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I would like to thank two Great Iowa Senators, @ChuckGrassley and @SenJoniErnst – for their support today on the Spending Bill. Their vote, and the vote of other Republicans and Democrats helped get this done in a bipartisan fashion. Thank you all!
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Trump Investigations from Michael_Novakhov (104 sites)
Security, Middle East
Israel has bought 19 F-35s, which are scheduled to begin arriving in 2017.
Editor’s Note: Please see previous works from our “Weapons of War” series including: Five NATO Weapons of War Russia Should Fear, Five Russian Weapons of War NATO Should Fear, Five Chinese Weapons of War America Should Fear, Five American Weapons of War China Should Fear, Five Japanese Weapons of War China Should Fear, Five Best Weapons of War from the Soviet Union and Five Taiwanese Weapons of War China Should Fear.
The Middle East is aflame from Baghdad to Gaza. But the most frightening conflict is one that is yet to happen. Though Iran’s atomic weapons program has receded from world attention, displaced by the Syrian Civil War and Islamic extremists overrunning Iraq, the specter of an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities hovers over the region.
(This first appeared in July 2014.)
Or, there might be some other trigger. Perhaps a Hezbollah attack that draws Israeli retaliation and then Iranian intervention, or Israel and Iran clashing over Syria. Or, just misperception and miscalculation. Either way, it would not take much for Tel Aviv and Tehran to engage in combat.
Should hostilities erupt, Iran will have to confront one of the most capable militaries in the world. Here are five Israeli weapons that should worry Iran:
The National Interest
1. US Security from Michael_Novakhov (88 sites)
(DUBAI, United Arab Emirates) — Saudi Arabia issued new laws early Friday that loosen restrictions on women by allowing any citizen to apply for a passport and travel freely, ending a long-standing and controversial guardianship policy that required male consent for a woman to travel or carry a passport.
The changes are a potential game-changer for Saudi women’s rights in the kingdom. The legal system was long criticized because it treated women as minors throughout their adult lives, requiring that they have a husband or father’s permission to obtain a passport or travel abroad. In some cases, the male guardian was a woman’s own son granting her the necessary travel permissions.
Saudi women fleeing domestic abuse and the guardianship system occasionally drew international attention to their plight, being dubbed “runaways” for escaping the kingdom and seeking asylum abroad. To leave the country, some Saudi women say they had to hack into their father’s phones and change the settings on a government app to allow themselves permission to leave the country.
The new rules, approved by King Salman and his Cabinet, allow any person 21 and older to travel abroad without prior consent and any citizen to apply for a Saudi passport on their own.
The decrees were published before dawn in the kingdom’s official weekly Um al-Qura gazette. It wasn’t immediately clear if the new rules go into effect immediately.
Other changes issued in the decrees allow women to register a marriage, divorce or child’s birth and to be issued official family documents.
The changes were widely celebrated by Saudis on Twitter, but also drew criticism from some conservatives.
World – TIME
1. World from Michael_Novakhov (25 sites)
The Vatican’s diplomatic envoy to Nicaragua said Thursday he has received a letter from President Daniel Ortega’s government apparently saying talks with the opposition on resolving the country’s more than year-old political standoff are over.
Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Somertag told The Associated Press that this week’s letter said the government’s position is that the dialogue “concluded with the definitive absence of the other side.”
Somertag declined to share the letter’s full contents, but said it was dated July 30 and addressed to the Vatican. He added that his understanding was a similar letter was sent to the Organization of American States. The nuncio and OAS representative Luis Rosadilla had served as witnesses and observers to the February-May negotiations.
Asked if he interpreted the letter from Foreign Minister Denis Moncada as a definitive end to dialogue, Somertag said: “Regrettably, I have that impression. … I would very much like to be wrong.”
There was no immediate comment from Ortega officials on the letter, which was also reported in Nicaraguan media.
The Central American nation’s crisis erupted in April 2018 with protests that grew to demand Ortega’s exit from office and early elections, with demonstrators accusing him of consolidating power and ruling in an authoritarian manner.
Officials have said the protests were tantamount to an attempted coup and have repeatedly accused government opponents of “terrorism.”
A crackdown on the demonstrations resulted in at least 325 dead, over 2,000 wounded, hundreds imprisoned and tens of thousands fleeing to exile, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
The opposition walked away from talks in May to pressure authorities to free about 700 people it considered political prisoners, the last of whom were released June 11.
Jose Pallais, a negotiator for the Civic Alliance opposition group, said the government is trying to project a position of strength when it has not lived up to commitments made at the earlier negotiations.
“The government has still not told the people why it rejects returning to dialogue,” Pallais said.
Opposition leaders say 120 people detained for political reasons remain behind bars; the government says those people were not covered under the original agreement and rejects the notion that it holds any political prisoners.
Calls for dialogue
The Civic Alliance has called for a restart of negotiations, and on Wednesday its delegates went to a business center where talks were held previously — but no government representatives showed up.
The private letter appears to have been a response to the Civic Alliance’s calls for new talks. Opposition leaders also want the government to restore civil liberties restricted in the wake of the protests, allow election reform and move up elections scheduled for 2021.
Ortega has ruled out leaving office before the end of this term. In a recent political appearance, he said his Sandinista movement was “ready to win” in 2021.
Somertag declined to say whether Pope Francis could intervene, but stressed that dialogue is the “only way” to resolve the stalemate.
“The Holy See backs a peaceful and negotiated resolution to whatever conflict,” Somertag said. “The messages of the Holy Father together with the daily actions of his representative in Nicaragua are clear that this kind of resolution is the only viable and necessary one to overcome the sociopolitical crisis in Nicaragua.”
Pallais said that now “the possibility for dialogue to be restored depends on efforts by the OAS and its strength against the government. There is no other possibility.”
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights said in a tweeted statement that it regretted the government’s position on not continuing talks “in a context of persistent violations” of human rights in Nicaragua.
It said that “persecution of opponents through detentions, threats and harassment” continue and civil liberties continue to be suspended. It also said impartial investigations are needed into the killings.
Voice of America – English
1. Russia from Michael_Novakhov (116 sites)
Global Security News from Michael_Novakhov (27 sites)
Lenta.ru : Новости
Отмечается, что мужчина был в костюме Коржика. Он ворвался в магазин с печеньем …
Газета.Ru – Новости дня