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Supporters to Keep ‘Open Mind’


Former President Bill Clinton applauds as his wife, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in New York, Nov. 9, 2016.


Democrat Hillary Clinton conceded the U.S. presidential election Wednesday to Republican Donald Trump, saying she hopes he “will be a successful president for all Americans.”

But Clinton, a former U.S. secretary of state who was looking to become the country’s first female president, acknowledged the depth of her disappointment in losing. She told cheering supporters in New York, “This is painful and it will be for a long time.”

She said the country was “more deeply divided than we thought,” but she said the losing Democrats “owe him an open mind and a chance to lead.” Clinton urged her supporters to “please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”

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Obama reacts to election results

U.S. President Barack Obama campaigned hard for Clinton’s election, but at the White House he said of Trump, “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting and leading the country.”

Obama said that despite the rancor of the long campaign and deep political divide in the U.S., “We are all Americans first.” He invited Trump to the White House on Thursday to discuss his transition to power on January 20.

 

Obama congratulated Trump over the phone early Wednesday.

Hours after his election triumph, Trump vowed to never forget the working class Americans who launched him to the biggest upset win in American political history.

“The forgotten man and woman will never be forgotten again,” the Republican Trump said on his Twitter account hours after winning the presidency over Clinton. ” We will all come together as never before.”

When he takes office January 20, Trump, a blunt-spoken billionaire real estate mogul, will become the first U.S. commander in chief who has never before elected to public office, served in its military or a high-level government position. At 70, he also will be the oldest U.S. president as he takes over the White House for a four-year term.

He was widely underestimated and even mocked by the political and media class throughout his campaign, but he pulled off a stunning and decisive win over Clinton, who was looking to become the country’s first female president. She called Trump to congratulate him in the early hours of Wednesday after the outcome became apparent and planned to talk about it later.

“I pledge to every citizen of our land to be a president for all Americans,” said an exuberant Trump, surrounded by his family and top aides at a victory party in New York.

 

Improbable victory

It was an improbable victory for Trump, who right up to Election Day narrowly trailed Clinton in pre-election surveys, most of which proved to be massively wrong in predicting a Clinton win.

Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, told television interviewers Wednesday that Clinton had more campaign money, but that his campaign “outworked them, and frankly, we outsmarted them and outclassed them in some cases.”

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway greet supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, Nov. 9, 2016.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway greet supporters during his election night rally in Manhattan, New York, Nov. 9, 2016.

“Take it to the bank, candidates matter,” Conway said. “There’s no substitute for a great candidate.”

Trump’s victory brought to an end one of the most contentious and divisive presidential campaigns ever. At rally after rally, both Clinton and Trump routinely derided each other as unfit to become the country’s leader.

Trump captured at least 276 electoral votes compared to just 218 for Clinton, according to figures early Wednesday, amassing more than the 270 majority in the 538-vote Electoral College, where U.S. presidential elections are decided based on the election results in each of the 50 states and the national capital, Washington. Results in several states were still unclear but won’t change the outcome.

Despite his strong electoral vote win, Trump appeared to be headed for a narrow loss in the popular vote.

It would be just the fourth time in U.S. history that the presidential winner has lost the national vote, but the second time in 16 years it has occurred, with a Republican winning both times.

Trump supporters celebrate as they watch election returns come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's election night rally in Manhattan, New York, Nov. 8, 2016.

Trump supporters celebrate as they watch election returns come in at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s election night rally in Manhattan, New York, Nov. 8, 2016.

Jubilation

At Trump headquarters the scene was jubilant, though remnants of a divisive campaign were still evident. Even as it became clear that Trump would win, his supporters repeatedly broke out in chants of “lock her up,” referring to the Democratic nominee’s controversial handling of national security material on her email accounts while she was the country’s top diplomat during Obama’s first term in the White House.

Trump had vowed during the campaign to name a special prosecutor to further investigate Clinton, but Trump campaign manager Conway said Wednesday, “We have not discussed that at all.”

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Nov. 9, 2016.

A man walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo, Nov. 9, 2016.

Stock Market

Stock exchanges in Asia and Europe fell on news of the unexpected Trump victory, but recovered somewhat from their lowest points as U.S. vote counts through Tuesday evening showed the increasing likelihood that he would win.

Trump had for weeks shrugged off the significance of opinion polls, saying they were products of a system that was “rigged” against him and insisting that the size and passion of his rallies were a better indicator of public sentiment.

According to exit polls, Trump benefited from a larger than expected turnout among his base of white rural voters, men and those without a college degree. Many of them feel left behind in a changing, global economy and were attracted to Trump’s anti-trade, anti-immigration stances, such as his vow to build a wall along the U.S. southern border with Mexico and attempt to make Mexico City pay for it to thwart more illegal immigration into the U.S.

