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Older News Archivescom0116

Top Israeli Minister Declares ‘Crisis’ In Relationship With U.S.
A top Israeli minister says there is a “crisis” in in the country’s relations with the United States that must be fixed. Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s comments Saturday came a day after U.S. officials said the Obama administration refused Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s requests to meet several top national security aides.
The White House and the State Department rejected Israeli proposals for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice and Secretary of State John Kerry on his five-day trip to the United States. The administration is still miffed over negative comments Yaalon made about Kerry’s Mideast peace efforts and nuclear negotiations with Iran. Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Obama is purposely causing conflict between the U.S. and Israel to assist his Muslim preference.

YouTube, Beware: Election-Spending Regulator Sets Sights On Political Internet Videos
Politically themed YouTube videos could be the next target of federal regulators. The top Democrat on the Federal Election Commission strongly suggested Friday that regulators look at extending their authority to election-themed Internet videos – an area that for years has been largely hands-off for the government. The statement from Vice Chairwoman Ann Ravel, who is in line to take over the commission next year, prompted Republicans to warn that such a move could threaten the growth and freedom of the Internet itself. “I have been warning that my Democratic colleagues were moving to regulate media generally and the Internet specifically for almost a year now,” Chairman Lee Goodman told FoxNews.com. “And today’s statement from Vice Chair Ravel confirms my warnings.” Fox News

Ebola Outbreak: Millions Of Doses Of Vaccines Planned By 2015
As the world reels from its deadliest Ebola outbreak, health experts are fast-tracking tests for various vaccines, and hope to have millions of experimental doses by next year. There is currently no cure or vaccine for Ebola, which continues to spread in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. The virus has killed nearly 5,000 people -- mostly in those three nations -- and infected twice that number. Scientists racing to stop the Ebola epidemic are trying various experimental drugs on patients, including ZMapp and TKM-Ebola. In addition to drug development, there's a scramble to develop vaccines, with scores of companies working on experimental doses, the World Health Organization said this week. CNN


Israel Kills U.S. Youth During West Bank Clashes
Israeli forces killed an American youth during West Bank clashes on Friday, U.S. officials confirmed. "The United States expresses its deepest condolences to the family of a U.S. citizen minor who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces during clashes in Silwad," according to a State Department statement. A relative identified the minor as 14-year-old Orwah Hammad, and said that his father Abed Al- Wahhab was traveling to the region to attend his son's funeral on Sunday. Reuters reported that he was shot in the head in Silwad, north of the Palestinian seat of government in Ramallah. A member of the Israeli Defense Forces "identified a person throwing a Molotov cocktail and fired at at him.  MSNBC
VOA VIEW: Why should the U.S. express condolences for someone who committed a violent terror act.

Obama: Response To Ebola Must Be Guided By "Facts, Not Fear"
For the second week in a row, President Obama used his weekly address on Saturday to reassure Americans about Ebola, saying the U.S. must "be guided by facts, not fear" as it responds to the virus. He commended the city and state of New York for moving "quickly to isolate and care" for the patient who was diagnosed Thursday in Manhattan, and he praised New Yorkers themselves for responding calmly to the diagnosis. "They did what they do every day -- jumping on buses, riding the subway, crowding into elevators, heading into work, gathering in parks," he said. "That spirit, that determination to carry on, is part of what makes New York one of the great cities in the world. And that's the spirit all of us can draw upon, as Americans, as we meet this challenge together." CBS

How Birth Date Can Affect Your Baby’s Health
The period of time shortly before and after babies are born is vital to their development and future health: research has shown that everything from a mother’s stress levels and exposure to secondhand smoke, pesticides, and pet dander can affect a child’s risk of illness down the road. But here’s something that you might not expect to have such an effect: The month in which a child is born—or in some cases, conceived. “The scientific literature goes back almost 100 years linking birth season to almost anything under the sun, from income to life expectancy to height,” says Hannes Schwandt, PhD, an economist at Princeton University’s Center for Health and Wellbeing. But Schwandt cautions that much of the research on this topic has not taken into account factors like the mothers’ socioeconomic status or the length of pregnancy—both of which can affect when a woman gives birth, as well as the health of their baby. ABC


