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Marines commandant protests US border deployments, wallAmerica's top marine warned that deployments to the US-Mexico border and President Donald Trump's plan for a wall pose an "unacceptable risk" to the force, according to documents revealed Thursday by The Los Angeles Times. In memos addressed to acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan and Navy secretary Richard Spencer, General Robert Neller wrote that he had been forced to cancel or reduce exercises in five countries. Marines will miss exercises in Indonesia, Scotland and Mongolia, and their participation in joint exercises in Australia and South Korea will be reduced, Neller said in the documents dated March 18 and 19.


3/21/2019 5:20:37 PM

Harvard 'shamelessly' profits from photos of enslaved people, descendant claims in lawsuitA descendant of enslaved people has sued Harvard University, alleging that the Ivy League institution has “shamelessly” profited from photos of her ancestors. Tamara Lanier, of Norwich, Connecticut, claims that Harvard has ignored requests to surrender images of a man named Renty, whom she says is her great-great-great grandfather, and his daughter Delia. Lanier is suing Harvard for “wrongful seizure, possession and expropriation” of the images, asking the university to return the photos to her, pay unspecified damages, and recognise her ancestry.


3/21/2019 8:18:00 AM

Ex-cop says he thought he saw a gun when he shot black teenPITTSBURGH (AP) — A white former police officer said Thursday he thought a weapon was pointed at him when he shot and killed an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh last summer.


3/21/2019 8:38:37 PM

Some Pickups Lag in Passenger Crash ProtectionCrash Tests Show Some Pickup Trucks Lag in Passenger Protection Most pickup trucks fall short when it comes to protecting passengers in certain types of crashes, according to new findings from t...


3/20/2019 10:01:01 PM

UPDATE 2-U.S. sanctions Iran's nuclear research unit, urges Tehran to negotiateThe United States on Friday imposed sanctions on 14 people and 17 entities connected to an Iranian research organization it said had played a central role in the country's past nuclear weapons effort and which remains active. Among those designated for sanctions was the Shahid Karimi group, which works on missile and explosive-related projects for Iran’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, and four associated individuals, the U.S. Treasury Department said in a Statement. The United States charges that the organization, known by its Farsi acronym SPND, oversees nuclear-relevant research for Iran and is active in the training of new scientists.


3/22/2019 8:07:15 AM

The Real Reasons American Evangelicals Support IsraelIt never fails. Whenever a Republican president makes a controversial or contentious move to support Israel -- such as moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, or yesterday’s decision to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights -- you’ll see various “explainers” and other stories that purport to inform progressives why the American Evangelical community is so devoted to the nation of Israel.The explanation goes something like this -- Evangelicals believe that the rebirth of Israel is hastening not just the second coming of Christ, but a particular kind of second coming, one that includes fire, fury, and war that will consume the Jewish people. The pithy, tweet-length version of this analysis comes from progressive Young Turks host Cenk Uygur:> You know what's REAL anti-semitism? Right-wing Evangelical Christians supporting Israel because they think it will bring about the End Times where all of the Jews die. Worst anti-Semitism in the world!> > -- Cenk Uygur (@cenkuygur) March 7, 2019Thus, the political marriage between American Evangelicals and Israelis represents a cynical form of mutual exploitation. Evangelicals support Israel to hasten the apocalypse, while Israelis (who obviously don’t believe Christian eschatology) are happy to humor the Evangelical community and milk that support for tourist dollars and political power.But the true narrative of American Christian support for Israel is substantially different. The intellectual and theological roots of Christian Zionism do not rest in end-times prophesies but rather in Old Testament promises. Last month Samuel Goldman at Tablet wrote an outstanding piece explaining the centuries-old history and legacy of Christian support for Jewish claims to the Holy Land. After tracing Christian support for a Jewish Israel to the Reformation, he writes this:> These arguments were products of the emphases on the plain meaning of Scripture and the theological significance of covenants that characterized Calvinism. Before the Reformation, most Christians read prophecies like Ezekiel’s as allegories for the transformation of the “carnal” Israel descended from the patriarchs into the “spiritual Israel” represented by the Church. Calvin and his followers, by contrast, insisted that allegorical interpretations were permitted only when literal ones made no sense. But why was it nonsensical to believe that the Jews might be reconstituted as a nation and return to their own land?In addition, I’d argue that Romans 11 has enduring significance in the American Christian mind. It begins, “I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!” Paul declares that God “has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.” The chapter continues with the assertion that Gentiles have now been “grafted in” to the same spiritual tree, and it concludes with the promise not that all Israel will be burned up in the apocalypse, but rather with the statement that “all Israel will be saved.”Now, the precise theological meaning of these verses has been and will be debated for some time, but the practical impact in contemporary American Christian culture has been to create a bond between American Christians and Jews that would be utterly mystifying to the vicious Christian persecutors of Jews in the not-so-distant European past.The end result is a community -- including a political community -- that believes two things with firm conviction. First, God has reserved Israel as the Jewish homeland, and second, that the creation of modern Israel was an act of divine providence. While there are many Christians who believe this act of divine providence may be a prelude to the Second Coming (whenever that may be), that is miles and miles away from the belief that Jews will burn in a fiery apocalypse.These beliefs are then reinforced by experience and basic morality. It’s difficult to overstate the profound impact that a visit to the Holy Land has on a believing Christian. I’ll never forget my time in Israel. Not only was it moving to stand where Jesus stood and to walk where Jesus walked, other aspects of the visit bring the miracle of Israel’s rebirth into sharp focus. How can you visit the ruins of the fortress of Masada and not grasp the improbability of the journey from total destruction to diaspora to renaissance?Then there’s basic morality. As I’ve written before, from the very moment of its founding, Israel has been subject to repeated, genocidal threats to its existence. It has defended itself in the face of overwhelming odds, faced enduring terrorist threats that we in the United States can’t imagine, and built an imperfect but well-functioning democracy that grants all its citizens (Jewish and Arab) a greater degree of individual liberty than the citizens of any other Middle Eastern nation.The pernicious persistence of anti-Semitism heightens the moral case for supporting Israel. There is zero justification for the U.N.’s obsessive focus on alleged Israeli crimes. Actual genocidal tyrants face less condemnation by the U.N. Human Rights Council than does the state of Israel. The Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement proudly holds Israel to higher standards than it holds the entire rest of the Middle East and most of the rest of the world. Some of its founders and leaders hope to eradicate Israel as a Jewish state.Finally, the fact that Evangelical support for Israel is rooted in part in Christian biblical interpretation does not mean that it is somehow less legitimate than purely secular support. In a nation full of believers, religious arguments have always been a part of our national life, and they always will be. They should be weighed and measured just like any other belief. Nor are religious arguments a right-wing phenomenon. There are liberal religious arguments for gun control, for laxer immigration policies, and for welcoming refugees, to take just a few, easy examples. And who can forget the mighty power of the Christian argument in the American civil-rights movement?Yes, you can find Christians who obsessively focus on the end times and try to match each and every significant news story in Israel with biblical prophecies. Those people are out there, no question. But the vast bulk of Evangelical support for Israel rests on faith in ancient promises, wonder at modern miracles, and a deep conviction that evil forces must not prevail against the Middle East’s most vibrant democracy.


