US to seek indefinite UN arms embargo on Iran, officials say
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US to seek indefinite UN arms embargo on Iran, officials say

American diplomats circulate draft of Security Council resolution that would scrap expiration of 2015 nuclear deal’s ban on weapons sales to Tehran; Russia likely to oppose move

Illustrative: The Saudi military displays what they say are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in recent attacks on its oil industry at Saudi Aramco's facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
Illustrative: The Saudi military displays what they say are an Iranian cruise missile and drones used in recent attacks on its oil industry at Saudi Aramco's facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais, during a press conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened.

Police deployed in force on Memorial Day to block access to military cemeteries

Police are deployed in force throughout the country this morning to block access to military cemeteries as the public is advised to stay at home this Memorial Day.

Bereaved families have been called on not to visit the graves of loved ones to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Officials have said police will not physically restrain people trying to reach cemeteries but will urge them not to do so.

A 2-minute siren will sound at 11 .a.m, followed by a national ceremony broadcast from Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery.

A person visits a grave at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery in Jerusalem, on April 27, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Trump urges states to consider opening schools before summer

US President Donald Trump says states should “seriously consider” reopening their public schools before the end of the academic year, even though dozens already have said it would be unsafe for students to return until the summer or fall.

Trump makes the comments in a call with governors discussing how to reopen their economies, among other topics.

“Some of you might start thinking about school openings, because a lot of people are wanting to have the school openings. It’s not a big subject, young children have done very well in this disaster that we’ve all gone through,” he says. While addressing Vice President Mike Pence, Trump adds that it’s something “they can seriously consider, and maybe get going on.”

None of the governors on the call responded to the suggestion, according to a recording obtained by The Associated Press.

— AP

Brazil edges toward being next big coronavirus hot spot

Brazil is emerging as potentially the next big hot spot for the coronavirus amid President Jair Bolsonaro’s insistence that it is just a “little flu” and that there is no need for the sharp restrictions that have slowed the infection’s spread in Europe and the US.

As some US states and European countries moved gradually Monday to ease their limits on movement and commerce, the intensifying outbreak in Brazil — Latin America’s biggest country, with 211 million people — has pushed some hospitals to the breaking point, with signs that a growing number of victims are now dying at home.

“We have all the conditions here for the pandemic to become much more serious,” says Paulo Brandão, a virologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

Employees at Viana Funeral services carry a coffin during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in Manaus, Brazil, on April 27, 2020 (MICHAEL DANTAS / AFP)

Brazil has officially reported about 4,500 deaths and almost 67,000 confirmed infections. But the true numbers there, as in many other countries, are believed to be vastly higher given the lack of testing and the many people without severe symptoms who haven’t sought hospital care.

Some scientists say over 1 million in Brazil are probably infected. The country is heading into winter, which can worsen respiratory illnesses.

— AP

Next year’s Olympics will be canceled if pandemic not over, games chief says

The postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be canceled if the coronavirus pandemic isn’t brought under control by next year, the organizing committee’s president says.

The pandemic has already forced a year-long delay of the Games, which are now scheduled to open on July 23, 2021, but Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori says no further postponement is possible.

In an interview with Japan’s Nikkan Sports daily, Mori is categorical when asked if the Olympics could be delayed until 2022 if the pandemic remains a threat next year, replying: “No. In that case, it’s canceled.”

This photo taken on February 14, 2020 shows Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori speaking during a press conference (Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Mori says the Games have been canceled previously only during wartime and compared the battle against coronavirus to “fighting an invisible enemy.”


Likud asks High Court to reject petitions against PM forming government

The Likud party tells the High Court of Justice it believes petitions against a new government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be rejected out of hand.

Petitions have claimed Netanyahu should not be allowed to form a government while he’s under indictment in three criminal cases.

Likud says the court should not intervene in the considerations of the president and Knesset members, while noting that the law allows Netanyahu to continue serving as prime minister so long as he has not been found guilty of crimes.

Driver who rammed two policemen in France says he did it to avenge Palestine

A driver who rammed two policemen in France yesterday afternoon says he did so to avenge the situation in Palestine.

The man used his car to ram the two officers as they conducted roadside inspections in Colombes, near Paris.

