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Smotrich: Itamar Ben Gvir will be a senior minister in next government

Far-right politician predicts his party will be third largest after elections and says much of the credit goes to popularity of extremist Otzma Yehudit leader

Far right MK Itamar Ben Gvir addresses students at the Blich High School in Ramat Gan, September 6, 2022 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Far right MK Itamar Ben Gvir addresses students at the Blich High School in Ramat Gan, September 6, 2022 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

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

Palestinian boy armed with knife said arrested at West Bank junction

Soldiers restrain a Palestinian boy allegedly armed with a knife at the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on September 13, 2022. (Oriah Schiff)
Soldiers restrain a Palestinian boy allegedly armed with a knife at the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank on September 13, 2022. (Oriah Schiff)

A Palestinian boy allegedly armed with a knife was arrested by troops at the Tapuah Junction in the West Bank.

The Rescuers Without Borders emergency service says its medics were called to the scene, but nobody was hurt.

Pictures from the scene show soldiers restraining a suspect on the ground.

Hebrew-language media reports put the suspect’s age at 10 or 12.

There is no immediate comment from the Israel Defense Forces.

US says Russia spent $300M to covertly influence world politics

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, September 7, 2022. (Sergei Bobylev/TASS News Agency Host Pool Photo via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a plenary session at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia, September 7, 2022. (Sergei Bobylev/TASS News Agency Host Pool Photo via AP)

Russia has covertly spent more than $300 million since 2014 to try to influence politicians and other officials in more than two dozen countries, the US State Department alleges in a newly released cable.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who signed the cable, cites a new intelligence assessment of Russia’s global covert efforts to support policies and parties sympathetic to Moscow. The cable does not name specific Russian targets but says the US is providing classified information to select individual countries.

It’s the latest effort by the Biden administration to declassify intelligence about Moscow’s military and political aims, dating back to ultimately correct assessments that Russia would launch a new war against Ukraine. Many of US President Joe Biden’s top national security officials have extensive experience countering Moscow and served in government when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a wide-ranging campaign to influence the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections.

A senior administration official declines to say how much money Russia is believed to have spent in Ukraine, where Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his top deputies have long accused Putin of meddling in domestic politics.

The official, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity under rules set by the administration, rejected comparisons between Russia’s activities and US financing of media and political initiatives around the world. Putin was spending huge sums to “manipulate democracies from the inside,” the official says.

Poll shows Likud slipping, but Netanyahu bloc still getting 60 seats

Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a party election event in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, September 11, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu at a party election event in the Kiryat Yovel neighborhood of Jerusalem, September 11, 2022. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A poll published tonight indicates that Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud is losing support, but his bloc still manages to get 60 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.

The poll by the Kan public broadcaster also shows Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid rising compared to previous polls.

According to the poll, Netanyahu’s Likud would get 32 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 24, National Unity 12, Religious Zionism 12, Shas 9, United Torah Judaism 7, the Joint List 5, Labor 5, Yisrael Beytenu 5, Meretz 5 and Ra’am 4.

Yamina’s Ayelet Shaked, who has rejoined Jewish Home does not pass the electoral threshold.

According to the poll, Netanyahu’s religious right bloc is at 60 seats, one short of a majority. The current coalition sits at 55 seats and the mostly Arab Joint List, who supports neither bloc, is at 5.

Israeli TV polls are notably unreliable, but nevertheless, often steer the decision-making of politicians.

Lapid slams Netanyahu for brokering deal to fund religious schools

Students at an ultra-Orthodox school in Jerusalem on August 9, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Students at an ultra-Orthodox school in Jerusalem on August 9, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid slams Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu for brokering a deal that would end incentives to ultra-Orthodox schools to teach secular subjects.

Looking to shore up his chances of being elected,  Netanyahu resolved a major dispute between two ultra-Orthodox political and communal factions yesterday by agreeing in principle to provide full public funding for all Haredi schools, regardless of whether they teach the state’s core curriculum, if he returns to power.

Speaking at the unveiling of his party list for the next elections, Lapid says “we need to make sure that every child in Israel learns math, English and Hebrew. Core studies are the future of the country.”