In the end, that was enough to offset Trump’s lack of support among minorities, women and more educated voters who favored Clinton. Exit polls showed that nearly 9 in 10 African Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for Clinton.

People visit Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 8, 2016, on election day.

People visit Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 8, 2016, on election day.

Republicans control congress

Trump will take office with a Congress fully under control by Republicans, after the party on Tuesday not only protected its majority in the Senate, but also left it in control of the House. That means Republicans will be able to fill vacancies at the Supreme Court, likely resulting in a shift to the right that could last a generation.

But still, the Republican Party faces massive challenges, having been largely divided over Trump’s candidacy. Over the course of his campaign, Trump has lashed out at mainstream Republicans, and has rejected many aspects of traditional conservatism.

“We’re in unchartered waters now in terms of what comes next,” says Republican political strategist Ron Bonjean. “This is an unprecedented victory by an outsider who took control of the Republican Party and shook the establishment to its core and is now coming to Washington with a wrecking ball.”

In Photos: Republicans, Democrats React to Vote

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Donald Trump will be the next president of the United States.

The billionaire businessman, who was widely underestimated and even mocked by the political and media class throughout his campaign, pulled off a stunning and decisive win Tuesday over his rival, ex-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“I pledge to every citizen of our land to be a president for all Americans,” said an exuberant Trump, surrounded by his family and top aides at a victory party in New York City early Wednesday.

President Barack Obama congratulated Trump over the phone and invited the president-elect to meet with him at the White House on Thursday.

“Ensuring a smooth transition of power is one of the top priorities the President identified at the beginning of the year and a meeting with the President-elect is the next step,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.

 

 

First elective office

It is an improbable victory for a candidate who has never held elected office and who ran one of the most unorthodox campaigns in U.S. history. It also brings to an end one of the most contentious and divisive presidential campaigns in recent memory.

Trump, a Republican, captured at least 288 electoral votes compared with 215 for the Democrat Clinton, according to figures early Wednesday. Despite his strong electoral vote tally, Trump appeared to be headed for a narrow loss in the popular vote. It would be just the fourth time in U.S. history that the presidential winner has lost the popular vote.

At Trump headquarters, the scene was jubilant, though remnants of a divisive campaign were still evident. Even as it became clear that Trump would win, his supporters repeatedly broke out in chants of “lock her up,” referring to the Democratic nominee.

 

“There was tremendous excitement among Trump supporters to begin with, and it grew and grew as results started coming in,” says White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas, who was at the Trump victory party. “Many Trump supporters say they aren’t surprised at the win — they knew the polls were better for Trump than many had expected.”

Investors reacted less positively, with global markets and U.S. stock futures sent into turmoil as it became clear Trump would win.

A man reacts in front of a board displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 9, 2016.

A man reacts in front of a board displaying stock prices at the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in Sydney, Australia, Nov. 9, 2016.

Polling failure

Trump’s victory amounts to a massive failure for opinion polls, which showed Clinton with a seemingly safe 3-4 point lead in the final days of the campaign. Many respected pollsters had put her odds of winning at more than 90 percent.

“Clearly they blew it, and they blew it quite spectacularly,” said Irfan Nooruddin, professor of politics at Georgetown University. “The pollsters clearly have a lot of homework to do.”

Trump had for weeks shrugged off the significance of opinion polls, saying they were products of a system that was rigged against him and insisting that the size and passion of his rallies were a better indicator of public sentiment.

According to exit polls, Trump benefited from a larger than expected turnout among his base of white rural voters, many of whom feel left behind in a changing economy and were attracted to Trump’s anti-trade, anti-immigration stands.

In the end, that was enough to offset Trump’s lack of support among minorities. Exit polls show that nearly 9 in 10 African Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics voted for Clinton.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is pictured after winning the Arizona Republican primary in Phoenix. On Tuesday, McCain won his sixth term at age 80, in what possibly was his final campaign. McCain is one of the Republicans who Donald Trump has clashed with.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is pictured after winning the Arizona Republican primary in Phoenix. On Tuesday, McCain won his sixth term at age 80, in what possibly was his final campaign. McCain is one of the Republicans who Donald Trump has clashed with.

Divided party, but in control

Trump will take office with a Congress fully under Republican control, after the party Tuesday not only protected its majority in the Senate, but solidified its control of the House. That means Republicans will be able to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court, likely resulting in a shift to the right that could last a generation.

