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INDIANS (ET)

INDIANS (ET)

Virus Kills Member of Council Advising Iran's Supreme Leader

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A member of a council that advises Iran’s supreme leader died Monday after falling sick from the new coronavirus, state radio reported, becoming the first top official to succumb to the illness that is affecting members of the Islamic Republic’s leadership.
   
The death of Expediency Council member Mohammad Mirmohammadi came as Iran announced the virus had killed 66 people among 1,501 confirmed cases in the country.
   
Iran has the highest death toll in the world after China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
   
Mirmohammadi died at a north Tehran hospital of the virus, state radio said. He was 71.
   
The council advises Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as settles disputes between the top cleric and parliament.
   
His death comes as other top officials have contracted the virus in Iran.
   
Those sick include Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, better known as “Sister Mary,” the English-speaking spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and sparked the 444-day hostage crisis, state media reported. Also sick is Iraj Harirchi, the head of an Iranian government task force on the coronavirus who tried to downplay the virus before falling ill.
   
Iran has reported 978 confirmed cases of the new virus with 54 deaths from the illness it causes, called COVID-19. Across the wider Mideast, there are over 1,150 cases of the new coronavirus, the majority of which are linked back to Iran.
   
Experts worry Iran’s percentage of deaths to infections, around 5.5%, is much higher than other countries, suggesting the number of infections in Iran may be much higher than current figures show.
 
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei, himself addressing journalists by teleconference over concerns about the virus, acknowledged the challenges remaining for the Islamic Republic.
   
“We will have two difficult weeks ahead,” he said.
   
Trying to stem the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Iran also on Monday held an online-only briefing by its Foreign Ministry. China as well has held similar teleconference briefings.
   
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi opened the online news conference addressing the outbreak, dismissing an offer of help for Iran by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
   
Iran and the U.S. have seen some of the worst tensions since its 1979 Islamic Revolution in recent months, culminating in the American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and a subsequent Iranian ballistic missile counterattack against U.S. forces.
   
“We neither count on such help nor are we ready to accept verbal help,” Mousavi said. He added Iran has always been “suspicious” about America’s intentions and accused the U.S. government of trying to weaken Iranians’ spirits over the outbreak.
   
Judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi acknowledged some people had begun stockpiling medical supplies for profit in the country, urging prosecutors to show “no mercy for hoarders.”
   
“Hoarding sanitizing items is playing with people’s lives and it is not ignorable,” Raisi said.
   
Raisi also urged officials to grant “maximum” leave to prisoners. Activists have raised concern about the spread of the new coronavirus in Iran’s prisons.
   
The British Embassy meanwhile has begun evacuations over the virus.
   
“Essential staff needed to continue critical work will remain,” the British Foreign Office said. “In the event that the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the British Embassy to provide assistance to British nationals from within Iran may be limited.”
   
While Iran has closed schools and universities to stop the spread of the virus, major Shiite shrines have remained open despite civilian authorities calling for them to be closed. The holy cities of Mashhad and Qom in particular, both home to shrines, have been hard-hit by the virus. Shiites often touch and kiss shrines as a sign of their faith. Authorities have been cleaning the shrines with disinfectants.
   
Police have arrested one man who posted a video showing himself licking the metal enclosing the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad, the most-important Shiite saint buried in the country, according to reports by semiofficial news agencies. In the video, the man said he licked the metal to “allow others to visit the shrine with peace of mind.”
   
Meanwhile Monday, the virus outbreak saw itself dragged into the yearslong boycott of Qatar by four Arab nations over a political dispute.
   
A prominent columnist at Dubai’s government-owned Al-Bayan newspaper on Twitter falsely described the virus as being a plot by Qatar to hurt the upcoming Expo 2020 world’s fair in Dubai  and Saudi Arabia. Noura al-Moteari later described the tweet as “satire” to The Associated Press after it gained widespread attention.
   
The Dubai Media Office similarly described the tweet as being written in a “cynical style” while distancing the Arabic-language daily from al-Moteari.
   
“Noura is a freelance writer and is not an employee of Al-Bayan nor does she represent the publication’s views,” it told the AP. “That being said, this has no relevance to any social media policy being practiced by the publication nor the state.”
   
The tweet comes after Qatar expressed disappointment Sunday that nearly all of its Gulf neighbors snubbed invitations to attend the weekend peace signing ceremony between the U.S. and the Taliban.



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INDIANS (ET)

Re: Israel settlers uproot hundreds of trees in Bethlehem

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I am anti-zionist, not anti-semitic. A lot of Jewish people who live abroad are anti-zionist, you can’t deny that.
Listen, man, this ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and extreme racism towards one another should just cease, if we can’t at least agree on that, this exchange is useless, eventually we believe in the same god, we’re more alike than you think, Islam is the only religion that doesn’t invalidate the other two, in fact you’re only a Muslim after you believe in all the prophets (Moses, David, Jacob, Solomon, Elijah, Enoch, Isac, Abraham… etc) and all scriptures. Can you say that about Judaism? Just brought this point because this conflict is as religious as it is territorial. No one has to leave or steal the other’s property and life. I hope that we see a future where the Jews and Muslims could live together as brothers and allies, without discrimination, prejudice or hate towards one another. It’s getting harder to hold on to this hope a little bit more every passing day.



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INDIANS (ET)

Israel Holds Third Election in a Year

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Voters in Israel are casting ballots Monday in the country’s third election in the past 12 months.

They are deciding whether to give Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a new term, or to go in a new direction with former military chief Benny Gantz.

Polls ahead of election day suggested neither candidate’s party would have enough support to form a ruling coalition.

That was the case in the last two elections, and after weeks of negotiations there was no resolution.

Ultra-orthodox man votes during elections in Bnei Brak, Israel, Monday, March 2, 2020.

Netanyahu has remained the caretaker prime minister through the repeat elections.  The latest comes two weeks before he is set to go on trial on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Gantz in his campaign said Netanyahu is plagued by scandal, while Netanyahu said he is best qualified to lead the country at this time.

Once the election results are in, President Reuben Rivlin will select the candidate he thinks has the best chance to form a coalition and give them up to six weeks to do so.  If that candidate fails, another would then have 28 days to form their own coalition.



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INDIANS (ET)

Re: Netanyahu: Annexation has started, PA and Jordan threats don’t matter

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The UN offer??? Yes, the UN made a partition plan that gave a huge amount of the land to the Arabs. And what did they do? They immediately attacked Israel and the world thought Israel would last two weeks and tens of thousands of Jews would be killed. But the Arabs were pushed back and lost land by their own stupidity. And in subsequent attacks lost more land. But the real important thing to remember is the Arabs NEVER ACCEPTED THE UN PLAN. They wanted all of Israel. To this day they dance in the streets singing “Palestine will be free, from the River to the Sea”. They live in a dream world. Not reality.



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