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Noam Chomsky Makes First Visit To Gaza

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, October 18, 2012 17:15 EDT

GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — Jewish-American scholar and activist Noam Chomsky reportedly called for an end to Israel’s siege of Gaza, on his first ever visit to the Hamas-ruled enclave on Thursday.

Chomsky, who was in the Gaza Strip for a conference at the Islamic University, called “to end the Israeli siege on Gaza,” a member of Gaza’s legislative council and head of the university’s administrative board, Jamal al-Khudari, told AFP.

“The Palestinian people have a right to live peacefully and in freedom,” Khudari also quoted Chomsky as saying.

Israel says its blockade of the coastal strip, first imposed in June 2006 and tightened in September 2007, is necessary to prevent weapons from entering the Palestinian territory ruled by the Islamist movement.



Putin Says Russia Will Not Be Dictated To On Arms Sales

MOSCOW | Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:53am EDT

(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that only the U.N. Security Council could restrict Russian weapons sales abroad, a remark that appeared aimed at defending the Kremlin against criticism of its arms supplies to the Syrian government.

"Only sanctions imposed by the U.N. Security Council can serve as a basis for limiting weapons supplies," Putin said, according to state-run Itar-Tass news agency.

"In all other cases, nobody can use any pretext to dictate to Russia on how it should trade and with whom," he was quoted as telling a meeting of a state commission on the arms trade.



Commander: If Iran Is Attacked, Israel Will Be Hit

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Israel will "definitely" face fierce retaliation if it attacks Iranian nuclear sites, the acting commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard warned Thursday.

The remarks by Gen. Hossein Salami appear to be part of Iranian efforts to portray any strike against it as the trigger for a regional conflict that could draw in Iranian proxies, such as Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group, on Israel's borders.

Salami was quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying Iran has prepared for "global battles."

"An attack by the Zionist regime would be an opportunity to destroy that regime," he said, speaking of Israel. "Their defense mechanism is not planned for big and long wars. Their threats are only psychological and if they cross the limit or act upon those threats, (Israel) will definitely be destroyed."



US Jewish Groups Cancel Talks With Protestants Over Church Protest Against US Aid To Israel

By Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press October 17, 2012 5:50 PM

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Major American Jewish organizations said Wednesday they have cancelled talks with liberal Protestant leaders after the churches sought an investigation of U.S. military aid to Israel.

The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and Conservative and Reform Jewish movements are among those withdrawing from the national Christian-Jewish Roundtable. The dialogue group was founded in 2004 to ease tensions over escalating church protests against Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories.

The Jewish groups announced their decision in response to a request by several mainline Protestant leaders for Congress to re-evaluate U.S. military aid to the Jewish state. The church leaders said in an Oct. 5 letter to Congress that Israel was guilty of widespread human rights violations against Palestinians that violated U.S. legal standards for recipients of military aid.

Rabbi Steven Wernick, chief executive of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism called the claims "repugnant, regrettable and morally misguided." The American Jewish Committee, a co-founder of the dialogue group, has requested a meeting with senior church leaders to "determine a more positive path forward."



Israeli Police Arrest Jewish Female Activist For Wearing Traditional Male Garb At Holy Site

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 3:37 PM

JERUSALEM — Israeli police say they have arrested a female Jewish activist leader for wearing a traditionally male prayer shawl at a Jerusalem holy site, an act police prohibit because of Orthodox Jewish sensitivities. She was with an American Jewish women’s group.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says police detained the activist for causing a public disturbance and wearing the garment. Police say they seek to prevent scuffles with Orthodox Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall, one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

Anat Hoffman leads the liberal Jewish group Women of the Wall. She was arrested while leading prayers for 200 American Jewish women from the Hadassah organization.



Israel Official Says Gaza Militants Getting Anti-Aircraft Missiles From Libyan War Leftovers

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 12:06 PM

JERUSALEM — A top Israeli defense official says Gaza is being flooded with sophisticated weapons from Libya and that the anti-aircraft missile fired last week at an Israeli helicopter likely originated there.

Yossi Kuperwasser, who directs the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, says “significant” numbers of weapons have been smuggled into the territory from Libya since the fall last year of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. The country is awash in weapons after the eight-month civil war and has weak central authority.

Palestinian militants in Gaza launched a shoulder-fired Strela missile at an Israeli helicopter last week, but missed. It was the first such launch from Gaza.



Israeli Army Calculated Calorie Needs For Gazans To Stave Off Malnutrition During Blockade

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 12:25 PM

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military meticulously calculated the number of calories Gaza’s residents would need to consume to avoid malnutrition during a sweeping blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010, according to a document the Defense Ministry released under a court order and that was made public Wednesday.

The Israeli military insisted that it never used the 2008 guidelines to restrict the flow of food to Gaza. But critics disputed that, saying the calculations appear to have guided limits imposed on food imports at the time. They said the document provides further evidence that Israel used food as a weapon to put pressure on Hamas, the violently anti-Israel militant group that seized Gaza by force in mid-2007.

Israel’s military spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar said the mathematical formula was devised as a safeguard to identify food needs and avoid a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

The Israeli rights group Gisha, which waged a lengthy legal to make the document public, contended that Israel calculated the calorie needs for Gaza’s population in order to restrict the quantities of goods and basic products it allowed in during the three-year blockade.



Verlander Delivers; Detroit Tigers One Win From World Series

DETROIT -- Pit a nearly untouchable pitching staff against a slumbering offense and it is a recipe for a sweep.

The pitching-rich Tigers are on the verge of sweeping the struggling New York Yankees right out of the postseason after Justin Verlander allowed just one run on three hits over 8 1/3 innings to lead Detroit to a 2-1 victory Tuesday night in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park.

BOX SCORE: Tigers 2, Yankees 1

The Tigers could finish the best-of-seven series Wednesday and win their first AL pennant since 2006 when Max Scherzer faces Yankees ace CC Sabathia in Game 4 at 8:07 p.m. ET.



U.S. Navy, Allies Find Less Than Half the Sea Mines Planted in Key Exercise

A major international naval exercise last month in and around the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea, led by the U.S. Navy with more than 30 other nations participating, located fewer than half of the practice mines laid at sea.

This outcome of the highly publicized military drills — not publicly known until now — underscores how difficult it may be for the United States and its partners to detect and incapacitate waterborne explosive devices that Iran has threatened to plant if its nuclear facilities come under attack.

Out of the 29 simulated mines that were dropped in the water, “I don’t think a great many were found,” retired Navy Capt. Robert O’Donnell, a former mine warfare director for his service, told the NewsHour. “It was probably around half or less.”

Navy officials, though, said the drill was constructive and asserted that focusing on the number of mines detected alone would paint an incomplete picture.



Regulators Let Cable Companies Encrypt All TV Signals To Foil Moochers

By PETER SVENSSON | Associated Press | 19 minutes ago in
The Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to lift a ban on encryption of basic cable signals, saying it will reduce the number of visits by cable technicians to disconnect service and reduce cable theft.

The change will also affect households that pay for TV but have some sets hooked up directly to cable, without set-top boxes. They will need to get boxes for those sets.

Neither the FCC nor the National Cable & Telecommunications Association knows how many households are taking advantage of the unencrypted signals or will need set-top boxes. NCTA spokesman Brian Dietz says most of the theft is by cable modem customers who also connect their line to a TV set.


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