“Netanyahu’s attempt to sell the future of our children for a political deal is insane and irresponsible,” Lapid says.

Lapid’s Yesh Atid releases its candidate list for upcoming election

Prime Minister and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid is flanked by his party's female lawmakers and ministers during an election campaign event in Tel Aviv, September 8, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Prime Minister and Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid is flanked by his party's female lawmakers and ministers during an election campaign event in Tel Aviv, September 8, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Yesh Atid announces its candidate list, returning many of its 26 sitting lawmakers, ministers and deputy ministers to realistic spots in a party currently polling around 23 seats.

Party newcomers in realistic positions are Michal Shir — who resigned her Knesset seat to leave New Hope and run with Yesh Atid — in the thirteenth spot, Matti Sarfatti Harcavi in the eighteenth, and lawyer Debbie Biton in the twenty-first spot.

In all, the list places nine women in realistic positions, one more than the party’s current eight women lawmakers and ministers.

Behind party leader Yair Lapid in the top spot are ministers Orna Barbivai, Meir Cohen, Karin Elharrar, Meirav Cohen, Yoel Razvozov, and Elazar Stern in the first seven seats.

Knesset Speaker Mickey Levy is in the eighth, followed by Public Security Committee head Merav Ben Ari, Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chair Ram Ben Barak, Deputy Minister Yoav Segalovitz, coalition whip and faction director Boaz Toporovsky in the twelfth spot.

Further down the list is newcomer Mohammed “Shoko” Elhega, a Muslim activist who runs the party’s outreach to Arab voters.

Four-story residential building collapses in Jordan, at least 1 dead

A four-story residential building collapses in the Jordanian capital, killing at least one person and wounding seven others, officials say.

It is not immediately clear what brought down the building in Amman, which state media says was an older structure. The Public Security Directorate confirms the toll and says rescuers were still searching for survivors.

Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh directed authorities to investigate the cause of the collapse

Hendel announces will not run in next election

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel in Modi'in, December 5, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel in Modi'in, December 5, 2021. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Communications Minister and Derech Eretz party head Yoaz Hendel bows out of the upcoming Knesset race, just three days after ending his Zionist Spirit alliance with Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked.

“In five election campaigns, I tried to lead the voice of the stately right in the State of Israel. I am proud of the fact that I have been diplomatic all along. I am retiring from the current round with an ache in my heart, but with great pride and love for this nation and for Israeli society,” Hendel says.

Since joining politics in 2019, the journeyman politician has migrated from Blue and White, to forming his own Derech Eretz party, to aligning with New Hope, and finally to hitching his fortunes to the failed Zionist Spirit experiment with Shaked.

Shaked and Hendel launched their party to speak to ideological right-wing voters bothered by extremist elements in the Likud-led right-religious bloc. They promised to push for the formation of a broad unity government, but their vision failed to capture support from the electorate and the party consistently polled below the electoral threshold necessary to enter Knesset in November.

Hendel and Shaked largely disagreed over supporting Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu to form a government after the elections.

Shaked announced earlier today that she plans to run at the top of a unified list with her old party Jewish Home, under the Jewish Home name. The decision is awaiting final approval from Jewish Home leadership.

Smotrich: Itamar Ben Gvir will be a senior minister in next government

Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, August 15, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Far-right MK Itamar Ben Gvir speaks during a press conference in Ramat Gan, August 15, 2022. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

Bezalel Smotrich, leader of the far-right Religious Zionism party, says his political partner Itamar Ben Gvir will be a senior minister in the next government.

Smotrich joined with Ben Gvir’s extreme right Otzma Yehudit party ahead of the elections.

“According to the polling numbers, as of now, Itamar will certainly be a senior minister,” Smotrich says. “This is the meaning of democracy.”

“We will receive great trust from the public and Itamar has a significant part in that. I hope we will be the third largest party in the State of Israel,” he says.

Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who brokered the deal to get the two to run together in a bid to improve his chances of returning to power, has previously said he did not believe the extremist Ben Gvir was fit to be a minister.