In his car, investigators found a knife and a “letter explaining his action,” prosecutors in Nanterre say.

The national counterterrorism prosecutor’s office is looking into the possibility of getting involved.

French police officers check the site where a driver injured two policemen on April 27, 2020 in Colombes (FRANCK FIFE / AFP)

One of policemen suffered serious head injuries. Both have been hospitalized but their lives are not in danger.

The suspect “said during his arrest that he had watched videos on Palestine before acting,” prosecution officials say.

— with AFP

Four more die of virus, bringing national toll to 208

Four more people died of coronavirus during the night, the Health Ministry says in its morning update, bringing the national toll to 208.

Meanwhile, 34 more people were diagnosed, taking the number of cases to 15,589.

The seriously ill number 117, of whom 94 are on ventilators.

11-year-old seriously ill from virus sees improvement, is no longer infected

An 11-year-old girl in serious condition from complications of coronavirus has seen some improvement, Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center says.

Tests have shown the girl no longer has the virus, and her overall condition has also improved.

Dr. Yossi Ben-Ari tells Ynet he believes she will quickly recuperate and could be back home within days.

Report: Cabinet approves entry of 80,000 Palestinian workers Sunday

Amid a reduction in coronavirus limitations, the cabinet has approved the entry into Israel next week of some 80,000 Palestinian workers in the construction and agriculture industries, the Calcalist financial daily reports.

The new authorization will enter into effect on Sunday, May 3, the paper says.

However the permits are for one-time entry that must last the entirety of the Ramadan period, as authorities wish to avoid daily congestion at checkpoints. Workers who return home will not be able to come back into Israel till the end of the Muslim holiday on May 23.

Employers will be expected to provide their workers with lodging for this period, as well as health insurance.

Jewish Agency chief commemorates fallen soldiers, Jewish terror victims

At a Memorial Day ceremony held at Jewish Agency headquarters in Jerusalem, agency chief Isaac Herzog lays a wreath and lights a torch for fallen soldiers and Jewish terror victims in Israel and the Diaspora.

“In the name of Diaspora Jews around the world, I bow my head today in pride and deep sorrow for the bravery of our sons who gave their lives in the wars of Israel,” he says.

“They included new immigrants and lone soldiers who came to Israel alone, without their father and mothers, and fell to defend our beloved homeland. We also remember today those who fell in acts of terror and hate in Israel and abroad.”

Herzog laments ongoing anti-Semitic incidents around the world, says “Jews still walk city streets in fear.”

Memorial Day’s events set to start in Mount Herzl with 2-minute siren at 11 a.m.

In Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl, the national Memorial Day ceremony is set to begin in about 10 minutes.

A two-minute siren will sound throughout the country. On roads, in the streets, and in their homes, Israelis will stop and honor those who have fallen defending the country, and those killed in terror attacks.


WATCH: The official state ceremony in Mount Herzl

Watch the official state ceremony now being held without an audience at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl here:

יום הזיכרון תש"ף | טקס האזכרה הממלכתי לזכר חללי מערכות ישראל

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Israel Ministry of Defense‎‏ ב- יום שלישי, 28 באפריל 2020

Other ceremonies are being held in limited capacities throughout the country.

Blue and White to court: Reject petitions against Netanyahu forming government

Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party tells the High Court it believes the petitions against Benjamin Netanyahu forming the next government should be rejected.

Though it notes the severity of the criminal accusations against the prime minister, the party, set to join Netanyahu in a unity government, says the special circumstances of deep political, health and economic crises necessitate forming an emergency government, as set out in its agreement with Likud.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz at a memorial ceremony marking 24 years since the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, in the Knesset, November 10, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

PM: Israel represents Jews’ decision to take fate and defense into own hands

Addressing the state ceremony in Mount Herzl by video message, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the State of Israel and its military are an enduring testimony to the Jewish people’s decision to take its fate, and its defense, into its own hands after thousands of years of helplessness.

He says Israel’s “decisive policy toward those who would harm us prevents new victims.” And he vows that Israel “will always be prepared to act to rebuff threats.”

He notes that the number of fallen soldiers in the past year was the lowest since the formation of the state in 1948.