PoS Malware Infections Soar Ahead Of Holiday Season
Going into the holiday season, hackers are ramping up their efforts to attack retailers and other businesses with point-of-sale malware. BackOff, which is one of the most effective strands of PoS malware and is undetectable by most anti-virus software, saw a huge spike in the third quarter. BackOff infections increased 57 percent in August and 27 percent in September, according to a report Friday by the security firm Damballa. And it's likely cybercriminals will only scale up their activity as the holiday season approaches, said Brian Foster, Damballa's chief technology officer. "The threat actors are going to be burning the midnight oil trying to get credit card data going into the holiday season," Foster said. "Retailers need to be prepared and diligent in the fourth quarter." MSNBC

Udall Gaffes At Campaign Event: ‘We Judge People By The Content Of Their Color’
Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, botched a famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote on Thursday while introducing First Lady Michelle Obama at a campaign rally.
“I’m so proud of our country,” Mr. Udall said to the crowd. “We showed that Dr. Martin Luther King [Jr.] had it right, which is that in America, at our best, we judge people by the content of their color.” Mr. Udall quickly corrected himself as the audience began to chuckle. “The content of their character, not the content of their skin. I got it right. I got it both ways!” Mr. Udall said enthusiastically. Mrs. Obama had her own gaffe during the event when she seemed to confuse Mr. Udall with his Republican rival Rep. Cory Gardner. Washington Times

This Year's Campaign Attacks Are Next Year's Political Dysfunction
For a short time, there was a feeling, shared by Republicans and Democrats, that Medicare and Social Security were losing their power as third rails in American politics. In the final weeks of the 2014 midterm campaigns, it seems like the electricity is once again flowing nicely. Candidates in opposing camps can agree on little, but they both know that telling horror stories about what your opponent might do to Social Security and Medicare is effective. "Kay Hagan cast a tie-breaking vote not only for the Obamacare law but to take $716 million from Medicare to spend on Obamacare," said Rep. Paul Ryan on Wednesday at North Carolina's Wingate University, as he campaigned for Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis. CBS

Ebola Doctor Called Hero By Governor Who Criticized His Actions
Governor Andrew Cuomo called the New York doctor diagnosed with Ebola a “hero,” a day after citing his travels about the city as a reason for ordering quarantines of anyone in contact with victims of the disease. Cuomo said at a campaign rally in Port Chester that his point yesterday, when he announced the 21-day holdings with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, was that voluntary quarantines like those imposed in some cases by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t work. The doctor, Craig Spencer, contracted the deadly virus while working in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. He passed through enhanced screening at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 17 because he had no fever or other signs of Ebola. His symptoms didn’t appear until six days later. Bloomberg

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As Dems Avoid Obama On Campaign Trail, Romney Is In GOP Demand
Flashing the easy smile of someone whose name isn't on the Election Day ballot, Mitt Romney has never been so politically popular. He’s traveled the country – 23 states by his count – in recent months to lend support to fellow Republicans in advance of November’s midterm election. “A lot of people who helped me – I owe big time,” the two-time presidential candidate cheerfully explained when asked about his campaign stops. It’d be understandable if Romney’s enthusiasm for rallies, banquet halls, fundraisers and the seemingly never-ending line of outstretched hands had waned since his 2012 loss. But two years later, Romney is busy stumping for candidates in tight races nationwide including this two-day stretch in Arizona. Fox News
VOA VIEW: American voters are waking up and going against liberal Democrats.