At trial, ex-head of Bnei Zion academy apologizes for deaths of 10 students in flood

Yuval Kahan. (Courtesy: Bnei Zion pre-military academy)
Yuval Kahan. (Courtesy: Bnei Zion pre-military academy)

The former head of the Bnei Zion premilitary academy involved in the 2018 desert hike, in which 10 teenagers were swept to their deaths by a flash flood, apologizes at his trial.

“I’m ashamed. I’m sorry. I’m full of regret. I apologize for a disaster that happened under my responsibility, and with my direct involvement,” says former academy director Yuval Kahan, who was charged with negligent homicide.

“I ask for forgiveness for a disaster in which two trainees whom I loved and appreciated were killed. A disaster in which the granddaughter of someone who worked day and night with me for 11 years in the preparatory school was killed, and who sent her granddaughter on this trip and did not get her back.”

Nine girls and one boy were killed when the group was hit by flash floods in the Tzafit riverbed in the southern Dead Sea area.

A counselor at the academy who received direct warnings about the weather is facing charges of manslaughter.

 

IDF to hold drill on Gaza border, says explosions will be heard

IDF tanks stationed near the Gaza border on August 5, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
IDF tanks stationed near the Gaza border on August 5, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces will be holding a military drill tomorrow morning near the border with the Gaza Strip.

The military says explosions may be heard in communities in the area.

The drill is pre-planned, according to the IDF.

AG says Lapid violated election laws with photos with soldiers

Prime Minister Yair Lapid (R) and Air Force commander Tomer Bar watch an F-35 at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, on September 6, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/PMO)
Prime Minister Yair Lapid (R) and Air Force commander Tomer Bar watch an F-35 at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, on September 6, 2022. (Kobi Gideon/PMO)

Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara informs the Central Election Committee that she agrees with an appeal from the Likud party against Prime Minister Yair Lapid, accusing him of violating electioneering rules by posting photos with IDF soldiers.

The offending pictures were taken last week when Lapid visited an Air Force Base and posted the pictures on his campaign site.

Baharav-Miara also recommended fining Laid’s Yesh Atid party.

Israeli campaign advertising laws forbid using uniformed soldiers in campaign materials, and it is illegal to conduct political campaigns on IDF bases. However, the two had argued that the pictures were part of efforts to inform the public of steps the government was taking during the tense conflagration.

President Herzog and wife to represent Israel at Queen Elizabeth’s funeral

President Isaac Herzog speaks at an event at the President's Residence marking the second anniversary of the death of former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on September 13, 2022 (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)
President Isaac Herzog speaks at an event at the President's Residence marking the second anniversary of the death of former British Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on September 13, 2022 (Judah Ari Gross/Times of Israel)

President Isaac Herzog and his wife Michal will represent Israel at the funeral of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II, the president says.

Herzog will also attend a reception for world leaders hosted by the new King Charles III.

Herzog makes his remarks at an event at the President’s Residence marking the second anniversary of the death of former British chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

French director Jean-Luc Godard died by assisted suicide: lawyer

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2010 film director Jean-Luc Godard attends a debate at the Cinema des cineastes in Paris. (AFP PHOTO / Miguel MEDINA)
In this file photo taken on June 19, 2010 film director Jean-Luc Godard attends a debate at the Cinema des cineastes in Paris. (AFP PHOTO / Miguel MEDINA)

Jean-Luc Godard, one of the most influential filmmakers of the 20th century and the father of the French New Wave, died by assisted suicide, his legal counsel, says.

His family earlier said he died “peacefully at home” aged 91.

Godard’s legal counsel Patrick Jeanneret confirms a report in French daily Liberation that he had resorted to assisted suicide.

The practice is regulated in Switzerland and permitted if offered without a selfish motive to a person with decision-making capacity to end their own suffering.

“Godard had recourse to legal assistance in Switzerland for a voluntary departure as he was stricken with ‘multiple invalidating illnesses,’ according to the medical report,” said Jeanneret.

Godard had lived as a virtual recluse for decades in the Swiss village of Rolle.

Mosquitos carrying West Nile virus identified in north

Illustrative image of a mosquito biting through skin. (iStock by Getty Images/nechaev-kon)
Illustrative image of a mosquito biting through skin. (iStock by Getty Images/nechaev-kon)

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus have been discovered in northern Israel, the Environmental Protection Ministry says.