And he vows to “continue to work tirelessly to return our missing and our prisoners,” specifically naming the two Israelis held by the Hamas terror group in Gaza, Avera Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed, and the bodies of two soldiers also held by the group, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.

Health Ministry: Labs now able to do 15,000 tests a day, but actual numbers down

The Health Ministry says lab capacity to handle coronavirus tests has risen to 15,000 a day.

In recent days the number of tests conducted a day has stood at around 8,000-9,000, down from previous highs of around 13,000.

The ministry says it plans to launch random testing initiatives in danger zones, as it notes the number of people seeking out testing of their own accord has dropped.

A Magen David Adom paramedic performs a coronavirus test on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man at a mobile testing station, in Jerusalem’s Geula neighborhood, on April 20, 2020. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Ultra-Orthodox London girls’ school accused of censoring women in history books

A top British education official lambastes an ultra-Orthodox girls’ school in London for reducing the role of women in history books, redacting images that included women, excising some passages and even gluing pages together to avoid certain subjects pertaining to female figures.

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, tells the House of Commons of “extremely extensive restrictions and redactions in all the materials made available” to students at Yesodey Hatorah Senior Girls’ School, according to The Times.

Materials taken out of books included information on Queen Elizabeth I, Henry VIII and his many wives, Anne Boleyn and her alleged adultery and more.

In a January report Spielman accused the school of providing girls with “extremely limited education.”

Photos show President Rivlin, coronavirus doctors standing during siren

The Government Press Office sends a photo of President Reuven Rivlin standing during today’s siren to mark Memorial Day, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

President Reuven Rivlin standing during the siren to mark Memorial Day, at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, April 28, 2020 (Mark Neyman/GPO)

And Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem sends a photo of medical staff in the hospital’s coronavirus unit standing for the siren in full protective garb.

Medical staff at at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem observe two minutes of silence during the siren on Memorial Day, April 28, 2020 (Courtesy Shaare Zedek Medical Center)

Worldwide coronavirus death toll crosses 210,000

More than 210,000 people have died worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic, 85 percent of them in Europe and the United States, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.

A total of 210,930 deaths have been recorded among 3,027,853 cases since the outbreak began in China late last year.

Europe, the hardest-hit continent, registers 126,793 fatalities from 1,404,171 infections, while the United States is the country with the most deaths — 56,253 — ahead of Italy with 26,977, Spain with 23,822, France 23,293 and Britain 21,092.


Ex-national security official: Readiness for virus was ‘low to nonexistent’

The former deputy head of the National Security Council, Ze’ev Tzuk-Ram, tells the Ynet news site the Health Ministry’s handling of the coronavirus has shown its readiness was “low to nonexistent.”

Tzuk-Ram says the ministry’s administration “needs to look internally and check why it did not prepare itself for this type of scenario and what the failures were — and there were many failures — and to prepare to fix them immediately.”

He says Israel is “going to be under this coronavirus for a long time… all year and maybe further.”

Woman stabbed in Kfar Saba in potential terror attack, suspect shot

A woman has been stabbed in the central city of Kfar Saba in what police say they are investigating as a potential terror attack.

Medics say the woman, 62, is in moderate-to-serious condition and is being taken to a nearby hospital.

According to the Zaka emergency service, the assailant was shot and “neutralized.” It is not immediately clear if he is still alive.

Police say officers are on the scene and have shut down nearby roads.

— Judah Ari Gross

Photos on social media show assailant wearing protective mask

Graphic images shared on social media show the assailant in Kfar Saba appears to have been wearing a protective mask, as mandated by Health Ministry regulations.

Poll: Most Israelis trust health officials, government on crisis

A survey released by the Israel Democracy Institute shows most Israelis trust health officials and the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, though fewer believe media reports on the pandemic are reliable.

The poll, conducted by IDI’s Guttman Center for Public Opinion and Policy Research, finds that 76 percent of Israelis trust information given by health professionals, 73% trust info from the Health Ministry, and 61.5% feel the media is a reliable purveyor of information during the crisis.

Meanwhile social media ranks lowest by far, with only 17% trusting what they read there.

Also, 37.5% of Israelis feel the government exaggerated the danger posed by the virus while 58% disagree.