But still, the Republican Party faces massive challenges, having been largely divided over Trump’s candidacy. Over the course of his campaign, Trump has lashed out at mainstream Republicans and has rejected many aspects of traditional conservatism.

“We’re in unchartered waters now in terms of what comes next,” says Republican political strategist Ron Bonjean. “This is an unprecedented victory by an outsider who took control of the Republican Party and shook the establishment to its core and is now coming to Washington with a wrecking ball.”

In Photos: Reaction to the vote

  Presidential nominees clash at the first presidential debate at Hofstra University

U.S. presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton put their contrasting plans on the economy and America’s role overseas in front of potential voters Monday night as they squared off in the first of three head-to-head debates.

Trump repeated his assertion that Clinton lacks the stamina to be president, and said her policies have led to a range of problems facing the country, including the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

 

The debate was the first of three they will have before Americans vote on November 8.

Clinton touted her experience traveling to more than 100 countries and negotiating peace deals and cease-fires while secretary of state during President Barack Obama’s first term.

Trump responded that while she has experience, it is “bad experience.” He sharply criticized the nuclear deal the United States and five other powers struck with Iran to limit the country’s nuclear program, while Clinton cited it as an example of effective diplomacy that cut off Iran’s path to a nuclear bomb.

The two candidates did agree that nuclear weapons are the biggest threat facing the world, and that anybody who appears on a terror watch list should not be allowed to buy a gun.

Clinton called for criminal justice reforms to “restore trust between communities and police” and to make sure that officers only use force when necessary.

Trump emphasized the need to “bring back law and order” and promoted his plan to bring back controversial “stop and frisk” policing.

“We have a situation where we have our inner cities, African Americans, Hispanics, are living in hell because it’s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot,” Trump said.

Clinton rejected that view of black communities, calling it “dire.”

“There’s a lot that we should be proud of and that we should be supporting and lifting up.”

Both candidates also noted the threat posed by cyber attacks from abroad, saying the U.S. needs to do more to fight back.

 

On the war in Iraq, Trump strongly asserted that he never supported the war, despite interviews he gave at the time suggesting he did. He criticized the Obama administration’s handling of withdrawing U.S. forces, saying at least 10,000 troops should have stayed behind and that coupled with “taking the oil” would have prevented the rise of the Islamic State group.

Clinton pointed to the Iraqi government’s unwillingness to agree to a Status of Forces Agreement that would give legal protections to American troops as a key in the decision to pull out.

The next debate will be October 9. Trump’s running mate Mike Pence and Clinton’s running mate Tim Kaine will have their only debate on October 4.

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Prince William with Mandela's daughters Zenani and Zindzi

The news of the death of Nelson Mandela broke during a royal gala screening of the biographical film Long Walk to Freedom in London.

The screening was attended by Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as two of Mandela’s daughters.

Idris Elba, who plays the former leader in the film, called it an “honour to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela”.

Prince William, who attended the screening, said the news was “extremely sad and tragic”.

The film is based on Mandela’s autobiography, published in 1995, and recounts his life from his childhood, through his 27 years behind bars, mostly in Robben Island prison, to becoming South Africa’s first black president in 1994.

Idris Elba
Idris Elba said it had been an honour to play Mandela on screen

Two of Mandela’s daughters – Zindzi and Zenani – were at the screening at the Odeon in Leicester Square when they were told of the death of their father.

Although they left the cinema, they insisted that the film continue. Producer Anant Singh, who Mandela personally awarded the book rights to, announced the death at the end of the screening, and asked for a moment of silence.

British actor Elba later said: “What an honour it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Also at the screening was Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, whose film company is behind the movie. “We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy,” he said.

“It’s been an honour to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of the history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice.

“I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humour was as great as his optimism.”

Nelson Mandela with the Spice Girls, Will Smith, Michael Jackson and other stars

‘Saint’

Morgan Freeman, who played Mandela in Invictus, joined in the mass of tributes from the entertainment world: “Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century,” said Freeman.

“Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honour, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve – a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind.”

American actor Dennis Haysbert portrayed Mandela in 2007’s Goodbye Bafana, about the relationship between Mandela and his prison officer.

Haysbert said: “Portraying Nelson Mandela… was a defining moment in my life and my career. We as a society, have been blessed to live in a time that Nelson Mandela has lived, loved, and led.

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It was as if he was born to teach the age a lesson in humility, in humour and above all else in patience.”

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“What he has done for his country, his countrymen, and everyone on this planet may not be achieved again. Ever. I will always honour him as a saint.”

Music producer Quincy Jones said: “Today, as it did while he inhabited our planet, Nelson Mandela’s spirit truly soars with the angels.

