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US: Laptops In Checked Bags Pose Fire, Explosion Risk

The U.S. government is urging that large, personal electronic devices like laptops be banned from airline checked luggage because of the potential for a catastrophic fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration says in a paper filed recently with a U.N. agency that its tests show that when lithium-ion batteries used in laptops, cellphones and other devices overheat in close proximity to an aerosol spray, they can cause explosions capable of disabling an airliner’s fire suppression system. The U.N. agency sets global aviation safety standards.

Tests of overheating batteries packed in luggage containing other consumer products like nail polish remover and hand sanitizer also resulted in large fires.

The FAA says permitting passengers to carry larger personal electronic devices only in the cabin is the most effective way to protect safety.

(AP)

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120 Peleg Protesters Arrested By Police

A Jerusalem police spokesman reported on Friday morning Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan that 120 persons involved in Peleg faction protests were arrested for disturbing the peace. This includes arrests made Thursday afternoon in Beit Shemesh as well as the capital, both under the same police district.

The report states, “Throughout the disturbances, the police acted with determination to maintain public order, directing and arranging traffic to alternate routes.

“At some point, areas of protest were opened to traffic except for Sarei Yisrael Street and Nordau Street, and some of the demonstrators left.

“Throughout the demonstrations, the police helped many civilians who were caught up in the riots and could not reach their destination.

“The police are continuing their preparations for the disturbances”.

WATCH THIS: Angry Peleg Protester Berates Elderly Irreligious Israeli; Where Are Your Tzitis?!

WATCH THIS: Peleg Protesters Vs ‘Shiksa’

WATCH THIS: Angry Peleg Protester Berates Elderly Irreligious Israeli; Where Are Your Tzitis?!

GRIDLOCK IN JERUSALEM: Tens Of Thousands Stranded Following Peleg Protests

CIVIL WAR? Irreligious Israelis Have Fist Fights With Peleg Protesters In Jerusalem

SHOCKING FOOTAGE: Peleg Protesters Refuse To Allow Ambulance On An Emergency Call To Pass

WATCH: Dozens Of Peleg Protesters Arrested By Police

WATCH: Angry Motorist Strikes Peleg Protester With His Vehicle

Peleg Protesters Hold Their ‘Day of Rage’ Blocking Roads Across Israel [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]

Nine Peleg Talmidim Wanted by Military Police in Custody: Protests Continue on Thursday

WATCH THIS: Egged Bus Stuck At Peleg Protests Turns Into ‘Shteeblach’ For Maariv Minyanim

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Incoming IDF Chief Education Officer: Education Does Not Belong in the Hands of the IDF Rabbinate

Incoming IDF Chief Education Officer Brigadier-General Tzvika Fairaizen had harsh words during Hoshana Rabba learning in Yishuv Karnei Shomron, blaming the weekly Shabbos Torah sheets in the dati leumi community for the reduction in motivation among youths to enter the IDF.

In the transcript that was revealed in the weekly BaSheva newspaper, affiliated with the dati leumi tzibur, reported by Galei Tzahal (Army Radio), the new chief education officer was heard expressing criticism against elements in the right-wing and dati leumi communities.

In his remarks, Brigadier-General Fairaizen did not spare criticism of religious and right-wing elements, as well as elements in the secular and left-wing public, who force the IDF into the political vortex instead of running the Knesset debates.

“I am subject to the decisions of the democratically elected political echelon, and the IDF does not come to educate anyone, and one who wishes to err in a big way because it takes the only place that has only one goal – to win – and he causes this arena to be a forum for debate.”

Fairaizen sharply criticized the weekly torah handouts in the dati leumi sector, which he says are against the army and the decisions taken in the army. “In the past two years, when I decided that I might take this role, I began leafing through Shabbos leaflets and began to read. I am very saddened as there is hardly a Shabbos in which the Shabbos leaflets do not directly or indirectly attack the IDF, many things are between half-truths and lies.”

Growing up in Yishuv N’vei Tzuf, he explains how he was pressure to quit prior to the expulsion from Gaza in 2005, as some believed if he did, the expulsion would not have occurred.

When asked about his opinion regarding the quarrel between the Rabbinate and the IDF, Fairaizen replied that it was absurd. He claimed that only the IDF had the education entrusted to the Ministry of Religious Affairs. “If you told someone in the State of Israel that education in Israel is in the hands of the Ministry of Religious Affairs, The Education Ministry is in the Ministry of Education, and only through the Ministry of Religious Affairs, that is, the Rabbinate. Not only does the Ministry of Religious Affairs provide religious education, but it gives education to the entire IDF. This sounds absurd”.

Fairaizen was simply explaining that the Education Corps must be exclusively in charge of education in the military and it is not in any way the job of the IDF Rabbinate.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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CIA Chief Makes Incorrect Claim About Russian Meddling

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday that U.S. intelligence agencies had concluded that Russian interference in last year’s election did not affect the outcome, but that’s not correct.

At a national security forum sponsored by a Washington think tank, Pompeo said: “The intelligence community’s assessment is that the Russian meddling that took place did not affect the outcome of the election.”

But the assessment, released in January, said the intelligence agencies “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

The CIA said Pompeo was not trying to distort the formal assessment.

“The intelligence assessment with regard to Russian election meddling has not changed, and the director did not intend to suggest that it had,” said CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani.

Pompeo went on to say that the U.S. electoral process remains susceptible to future interference by not only Russia, but other nations as well.

(AP)

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Defying Trump, EU Leaders Commit To Iran Nuclear Accord

The leaders of the 28 members of the European Union are showing their support for the Iran nuclear agreement, despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s opposition to it.

EU spokesman Preben Aaman tweeted that the EU leaders agreed at a summit Thursday to show their joint commitment to the international agreement curbing Iran’s nuclear program.