Finally, 50% of Israelis are optimistic about the country’s economic future amid the crisis, while 47% are pessimistic.

Police: Kfar Saba stabber a Palestinian teen, lightly injured

Police say the perpetrator of a stabbing attack in the central Israeli town of Kfar Saba is a Palestinian teenager.

According to police, the suspected terrorist is a 19-year-old from the West Bank. Palestinian media reports that he is from the city of Tulkarem. His name is not immediately released.

Police say the suspect was shot by a civilian who was in the area before police arrived at the scene.

Police officers arrive at the scene of a suspected terror attack in the central Israeli town of Kfar Saba on April 28, 2020. (Israel Police)

The Zaka emergency response service says the suspected assailant was taken to Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center with light injuries.

— Judah Ari Gross

China decries ‘barefaced lies’ by US over its handling of virus

China goes on the offensive against international criticism over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, accusing US politicians of “barefaced lies.”

The new virus first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year before spreading across the world, and countries including the United States and Australia have called for an investigation into how the disease transformed into a global pandemic.

But Beijing says the US is attacking China to divert attention from its own handling of the outbreak.

China also defends its ambassador to Australia who has warned that Chinese people could boycott imported goods in retaliation to the demands for a virus inquiry.

Students wearing face masks arrive at the Huayu Middle School in Shanghai on April 27, 2020 (Hector RETAMAL / AFP)

“American politicians have repeatedly ignored the truth and have been telling barefaced lies,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang tells reporters at a press briefing.

“They have only one objective: shirk their responsibility for their own poor epidemic prevention and control measures, and divert public attention.”


Police clash with ultra-Orthodox in Beit Shemesh trying to enter yeshiva

Police in Beit Shemesh are clashing with dozens of hardline ultra-Orthodox residents attempting to enter a yeshiva in a neighborhood under closure.

There is no word on arrests.

Several neighborhoods in the city have been closed off due to high infection rates. Yeshivas and synagogues throughout the country are out of bounds, with fears close proximity in such institutions could help spread the coronavirus.

Virus could double food insecurity in nine African countries, UN says

The spread of COVID-19 risks devastating countries across East Africa, where food insecurity could more than double in just three months, the United Nations warns.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) estimates that some 20 million people currently do not have secure provisions of food across nine countries in the region: Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and Uganda.

Compared to other parts of the world, these countries have so far registered few confirmed COVID-19 cases, with numbers still counted in the dozens or hundreds.

In this photo taken March 26, 2020, children sit on a wall overlooking densely packed houses in the Sayidka camp for internally displaced people in Mogadishu, Somalia (AP Photo/Farah Abdi Warsameh)

However, due to their often weak economies and poor health infrastructure they are considered highly vulnerable to the impacts of the mounting crisis.


Undercover police arrest Haredi child in Jerusalem for tearing down Israeli flag

Channel 12 reports on a police arrest of an ultra-Orthodox child who tore an Israeli flag off a car in Jerusalem yesterday during the siren for Memorial Day at 8 p.m.

The network shares footage from the arrest, made by undercover policemen, which led to clashes and rioting as residents attempted to stop police from putting the child into their car.

One resident says police’s reaction to the act was entirely disproportionate.

Police say they were forced to take the child away to question him at the station due to residents’ extreme reaction as they tried to take his details at the scene.

Defense minister: We’ve moved from blocking Iran in Syria to forcing it out

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett says the Israeli military will not stop attacking Iranian forces in Syria until they leave the country, days after an airstrike attributed to Israel on such forces outside Damascus.

“We have moved from blocking Iran’s entrenchment in Syria to forcing it out of there, and we will not stop,” Bennett says in a statement.

“We will not allow more strategic threats to grow just across our borders without taking action,” he says.

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett of Yamina in the plenum hall of the Knesset on February 10, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Gantz: Even as we remember our fallen, security forces protect us all

Blue and White party chief Benny Gantz offers wishes of a swift recovery to the woman wounded in a stabbing attack in Kfar Saba earlier and lauds the armed civilian who shot the attacker.

“We must remember that even as we remember our fallen, the soldiers of the IDF and all security forces stand in the face of terrorism and protect us all,” he tweets.

Blue and White leader Benny Gantz speaks at an election event in Tel Aviv, February 17, 2020. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Independence Day curfew to take effect at 5 p.m.