“It was a spirit born of a generosity, love, compassion and hope for mankind that may never exist at such a heightened level in any single human being again. One of the most profound honours that I have had in my life was to be able to call Madiba my friend and brother.”

And singer Aretha Franklin said “a great man has passed on and moved on up a little higher”.

She added: “Most extraordinarily was how he rose above his being imprisoned and exalted himself above apartheid and hatred to unite the country – an unbelievable example of humanitarianism and courage.”

Nelson Mandela and Bono Mandela welcomed Bono to his South African home in 2002

Jerry Dammers of The Specials fame wrote the song Free Nelson Mandela in 1984, under The Special AKA moniker, as a protest at Mandela’s incarceration.

Dammers said: “I met him very briefly twice. I found myself part of the mob that surrounded him, wherever he went after his release from prison, which must have been quite hard for him, but his endless positivity meant he always remained incredibly good-natured, friendly and smiling

“One thing that inspired me to write the song Free Nelson Mandela was his statement, that any attempt to get rid of apartheid was welcome.

“In other words, whether your actions appear to have any instant effect or not, every little bit helps.

U2 frontman Bono collaborated with Mandela on charity issues including poverty in South Africa, as well being a vocal campaigner for his release from prison.

He said: “It was as if he was born to teach the age a lesson in humility, in humour and above all else in patience.

“In the end, Nelson Mandela showed us how to love rather than hate, not because he had never surrendered to rage or violence, but because he learnt that love would do a better job.

“Mandela played with the highest stakes. He put his family, his country, his time, his life on the line, and he won most of these contests.

“Our eyes were opened to so much because of him.”

BBC

Peres also met with Carlos Slim, who is reportedly the world’s richest man and the key sponsor of the Mexican- Israeli business conference.

MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto warmly welcomed President Shimon Peres to Mexico on Wednesday, terming his official visit “a cause for celebration.”

Peres is on a state visit, heading a delegation of 80 top Israeli executives that is seeking to strengthen economic, diplomatic and security cooperation between the two countries.

Following an impressive welcoming ceremony, Peña Nieto called it “a great honor” to be hosting a man with such a prestigious career and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In tandem with the visit, eight bilateral cooperation agreements were signed in the fields of science, culture, youth, sport, water technology and management, and exports which Peña Nieto said would enable more economic development and the creation of jobs.

In addition to discussing major world challenges, the two presidents also discussed the challenges confronting their respective nations. Peres, who expressed approval for the transformations taking place under Peña Nieto’s administration, said Mexico is now more democratic and there is more transparency in government practices.

“We have already felt the spirit of new beginnings,” Peres said.

He looked forward to Mexico and Israel working together for the benefit of both peoples.

Peña Nieto’s election as president represented not only a new voice and a new cause, said Peres, but also a new generation.

The Mexican president was also pleased to welcome a large Israeli business delegation accompanying Peres, and assured its members that they would find many investment opportunities. The business conference which they had come to attend was another sign of the bonds of friendship that exist between Mexico and Israel, he said.

Peña Nieto was particularly appreciative of the opportunity for Mexico and Israel to enter into joint research and development projects which he was convinced would lead to faster development.

At a state dinner on Wednesday, Peres voiced confidence that under Peña Nieto’s administration, “Mexico would not only move, it would fly.”

Peña Nieto said he was happy to inaugurate the festival of Hanukka, the festival of lights, which he hoped would shed light on the enhanced relationship between Mexico and Israel.

Peres and his delegation met in the afternoon with Carlos Slim, who is reportedly the world’s richest man and the key sponsor of the Mexican- Israeli business conference.

Peres extended an invitation to Slim to come to Israel at the head of a delegation of his senior executives and see first hand the technological developments that Israel has to offer.

Slim said that he was touched to receive such an invitation and will be happy to visit Israel and investigate the possibilities of investing or entering into joint ventures.

Slim said he was particularly interested in communications technology and anything that technology can do in the fields of medicine and education.

“Technology is the engine of the present era and the Slim Group will be happy to take part in additional investments in Israel,” Slim said. “We like to have our finger on the pulse of everything regarding new technologies and I know that in this Israel is a world leader, so we are interested in Israeli developments.”

Slim was also asked whether a man with so much money still has any dreams. What does he want to see when he wakes up in the morning? The answer was short and sweet.

“The development of Latin America. I’m still optimistic.”

Globes contributed to this report.

JPOST

President Shimon Peres inaugurates Israeli pavilion at Guadalajara Book Fair. Nov 30, 2013

President winds up visit to Mexico, suggests he will serve country from outside of politics when term expires.

