Likud party calls for de-facto annexation of Israeli settlements

2017 12 31T214236Z 1 LYNXMPEDBU0K4 RTROPTP 0 ISRAEL PALESTINIANS LIKUD 1 150x150 - Likud party calls for de-facto annexation of Israeli settlements

Likud party calls for de-facto annexation of Israeli settlements
Party supporters demonstrate during a Likud Central Committee meeting in Airport City
Party supporters demonstrate during a Likud Central Committee meeting in Airport City, Israel December 31, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

December 31, 2017

By Rami Amichay

LOD, Israel (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party unanimously urged legislators in a non-binding resolution on Sunday to effectively annex Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians want for a future state.

By enacting civilian law over settlements, the move could streamline procedures for their construction and expansion. That land is currently under military jurisdiction and Israel’s defense minister has a final say on building there.

The settlers are subject to Israeli civilian law.

“We will now promote the recognition of our sovereignty of the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). … We must begin to enact this sovereignty, we have the moral right and obligation towards our settler brothers,” Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told a meeting of Likud’s Central Committee.

Netanyahu is not bound to follow the resolution. He did not attend the meeting, which attracted several hundred delegates including ministers, legislators and party officials. The Likud Central Committee is the party’s governing body.

At least two previous Likud Central Committee decisions have been ignored by party leaders:

In 2002, it voted against the creation of a Palestinian state, but then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said he would act as he saw fit and Netanyahu in 2009 voiced conditional support for the establishment of a Palestinian state in a landmark speech.

Political commentators said the decision might bolster right-wing support for Netanyahu, who could seek a public mandate in an early election as he awaits possible criminal indictments against him on corruption suspicions. He denies wrongdoing.

Although parliamentary elections are not due until November 2019, the police investigations in two cases of alleged corruption against Netanyahu and tensions among partners in his governing coalition could hasten a poll.

Most countries view settlements that Israel has built on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal. Israel disputes that and cites biblical, historical and political links to the West Bank, as well as security interests.

About 400,000 settlers and 2.8 million Palestinians live in the West Bank. The Palestinians want to establish a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In 1981, Israel enacted civilian law on the Golan Heights, territory captured from Syria in 1967, a de-facto annexation of the strategic plateau. The move has not won international recognition.

Israeli settlements have been one of the main stumbling blocks in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that have been frozen since 2014. Efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoys to restart them have not yet shown any progress. Trump this month recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, reversing decades of U.S. policy.

(Writing by Ori Lewis; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Infineon not vulnerable to takeover: CEO in Boersen-Zeitung

2017 12 30T131649Z 1 LYNXMPEDBT07F RTROPTP 0 INFINEON RESULTS 1 150x150 - Infineon not vulnerable to takeover: CEO in Boersen-Zeitung

Infineon not vulnerable to takeover: CEO in Boersen-Zeitung
Ploss, CEO of Infineon arrives for the annual news conference in Neubiberg
Reinhard Ploss, CEO of German semiconductor manufacturer Infineon arrives for the annual news conference in Neubiberg near Munich, Germany, November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

December 30, 2017

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German chipmaker Infineon does not see itself as vulnerable to a takeover despite mega-mergers in the sector led by Broadcom’s $103 billion offer for Qualcomm, its chief executive told Germany’s Boersen-Zeitung.

“Infineon is not a primary takeover target,” Reinhard Ploss told the markets daily in an interview published on Saturday. “We communicate externally very clearly that we can and want to stand on our own two feet.”

“My impression is that this is very well understood in the market, also by Chinese investors, who do not normally have a hostile takeover strategy with high-tech companies,” he said.

Ploss said shareholders should be happy with Infineon’s price-earnings ratio of around 27, giving it a market value of 26 billion euros ($31 billion) that a potential new owner would find hard to increase significantly.

He added that Infineon’s strong position in security technology in Germany and engagement in the United States could present regulatory difficulties for a suitor.

Ploss said Infineon had learned from its failed attempt to buy U.S. chipmaker Wolfspeed, which foundered on U.S. security concerns, and would be expanding its political network in the United States.

($1 = 0.8336 euros)

(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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Gunman kills 11 in attacks on Coptic church, Christian-owned shop in Egypt

2017 12 29T215419Z 2 LYNXMPEDBS0NO RTROPTP 0 EGYPT SECURITY 1 150x150 - Gunman kills 11 in attacks on Coptic church, Christian-owned shop in Egypt

Gunman kills 11 in attacks on Coptic church, Christian-owned shop in Egypt
Security forces stand guard at the site of attack on a church in the Helwan district south of Cairo
Security forces stand guard at the site of attack on a church in the Helwan district south of Cairo, Egypt December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

December 30, 2017

CAIRO (Reuters) – A gunman killed at least 11 people on Friday in attacks on a Coptic Orthodox church and a Christian-owned shop near Cairo before he was wounded and arrested, the Egyptian interior ministry and church officials said.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, in a statement carried out by its Amaq news agency, though it provided no evidence for the claim.