A nationwide curfew for Independence Day is set to take effect in just under an hour, confining Israelis to their homes over the holiday to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

During the curfew, which will be in effect from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. tomorrow, Israelis will not be able to travel further than 100 meters from their homes, except for medical needs.

Grocery stores will be closed during the curfew, requiring people to stock up on food beforehand.

Police are setting up 44 roadblocks on main roads throughout the country to enforce the curfew, though intercity travel is currently barred as part of a nationwide lockdown for Memorial Day, which began last night and will end this evening with the start of Independence Day.

Germany records slight uptick in infections, deaths remain relatively low

BERLIN — Germany’s disease control center says the country’s rate of corona virus infections has slightly increased but the number of new infections remains at a manageable level.

Lothar Wieler, the head of the Robert Koch Institute says the “R” factor — the number of people infected by every person with COVID-19 — is now 0.96. Authorities have said they want to try to keep it below 1 to keep the pandemic manageable for the health care system.

It had been around 0.7 before Germany eased lockdown restrictions on April 20 to allow smaller businesses to open, while keeping social distancing in place. It’s too early to say whether that move has led to the increase.

Wieler is urging Germans to keep abiding by social distancing, wearing masks while on public transportation or shopping and staying at home when possible.

He says Germany currently has about 1,000 new infections reported per day, down from a high of some 6,000. The virus has infected a total of nearly 160,000 people and killed about 6,000.

— AP

Expanded High Court bench to hear petitions against coalition deal, PM’s forming a government

The High Court of Justice announces 11 judges will sit on the bench when it hears petitions next week against the coalition deal signed by the Likud and Blue and White parties, as well as against the tasking of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a government due to his indictment on graft charges.

The hearings will be held on Sunday and Monday.

Nationwide curfew for Independence Day takes effect

A nationwide curfew for Independence Day has taken effect, with Israelis now barred from traveling more than 100 meters from their homes until tomorrow night at 8 p.m.

High Court releases list of justices who will hear petitions

The following is the list of judges on the High Court of Justice who will hear the petitions against the Likud-Blue and White coalition deal and the tasking of Prime Minister Netanyahu with forming a government:

1. Chief Justice Esther Hayut

2. Deputy Chief Justice Hanan Melcer

3. Justice Neal Hendel

4. Justice Uzi Vogelman

5. Justice Yitzhak Amit

6. Justice Noam Sohlberg

7. Justice Daphne Barak-Erez

8. Justice Menachem Mazuz

9. Justice Anat Baron

10. Justice George Karra

11. Justice David Mintz

French prosecutors say suspect in car-ramming pledged allegiance to Islamic State

PARIS — A 29-year-old Frenchman who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State jihadist group is facing possible terrorism charges after he rammed his car into police, injuring three officers.

The incident occurred yesterday in the northwestern Paris suburb of Colombes, while police were conducting an ID check. The driver slammed into police cars and police motorcycles, sending three officers to the hospital, the national counter-terrorism prosecution office says in a statement today.

The driver was arrested, and investigators found a knife in his car along with a letter pledging allegiance to IS and claiming to want to impose Islamic sharia law around the world, the statement says.

Counter-terrorism prosecutors decide to take over the investigation after the driver underwent a psychological examination today and was found to be of sound mind.

The man, who is not identified, is facing possible charges of links to criminal terrorism and attempted killing of officers in connection with a terrorist enterprise, the statement says.

More than 200 people were killed around France in Islamic State attacks in 2015 and 2016, and police and soldiers have been repeatedly targeted by violent extremists.

Police have stepped up street controls since France imposed nationwide confinement measures last month to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

— AP

After Kfar Saba stabbing, Rivlin says Israel will act ‘uncompromisingly’ against terror

President Reuven Rivlin issues a statement on a stabbing attack in Kfar Saba earlier today in which a woman was moderately to seriously injured.

“Our prayers for the recovery of the wounded woman who was stabbed by a terrorist in Kfar Saba. We’ll take strong and uncompromising action against the awful terror to ensure the well-being of our citizens,” the president says.

Education minister says plan approved for reopening of yeshivas

Government ministers have approved the gradual reopening of yeshivas, Education Minister Rafi Peretz announces.

