Iranian Foreign Minister Set to Meet with North Korean Leaders ‘Soon’

by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad Zarif is planning to meet with North Korean leaders “soon,” according to the Islamic Republic’s state-run IRNA television.

On Sunday Zarif cited the “struggle” under which both North Korea and Iran now labor since the imposition of new sanctions by the U.S.

North Korean news agency NK News reported that an additional delegation led by North Korean vice-foreign minister Pak Myong Guk had departed Pyongyang over the weekend, with Iran and Syria on its travel itinerary.

The planned meeting referred to by Zarif will come on the heels of a flurry of diplomatic visits between the two pariah countries, the most recent last week between North Korean leader Kim Jon Un and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok.

In spite of a report by NK News, a North Korean news agency, that the trips are simply designed “to strengthen ties with [North Korea’s] traditional friends and to increase trade with these countries,” a meeting between Ri Yong Ho, North Korea’s top diplomat, and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad last year was indicative of a shared purpose that was less neutral.

In that meeting, Ri cited the need for “increasing coordination” between member states of the Non-Aligned Movement like Iran, Syria, and North Korea, since the enemy faced by each of these nations was “one and the same.”

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China, U.S. start latest trade talks after ‘nice’ working dinner

(Worthy News) – China and the United States began their latest talks in Beijing on Wednesday aimed at ending a bitter trade war, after U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he had a ‘nice’ working dinner the night before with China Vice Premier Liu He.

Mnuchin, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, are holding a full day of discussions, before Liu goes to Washington next week for another round of talks in what could be the end game for negotiations.

Liu greeted Mnuchin and Lighthizer as they arrived at a state guest house in Beijing and the three men exchanged pleasantries, but did not make comments directly to reporters. [ Source: Reuters (Read More…) ]

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Annual 90-hour ‘Bible Reading Marathon’ at U.S. Capitol, prelude to National Day of Prayer

(Worthy News) – The annual “Bible Reading Marathon” is on the steps of the U.S. Capitol this week. Scripture will be read aloud, uninterrupted, for just under four days straight.

“Because the Bible is at the heart of America’s founding principles, it should be voiced at the heart of our Federal Government, exhorting our nation to return to God’s precepts,” the vision statement on the website for DC Bible Marathon explains.

“Therefore, it is our desire to publicly read God’s Holy Word on the steps of the nation’s Capitol, every year, for ninety consecutive hours.” [ Source: Christian Post (Read More…) ]

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US, Israel Unite to Remember The Holocaust This Week

(Worthy News) – The United States is joining Jews in Israel and around the world in honoring the victims of the Holocaust this week.

President Donald Trump declared that April 28 to May 5 is Holocaust Remembrance Week.

“On Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and during this week of solemn remembrance, we honor the six million Jewish men, women, and children who were brutally murdered by the Nazi regime,” Trump said in a statement. “We also remember the Roma and Sinti, persons with disabilities, Poles and Slavic ethnic groups, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and persons who were targeted based on their sexual orientation, all of whom were targeted and killed by the Nazis and their collaborators.” [ Source: CBN News (Read More…) ]

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Anti-Semitic assaults in US doubled in 2018, ADL reports

(Worthy News) – Violent attacks against the Jewish community in the United States doubled last year, while overall attacks that also include vandalism and harassment remained near record-high levels, the Anti-Defamation League reported Tuesday.

The Jewish civil rights group released its annual census of anti-Semitic incidents three days after a gunman opened fire at a Southern California synagogue, killing a woman and wounding a rabbi and two others.

The New York-based group counted 1,879 anti-Semitic incidents – either harassment, vandalism or physical assault – in 2018. That is a 5% decrease from the 1,986 incidents reported in 2017, but the third-highest total since ADL began tracking the data in the 1970s. The 2017 number marked a 57% increase over 2016 and was the highest tally ADL had counted in more than two decades. [ Source: Israel Hayom (Read More…) ]

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IDF deploys Iron Domes ahead of Eurovision, Independence Day

(Worthy News) – The Israeli military deployed Iron Dome missile defense batteries throughout the country on Tuesday, following a rocket attack from Gaza the previous night and ahead of what is expected to be a sensitive next few weeks.

Earlier in the day, the Israel Defense Forces accused the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad of firing the rocket late Monday night, which landed several kilometers off the coast.

The military expects the coming weeks to be particularly tense, as they will see the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the international Eurovision song competition in Tel Aviv, Israel’s Memorial and Independence Days, and the first anniversary of the opening of the contentious US Embassy in Jerusalem. [ Source: Times of Israel (Read More…) ]

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Alabama House overwhelmingly approves abortion ban

(Worthy News) – The Alabama House voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to outlaw almost all abortions in the state as conservatives took aim at the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

The Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted 74-3 for legislation that would make it a felony to perform an abortion at any stage in a woman’s pregnancy. The proposal passed after Democrats walked out of the chamber after sometimes emotional debate with opponents and supporters crowding the gallery. The bill now moves to the Alabama Senate.

Supporters said the bill is intentionally designed to conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion nationally, hoping to spark court cases that might prompt the justices to revisit Roe. The bill contains an exemption for situations in which there is a serious risk to the mother’s health, but not for rape and incest. [ Source: Fox News (Read More…) ]

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Dems, Trump pull $2T surprise on infrastructure

(Worthy News) – Democratic leaders and President Trump pulled a surprise on Tuesday, by reaching a deal to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure package despite rising tensions over congressional probes into the White House that have sparked a debate over impeachment.

The optimism voiced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) after what they described as a “constructive” White House meeting with Trump was greeted with heavy skepticism from lawmakers.

They noted that GOP lawmakers were not even invited to the meeting, and that there was no agreement on how to pay for the costly plan. [ Source: The Hill (Read More…) ]

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Pompeo: ‘Military force is available’ to oust Maduro ‘if that’s what it takes’

(Worthy News) – President Trump is willing to use ‘military force’ to oust Venezuelan strongman Nicolas Maduro, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared Tuesday evening.

“We hope there can be a peaceful resolution and that Maduro will leave without violence,” Pompeo told Fox News’ Bret Baier. “We’re watching those who are engaged in violence and we will hold them accountable. But the president has made very, very clear that we are going to ensure that Venezuelan democracy is restored.”

Pompeo made those comments in response to Venezuelan accusations that the United States has deployed 3,000 people to the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Colombia “planning for war” against Venezuela. The top U.S. diplomat declined to comment on the exact number of Americans at the embassy — “they change from day to day,” he demurred — but left the distinct impression that Trump means for Maduro to leave the easy way or the hard way. [ Source: Washington Examiner (Read More…) ]

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White House wants $8.6B for 300 miles of border fence in 2020 budget

(Worthy News) – Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Tuesday the White House will submit to Congress this week its 2020 budget request for $8.6 billion to build an additional 300 miles of border fence, though it’s not clear how much would be replacement barrier and how much would be new.

“The Southwest Border still lacks a permanent wall and persistent domain awareness in vulnerable areas. The FY 2020 Budget requests $8.6 billion in DHS and DOD funding for the construction of approximately 300 miles of new border wall system,” according to McAleenan’s prepared remarks at a House Appropriations Committee hearing Tuesday.

The ask would be, by far, the largest amount of money Congress has given DHS for physical improvements at the U.S.-Mexico border. In the previous three years of appropriations, Congress has given DHS a total of $3 billion. In 2017, lawmakers gave the department $341 million for 40 miles of barrier construction. That number jumped in 2018 and 2019 to $1.375 billion each year. [ Source: Washington Examiner (Read More…) ]

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