Jeb Bush Talks 2016 Run With Donors
Jeb Bush was blitzed with questions Thursday about his presidential ambitions in a private session with top South Carolina donors and business leaders, multiple sources at the meeting told CNN. Bush was politely non-committal, as he is in public, but said he was seriously considering the possibility and would make a decision after the holiday season. Bush, brother to one former president and son of another, was also pressed on whether he thought his last name would be a liability in a national campaign.The former Florida governor responded that "he quit worrying about that a long time ago," according to two people in the room. CNN


U.S. Car Safety Regulators Face Review Over Safety Lapses
The Transportation Department will conduct an internal review of U.S. auto safety regulators in response to a series of safety lapses, including this week's reports of defective airbags, a senior administration official said on Saturday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the review of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration would look at what has occurred and what can be done better to ensure safety. The safety regulatory agency has faced criticism and congressional scrutiny with millions of vehicles facing recalls over faulty airbags or ignition switches. Reuters

Illinois Joins NY, NJ With Ebola Risk-Flyer Quarantines
Illinois has joined New York and New Jersey in deciding to quarantine anyone arriving at its airports who has had direct contact with Ebola patients, even as doctors continue to question the need. The growing list of states pushing beyond the quarantine guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may heighten debate between elected officials who put stricter policies in place and health-care professionals who say they could deter caregivers from volunteering to fight the disease at its West Africa source. Governor Andrew Cuomo and his counterpart in New Jersey, Chris Christie, announced the mandatory quarantines yesterday, shortly after a top U.S. health official said the federal government also was considering tighter measures nationwide. Illinois announced its move yesterday. Bloomberg

FEMA Grants Nearly $48 Million For LI Bridge Repairs
Eight bridges in flood-prone areas on Long Island will be repaired and upgraded using nearly $48 million in federal funds, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced. The vulnerable bridges will be improved through funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the senators said in a news release Thursday. The state Department... Newsday

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U.S. Recognizes Gay Marriages In Six More States
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Saturday the U.S. government will recognize same-sex marriages in six more states, bringing to 32 the number of states where couples in gay unions qualify for federal benefits. Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming were added to the list on Saturday, a week after Holder made a similar announcement concerning seven other states. The move comes after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear appeals of cases that sought to overturn bans on same-sex marriages. In addition to the 32 states, gay marriages are recognized in the District of Columbia. Reuters

Plane Grounded After Passenger Causes Ebola Scare
Medical personnel met with a plane in Columbia, South Carolina in response to an Ebola scare when a passenger got a nosebleed. The passenger was on United Flight 5732 from Washington Dulles International Airport when they got a nosebleed. The pilot then, as a precaution, called for EMS to meet the plane at Columbia Metropolitan Airport. The passenger showed no symptoms and is said to be at extremely low risk of being infected with Ebola. "After a preliminary interview with the pilot via the plane's radio equipment, the threat of Ebola was determined minimal and a team boarded the plane without the need for hazmat gear," the airport in a statement. UPI

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Ya'alon Says International Calls For Israeli Withdrawal From Judea And Samaria Are 'Irrational'
Western expectations of Israel to withdraw from territory in Judea and Samaria are “irrational” in light of the recent experiences on the Gaza frontier, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon told The Washington Post. Ya’alon traveled to the United States to meet with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and other American officials. In his interview with The Washington Post, the defense minister said that Israel and the US have “overcome” the tensions between their two governments. “We have disputes,” Ya’alon acknowledged. “With all the disputes, the United States is Israel’s strategic ally… I can tell you that between the Pentagon and the Israel Defense Forces there is an unbreakable bond.” Jerusalem Post

Iran Accuses Israel Of Benefiting From Strife In Egypt, After Attacks In Jihadist-Ridden Sinai
Iran has condemned violence in the Sinai Peninsula that left dozens of Egyptian security personnel dead on Friday, accusing Israel of benefiting from insecurity in the volatile region that weakens the government in Cairo. On Friday, security sources said two attacks in the Sinai region killed 33 security personnel, in some of the worst anti-state violence since Islamist President Mohamed Morsi was overthrown last year. The Islamic Republic's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham expressed her hope that Cairo would prevent Tehran's arch-foe Israel from "spreading sedition" among the Egyptian population, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday. Jerusalem Post

