Israel and its allies had an earful on Monday. \nWith the world pressing Iran and North Korea to give up nuclear programs, Arab states on Monday criticized the West for allowing Israel to remain outside global non-proliferation regimes. \nIsrael is widely believed to have nuclear weapons capability but has not signed on to major agreements, including the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, which is aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear arms. \n"What surprises us is that at a time when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is intensifying its efforts and monitoring members countries ... we see that it continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty," Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told the annual meeting of the UN General Assembly. \nMeanwhile, the US, China, Russia, South Korea and Japan have been working to engage Pyongyang in a negotiating process aimed at persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons programs. \nEgyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said: "It is unacceptable that Israel's possession of such weapons should remain a reality that some prefer to ignore or prevent the international community ... from facing it squarely and frankly." \nSyria, accused by the US of developing chemical and biological arms, took aim at both Washington and Israel. \nForeign Minister Farouq al-Shara noted that "a lot has been said lately about the dangers of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by countries that already have different types of such weapons." \n"Some have even waged war under the pretext of eliminating these weapons," he said in an apparent reference to the US and its war to oust Saddam Hussein in Iraq. \nShara called it "regrettable ... that some quarters selectively choose to level their false accusations at some Arab and Islamic states but not on others, while simultaneously ignoring the Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons." \nThe Arab ministers repeated their support for making the Middle East region free from all weapons of mass destruction. \nIsrael maintains an ambiguity about its weapons programs but Joe Circincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has written that the Jewish state is believed to have between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons, a stockpile of chemical weapons and an active biological arms program. \nArabs were not the only critics to voice opinion on Israel on Monday. \nA senior US diplomat said on Monday that Israel's refusal to stop building settlements in the West Bank threatened its future as a democratic Jewish state. \nThe warning came in a speech by William Burns, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, at the US-Arab Economic Forum in Detroit, a conference exploring ways of fostering growth, development and trade between the US and the Arab world. \n"As Israeli settlements expand and their populations increase, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how the two peoples will be separated into two states," Burns said. \n"The fact is that settlements continue to grow today, encouraged by specific government policies and at enormous expense to Israel's economy, and this persists even as it becomes clear that the logic of settlements and the reality of demographics could threaten the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy." \nBurns was referring to experts' predictions that Jews will become a minority in the area encompassing Israel, the West Bank and Gaza by 2020. \nSecretary of State Colin Powell, in a speech to the forum later, claimed US progress in rebuilding Iraq and having "mobilized the world against terrorism," while calling on Palestinians to help get the "road map" back on track. \nPowell's 35-minute speech was interrupted by applause just twice, in a city with one of the largest Arab and Islamic populations outside the Middle East. \nOne was when Powell reinforced the call for an end to Israeli settlement activity and the other when he urged an end to the opening of "unauthorized outposts" by Israel.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity. Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016. Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since
WEIGHING THE RISKS: One biogeochemist said that the known risks of disease from not sterilizing baby bottles outweighed that of microplastics Bottle-fed babies might ingest more than 1 million pieces of microplastics each day, new research showed on Monday, highlighting the abundance of plastics in our food products. There is growing evidence that humans consume huge numbers of the tiny particles, formed when larger pieces of plastic break down, but very little is known about the knock-on health consequences. Researchers in Ireland looked at the rate of microplastic release in 10 types of baby bottles or accessories made from polypropylene, the most commonly used plastic for food containers. They followed official guidelines from the WHO on sterilization and formula preparation conditions. Over a 21-day