JERUSALEM, Israel – After years of denying the historic Jewish connection to Israel, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres’ statements confirming a Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount are like a “breath of fresh air,” World Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder…
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Deputy Iranian foreign minister says alleged Israeli strike will have ‘serious implications’ for Tel Aviv while Syrian envoy threatens to launch ‘surprise attack’. Meanwhile Syria summons UN Golan commander to protest attack
Syria and Iran have threatened to retaliate for an alleged Israeli air raid near the capital Damascus.
Syrian Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali says Damascus has “the option and the surprise to retaliate.” He said he cannot predict when the retaliation will be, saying it is up to relevant authorities to prepare for it.
“Israel, the Americans and the Arab regimes that have conspired together know that Syria will defend its sovereignty and its land,” he said. “The Zionist aggression exposes Israel’s part in the war against Syria.”
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By George Russell
One day after President Barack Obama won re-election, his Administration agreed to a new round of international negotiations to revive a United Nations-sponsored treaty regulating the international sale of conventional arms, which critics fear could affect the Constitutionally protected right of U.S. citizens to purchase and bear firearms.
Now, in the wake of the Newtown school massacre and the President’s January 16 promise to “put everything I’ve got” into a sweeping new series of gun control initiatives, the fate of that treaty, which enters a “final” round of negotiations this March, may loom as more important than ever, according to critics, some of whom argue that the U.S. should never have entered the talks in the first place.
Their concerns remain, despite the fact that President Obama repeated his support for the Second Amendment and “our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen” on January 16. (The subject never came up in his second inaugural address.)
FM Lieberman says a UNHRC decision to establish a fact-finding mission to Judea and Samaria may lead to Israel severing ties with the body. By Gavriel Queenann Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Friday he may recall the Israeli ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council and cut ties with the body.
His remarks came after the 47-member council voted to establish a fact-finding mission to probe the “effects of settlements on Palestinian human rights.”
Lieberman also said Israel may choose not to cooperate with the council in its investigation, adding that he plans to ask the US to quit the council as well.
The resolution to “investigate the implications” of the settlements on “the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including east Jerusalem” was passed by a vote of 36 to 1, with 10 abstentions.
Europe was divided on the fact-finding mission, with Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Austria and Russia voting for the measure. Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Moldova abstained.
Japan says it may cost $309bn to rebuild areas damaged by the tsunami in March Continue reading the main story
Some countries’ failure to pay into a UN disaster relief fund is leaving the world “dangerously unprepared” for future crises, Andrew Mitchell says.
The international development secretary said several countries had not donated to the Central Emergency Response Fund, aimed at speeding-up relief delivery.
Britain has increased its pledge for 2012 from £40m to £60m but the fund is expected to be £45m short next year.
The international community must “wake up” to the challenge, Mr Mitchell said.
The Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) was set up in the wake of the Indian Ocean tsunami on 26 December 2004. It includes a grant element based on voluntary contributions from governments and private sector organisations and individuals.
The fund was designed by the United Nations to speed up relief in crisis zones with one central fund, though many countries still choose to give bilaterally.