to Beijing, Chinese state media reported about 3:15 p.m. Friday North Korea time. The trip came just a week ahead of Xi’s planned meeting with Trump on the sidelines the Group of 20 summit in Japan, in what’s shaping up to be a possible turning point in the trade war between the world’s two largest economies. China’s role as North Korea’s vital trading partner and sole security backer gives Xi leverage in his talks with Trump.Stalled TalksU.S. efforts to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear arsenal have made little progress since Trump and Kim agreed in their Singapore summit last year to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” without saying what that meant. In February, Trump rejected Kim’s offer to close some nuclear facilities in exchange for the elimination of the most severe United Nations sanctions on North Korea.While Xi has stayed largely on the sidelines during talks between Trump and Kim, China’s approval for UN sanctions has been vital to the U.S. pressure campaign. Xi also hosted Kim in Beijing before both of the North Korean leader’s meetings with Trump.Preferred MediatorThae Yong Ho, a former North Korean ambassador to the U.K. who defected, told the Dong-a Ilbo newspaper on Thursday that the summit showed that Kim saw China rather than South Korea as his preferred mediating partner. “North Korea is drawing up a new plan for third summit with U.S.,” Thae told the paper. “And the starting point of that is Xi’s North Korea visit.”Kim’s position has changed little since warning the U.S. in April that he would wait only until the end of 2019 for the Trump administration to relax its demands — raising the prospect for a renewal of tensions during a U.S. election year.In the meantime, Kim has demonstrated continued diplomatic support, including a first-ever meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in April, and resumed test launches of short-ranged ballistic missiles banned under UN sanctions.What You Need to Know About North Korea and Sanctions: QuickTakeKim’s warm welcome for Xi demonstrated how much the sometimes fraught ties between the two neighbors have improved since Kim made his first visit to Beijing last year. The Chinese president and his wife, Peng Liyuan, were greeted by Kim at the airport and inspected an honor guard before driving past crowds holding banners that said friendship between the two countries “shall be eternal.”Later Thursday, Xi attended a performance of North Korea’s mass games, in which hundreds of performers engage in a display of mass choreography.Top OfficialsXi’s entourage included top diplomats Yang Jiechi and Wang Yi, as well as He Lifeng, head of the National Development and Reform Commission. Kim was joined by top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol and his sister Kim Yo Jong, according the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily newspaper.Xi said China would continue providing security assurances and development assistance “within its capacity,” in a possible reference to the international sanctions limiting such exchanges. China was ready to help North Korea “address its legitimate security and development concerns, strengthen coordination with it and other relevant parties, and play a positive and constructive role in realizing denuclearization on the peninsula and enduring regional peace and stability,” Xi said.The Global Times, a tabloid published by China’s People’s Daily newspaper, said in an editorial that it would be wrong to view Beijing’s relationship with Pyongyang as an attempt at “playing cards” in the trade war.“The traditional friendship between China and the DPRK concerns the long-term strategic interests of the two countries,” the editorial said. “It is not designed to solve a specific problem.”(Updates with Xi’s departure in sixth paragraph.)\–With assistance from Gregory Turk, Chris Kay and Linly Lin.To contact the reporters on this story: Jihye Lee in Seoul at jlee2352@bloomberg.net;Dandan Li in Beijing at dli395@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at bscott66@bloomberg.net, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Hillary Clinton Tells Congress to Treat Mueller Like Watergate

Hillary Clinton Tells Congress to Treat Mueller Like Watergate(Bloomberg) — Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said that Congress should begin a Watergate-style investigation into President Donald Trump’s attempts to obstruct Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election that she lost.



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Twitter CEO Gently Tells Trump: Your ‘Lost’ Followers Are Bots and Spam Accounts

Twitter CEO Gently Tells Trump: Your ‘Lost’ Followers Are Bots and Spam AccountsPhoto Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Photos GettyOn Tuesday, President Trump hosted Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in the Oval Office for a closed-door meeting, during which the leader of the free world spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about lost Twitter followers, according to a source familiar with the conversation.The Twitter chief, for his part, tried to reassure the president that the company’s staff merely wants his follower count to be as bot-free as possible.This is what the most powerful person in the world was preoccupied with Tuesday.A large percentage of the meeting, which included senior White House officials such as Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino, was spent addressing the subject of @realDonaldTrump’s follower count. The president stated his belief that he had lost some of his roughly 59 million followers in anti-Trump, anti-conservative Twitter purges, according to a source familiar with the meeting. Dorsey, according to this knowledgeable source, had to explain to the president that like other Twitter users, @realDonaldTrump periodically loses followers when the site deletes fake or bot accounts. Dorsey even said he himself had lost followers as a result of Twitter’s efforts to delete fake accounts.During this private gathering in the West Wing, Dorsey assured Trump that the company wants him, and everyone else on Twitter, to have only real followers, according to the source.Trump also said he’s heard from other prominent conservatives about problems with Twitter, though he declined to name names.The summit with Twitter’s CEO is unlikely to assuage the president’s concerns about tech giants and social media, of which he has many. Two people close to Trump previously told The Daily Beast that Trump has repeatedly griped to associates about how his predecessor, President Obama, has had more Twitter followers than he has, even though—by Trump’s own assessment—he is so much better at Twitter than Obama is.The Washington Post first reported that the president devoted much of the White House meeting to grumbling about his Twitter followers. Earlier in the day, Motherboard broke the news that Trump and Dorsey were meeting on Tuesday. Dorsey also used the meeting to promote Twitter’s efforts to fight opioid addiction, which include using a special emoji to promote National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It is unclear how interested Trump was in discussing those efforts, at least compared to his time spent inquiring about the alleged purging of his followers.Beyond confirming that the meeting had indeed occurred, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not respond to The Daily Beast’s follow-up questions as of press time.The discussion came a few hours after early morning tweets from the president accusing Twitter of playing “political games” with his follower count and calling for congressional intervention against the company. “Constantly taking people off list,” Trump tweeted. “Big complaints from many people.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here