Police have stepped up security measures around churches ahead of Coptic Christmas celebrations on Jan. 7, deploying officers outside Christian places of worship and setting up metal detectors at some of the bigger churches.

Islamist militants have claimed several attacks on Egypt’s large Christian minority in recent years, including two bombings on Palm Sunday in April and a blast at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral in December 2016 that killed 28 people.

Earlier reports by security sources and state media said at least two attackers were involved in Friday’s attack, and that one was shot dead and another fled the scene. The interior ministry did not explain the reason for the different accounts.

The Coptic Church said the gunman first shot at a Christian-owned shop 4 km (3 miles) away, killing two people, before proceeding to the Mar Mina church in the southern Cairo suburb of Helwan. The Interior Ministry said he opened fire at the entrance to the site and tried to throw an explosive device.

The gunman killed at least nine people, including a policeman, at the church, according to Interior Ministry and Coptic Church accounts. The Church said a young woman had died later from her wounds, bringing the civilian death toll at the church to eight.

The ministry said security forces had “immediately dealt with the (attacker) and arrested him after he was wounded.” It added, “Legal measures have been taken,” without elaborating.

GUNMAN IDENTIFIED

Investigators have identified the gunman, it said, adding that he had carried out several attacks since last year. Egypt is also grappling with a deadly Islamic State insurgency in the North Sinai region.

The health ministry said five people had been wounded, including two women who it said were in a serious condition.

A joint funeral for eight of those killed was held on Friday evening at the Virgin Mary church in Helwan.

The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros II, led mourning for the victims. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi also offered his condolences to the families and ordered security forces to increase safety measures at sensitive sites, his office said in a statement.

Cairo’s state prosecutor said that an investigation had been launched into the incident.

“The shooting began at 10:30 a.m. and carried on for more than 15 minutes … There was more than one attacker,” Mohammed Hussein Abdelhadi, who lives close to the church, told Reuters.

A witness who did not want to give his name said the policeman was killed while he was closing the church gate to stop the gunman getting in.

(Reporting by Ahmed Mohamed Hassan, Amr Abdallah and Mostafa Hashem; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Jay-Z ‘confesses’ to Beyonce in ‘Family Feud’ music video

2017 12 30T000938Z 2 LYNXMPEDBT001 RTROPTP 0 FASHION METGALA 1 150x150 - Jay-Z ‘confesses’ to Beyonce in ‘Family Feud’ music video

Jay-Z ‘confesses’ to Beyonce in ‘Family Feud’ music video
Beyonce arrives with husband Jay-Z at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015 celebrating the opening of
FILE PHOTO: Beyonce arrives with husband Jay-Z at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2015 celebrating the opening of “China: Through the Looking Glass,” in Manhattan, New York May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

December 30, 2017

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Jay-Z released a music video on Friday that features the rapper addressing the pain of infidelity as he appears in a confessional booth opposite his wife Beyonce.

Set partly in a church and also featuring the couple’s 5-year-old daughter Blue Ivy, the “Family Feud” video pays tribute to family ties and female empowerment.

“We all lose when the family feuds,” Jay-Z sings. “A man that don’t take care of his family can’t be rich.”

The video is the latest from Jay-Z’s hit album “4:44,” in which he responds to allegations of cheating revealed by Beyonce in her 2016 Grammy-winning album “Lemonade.” It briefly shows an unidentified couple having sex, until the woman stabs the man in the back.

Within an hour of its release, the video was the top trending item on Twitter.

Jay-Z, 48, confirmed in a New York Times interview in November that he had been unfaithful to Beyonce earlier in their nine-year marriage.

The rapper’s soul-baring “4:44” album on love, life and social issues was widely seen as an apology to his wife.

The couple, one of the richest and most influential in the music industry, have reconciled and Beyonce gave birth to their twins in June.

Heavy on symbolism, the eight-minute-long “Family Feud” video shows the musician walking into a church holding the hand of a white-clad Blue Ivy and taking a seat in the confessional booth.

Beyonce, dressed in a black, priestess-like robe, watches silently from a pulpit and later sits listening on the other side of the confessional screen.

Directed by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, the video also envisions a future in which a grown-up Blue Ivy and other women of color, portrayed by actresses Mindy Kaling, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera, Thandie Newton and Niecy Nash, appear to rule the world.