Infected mosquitos were found in Nahal Barkan near a Golani training base; in Nahal Harod near the Shata Prison; and in Kibbutz Kfar Rupin, the ministry says.

It demands that local authorities monitor the area and carry out immediate pest control.

People infected with West Nile virus generally experience flu-like symptoms and recover within a week, but in rare cases the disease can be fatal.

Iran claims to have ‘fully’ cooperated with UN nuclear watchdog

A person involved with security at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, on March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
A person involved with security at the Uranium Conversion Facility just outside the city of Isfahan, Iran, on March 30, 2005. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran says it had “fully” cooperated with the UN nuclear watchdog in its probe into traces of enriched uranium found at undeclared sites.

The comment came after Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, yesterday expressed hopes that Iran would start cooperating “as soon as possible” with the investigation.

The IAEA has been pressing the Islamic Republic to explain the previous presence of traces of nuclear material at three undeclared sites.

Grossi said that “we have found traces of uranium in places that have never been declared, and we are asking questions.”

The spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency, Behrouz Kamalvandi, says in a statement that “Iran has fully cooperated with the agency regarding the three sites.”

Tehran has “provided information and responses to the agency and held meetings (with the IAEA) to resolve any ambiguity,” adds the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran.

Kamalvandi argues that “the mere observation of contamination in a few places cannot be considered as an indication of the presence of undeclared nuclear materials.”

The IAEA had said in a report last Wednesday that it was “not in a position to provide assurance that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.”

Kyiv blasts Germany’s ‘excuses’ over refusal to deliver tanks

Illustrative: German army soldiers load a Leopard 2 tank onto a truck at the Sestokai railway station some 175 kms (109 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
Illustrative: German army soldiers load a Leopard 2 tank onto a truck at the Sestokai railway station some 175 kms (109 miles) west of the capital Vilnius, Lithuania, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)

Ukraine’s foreign minister slams Berlin for its failure so far to deliver Leopard battle tanks despite repeated pleas from Kyiv.

“Not a single rational argument on why these weapons cannot be supplied, only abstract fears and excuses,” says Dmytro Kuleba.

“What is Berlin afraid of that Kyiv is not?” he says in a post on Twitter.

After initial reluctance to provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to beat back the Russian invasion, Germany has since upped its support for Kyiv’s troops.

Piles of ammunition and rocket launchers have been delivered to Ukraine, as well as dozens of anti-aircraft tanks and howitzers.

Kyiv is however pushing for more weapons deliveries to consolidate recent battlefield gains, including Leopard battle tanks.

But Berlin has so far declined to send the battle tanks, with Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday saying Germany would not “go it alone” on weapons deliveries without coordinating with allies.

His Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht on Monday also stressed that no country had sent Western-made battle tanks to Ukraine.

‘Not my king’: Anti-monarchist arrests spark criticism in Britain

People protest ahead of the Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Cardiff Castle, Wales, publicly proclaiming King Charles III as the new monarch, Sunday Sept. 11, 2022. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)
People protest ahead of the Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Cardiff Castle, Wales, publicly proclaiming King Charles III as the new monarch, Sunday Sept. 11, 2022. (Ben Birchall/PA via AP)

British police face criticism from civil liberties groups today over their treatment of anti-monarchy protesters who have publicly challenged King Charles III’s accession to the throne and the groundswell of public support for the royal family.

Footage went viral on social media on Monday of a female protester holding aloft a “Not My King” placard who was confronted by at least four officers outside the UK parliament in London.

She was seen being escorted away from the spot, and was reportedly made to stand at another location away from the gates of parliament.

Lawyer and climate activist Paul Powlesland also wrote on Twitter that he had been warned by an officer that he risked arrest after he held up a blank piece of paper opposite parliament.

https://twitter.com/standardnews/status/1569270901685862403

“He confirmed that if I wrote, ‘Not My King’ on it, he would arrest me under the Public Order Act because someone might be offended,” he wrote alongside video showing him talking to an officer.

Britain is in national mourning for Queen Elizabeth II, with the death of the 96-year-old monarch provoking a rare moment of national unity amid an outpouring of sympathy for the royals.

