LEBANON ARMY CHIEF ASKS TROOPS FOR READINESS AT ISRAEL BORDER

BEIRUT – Lebanon’s army chief urged “full readiness” at the southern border to face the “threats of the Israeli enemy and its violations,” the army said in a tweet on Tuesday.


Army Commander General Joseph Aoun called on soldiers to be ever vigilant for the “good implementation” of the UN resolution 1701 to “preserve stability” at the border with Israel.

The Lebanese army is responsible for security on its side of the border under the resolution that ended the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://m.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Lebanon-army-chief-asks-troops-for-readiness-at-Israel-border-514782

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Greek island on strike in protest against becoming migrant ‘prison’


“Lesbos is not a place of exile,” a banner read.

Just a few miles from Turkey’s coast, Lesbos has borne the brunt of Europe’s migrant crisis. In 2015, nearly a million people – most fleeing Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – landed on its shores before heading north, mainly to Germany.

It is now hosting some 8,500 asylum-seekers in facilities designed to hold fewer than 3,000.

“Lesbos is not an open prison, nor will we allow anyone to view it as such,” Mayor Spyros Galinos was quoted as saying by the Athens News Agency.

Thousands of asylum-seekers have become stranded on Lesbos and four other islands close to Turkey since the EU agreed a deal with Ankara in March 2016 to shut down the route through Greece.

Some have been moved to camps on the mainland, but authorities say the terms of the agreement prevent asylum-seekers from traveling beyond the islands.

Rights groups have described conditions in camps across Greece as deplorable and unfit for humans. On Lesbos, violence often breaks out over delays in asylum procedures and poor living standards.

“The message (today) was that we can’t take it any more,” Galinos said. “Lesbos is in a state of emergency.”

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-greece-lesbos/greek-island-on-strike-in-protest-against-becoming-migrant-prison-idUSKBN1DK1YT

Merkel signals readiness for new election after coalition talks collapse

Merkel, 63, said she was sceptical about ruling in a minority government, telling ARD television: “My point of view is that new elections would be the better path.” Her plans did not include being chancellor in a minority government, she said after meeting President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Steinmeier said Germany was facing the worst governing crisis in the 68-year history of its post-World War Two democracy and pressed all parties in parliament “to serve our country” and try to form a government.

His remarks appeared aimed at the FDP and the Social Democrats (SPD), who on Monday ruled out renewing their “grand coalition” with the conservatives.

“Inside our country, but also outside, in particular in our European neighbourhood, there would be concern and a lack of understanding if politicians in the biggest and economically strongest country (in Europe) did not live up to their responsibilities,” read a statement from Steinmeier, a former foreign minister who has been thrust centre-stage after taking on the usually largely ceremonial head of state role in March.

Steinmeier’s intervention suggests he regards a new election – desired by half of Germany’s voters according to a poll – as a last resort. The SPD has so far stuck to a pledge after heavy losses in the September election not to go back into a Merkel-led broad coalition of centre-left and centre-right.

Merkel urged the SPD to reconsider. “I would hope that they consider very intensively if they should take on the responsibility” of governing, she told broadcaster ZDF, adding she saw no reason to resign and her conservative bloc would enter any new election more unified than before.

“If new elections happened, then … we have to accept that. I‘m afraid of nothing,” she said.

Business leaders also called for a swift return to talks.

With German leadership seen as crucial for a European Union grappling with governance reform and Britain’s impending exit, FDP leader Christian Lindner’s announcement that he was pulling out spooked investors and sent the euro falling in the morning.

Both the euro and European shares later recovered from early selling, while German bond yields steadied near 1-1/2 week lows, as confidence about the outlook for the euro zone economy helped investors brush off worries about the risk of Germany going to the polls again soon.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-politics/merkel-signals-readiness-for-new-election-after-coalition-talks-collapse-idUSKBN1DJ0I3

Strong economy boosts Trump among otherwise skeptical voters 

Reactions from voters, even some who are otherwise skeptical of the president, show how the economy’s strong performance has bolstered Trump’s standing.

At a recent focus group that Peter Hart, a longtime Democratic pollster, conducted in Wilmington, N.C., for Emory University, even participants who voted for Trump last year sharply criticized his administration, calling it “chaotic” “embarrassing” and disappointing.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://beta.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-economy-20171119-story.html

‘Stop saying Christmas’ Priest warns Christians to abandon the word


Father Desmond O’Donnell said Christians of all denominations should realise that Christmas and Easter no longer has any sacred meaning.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “We’ve lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely. We need to let it go, it’s already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that.