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William Barr Tells Congress He Will Release Redacted Mueller Report 'Within a Week'

William Barr Tells Congress He Will Release Redacted Mueller Report 'Within a Week'Attorney General William Barr said he will likely release the Mueller report to the public "within a week," and provided new information about the process of redacting the highly anticipated document during Congressional testimony Tuesday



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Jeremy Corbyn tells Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘get your hands dirty’ in expert gardening advice

Jeremy Corbyn tells Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ‘get your hands dirty’ in expert gardening adviceAlexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked for “sage words of advice” from anyone with a green thumb while gardening over the weekend — and got a helping hand from the other side of the pond.Jeremy Corbyn responded to the freshman Democrat’s call for tips as she tended to a plot in a local community garden, encouraging her to “get your hands dirty” in a tweet. “For a new plot, first see what is already growing!” The Labour leader began, responding to a tweet the 29-year-old posted asking what she should plant in the space. “Then go for some flowers and plants that attract bees and thus improve pollination for everyone,” Mr Corbyn continued, adding, “lavender or comfrey good for bees.” Mr Corbyn, who has a well-known affinity for gardening, told Ms Ocasio-Cortez the “best way to be healthy is to get your hands dirty – in the soil!” The politician has previously drawn headlines for his gardening hobby, stirring controversy in 2016 when he was unable to be reached as he was reportedly “making jam”. > For a new plot, first see what is already growing! Then go for some flowers and plants that attract bees and thus improve pollination for everyone – lavender or comfrey good for bees. Best way to be healthy is to get your hands dirty – in the soil!> > — Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) > > April 7, 2019He also gifted TV show hosts his own homemade jam a year later, saying on BBC’s The One Show, “There’s something magic when you grow your own beans, when you grow your own potatoes, when you grow your own corn.”Ms Ocasio-Cortez, who has become one of the most prominent newcomers to Congress after Democrats swept the House in the 2018 midterm elections, said on Twitter over the weekend she would be tending to the community plot until September. She has gained attention and set a political trend by discussing issues with her constituents live on social media while performing seemingly mundane acts, from eating popcorn to installing furniture from IKEA. For what it’s worth, Ms Ocasio-Cortez ended up planting lavender, along with basil, spinach, sage, collard greens and several other plants and flowers in her garden.



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Duterte Stakes Rare Claim, Tells China to ‘Lay Off’ Thitu Island

Duterte Stakes Rare Claim, Tells China to ‘Lay Off’ Thitu Island“I’m trying to tell China, Pag-Asa is ours,” Duterte said, calling Thitu Island by its local name. The president’s comments came hours after his Foreign Affairs Department said the presence of about 275 Chinese vessels near Thitu Island is “illegal” and violates Philippine sovereignty.



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Trump tells Republican lawmakers to be more 'paranoid' about how votes are counted in 2020

Trump tells Republican lawmakers to be more 'paranoid' about how votes are counted in 2020"We have to be a little bit careful, because I don't like the way the votes are being tallied. I don't like it and you don't like either," Trump said.



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Timmothy Pitzen: Teenager tells police he is missing child who vanished eight years ago in Illinois

Timmothy Pitzen: Teenager tells police he is missing child who vanished eight years ago in IllinoisPolice in Kentucky are trying to determine the identity of a teenager who says he is a child who went missing more than seven years ago, and who told officers he fled kidnappers who held him as prisoner all that time.In 2011, Timmothy Pitzen, 6, was picked up at school by his mother in Illinois, taken to a zoo and a water park, before she killed herself at a hotel, leaving a note in which she said her son was fine but that no one would ever find him. On Wednesday, a 14-year-old came forward to tell police he was Timmothy. He reportedly told officers he had fled across a bridge in Cincinnati over the Ohio River into Kentucky.“We’ve probably had thousands of tips of him popping up in different areas,” Aurora police officer Bill Rowley told the Associated Press. “We have no idea what we're driving down there for. It could be Pitzen. It could be a hoax.”Timmothy Pitzen’s grandmother, Alana Anderson, told WISN-TV on Wednesday that authorities had told the family “very little”. “We just know a 14-year-old boy was found and went to the police,” Ms Anderson said. “We don't want to get our hopes up and our family's hopes up until we know something. We just don't want to get our hopes up. We’ve had false reports and false hopes before.”Police in the Cincinnati suburb of Sharonville wrote in a short incident report that the boy said he had “just escaped from two kidnappers”. He described them as white men with body builder-type physiques. They were in a Ford SUV with Wisconsin license plates and had been staying at a Red Roof Inn. CBS News said it spoke to the person who dialled the emergency services.“He said he had escaped,” said the woman who called 911. “He said he was missing from Illinois. That’s what he said.”The channel said that in May 2011, the boy’s mother picked him up from school in Aurora. Amy Fry-Pitzen then took him on a two-day trip to the Brookfield Zoo, a water park in Gurnee, and final the Wisconsin Dells, where the last known sighting of Timothy was caught on tape.Two days later, Ms Fry-Pitzen was found dead in a Rockford hotel along with a note saying that her son was safe, but no one would find him.



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