“We will continue to do everything to benefit all hues of the population,” Peretz writes on Twitter.

He doesn’t give a target date for when the yeshivas will reopen. Ministers gave tentative approval yesterday for some schools to reopen as early as Sunday.

Peretz says the yeshivas will be required to comply with directives of the Health Ministry and National Security Council, which has been tasked with coordinating Israel’s response to the coronavirus.

Many yeshivas remained open after schools in Israel were ordered close, which some have linked to the higher rates of infection in ultra-Orthodox areas.

According to Kikar HaShabbat, an ultra-Orthodox news site, the plan approved by the government will see students divided into “capsules” that have no contact with each other.

Over 20 said killed by fuel truck bomb in northern Syria

A fuel truck bomb kills more than 20 people, including at least six Turkey-backed rebel fighters, in a northern Syrian city controlled by Ankara’s local proxies, a war monitor says.

“At least 22 people including civilians were killed and 27 others wounded when an explosive device inside a fuel truck exploded in a market” in the Afrin region, says Rami Abdul Rahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.


Education Ministry releases details of plan for reopening of schools

The Education Ministry releases details of its plan for the reopening of some schools next week, which government ministers green-lighted yesterday.

Children in first through third grades will return to school five days a week, while kindergarteners will be divided into groups of 15 to 17 that will each study half the week at school and half the week remotely.

“The classroom will be organized so every student sits at a separate table” with a distance of two meters between them, according to the plan, and all students and staff will be required to wear masks.

All other grades will continue to study remotely.

Final sign off for the plan is dependent on the findings of a study into coronavirus infection rates among children, which will be released later this week.

UN chief urges countries to use pandemic to ‘rebuild our world for the better’

BERLIN — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres challenges leaders to use the coronavirus pandemic to “rebuild our world for the better” by also working together to tackle other global threats such as climate change.

The outbreak has resulted in at least 200,000 deaths globally and widespread economic hardship as countries impose lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It has exposed the fragility of our societies and economies to shocks,” the United Nations chief says, adding that “the only answer is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership.”

“The same leadership is needed to address the looming existential threat of climate disruption,” says Guterres, noting that the past decade was the hottest in history since measurements began.

Speaking by video link at a two-day international conference on global warming, Guterres warns that the cost of inaction on climate change would be immense, but says that “technology is on our side.”

“These are dark days, but they are not without hope,” Guterres says. “We have a rare and short window of opportunity to rebuild our world for the better.”

“Let us use the pandemic recovery to provide a foundation for a safe, healthy, inclusive and more resilient world for all people,” he adds.

The UN chief calls on all countries to commit to pumping no more carbon dioxide — the main greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere by 2050, and proposes a six-point plan to ensure climate change features prominently in government efforts to recover from the pandemic.

— AP

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is displayed on a screen at the Environment Ministry as he delivers his speech at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue, in Berlin, Germany, April 28, 2020. (Michael Kappeler/Pool via AP)

US House reverses plan to resume meeting next week due to virus risk

WASHINGTON — Facing fierce blowback, House Democratic leadership announces the US House of Representatives will not resume session next week as planned because of risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland declares the sudden about-face a day after a lawmakers revolted. He says after discussions with the Capitol physician, the risk was too great. The physician has privately warned senior lawmakers it will be at least a year before Congress can return to business as usual.

“We will not come back next week,” Hoyer tells reporters on a conference call. “But we hope to come back very soon.”

Hoyer says that because the Washington, DC, area remains a “hotspot” under stay-home orders — with the numbers of cases “going up and not down ”— the House’s nearly 435 lawmakers and staff will not be asked to return.

Leaders of both parties had announced the House and Senate would return May 4. But the congressional physician’s view was there is a “risk” to members, Hoyer says.

Uncertainty in the congressional schedule, along with deepening partisan divide, could stall work on a new the coronavirus relief bill. Hoyer says lawmakers will be asked to return when the legislation is complete.

He notes that negotiations are set to resume Tuesday with Republicans on proxy voting proposals in the House.

The Senate, meanwhile, remains on track to return Monday.