Shimon Peres does not intend to try to extend his tenure as president when his seven-year term expires in the summer of 2014, he told Israel Radio on Sunday.

Speaking in an interview at the tail-end of a state visit to Mexico, Peres said in response to queries about whether he would return to politics following his presidency, that “it is possible to serve the country outside of political life as well.”

Peres continued to push for advancement of the peace process with the Palestinians during his visit to Mexico.

Despite all the difficulties and delays, President Shimon Peres continues to believe that Israel will reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians.  “I didn’t give up hope and believe that just as we made peace with the Egyptians at a time when it did not seem possible and we made peace with the Jordanians we will make peace with the Palestinians” Peres said in the course of a dialogue with Felipe Gonzales, the former three-term Prime Minister of Spain on Saturday evening following the inauguration of the Israeli pavilion at the 27th Guadalajara International Book Fair.

The largest Spanish language book fair in the world and the second largest international book fair after Frankfurt, this year has made Israel its guest of honor.

Israel’s participation under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in the nature of a cultural happening focusing on diverse aspects of Israeli culture which will be featured in Guadalajara over a nine-day period.

Huge posters to this effect with photographs of Israeli cultural icons can be seen all over the city.

At the opening ceremony of the Israeli pavilion, Peres said that the book fair shows the spirit of Israel. Mexico and Israel are both  literary empires, he continued, explaining that people who suffer write good books or use swords. “Swords kill; books enrich” he said.

As he entered the auditorium in which the dialogue was held, Peres received a sustained standing ovation, as has been the case at all his appearances in Mexico.

He received another ovation replete with cheers and cries of Shalom when his name  was mentioned by the moderator of the dialogue.

Gonzales received an even louder ovation.

Many of the 600 people sitting in the auditorium had flown in from Mexico City to share a Sabbath meal with Peres on Friday night and to hear him again at the book fair.

The dialogue with Gonzales covered subjects such as ideologies that have either disappeared or lost their relevance, racism, the technological revolution, the impact of science, new definitions of old concepts and of course the peace process.

Peres and Gonzales are old colleagues from the days in which both were active in the Socialist International and have previously dialogued on these subjects both in private and in public.

Gonzales raised the issue of tolerance, to which Peres whose definition of democracy is  not only the right to be equality, but the right to be different, replied that if prejudices were eradicated there would be no need for tolerance.  “We have to change prejudices and let our children build a new world,” he said.

When Gonzales expressed concern that science might replace God, Peres responded: “I don’t think science is God, but science elevates us to certain heights.”

When the conversation turned to the Middle East and the contention by Gonzales that Israel is not acknowledging the rights of the Palestinians, Peres retorted that Israel was the first to recognize the Palestinians. The Arabs did not recognize them when Jordan had control of the West Bank and Egypt had control of Gaza, he said.

Reflecting on the seven wars that Israel won against all odds, Peres said that winning the wars was not the real victory. “The real victory is peace.”

He had engaged in many conversations with Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat in the desire to reach a peaceful accommodation with the Palestinians, he said. “Without Arafat, the peace process could not have started, but with Arafat it could not be completed,” said Peres.

As Prime Minister, Peres had given a considerable number of cities and villages to the Palestinians so that they could be autonomous. This had made him popular with the Palestinians, but to the extent that prevented their ongoing terror activities.  Peres cited the blowing up of a bus in Jerusalem and another terror attack the following day in Tel Aviv.  When he had gone to the sight of the carnage in Jerusalem, huge crowds had already gathered and had yelled at him, calling him a traitor. His policy towards the Palestinians had cost him dearly.  It was election time, and because of the continuing terrorist attacks, he failed to be re-elected.

“I lost the elections because I trusted the Palestinians and terror continued.  But I did not lose my way,” he said. “I never gave up hope.”

Peres suggested that the Europeans and the Americans go to Gaza and tell the Palestinians there to stop shooting at Israel. When Gonzales was critical of the degree of Israeli retaliation following terrorist attacks, Peres replied “You have to defend yourself when someone is trying to kill you.  The problem is to stop the killing, not to stop the defending.” “Tell them to stop terrorizing.  They kill their own people, they kill our people. This is the greatest obstacle to peace.”

Prior to the opening of the Israeli pavilion which was temporarily sealed off there was a loud anti-Israel demonstration by Palestinians on the other side of the pavilion. People inside the enclosed area could not tell how many people were amongst the demonstrators, but the volume of their shouting suggested that there was a large number.

Jpost.com staff contributed to this report.

JPOST

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in interview with BBC Persian.