Jay-Z has a leading eight nominations for the Grammy Awards in January, including the top prizes of best album, song and record of the year.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Tom Brown)

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Gold soars toward largest annual gain since 2010 on dollar boost

2017 12 29T145709Z 2 LYNXMPEDBS0TL RTROPTP 0 GLOBAL METALS 1 150x150 - Gold soars toward largest annual gain since 2010 on dollar boost

Gold soars toward largest annual gain since 2010 on dollar boost
An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna
FILE PHOTO: An employee sorts gold bars in the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant ‘Oegussa’ in Vienna, Austria, December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

December 29, 2017

By Chris Prentice and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – Gold extended its rally to a three-month high on Friday, leaping toward its biggest one-year rise in seven years as a wilting U.S. dollar, political tensions and receding concerns over the impact of U.S. interest rate hikes fed into its rally.

Gold’s gains coincide with the greenback, in which gold is priced, sliding toward its worst year since 2003, damaged by tensions over North Korea, the Russian scandal surrounding U.S. President Donald Trump’s election campaign, and persistently low U.S. inflation. [FRX/]

The dollar index <.DXY> touched three-month lows on Friday, lifting bullion to its highest level since late September at $1,307.60 an ounce before paring gains.

Strong charts, the weaker dollar and expectations of bullish fundamental factors ahead have bolstered gold prices in year-end trade, said David Meger, director of metals trading for High Ridge Futures in Chicago.

Spot gold prices <XAU=> were up 0.67 percent at $1,303.37 per ounce by 2:05 p.m. EST (1905 GMT), poised to finish 2017 up 13 percent. Benchmark U.S. gold futures <GCv1> settled up $12.1, or 0.93 percent, at $1,309.30 per ounce, finishing the year 12 percent higher.

“Going back to the last Fed meeting with its slightly more dovish tone, commodities markets have gotten a bit of a green light,” Meger said, referring to indications this month that the U.S. central bank will keep its rate outlook unchanged in the coming year.

“This recent bout of weakness in the dollar certainly is fostering a commodities rally and we’ve seen a light downturn in equities as well.”

The metal will be vulnerable next year to a rebound in the currency, as well as any gains in yields, ABN Amro analyst Georgette Boele said. The opportunity cost of holding non-interest bearing bullion increases when yields rise elsewhere.

Gold’s chart signals look positive after it broke above its 100-day moving average this week at $1,295 an ounce, ScotiaMocatta’s technical team said in a note, pointing to a target of October’s high at $1,306.

Among precious metals, palladium posted the strongest rise this year, climbing 57 percent as concerns grew over availability after years of deficit.

Palladium <XPD=> eased 0.31 percent to $1,062.05 an ounce, having hit its highest level since February 2001 at $1,072 in the previous session. It has held in a historically unusual premium to platinum this quarter.

Silver <XAG=> was up 0.51 percent at $16.926, paring gains from a one-month high of $17.111. Platinum <XPT=> was up 0.11 percent at $924 after touching a four-week high of $936.20. This year, the two metals have risen by 6 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

(Additional reporting by Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Jason Neely and Matthew Lewis)

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Trump, Year One

new year 2018 ben garrison 150x150 - Trump, Year One

Trump, Year One

President Trump accomplished a lot during his first year. He almost immediately ended the Trans Pacific Partnership, which was a bad deal for American workers, because their jobs were being sent overseas. He refused to go along with the Paris ‘climate change’ accord, which punished America in particular. Climate change is science purchased by globalists, who want to use fear to gain further control of our economy. Trump broke their spell. He’s for America first.

Under Trump, we now have a conservative justice added to the Supreme Court, with more appointees to come. Unemployment has been lowered along with illegal immigration—unvetted or otherwise. Trump is the only president who has had the nerve to actually transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Taxes have been lowered and the Obamacare mandate has been repealed. In fact, many of Obama’s so-called ‘accomplishments’ have been negated, which is no doubt very irksome to the former president and chief narcissist.

Previous presidents preferred to kick the can down the road when it came to North Korea, but Trump has signaled that he’s had enough. The little round tyrant in North Korea thought he can threaten us with nuclear annihilation and launch missiles over Japan without consequence. After all, previous presidents were always played for saps. They gave the hermit nation concessions every time the dear leaders rattled their sabers. Bill Clinton, with the help of Jimmy Carter, gave the Stalinist country nuclear reactors and billions of dollars in aid. The dictator hugging Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his effort, while the North Koreans went ahead with their nuclear weapons program without skipping a beat.

Regulations have been pared back and business are bringing jobs back to America. Work has been done to thwart Islamic terrorists. Obama’s Muslim prayer rugs have been removed.

Naturally, to those possessed with ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome,’ all of his accomplishments are the acme of evil. This is to be expected. The left’s precious socialism and political correctness are finally getting the pushback they’ve long deserved, thanks to President Trump.

There remains much work to be done. Our infrastructure needs rebuilding. The wall needs to be built. The Deep State Swamp needs a lot more draining. Hillary still needs to be locked up. President Trump remains the best man for the job.

—Ben Garrison

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