But it has also raised questions about the space for dissent, with several civil liberties groups warning that police are failing to respect the rights of the small minority of anti-monarchists.

“If people are being arrested simply for holding protest placards then it is an affront to democracy and highly likely to be unlawful,” Big Brother Watch says in a statement.

“Police officers have a duty to protect people’s right to protest as much as they have a duty to facilitate people’s right to express support, sorrow, or pay their respects.”

US inflation falls for 2nd straight month on lower gas costs

Sharply lower prices for gas and cheaper used cars slowed US inflation in August for a second straight month, though many other items rose in price, indicating that inflation remains a heavy burden for American households.

Consumer prices surged 8.3% in August compared with a year earlier, the government says. Though still painfully high, that was down from an 8.5% jump in July and a four-decade high of 9.1% in June. On a monthly basis, prices rose 0.1%, after a flat reading in July.

Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, so-called core prices jumped 0.6% from July to August, higher than many economists had expected and a sign of inflation’s persistence.

IDF arrests 4 Palestinians at sea trying to smuggle goods to Gaza

An Israeli operation to intercept Gazan boats, on May 11, 2019, in a video released by the IDF on June 7, 2019. (screen capture: IDF)
An Israeli operation to intercept Gazan boats, on May 11, 2019, in a video released by the IDF on June 7, 2019. (screen capture: IDF)

The Israel Defense Forces says it arrested four Palestinian suspects off the coast of the Gaza Strip overnight amid a suspected smuggling attempt.

The IDF says troops acted in accordance with the military’s open-fire policy.
Two vessels were seized by Navy forces, the IDF adds.

Smuggling attempts from northern Egypt are thought to be frequent, with the Navy sinking a boat allegedly transporting equipment to the Hamas terror group in July.

Iran announces arrest of suspects in assassination of senior IRCG commander

People walk past a banner showing Iran's Revolutionary Guard Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, prior to his funeral ceremony, in Tehran, Iran, May 24, 2022. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
People walk past a banner showing Iran's Revolutionary Guard Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei, prior to his funeral ceremony, in Tehran, Iran, May 24, 2022. (Vahid Salemi/AP)

Iran says it has arrested several suspects behind the killing of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps colonel that has been blamed on Israel.

Reuters quotes judiciary spokesman Masoud Setayeshi announcing the arrests.

Colonel Hassan Sayyad Khodaei was killed in May by a gunman on the back of a motorcycle as he sat in his car outside his home.

Khodaei’s assassination was the most high-profile killing inside Iran since the November 2020 killing of top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, also blamed on Israel.

Witness: Sara Netanyahu demanded to meet Hollywood stars after rival met Brad Pitt

A key witness in the corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a top aide to Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, testifies that Sara Netanyahu demanded to meet Hollywood stars.

“Arnon said to me that Brad Pitt met Judy Nir Mozes and Sara will never forgive him for that,” says Hadas Klein during her cross-examination,  referring to the popular media figure who was married to former Likud politician and one-time Netanyahu rival Sylvan Shalom.

“Arnon said he had to bring some stars because Sara was demanding that Hollywood stars attend events,” Klein says.

Netanyahu’s lawyer calls the statement “a wild lie.”

“So go tell Arnon I’m a wild liar,” says Klein.

Nir Mozes, who is the sister of Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Noni Mozes, who is a defendant in a separate Netanyahu corruption case, confirms that she was familiar with the story in a Facebook post and a series of tweets, including a picture of her, Shalom, Pitt and Milchan.

“I have to say that when I heard this story about the screams from Sara that Arnon also received — I grinned with pleasure. If she had only asked, maybe I would have arranged an invitation for her,” Nir Mozes says.

The Netanyahus deny any wrongdoing.

Official: Concrete warnings terror groups intend to incite violence on Temple Mount

People hold Hamas flags as Palestinians gather at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 7, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
People hold Hamas flags as Palestinians gather at the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 7, 2021. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Prime Minister Yair Lapid holds a security assessment with internal security minister Omer Barlev and police chief Kobi Shabtai ahead of the upcoming Jewish High Holidays.

A senior official present at the meeting tells the Kan public broadcaster that there are “concrete warnings that terror groups plan to incite violence around the Temple Mount.”

