Trump says UN just a club for people to ‘have a good time’

Author: 
VIVIAN SALAMA | AP
Tue, 2016-12-27
ID: 
1482790547379589600

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida: Days after the United Nations voted to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Donald Trump questioned its effectiveness Monday, saying it’s just a club for people to “have a good time.”
The president-elect wrote on Twitter that the UN has “such great potential,” but it has become “just a club for people to get together, talk and have a good time. So sad!“
On Friday, Trump warned, “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th,” referring to the day he takes office.
The decision by the Obama administration to abstain from Friday’s UN vote brushed aside Trump’s demands that the US exercise its veto and provided a climax to years of icy relations with Israel’s leadership.
Trump told The Associated Press last December that he wanted to be “very neutral” on Israel-Palestinian issues. But his tone became decidedly more pro-Israel as the presidential campaign progressed. He has spoken disparagingly of Palestinians, saying they have been “taken over” by or are condoning militant groups.
Trump’s tweet Monday about the UN ignores much of the work that goes on in the 193-member global organization.
This year the UN Security Council has approved over 70 legally binding resolutions, including new sanctions on North Korea and measures tackling conflicts and authorizing the UN’s far-flung peacekeeping operations around the world. The General Assembly has also approved dozens of resolutions on issues, like the role of diamonds in fueling conflicts; condemned human rights abuses in Iran and North Korea; and authorized an investigation of alleged war crimes in Syria.
Trump’s criticism of the UN is by no means unique. While the organization does engage in large-scale humanitarian and peacekeeping efforts, its massive bureaucracy has long been a source of controversy. The organization has been accused by some Western governments of being inefficient and frivolous, while developing nations have said it is overly influenced by wealthier nations.
Trump tweeted later Monday, “The world was gloomy before I won — there was no hope. Now the market is up nearly 10 percent and Christmas spending is over a trillion dollars!“
Markets are up since Trump won the general election, although not quite by that much. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is up about 6 percent since Election Day, while the Dow has risen more than 8 percent.
As for holiday spending, auditing and accounting firm Deloitte projected in September that total 2016 holiday sales were expected to exceed $1 trillion, representing a 3.6 percent to 4.0 percent increase in holiday sales from November through January.
The president-elect is spending the holidays at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. He had no public schedule Monday.

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Blizzards, ice storms wreak havoc across US’ northern Plains

Author: 
Associated Press
Tue, 2016-12-27
ID: 
1482788742609502300

CHICAGO: Travel conditions remained hazardous as a winter storm swept across much of the northern Plains on Monday, with blowing and drifting snow forcing the closure of an airport and creating near-zero visibility on some roads.
The combination of freezing rain, snow and high winds that forced vast stretches of highways in the Dakotas to be shut down Sunday continued into Monday, and authorities issued no-travel warnings for much of North Dakota.
Meanwhile, in parts of the South, unseasonably warm temperatures was raising the risk of tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms. About 3 million people in parts of Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee could see damaging winds gusts and isolated tornadoes Monday, the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said, but no major outbreak is expected.
Most of North Dakota was to remain under a blizzard warning through Monday afternoon or early evening, according to the National Weather Service in Bismarck. Severe whiteout conditions led to the closure of Minot International Airport, and the facility wasn’t expected to reopen until 3 a.m. Tuesday. The airports serving Fargo and Bismarck also list flight cancelations on their websites.
Winds gusting 40 mph to 50 mph associated also led to delays and cancelations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The storm also has caused power outages in the Dakotas and Nebraska.
The South Dakota Rural Electric Association said roughly 19,000 of its customers were without power Monday afternoon. In Nebraska, winds gusting up to 70 mph were cited for hundreds of power outages in central and eastern portions of the state Sunday, although by Monday morning, utilities reported that power had been restored to most customers.
The North Dakota Transportation Department closed most of a 240-mile stretch of Interstate 94 Sunday night, from the Montana border to Jamestown. That stretch remained closed Monday. Portions of US Highways 2, 52 and 281 were also closed because of snow, ice and “near zero visibility.” Motorists who drive past the roadblocks can be fined up to $250.
No-travel adviseries were issued for much of North Dakota, including the Williston, Dickinson, Minot, Bismarck, Jamestown, Valley City and Grand Forks areas.
Authorities in South Dakota shut down Interstate 90 from the Wyoming border to Chamberlain — about 260 miles.

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Israel Urges Jews To Leave France, Suspends “Working Ties” With Countries That Voted For UN Resolution

In an unexpected escalation that was not the result of Israel’s angry response to Friday’s UN vote which passed a resolution condemning the country’s Palestinian settlements, and which the US refused to veto,  Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday called on French Jews to leave their country to protest a Paris-hosted conference planned for next month aimed at restarting Palestine-Israel peace talks, Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth has reported.


