Friday, February 19, 2016

EU leaders urge pause in Syrian fighting, end to Russia bombing | France rejects Russia’s proposed UN resolution on Syria | Today's News Summary

Today's News 

Proof of Zika’s Role in Birth Defects Still Months Away, W.H.O. Says 

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While the evidence is strong that the virus is behind Brazil’s surge of birth defects, experts are waiting for pregnant women in a clinical trial to start giving birth in June.

Israeli Soldier Killed by Palestinians in Supermarket was US Citizen 

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The off-duty Israeli soldier stabbed to death by two Palestinian teens in a West Bank supermarket has been identified as Tuvya Weisman, an American citizen. He was the second American to die in a six-month wave of stabbing attacks by Palestinians against Israeli citizens. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States condemned the killing "in the strongest possible terms." "There is no justification for terrorism," he said. "This horrific...

Libya group 'threatened US interests'

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Militants from the Islamic State group killed in a US air strike in Libya posed a threat to US and Western interests, the Pentagon says.

EU leaders urge pause in Syrian fighting, end to Russia bombing

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU leaders told Russia to stop bombing Western-backed opposition fighters in Syria and accused Moscow and Iran of threatening peace efforts, as well as helping Islamic State and worsening refugee flows in Europe.
  

British Prime Minister Reaches Deal on E.U. Membership

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British Prime Minister David Cameron says a new agreement with European Union partners gives Britain enough reassurances about its sovereignty that he will recommend that his country stay in the 28-nation bloc.
Cameron says he will recommend that his Conservative Party should campaign in favor of staying inside the EU in a national referendum expected later this year. He plans to discuss the document with his Cabinet at 10 a.m. (1000 GMT) Saturday in London.
Speaking to reporters Friday night in Brussels, Cameron said the painstakingly negotiated document means “Britain will be permanently out of ever-closer union — never part of a European super-state.”
“There will be tough new restrictions on access to our welfare system for EU migrants. No more something for nothing,” he said. “Britain will never join the euro.”

France rejects Russia’s proposed UN resolution on Syria

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France immediately rejected Russia’s proposed U.N. resolution Friday demanding an immediate halt to cross-border shelling and foreign ground intervention in Syria, warning that “a dangerous military escalation” could spiral out of control.









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When Diplomacy Leads to Betrayal

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The game Diplomacy, a classic simulation of international politics and conflict, has proved to be useful for researchers studying the psychology of betrayal.

Cameron Wins E.U. Reforms, But Will Britain Vote to Stay?

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U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron announced a deal late Friday that will bring some changes to Britain’s relationship to the E.U. He will now seek to persuade the British public that it’s in their best interest to stay in the union.
After more than 40 hours of talks with E.U. heads of state, Cameron pledged to campaign with his “heart and soul” for his country to remain a member of the E.U., though he still has “doubts” about the institution. He’ll seek cabinet approval as early as Saturday from his counterparts before announcing a date for a referendum, likely on June 23.
Weary after six months of shuttle diplomacy in several E.U. states, the U.K. Prime Minister secured reforms on several issues that had concerned the British, including a contentious “emergency brake” mechanism that allows a country to curtail benefits to low-skilled migrant workers from outside of the U.K. Under the deal Cameron struck, the U.K. will be able to deny these workers in-work benefits, including housing and other tax exemptions, for a four-year period. The newly agreed-upon system can remain in place for seven years, though Cameron had originally requested 13 years.
The deal also confirmed that the child benefit paid to E.U. workers whose children live overseas will now be based on the rate for the child’s current home country. So, if a Polish worker in the U.K. has children living in Poland, his or her child benefit will be paid based on Polish rates and not the full British payout.
However, after major opposition from Hungary, Solvakia, Poland and the Czech Republic—the countries that export the highest number of low-skilled workers, who rely on these benefits—it was agreed that the current payout structure would remain in place until 2020.
These changes to welfare, which impact non-British E.U. workers, appears to be the biggest win for Cameron after the marathon negotiations. The reforms may satisfy the populist demand to end the culture of “something for nothing” that Cameron and others find most problematic about E.U. membership.
Still, while the reforms may be popular, according to the Bruegel think tank’s research the reduction amounts to just .26% of total U.K. child benefit claims.
Another issue that Cameron is touting as a victory is a written statement in future treaties that the “ever closer union”—an aspiration for Europhiles who wish to increase cooperation in politics, governance and culture—does “not apply to Britain.” In practice this means little, but in theory it illustrates Britain’s defiance of continuous European integration.
Cameron also listed his reasons for Britain to remain in the E.U., including trade and security, and he reminded the public that the raison d’être of a united Europe is to secure peace after many years of war and division.
In addition, Britain’s “closest friends” in the U.S., Canada and Australia “[want] us to stay,” said Cameron, while “turning back on the E.U. is no solution.”
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Official: No Evidence of Shots Fired at Military Base - ABC News

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Official: No Evidence of Shots Fired at Military Base
ABC News
military official says a Virginia base was locked down after contractors working on a roof thought they heard gunshots and called 911. The Daily Press of Newport News reports ( http://bit.ly/1PLUFWu ) that Col. William Galbraith told reporters that ...

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Apple, FBI to head to court March 22 - USA TODAY

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USA TODAY

Apple, FBI to head to court March 22
USA TODAY
SAN FRANCISCO - Apple and the FBI are currently duking it out in the court of public opinion, but their fight will come to a head, legally speaking, on March 22 when both parties will meet at a hearing in federal court in Riverside, Calif. United ...

France rejects Russia's proposed UN resolution on Syria

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France immediately rejected Russia's proposed United Nations resolution demanding an immediate halt to cross-border shelling and foreign ground intervention in Syria.
     

Thousands pay respects to late Justice Scalia