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is the holiest place in Judaism as the site of the biblical temples. Al-Aqsa Mosque, which sits atop the mount, is the third-holiest shrine in Islam.

The holy site is a frequent flashpoint for violence.

The official says police have issued restraining orders to both Jewish and Arab activists to keep away from the site during the holidays that start later this month.

Egypt’s president heads to Qatar on first visit as rift healed

In this photo made available by Qatar News Agency, QNA, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, June 25, 2022. (QNA via AP)
In this photo made available by Qatar News Agency, QNA, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, meets with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, at the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, June 25, 2022. (QNA via AP)

Egypt’s president travels to Qatar on his first visit to the gas-rich nation amid warming ties after years of frayed relations following the Egyptian military’s overthrow of an Islamist president backed by Doha.

The two-day trip comes amid a rapid rapprochement between Egypt and Qatar after the end in 2021 of a yearslong boycott of Doha by four Arab states, including Egypt. Qatar’s state-run news agency says Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was to hold talks with Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

In June, Sheikh Tamim visited Cairo, where he was welcomed at the airport by Sissi, in a sign of warming ties.

The two countries’ relations deteriorated in 2013, when Sissi, as defense minister, led the military’s overthrow of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi following a short-lived and divisive rule. Morsi, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, was backed by Qatar.

Moscow says US issued visas for Russian delegation to attend UN general Assembly

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia, on July 21, 2022 (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP, File)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a news conference in Moscow, Russia, on July 21, 2022 (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP, File)

Russia says that visas had been issued for Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and members of his delegation to attend the UN General Assembly in New York later this month.

Moscow had earlier expressed alarm that US entry visas had not yet been issued for 56 representatives of the Russian delegation that Lavrov is leading to the assembly from September 20 to 26 at UN headquarters.

The United States is not allowed to prevent representatives of member states from traveling to UN headquarters, despite visa bans imposed on senior Russian officials over Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.

“Visas were delivered today for Lavrov and a number of accompanying persons,” Russian news agencies quote the foreign ministry as saying, without specifying how many visas had been issued.

Egypt rejects reports of stifling environment activism

FILE - This photo shows a dry land that was once fertile and green, in Second Village, Qouta town, Fayoum, Egypt, August 8, 2020. The Middle East is the most water-scarce region in the world. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
FILE - This photo shows a dry land that was once fertile and green, in Second Village, Qouta town, Fayoum, Egypt, August 8, 2020. The Middle East is the most water-scarce region in the world. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

Egypt, the host of this year’s upcoming UN-led climate conference, is rejecting reports by a rights group saying that authorities in the Middle East country are stifling environment activism as part of a broader crackdown on dissent.

According to the report by Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian government’s restrictions amount to a violation of basic human rights and throw into question its ability to meet basic climate commitments.

The report was based on interviews with more than a dozen academics, scientists and activists. The global COP27 summit will take place in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in November.

Egypt’s foreign ministry says that the report was misleading and that its publishing was “counterproductive.”

Key witness in corruption trial: When Netanyahu gets cigars, Sara gets champagne

A key witness in the corruption trial of Benjamin Netanyahu, who is a top aide to Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan, testifies that whenever the former prime minister was sent cigars, his wife would receive champagne, even on his birthday.

Hadas Klein again takes the stand for further cross-examination by Netanyahu’s defense attorney, Amit Hadad, in Case 1000, relating to the luxury gifts the former prime minister and his family received and any quid pro quos Netanyahu may have provided in return.

Hadad asks Klein about birthday presents and gifts of champagne.

“I don’t send champagne to Netanyahu, I send champagne to Mrs. Netanyahu on Mr. Netanyahu’s birthday,” she says.

“When cigars are sent to Netanyahu, even not on his birthday, there is no way that champagne will not also be sent to Mrs. Netanyahu,” adds Klein and says: “I don’t give out champagne without Arnon saying send it.”

Hadad attempts to show that the purchases of champagne were not in fact for the Netanyuahus and asks why purchases were only made when Milchan was in Israel. Klein responds: “Arnon sent me to tell Mrs. Netanyahu that our accountants say it looks bad when large purchases are made when he is not around.”

 

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