The PM also told CBS that Iranian missiles could hit the U.S.; lead U.S. negotiator with Iran urges lawmakers to hold off on imposing additional sanctions against Iran ahead of the talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told BBC Persian Thursday that if Tehran develops nuclear weapons, it will spell slavery for the Iranian people. The interview was one of several given in the wake of his United Nations General Assembly address.

“If the Iranian regime gets nukes, the Iranian people will never be freed from tyranny and will live in slavery forever,” he said in his first interview to a Persian-language television channel, which broadcasts to around 12 million people every week, according to network figures.

The prime minister also addressed his audience briefly in Farsi. “We are not patsies,” Netanyahu said in Farsi. Netanyahu also held up a book authored by Iranian President Hassan Rohani, which, he said, includes passages in which Rohani explains his policy of using deception against the West in order to further Iran’s nuclear program.

On Thursday night, Rohani tweeted that “Tel Aviv upset & angry…because the Iranian nation’s message of #peace is being heard better. #Iran #Dialogue.”

Also on Thursday, Netanyahu told CBS that Iran was working on intercontinental ballistic missiles that could one day hit the United States. “They’re not developing those ICBMs for us. They can reach us with what they have. It’s for you,” he told CBS News.

“The American intelligence knows as well as we do that Iran is developing ICBMs not to reach Israel. They want to reach well beyond,” he said on the network’s “This Morning” program.

The United States and other Western powers have shown an increased interest in engaging with Iran’s new president, although Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that Tehran must first prove it is willing to end the stand-off over its nuclear program.

The ICBM issue first emerged after a 2011 blast at an Iranian military base that Israeli officials said was linked to efforts to build a missile that could travel 10,000 km – far enough to reach the United States.

Israeli officials in early 2012 said that it would be two to three years before Iran would have such long-range missiles that could hit the United States.

One senior Israeli security official, asked about Netanyahu’s comments Thursday, said the threat of Iranian ICBMs was still not imminent. “It will be a few years before Iran has ballistic missiles,” said the official, who declined to be identified.

Netanyahu told CBS that he was not worried that his warnings may sound too strident given the ongoing efforts by the United States and others to negotiate with Iran. “The policy should be … not to let Iran wiggle away with a partial deal in which they make cosmetic concessions,” he said.

In another interview, Netanyahu also warned Iran’s work on ICBMs was clearly aimed at delivering nuclear weapons.

“Those … long-range ballistic missiles have only one purpose in the world. Their sole purpose is to arm them with a nuclear payload,” he told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell in an interview set to air later on Thursday.

No easing of sanctions

Meanwhile, a top U.S. official said Thursday that the Obama administration is looking for Iran to take specific steps to slow its uranium enrichment and to open a wider window into its nuclear program, ahead of October 15-16 negotiations with Tehran.

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator with Iran, also urged U.S. lawmakers to hold off on imposing additional sanctions against Iran ahead of the talks.

In testimony for Congress, Sherman held out the possibility of sanctions relief for Iran, but she made it clear the United States expected concrete actions from Tehran before this could happen and said all U.S. concerns about Iran’s nuclear program must be addressed before the core sanctions could be removed.

“We will be looking for specific steps by Iran that address core issues, including but not limited to, the pace and scope of its enrichment program, the transparency of its overall nuclear program and (stockpiles) of enriched uranium,” Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“The Iranians in return will doubtless be seeking some relief from comprehensive international sanctions that are now in place,” she added. “We have been clear that only concrete viable steps, and verifiable steps, can offer a path to sanctions relief.”

Six major powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – will meet Iran’s new negotiating team in Geneva on Oct. 15-16 to discuss its nuclear program.

The United States and its allies have imposed extensive sanctions against Iran, including a U.S. law that forced buyers of Iranian crude to sharply cut their purchases, because of Tehran’s failure to address their concerns about the nuclear program.

At the hearing, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, a Democrat, said some U.S. lawmakers are moving forward on new U.S. sanctions to further cut Iranian petroleum sales, but held out the possibility of sanctions relief if Iran lives up to its UN Security Council obligations.

Those obligations include ceasing the enrichment of uranium, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear power plants or, if extended, fissile material for an atomic bomb.

HAARETZ

In first cabinet meeting of Jewish new year, Premier says Israel’s “sober, balanced” policy has brought calm.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used the occasion of the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday to praise Israel as “an island of tranquility [amid] the storm raging around us.”

In the first cabinet meeting of the Jewish new year, the premier saluted the men and women of Israel’s security forces “for the quiet and peaceful holiday that we just had throughout the country.”