— AP

Woman found dead at Holon apartment in suspected murder by partner

A woman in her 30s is found dead at an apartment in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon, with Hebrew media reporting she is suspected of having been murdered by her partner.

Under curfew, Israel transitions from Memorial to Independence Day

Israelis abruptly transition from mourning to celebration as Memorial Day turns into the 72nd Independence Day at nightfall.

Due to a nationwide curfew meant to contain the coronavirus, street parties and other festivities are not taking place this year and the annual torch lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery is being held without an audience.

IDF won’t open training grounds to public on Independence Day, will keep holding drills

The Israeli military will not open its training grounds to hikers for Independence Day, as it does most years, because of the national lockdown in place over the holiday.

The Israel Defense Forces warns that its troops will continue to hold exercises in these training grounds.

“Entering these training grounds represents a danger to life,” the military says.

— Judah Ari Gross

UK records 586 more virus deaths, bringing total to 21,678

LONDON — Britain’s health ministry says 586 more people have died after testing positive for COVID-19 in the hospital, taking the total toll to 21,678.

The increase is significantly higher than yesterday’s 360 new fatalities recorded — the lowest daily total since March — but down from the highest death tolls to date seen earlier this month.


WATCH: Torch lighting ceremony for 72nd Independence Day begins

The annual torch lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem has begun.

The ceremony (Hebrew) can be watched here.

טקס הדלקת המשואות הממלכתי

הצטרפו אלינו לשידור טקס הדלקת המשואות הממלכתי לנעילת אירועי יום הזיכרון ופתיחת אירועי יום העצמאות ה-72 למדינת ישראל 🇮🇱

פורסם על ידי ‏משרד התרבות והספורט‏ ב- יום שלישי, 28 באפריל 2020

Lighting torch at Independence Day ceremony, Gantz issues call for unity

Knesset Speaker Benny Gantz addresses the annual Independence Day torch lighting ceremony at Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem.

“Here, from this mount, year after year, we connect between the pain and strength,” he says, referring to the transition from Memorial Day to Independence Day.

Gantz issues a call for all Israelis to be treated equally and urges citizens to brace for further difficult times ahead.

“Tough days are upon us and we must prepare for no less difficult days,” he says. “We’ll win this war and with this lesson will work to establish a new ethos, a story of mutual guarantee. A story that won’t be defined by outsiders or enemies but rather by us.”

Gantz then lights the first torch.

Medical workers, entertainers light torches at Independence Day ceremony

After Gantz, Israeli musician Idan Raichel lights the next torch for independence day.

“I light this torch in honor of the Israeli musical giants of the past, and the wonderful artists of our days,” he says.

Raichel is followed by Professor Galia Rahav, the head of the infectious disease department at Sheba Medical Center, one of numerous medical workers lighting a torch this year in honor of their contributions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

France records drop in daily virus deaths, less patients in intensive care

PARIS — France reports 367 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the country’s toll since March 1 to 23,660 but with the number of people in intensive care continuing to decline.

The daily toll is lower than yesterdays’s 437, and came as the government announces plans to cautiously lift France’s epidemic lockdown from May 11. The health department says there are 221 fewer people in intensive care from a day earlier.


Total number of virus infections in Israel rises to 15,728; death toll at 210

The Health Ministry announces 173 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections in Israel to 15,728.

The death toll rises to 210, up two from this morning’s tally.

According to the Health Ministry, 116 people are in serious condition, 92 of whom are on ventilators.

Another 82 people are in moderate condition and the rest have mild symptoms.

So far, 7,746 Israelis have recovered from the coronavirus.

Number of coronavirus cases in United States passes 1 million

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the United States tops one million today, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 57,000 people in the US, which leads the world in the number of confirmed infections with 1,002,498, according to the Baltimore-based school’s latest count.

The latest numbers come as the COVID-19 epidemic appears to be easing in hotspots like New York while other states move to reopen their economies — even though case and death rates continue to rise in some places.

New York remains the hardest hit US state with 22,668 deaths — and over 17,500 in New York City alone.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says 335 people had died in the state over the previous 24-hour period, a decline but still staggering.

“This number is basically reducing but not at a tremendous rate and the only thing tremendous is the number of New Yorkers who still pass away,” he says.