“I am simply asking that space be preserved for believers for whom Christmas has nothing to do with Santa and reindeer.

“My religious experience of true Christmas, like so many others, is very deep and real – like the air I breathe. But non-believers deserve and need their celebration too, it’s an essential human dynamic and we all need that in the toughness of life.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/881201/Stop-saying-Christmas-Priest-warns-Christians-to-abandon-the-word

Killer and Cult Leader Charles Manson Dead at 83


Charles Manson, the California drifter-turned-cult leader responsible for a string of murders that cast a dark pall over the summer of 1969, died Sunday night in a Kern County Hospital. He was 83.

Debra Tate, the sister of actress Sharon Tate, one of Manson’s most famous victims, received a call from Corcoran State Prison telling her Manson died at 8:13 PM.

While Manson died of natural causes, Tate knew he had been sick for a long time and was “expecting” this. 

Manson was recently taken to Bakersfield Hospital where he was being treated for intestinal bleeding since January. Surgery was recommended but it was later deemed too risky.  

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Killer-Cult-Leader-Charles-Manson-Dies-409655795.html

German coalition talks trip over immigration stumbling block

Migrants and refugees have been Germany’s toughest political issue since a mass influx from 2015 brought some 1.2 million asylum seekers, sparking a backlash that has seen the far-right AfD party enter parliament.

Merkel’s CDU and especially their more conservative CSU allies from Bavaria, where tens of thousands of refugees crossed over the border from Austria, are pushing to limit Germany’s annual intake to a benchmark figure of 200,000.

The Greens, who have long promoted migrant rights and a multicultural society, finally appear ready to accept the figure.

But they will not budge on their demand for a resumption of family reunions for those who have been granted temporary refuge in Germany, something opposed by both the CSU and FDP.

Amid alarm last year over the record influx of refugees, Berlin suspended reunifications until March 2018 for war refugees like Syrians, granting them only a year’s temporary protection which is renewable depending on the situation in their home countries.

The Greens want the suspension lifted, with negotiator Juergen Trittin telling the Bild am Sonntag newspaper: “We will not accept that people who are already getting a lower status of protection by law are also excluded from family reunions. That is inhumane.”

They also reject a demand from the other parties to declare the North African nations of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia “safe countries of origin”, which would raise the bar for asylum applications for their citizens.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

https://www.yahoo.com/news/three-top-hurdles-german-coalition-talks-020946018.html

10,744 more Kennedy assassination records released 


The National Archives said 8,336 documents are being released in their entirety and 2,408 are released with limited redactions. A total of 144 records are being released for the first time.

Most of the collection comprising about 5 million pages of records has been released to the public, but some documents have been withheld over the years to protect individuals, intelligence sources and methods and national security.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://beta.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-kennedy-fbi-records-20171117-story.html

Surrogate mother who changed her mind must hand baby to gay couple, court rules


surrogate mother has lost custody of her child after a court ruled he would be better placed with the gay couple who arranged for her to have the baby. 

A senior judge said that the child’s “identity needs as a child of gay intended parents” would be better fulfilled if he lived with the couple. 

The woman signed a surrogacy agreement with the men, who she had she met online, and travelled to Cyprus in September 2015 to have an embryo transferred.

But the two families fell out and the woman and her husband changed their minds about giving the child up. 

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/17/surrogate-mother-changed-mind-giving-baby-must-hand-child-gay/

World’s first human head transplant a success


the world’s first human head transplant has allegedly been performed on a corpse in an 18 hour operation which successfully connected the spine, nerves and blood vessels of two people.

The operation was carried out by a team led by Dr Xiaoping Ren of Harbin Medical University, China, who last year successfully grafted a head onto the body of a monkey.

Italian Professor Sergio Canavero, Director of the Turin Advanced Neuromodulation Group, who has been working with the team, said they would ‘imminently’ move onto a living human who was paralysed from the neck down.

He told The Telegraph that electrical stimulation of the nerves proved the operation on the corpse had been successful, and that the two people had been completely attached.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/11/17/worlds-first-human-head-transplant-successfully-carried/