“This is not self-evident given the storm raging around us,” the premier said. “We are watching over Israel, an island of tranquility, quiet and security, which also stems from our responsible and balanced policy and the very professional and vigorous action – only some of which is known to the public – by all of the security arms.”

With political instability tying up Egypt and the imminent prospect of American military action in Syria, Israel has seen relative peace throughout the period that began with the Arab Spring.

“The combination of these two things – a sober, balanced and responsible policy and professional security action – is what brought us this quiet,” the prime minister said. “Insofar as it depends on us, we are working so that it will continue.”

Netanyahu also praised the police for the drop in the national crime rate.

JPOST

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her challenger, the top candidate in the upcoming German general elections of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Peer Steinbrueck, pose with TV hosts during their TV duel in Berlin, (photo via Reuters)

Pollsters and papers have not agreed on a winner after Germany’s main candidates for chancellor locked horns on national television. Angela Merkel and Peer Steinbrück focused on issues, not insults, in a dry debate.

Incumbent Angela Merkel and her Social Democrat challenger Peer Steinbrück debated their election policies on the television screens of an estimated 12 million Germans on Sunday evening. Billed as a “television duel,” the 90-minute debate was more of a diplomatic discussion than a battle to the death ahead of Germany’s September 22 election.

Merkel and Steinbrück face off in TV debate

Three of Germany’s largest polling companies called the debate with every outcome possible, one giving conservative Merkel the edge, another asserting a draw and the third declaring Steinbrück a narrow winner.

The top-selling “Bild” newspaper even ran the headline “Raab was the winner,” in reference to the controversial fourth member of the questioning panel, celebrity game show host Stefan Raab.

With the debate broadly seen as Steinbrück’s best late chance to make some inroads with his sharp tongue, the Social Democrat challenger might have hoped for better as he trails in the opinion polls. Merkel, wearing a necklace displaying the colors of the German flag, often required longer to deliver her answers but was able to keep up with the fast-talking Steinbrück’s fact-laden challenges.

“Germany is better placed now than it was four years ago,” Merkel said at the start of the debate, setting out her stall for a steady hand at the rudder immediately. In her closing statement, the chancellor similarly told voters: “You know me and are aware of what I want to achieve and how I go about it. You have had four good years in Germany, and I would like the next years to be good ones as well.”

Merkel highlighted Germany’s comparatively solid financial performance during what she repeatedly referred to as “Europe’s worst-ever crisis,” pointing to record employment figures and tax revenues. Steinbrück used this as a base for a counter attack, however, arguing that many of the jobs were poorly paid or part time. Steinbrück said the Social Democrats campaign to introduce a minimum wage of 8.5 euros per hour ($11.23) would guarantee that those working in Germany could live on their salaries, saying that this was often not the case.

Yet even on a domestic topic where the two main parties have vastly different stances, the debate remained mild-mannered and both candidates sought to avoid personal barbs – even when asked to provide them.

Keeping it civil

Merkel was even asked whether she felt sorry for Steinbrück – with the questioner listing a series of unfortunate campaign episodes when setting up the question – but the chancellor responded that “Mr. Steinbrück really is not in need of my sympathy,” adding that they were both used to frequent criticism as career politicians.

Jasper von Altenbockum of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung picked up on the comparatively friendly theme, likening Steinbrück’s data-driven barbs to “a question and answer game,” rather than a “phalanx advancing on the chancellery.” As for Merkel, Altenbockum concluded that she “did – and indeed does – all in her power to elegantly avoid anything that might have turned a duel into an actual duel.”

Friction on the eurozone

The two leaders clashed on German leadership within the eurozone during the so-called debt crisis.

Steinbrück said that he would have taken a different path when drafting terms for countries like Greece receiving international loans. He argued that the focus on debt reduction was too strong, with too little effort to promote growth, saying the strict terms for so-called bailouts put the recipient countries into a “vicious cycle” of deepening debt.

Merkel’s first retort was to mention Steinbrück’s and the Social Democrats’ record of supporting the measures in parliament. Under German law, rescue packages for eurozone partners needed a two-thirds majority to be approved, meaning Merkel was reliant on support from the opposition.

During Merkel’s first term in a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, Steinbrück served as her finance minister – often earning himself a reputation as a right-of-center renegade by his own party’s standards.

Near-lockstep on Syria

Both candidates said that under the current circumstances, German military action in Syria was out of the question. Merkel said Germany “can not” take part in a military mission unless it has either a UN, NATO or EU mandate. She said that she’d be pushing for an international agreement on the issue at this week’s G20 summit, taking place in Russia – arguably Syria’s closest major ally.

Steinbrück also said he hoped for an international consensus, adding he thought military intervention would be the wrong path to take.

