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  • A Russian policeman stands in front of an entrance of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 2013. (Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press)

    Russian intelligence and security services have been waging a campaign of harassment and intimidation against U.S. diplomats, embassy staff and their families in Moscow and several other European capitals that has rattled ambassadors and prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to ask Vladimir Putin to put a stop to it.

    At a recent meeting of U.S. ambassadors from Russia and Europe in Washington, U.S. ambassadors to several European countries complained that Russian intelligence officials were constantly perpetrating acts of harassment against their diplomatic staff that ranged from the weird to the downright scary. Some of the intimidation has been routine: following diplomats or their family members, showing up at their social events uninvited or paying reporters to write negative stories about them.

    But many of the recent acts of intimidation by Russian security services have crossed the line into apparent criminality. In a series of secret memos sent back to Washington, described to me by several current and former U.S. officials who have written or read them, diplomats reported that Russian intruders had broken into their homes late at night, only to rearrange the furniture or turn on all the lights and televisions, and then leave. One diplomat reported that an intruder had defecated on his living room carpet.

  • President Barack Obama announced Friday he was designating the area around the Stonewall Inn in New York City as the country's first national monument to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. 

    "This week I'm designating the Stonewall National Monument as the newest addition to America's national park system," Obama said in a video released by the White House on Friday. 
     
    "I believe our national parks should reflect the full story of our country -- the richness and diversity and uniquely American spirit that has always defined us, that we are stronger together. That out of many, we are one," Obama said.
     
  • Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion for the court, with Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joining him. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented.

    "We agree with the District Court that the surgical center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an 'undue burden' on their constitutional right to do so," Breyer wrote.

    Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a series of Tweets hailed the decision as "a victory for women," but said there's more work to be done.

    "This fight isn't over: The next president has to protect women's health. Women won't be 'punished' for exercising their basic rights. -H," Clinton tweeted.

     

  • An iron dome launches rockets to intercept incoming rockets from Gaza on Tuesday.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

    The United States has tested the short-range interceptor missile used by Israel's Iron Dome system with a view to incorporating it or a future American counterpart in European-based air defenses against Russia, a US Army general said on Monday.

    Developed with funding help from Washington, Iron Dome has had a 90 percent shoot-down rate against Palestinian rockets, Israeli and US officials say. But the system's $50 million unit price and limited reach have dampened its export appeal.

    Visiting Israel, Major-General Glenn Bramhall of the US Army's Air and Missile Defense Command said he saw a new need to complement his corps' mid-range Patriot and THAAD interceptors with a thrifty system for less powerful missile threats.

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announces Israel's reconciliation deal with Turkey on Monday, June 27, 2016 (screen capture: Channel 2)

    Israel and Turkey announced Monday the terms of a deal ending years of diplomatic stalemate between the eastern Mediterranean countries and heralding the normalization of ties. 

    Addressing one of the most controversial aspects of the deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the maritime blockade on the Gaza Strip would remain in place following the deal but that Turkey would be able to send supplies to Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod.

    Netanyahu made the comments in Rome, broadcast live in Israel, after Israel and Turkey agreed on the highly anticipated pact. His Turkish counterpart, Binali Yildirim, made a simultaneous announcement in Ankara.

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry brief the media before their meeting at Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem November 24, 2015. (Reuters)

    US Secretary of State John Kerry left Washington on Saturday to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the publication of an international report expected to criticize Israeli settlement building.

    Kerry was flying to Rome to meet the Israeli leader on Sunday and Monday. Some reports have suggested he will use the meeting to assess the possibility of reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

    But US officials have been careful not to predict any breakthroughs and the meeting is likely to touch on the imminent release of a report by the Quartet, which is seeking to foster a "two-state" solution to the conflict.

    This diplomatic group -- the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia -- is concerned that Palestinian violence and Israel's building on occupied land is pushing the prospect of peace further away.

  • A protest against the so-called Brexit in Parliament Square in London on Saturday. Credit Adam Ferguson The New York Times

    Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union is already threatening to unravel a democratic bloc of nations that has coexisted peacefully together for decades. But it is also generating uncertainty about an even bigger issue: Is the post-1945 order imposed on the world by the United States and its allies unraveling, too?

    Britain’s choice to retreat into what some critics of the vote suggest is a “Little England” status is just one among many loosely linked developments suggesting the potential for a reordering of power, economic relationships, borders and ideologies around the globe.

    Slow economic growth has undercut confidence in traditional liberal economics, especially in the face of the dislocations caused by trade and surging immigration. Populism has sprouted throughout the West. Borders in the Middle East are being erased amid a rise in sectarianism. China is growing more assertive and Russia more adventurous. Refugees from poor and war-torn places are crossing land and sea in record numbers to get to the better lives shown to them by modern communications.

  • Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal speaks in Doha, Qatar, August 28, 2014 (AP/Osama Faisal)

    As Israel and Ankara reportedly near a deal on normalizing ties, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday met the leader of Palestinian terrorist group Hamas for unscheduled talks.

    Erdogan received the Doha-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, whose group rules the Gaza Strip, at the Ottoman-era Yildiz Palace in Istanbul, the official Anadolu Agency reported, quoting presidential sources.

    Turkish press reports have said Israel and Turkey could hold final talks on normalizing ties on Sunday but this has yet to be confirmed.

    Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday there was a “large possibility” the negotiations would take place by the end of this month.

  • Traders from BGC, a global brokerage company in London’s Canary Wharf financial centre react as European stock markets open early June 24, 2016 after Britain voted to leave the European Union in the EU BREXIT referendum. Photo by Russell Boyce/Reuters

    The island nation of the UK, comprised of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, voted this week to leave the European Union 43 years after its entry.

    As the stock market reacted with turmoil and the pound’s fate turned into a question mark, British residents started frantically Googling, “What is the European Union?

  • Germany, the UK and France (left to right) will no longer be the top trio in the EU - Getty Images
  • Breitbart News on the eve of the vote predicted that an “Act of God” level storm system was about to wallop the UK and favor the Brexit. The worst of the day’s torrential rain storms and severe flooding hit hardest in Southeast England, which was expected to be the strongest area for the pro-remain vote.

    The chaos depressed the national vote to a turnout of just 72 percent, versus the approximately 80 percent expected in the days preceding the referendum. The bad weather did not deter “leave” voters, but meaningfully suppressed the “remain” vote

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Provocative Commentary


“The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.” 
― E.M. Bounds