3/22/2019 12:54:56 PM

Midwest flooding costs increasing, with $1.6B damage in IowaDES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday that recent flooding in the state has caused an estimated $1.6 billion in damage, pushing the total costs from the devastating Midwest flooding to at least $3 billion.


3/22/2019 3:29:04 PM

'A gift sent from the heavens': Nebraska pals find fridge full of beer during flood cleanupKyle Simpson and Gayland Stouffer had spent the day cleaning up from flooding in Nebraska when a fridge appeared in the distance. It was full of beer.


3/22/2019 12:14:32 AM

Juan Guaido's chief of staff snatched from his home at 2amThe United States has threatened Venezuela with severe consequences unless President Nicolas Maduro immediately release a senior aide to Juan Guaido, who was snatched from his home by masked intelligence agents in the early hours of Thursday. Roberto Marrero, chief of staff to Mr Guaido, shouted out loud that Mr Maduro’s agents had planted two rifles and a grenade on him, Mr Guaido tweeted. On Thursday afternoon, 12 hours later, Mr Marrero was still being held. John Bolton, the US national security advisor, said that the arrest of Mr Marrero “would not go unanswered”. “Maduro has made another big mistake,” he added. Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, also threatened to "hold accountable those involved". Juan Guaido, at a rally in Caracas on March 12 Venezuela’s government has not commented on the 2am arrest, but Mr Guaido said that Mr Marrero had been taken by Sebin, the Venezuelan intelligence agency, and was being detained at an unknown location. Mr Marrero's neighbour, Sergio Vergara, a pro-Guaido deputy, was able to raise the alarm. Mr Vergara said around 15 Sebin officers threw him to the floor and "ransacked" his own home for around two hours, while asking where to find Mr Marrero. Mr Marrero was able to send a voice message shortly before he was taken, and urged: "Look after the president". The voice message was distributed by Mr Guaido’s press team, who also sent a video of another opposition politician, Carlos Berrizbeitia, showing damage to the door of Mr Marrero's home and a broken lock. Mr Guaido, the 35-year-old head of the national assembly, was himself briefly detained on January 13, en route to a rally. But since he declared himself the legitimate president on January 23 he has been able to move freely throughout Venezuela and internationally, with the support of the United States. Nicolas Maduro and Juan Guaido both believe they are the legitimate rulers of Venezuela Mr Maduro and Mr Guaido both claim to be Venezuela's legitimate leaders but Mr Maduro, 56, retains the loyalty of the military and has control of state apparatus. The White House has frequently said that touching Mr Guaido would cross a line and provoke a strong response. Mr Guaido demanded the release of his chief of staff, saying that "we won't be intimidated" by the "vile, vulgar kidnapping." He said that Mr Maduro is weak and does not "dare" to detain him. Elliott Abrams, Mr Trump’s envoy to Venezuela, agreed, saying that Mr Maduro is instead targeting Mr Guaido's aides. The United Nations said it learned "with concern" about reports of Mr Marrero’s detention, and urged all sides "to lower tensions and refrain from any action that could lead to further escalation." Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesman, noted that UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet, whose team is currently in the country, and has expressed concern at Mr Marrero's detention. On Wednesday Ms Bachelet issued a strongly-worded condemnation of the situation in Venezuela, demanding that Mr Maduro allow her team to work unhindered, and highlighting more than 300 murders and abductions by the Venezuelan security forces.


3/21/2019 1:45:41 PM
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