The candidates also touched on a string of key domestic debates like highway tolls, pre-kindergarten daycare for children under three, taxation policies and pension provisions.

Lead candidates from the three next-largest German parties – the pro-business Free Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party – will hold their own three-way debate on Monday evening on national television.

msh/ccp (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

DW.DE

 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have named their son George Alexander Louis, Kensington Palace has said.

The third in line to the throne, who was born on Monday at 16:24 BST, will be known as His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge.

The Queen was told of Prince George’s name when she met him for the first time on Wednesday.

The family are at the Middleton home in Bucklebury, Berkshire, after spending a night at Kensington Palace.

George was the bookmakers’ favourite for the first name of the prince.

The duke and duchess had been expected to pick a traditional royal name for their son, who was born at St Mary’s Hospital in London, weighing 8lbs 6oz.

Royal infants usually have historical names which are passed down through the generations.

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital with their new baby boy on 23 July 2013 The duke and duchess gave the world its first glimpse of Prince George on Tuesday

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There have been six King Georges up to now, most recently the Queen’s father, although his first name was Albert and he was known to his family as Bertie.

The name Louis is Prince William’s fourth name and is likely to be a tribute to Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Duke of Edinburgh’s uncle and the last British Viceroy of India before independence in 1947.

At the scene

On the grass in front of Kensington Palace the name George has been spelt out with dozens of little boxes.

“It is a product to help breast-feeding mothers,” an entrepreneurial woman replies when asked what is in the boxes. “A food supplement. We want to get some to Kate but she is not here is she?”

Indeed the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Nottingham cottage in the grounds of Kensington Palace in the early afternoon and most passers-by are unaware that this week’s most famous new parents have named their son.

Waiting reporters reveal the name to some of the enquiring public. Most are satisfied with the choice. “Not surprising,” say others.

Only one crinkles up his nose when he hears the three names.

For a few minutes there is a buzz around the camera crews as broadcasters analyse the significance of George Alexander Louis and then the park returns to normal as the cyclists and runners drift by, oblivious that His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge, their future king, has been named.

Prince Charles was immensely fond of his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten. Known by the Royal Family as Uncle Dickie, he was assassinated by the IRA in August 1979.

The prince’s other middle name – Alexander – is one that three medieval Scottish kings have had, and was also the name of the famous 4th Century ruler Alexander the Great. The Queen’s middle name is Alexandra.

BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell said George will be seen as a tribute to the Queen’s father but the couple are said to genuinely like the name themselves.

Alexander was a favourite of Catherine’s, he added.

The BBC’s Peter Hunt said Prince George does not have to be King George if he accedes to the throne – he can choose another name, as the Queen’s father did.

“Royal names are diminishing. Edward VIII had 7; Prince Charles has 4; Prince William 4; Prince George 3. #princegeorge,” he tweeted.

Charles Mosley, author of Blood Royal, told the BBC he knew it would be George.

“It was the name of the sovereigns under whom this country became a world player – in the 19th Century, defeating Napoleon, and in the 20th Century, winning two world wars.

“Louis is a nod in the direction of the Mountbatten element in the Royal Family. And indeed the surname of the royal family is still Mountbatten. His (Prince George’s) birth certificate and marriage certificate will say Mountbatten-Windsor.”

As well as being an established regal name, George is also a saint’s name. St George was an early Christian martyr and is the patron saint of England.

The announcement of the new prince’s name has been relatively quick compared with previous royal babies.

It was seven days before the name of a newborn Prince William was announced in 1982, and there was a wait of a month following Prince Charles’s birth in 1948.

King Georges

  • George I – Born 1660, Hanover. Reign: 1714-27
  • George II – Born 1683, Hanover. Reign: 1727-60
  • George III – Born 1738, London. Reign: 1760-1820
  • George IV – Born 1762, London. Reign: 1820-1830
  • George V – Born 1865, London. Reign: 1910-36
  • George VI – Born 1895, Sandringham. Reign: 1936-1952

The Queen spent 30 minutes with her new great-grandson on Wednesday. At a reception at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, the monarch said she was “thrilled” at the arrival of her third great-grandchild.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and Catherine’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, paid visits to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.

Later that day, Catherine’s sister Pippa Middleton went to Kensington Palace and Prince Harry also paid his new nephew a visit.

The duke and duchess left Kensington Palace shortly after the Queen’s visit and were driven to Bucklebury. It had been expected that the couple would want to spend time at the duchess’s family home but it is not known how long they will stay.

Prince William has two weeks’ paternity leave before he is due back to work in Anglesey where he is an RAF search and rescue pilot.

BBC