President Sisi Says Jihadists Threaten Egypt's Existence
Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi says the country is facing a threat to its existence from jihadists after the military suffered the biggest loss of life in decades in attacks in Sinai. At least 31 soldiers were killed in two attacks on Friday, the deadliest a bomb blast near the town of El-Arish. A three-month state of emergency has been declared in parts of the Sinai Peninsula and Egypt's Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip was closed. There will be three days of mourning. In a live TV address, Mr Sisi said a huge plot was being waged against Egypt "by external forces". "This is meant to break up Egypt and the Egyptians .... Egypt is fighting a war of existence." BBC

Islamic State: Militants 'Pushed Back' In Iraq
Kurdish forces in northern Iraq say they have recaptured the town of Zumar from Islamic State militants. Further south, Iraqi security forces are reported to have ejected IS from Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad, in a battle to secure a Shia pilgrim route. Meanwhile the US military said US-led forces made 22 air strikes against IS in Iraq on Friday and Saturday. IS has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria since June, prompting air strikes to help ground forces stem the advance. In Lebanon, several people were killed and wounded as troops clashed with Sunni militants thought to be linked to IS in the centre of the second city, Tripoli. BBC

Whisper CEO Suspends Staff Pending Inquiry Into 'Anonymity' Revelations
The chief executive of the “anonymous” social media app Whisper has placed at least two employees on administrative leave, pending an internal investigation by the company. Earlier this month, the Guardian revealed that Whisper, which promises users anonymity and claims to be “the safest place on the internet”, was tracking the location of its users, including some who had specifically asked not to be followed. Michael Heyward made the announcement the day after it emerged that a powerful Senate committee chairman had written to the company, raising “serious questions” about its use of data. Guardian

India Spurns US Offer And Purchases Guided Missiles From Israel For $525M
India has opted to buy Israel’s Spike anti-tank guided missile, a defence ministry source said on Saturday, rejecting a rival US offer of Javelin missiles that Washington had lobbied hard to win. India will buy at least 8,000 Spike missiles and more than 300 launchers in a deal worth 32bn rupees ($525m), the source said after a meeting of India’s Defence Acquisition Council. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s five-month-old government wants to clear a backlog of defence orders and boost India’s firepower, amid recent border tensions with China and heavy exchanges of fire with Pakistan across the Kashmiri frontier. Guardian

Chris Christie Uses National Governors’ Role As Springboard To 2016
To find a politician with such an effortless mastery of the “grip and grin” as Chris Christie, it might be necessary to go all the way back to Bill Clinton and the early 1990s when the then little known governor of Arkansas was starting to make a big impression on the political rope-lines. With campaigning for this November’s US mid-term elections building to a crescendo this week, Mr Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, was to be found showing off his soft skills at a pancake house in Maryland, just outside Washington. “Wanna picture? Sure ladies, come over here, let’s do it,” says Mr Christie, cuddling two senior citizens from the local Ladies Republican Club like a great, gentle bear and directing their friend on how to take the photo. Telegraph

Tony Blair: Miliband Has Failed To Connect With Voters And Is Doomed To Election Defeat
The Conservatives will win the next general election because of Ed Miliband’s failure to connect with voters, Tony Blair has said. David Cameron will remain in power next year because Labour has not persuaded Britain it is ready to govern, the former Labour prime minister has apparently told friends. Mr Blair’s verdict on Mr Miliband follows criticism of the Labour leader’s performance from several MPs and will increase concern within the party about his ability to win in May. Mr Blair’s apparent ?prediction was made in a private conversation with long-standing political allies earlier this month. The Telegraph has been given an account of that conversation by one person who was present. Telegraph

Egypt: Ban, Security Council Condemn Deadly Terrorist Attacks In Sinai
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Security Council have strongly condemned two terrorist attacks that targeted military checkpoints in the Sinai Peninsula. The attacks took place yesterday in Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arish in North Sinai, killing at least 31 members of the Egyptian security forces and injuring dozens more, noted a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson. “The Secretary-General extends his deep condolences to the families of the victims and the Government of Egypt, and hopes for the quick and full recovery of the wounded,” it stated. The 15-member Security Council issued a statement to the press, in which it condemned the attacks “in the strongest terms” and extended its condolences. UN News

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