Avigdor Lieberman

According to Turkey’s Anadolu news agency, the Israeli government has repeatedly stated in recent months that it would not participate in the conference, which is scheduled to be held on Jan. 15 with the participation of representatives from 70 countries. Speaking at a meeting of his right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, Lieberman reportedly said: “Perhaps it’s time to tell the Jews of France, ‘This isn’t your country, this isn’t your land. Leave France and come to Israel’.”

“That’s the only response to this plot,” Lieberman added, in reference to the planned conference.

He also criticized the timing of the event, which will be held shortly before French presidential elections. “With France going to elections soon, this is not the time for a peace summit,” the newspaper quoted Lieberman as saying. “It [the planned conference] is a tribunal against the State of Israel.” He added: “This summit’s entire purpose is to undermine the State of Israel’s security and tarnish its good name.”

According to the website of the Jewish Agency for Israel (a para-statal organization responsible for Jewish immigration to Israel), an estimated 1.5 million Jews live in Europe, roughly 600,000 of whom reside in France. According to Jewish Agency data, some 8,000 French Jews immigrated to Israel last year. An earlier report issued by the Israeli prime minister’s office found that 6,655 Jews had departed France for Israel in 2014, compared with 3,293 the previous year.

* * *

Then, in an expected escalation that was the result of Friday’s UN vote, CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported that Israel has suspended “working ties” with 12 nations that voted for a United Nations resolution condemning settlements. The suspension of diplomatic ties comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vow last week to exact a “diplomatic and economic price” from the countries on the UN Security Council that passed the resolution, 14-0.

Breaking: #Israel suspends “working ties” with all 12 nations who voted for UN resolution on settlements – sources tell @eliselabottcnn

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) December 26, 2016

Those countries are: Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand https://t.co/NBpHt9PpZd

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) December 26, 2016

What it means: PM Netanyahu will not meet w/foreign ministers of those countries & their ambs will not be received at Israel’s FM

— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) December 26, 2016

The countries were Britain, France, Russia, China, Japan, Ukraine, Angola, Egypt, Uruguay, Spain, Senegal and New Zealand, Malaysia. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with Venezuela or Malaysia, which also voted for the resolution.

Meanwhile, back in the US, Newt Gingrich continued his outspoken ways, and slammed President Obama for not vetoing the resolution, likening the move to a “war” against the key ally in the Middle East. “Why is the Obama team waging war against Israel? Why are they taking steps to isolate and then kill a democracy and an ally?” Gingrich tweeted.

“President-elect Trump must prepare a comprehensive offensive for Jan 29 to undo the damage to Israel the Obama team is inflicting.”

“Congress should pass resolutions January 3-4 condemning Obama attacks on Israel and demanding he not participate in French or (U.N. Security Council) attacks,” Gingrich, a key Trump ally, wrote online.

The move was the culmination of years of strained ties between the White House and Israel over the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Trump was fiercely opposed to the resolution and vowed U.S. policy toward Israel will change when he takes office.

Then again, one wonders how much of the drama in the last few days is merely spoon-fed for public consumption: despite the alleged tension between the US and Iseael, Obama approved a $38 Billion military aid package to Israel in September, the largest in U.S. history.

The 10-year aid packages underpin Washington’s Congressionally mandated requirement to help maintain Israel’s “qualitative military edge” in the region. According to the MOU, at least $3.8 billion a year in aid, up from $3.1 billion annually under the current pact, would be provided to Israel. Netanyahu had originally sought upwards of $4.5 billion a year. The new package for the first time will incorporate money for Israeli missile defense, which until now has been funded ad hoc by Congress. U.S. lawmakers have in recent years given Israel up to $600 million in annual discretionary funds for this purpose.

In short, ignore the pointed rhetoric and focus on the actions.

The post Israel Urges Jews To Leave France, Suspends “Working Ties” With Countries That Voted For UN Resolution appeared first on crude-oil.top.

12 years after tsunami, 400 bodies unidentified in Thailand

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2016-12-27
ID: 
1482787458949441000

BANGKOK: At least 400 victims of Asia’s 2004 tsunami that killed 226,000 people remain unidentified in Thailand 12 years on, police said on Monday.
The 9.15 magnitude Dec. 26 earthquake triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean in one of the biggest natural disasters in history.
Thailand, Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka were among the worst hit countries. Some 5,395 people were killed in Thailand, among them about 2,000 foreign tourists.
“Since the 2004 tsunami, authorities have contacted between 4,000 to 5,000 relatives to come and receive bodies. There are about 400 bodies that we cannot identify,” Anand Boonkerkaew, deputy superintendent of Takua Pa district police in Phang Nga province, told Reuters.
Thailand’s tourist high season is in full swing and in much of the area affected by the tsunami, it is business as usual. New hotels have replaced those flattened by the wall of water.
Thailand expects a record 32.4 million foreign tourists this year.
Critics have said Thailand’s tsunami warning system remains inadequate, partly because it isn’t maintained properly. The government has said it is in good order.

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