Anti-Semitic incidents in Canada rise to record high for 4th straight year

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in Canada rises to a record high for the fourth consecutive year mainly due to online harassment.

The League for Human Rights, part of B’nai Brith Canada, records 2,207 anti-Semitic incidents in its 2019 Annual Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents. That’s an 8% increase over the 2,041 incidents from the previous year and an average of more than six per day.

Ontario had the greatest increase and Quebec saw the largest number of incidents for the second year in a row. Ontario and Quebec are home to the largest Jewish communities in Canada.

Harassment accounted for the largest number of incidents at 2,011, or 91.1%, up from 1,809 the previous year. Of the incidents last year, 83.2% occurred online, including over social media and in threatening emails and text messages.

The number of vandalism incidents dropped to 182 from 221, but violent incidents, including assault, rose to 14 from 11.

Specific incidents included an assault against a visibly Orthodox Jewish man by a Montreal taxi driver; a group of Hasidic children in Outremont, Quebec, being sprayed with tar by a construction worker; and a cleric in Edmonton who publicly suggested that “international Zionism” was behind the ISIS terrorist organization.


Fresh rioting in Lebanon as economic despair grows

TRIPOLI, Lebanon — Hundreds of protesters in Lebanon’s northern city of Tripoli set fire to two banks and hurl stones at soldiers who respond with tear gas and batons in renewed clashes triggered by an economic crisis spiraling out of control amid a weeks-long virus lockdown.

The clashes got underway in the afternoon hours after a tense funeral was held for a 27-year-old man killed during riots overnight in the country’s second largest city. Fawwaz Samman was shot by soldiers during confrontations that began last night and died in a hospital hours later.

Tripoli, a predominantly Sunni Muslim city, is in one of the most neglected and poorest regions in Lebanon, and there were concerns the confrontations would escalate to wider chaos.

The violence is a reflection of the rising poverty and despair gripping the country amid a crippling financial crisis that has worsened since October, when nationwide protests against a corrupt political class broke out. A lockdown to stem the spread of the new coronavirus has further aggravated the crisis, throwing tens of thousands more people out of work.

The national currency has lost more than 50% of its value, and banks have imposed crippling capital controls amid a liquidity crunch. But it appears to be in a free fall over the last few days, selling as low as 4,000 Lebanese pounds to the dollar, down from a fixed peg of 1,500 pounds to the dollar in place for 30 years.

— AP

Hillary Clinton endorses Biden’s White House bid

WASHINGTON — Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorses Joe Biden’s White House bid.

“I want to add my voice to the many who have endorsed you to be our president,” Clinton says during a live video conference with the former US vice president.

“I wish you were president right now,” the former first lady and secretary of state says.

“Think of what it would mean if we had a real president not just somebody who plays one on TV,” she adds in a jab at US President Donald Trump, Biden’s expected opponent in November.


2 arrested in Bnei Brak during prohibited gathering

Police arrest two people in the predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak during a prohibited gathering of more than 10 people.

US to seek indefinite UN arms embargo on Iran

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United States has circulated a draft UN resolution that would indefinitely extend a UN arms embargo on Iran set to expire in October, a move almost certain to spark opposition from Russia, which has made no secret of its desire to resume conventional weapons sales to Tehran, US officials and UN diplomats say.

The draft document, which as of today has been circulated only to a small number of Security Council members, would strike the expiration of the arms embargo from the council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between six major powers and Iran, according to Trump administration officials and UN diplomats, who are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and speak on condition of anonymity.

The US officials say the aim is to present the resolution for a vote in May when Estonia, a NATO member and close US ally that is not party to the nuclear deal, holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council.

The arms embargo was not a part of the landmark 2015 accord, but Iran has long sought its removal and its expiration was included in the council resolution as a reward for Iranian compliance with the agreement’s nuclear restrictions. Since Iran is admittedly no longer complying with several elements of the nuclear deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the administration believes it has a case to make that the embargo should not be lifted, the officials said.

Suspect in West Bank injured after pipe bomb blows up in his hand — report

A suspected assailant is injured while throwing a pipe bomb in an apparent attack attempt near the West Bank city of Hebron, the Kan public broadcaster reports.

The explosive reportedly blew up in his hand.

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