The EU leaders called the 2015 deal a pillar of efforts to reduce the global nuclear threat. Some fear that walking away from the deal could compromise chances of encouraging North Korea to negotiate on its nuclear program.

Trump “decertified” the deal Friday, angrily accusing Iran of violating it, and directed the U.S. Congress to make it more stringent.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has certified eight times that Iran was living up to its commitments.

(AP)

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Peleg Faction Calls For Public Kabolas Shabbos In Some Cities

The Peleg faction in the party’s erev Shabbos newspaper calls for public kabolas Shabbos in a number of areas to be “MeKadesh Shem Shomayim”.

It is clear from the banner headline in the party’s HaPeles newspaper, that there are no apologies or explanations, simply statements of encouragement and determination.

According to the newspaper ad, the public kabolas Shabbos will be held:

  • Bnei Brak: At Gan Warsaw
  • Ashdod: Rova 7 on Rabbi Eliezer Ben-Hurkenos Street near the Beit Shlomo Shul
  • Modi’in Illit: Chafetz Chaim Street next to Beit Knesset Heichal Yitzchak

The ad is signed by the Vaad to Save the Torah World.

Additionally, Kabolas Shabbos will be held in Yerushalayim at 3 locations. (See attached flyer)

Click here for erev Shabbos HaPeles newspaper

WATCH THIS: Angry Peleg Protester Berates Elderly Irreligious Israeli; Where Are Your Tzitis?!

120 Peleg Protesters Arrested By Police

WATCH THIS: Peleg Protesters Vs ‘Shiksa’

WATCH THIS: Angry Peleg Protester Berates Elderly Irreligious Israeli; Where Are Your Tzitis?!

GRIDLOCK IN JERUSALEM: Tens Of Thousands Stranded Following Peleg Protests

CIVIL WAR? Irreligious Israelis Have Fist Fights With Peleg Protesters In Jerusalem

SHOCKING FOOTAGE: Peleg Protesters Refuse To Allow Ambulance On An Emergency Call To Pass

WATCH: Dozens Of Peleg Protesters Arrested By Police

WATCH: Angry Motorist Strikes Peleg Protester With His Vehicle

Peleg Protesters Hold Their ‘Day of Rage’ Blocking Roads Across Israel [VIDEOS & PHOTOS]

Nine Peleg Talmidim Wanted by Military Police in Custody: Protests Continue on Thursday

WATCH THIS: Egged Bus Stuck At Peleg Protests Turns Into ‘Shteeblach’ For Maariv Minyanim

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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UJO Of Williamsburg Thanks Mayor De Blasio For New Child Care Assistance For Working Families And Parking Relief For Shomrei Shabbos

Earlier this week, Mayor de Blasio came to speak to residents of the area, and many long-standing issues – from parking restrictions hurting Sabbath observers, to working-families waiting for Child Care and After School services, and many other issues throughout the council-manic district – were resolved.

Among the announcements that the Mayor made at the district’s Town Hall, hosted by Councilman Stephen Levin, were that the city will send out letters this week to working parents who are on the Child Care and After School Vouchers wait list for years offering them a voucher. The city will fund 1,700 new vouchers, thanks to over 15 million dollars in additional funding provided by the Mayor and the City Council in the current budget years. The issuance of those vouchers was delayed, but in more good news, the mayor assured that the funding will be fully utilized, as intended by the council and the administration, unlike in the past, when delays in issuance of the vouchers resulted in a reduction in assistance for working families.

Mayor de Blasio also announced that the parking meters on Division Avenue and Roebling Street will be reprogrammed to for Fridays, to enable Sabbath observers to park there on Fridays. Currently, those meters regulations are in effect on Fridays till 7. During winter Fridays, when Sabbath starts as early as 4:13pm, Orthodox Jews were unable to park their cars at these streets.

Responding to the request by Rabbi David Niederman, president of the UJO of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn, to lift the No Parking 4-7 PM on Lee Avenue for Fridays – which prevents Orthodox Jews from parking on that major Avenue before most Saturdays – the Mayor and DOT Commissioner Trottenberg responded that the agency is currently studying such a change.

The Mayor also announced that parts of Myrtle Avenue – which currently has daily street cleaning om each side, including Sabbath – the cleaning on Sabbath will cease, so that Sabbath observer can park there before Sabbath without being penalized. Councilman Stephen Levin drew attention to this matter and proposed legislation, after Orthodox Jews were ticketed on that Avenue on the Saturday immediately after Rosh Hashanah.

In major news for the entire Community District 1, the mayor confirmed that come fall the entire Community Board 1, which encompasses Williamsburg, will see its Street Cleaning halved, from twice on each side of the street to once on each side. Assemblyman Joe Lentol, Community Board 1 and the UJO, have requested that change for years. The Mayor also announced new funding for parks in the area – including major investments in the Bushwick Inlet Park – and a range of other major accomplishments for the district.

The UJO intervened for years on most of those issues. It was an exciting night to hear that so many of those issues were resolved, thanks the Mayor and the agencies dedicated efforts.

“We are beyond grateful for the mayor for announcing and implementing the major assistance for working families as well as parking relief for Sabbath observers and the entire area. We advocated for years on these issues, and when the mayor came to town it was finally resolved,” said Rabbi David Niederman.

“This is a hands-on Mayor who understands so well all the issues. It’s amazing how he responded to each and every question with such clarity, and just called on his staff to fill in on specific details. This is a mayor who cares for all communities and all city residents,” added Rabbi Niederman. “Tonight’s Town Hall was an embodiment of how the mayor listen’s to everyone and understand and is addressing the unique challenges and needs of all communities, assuring real equality. We thank the mayor and his dedicated Commissioners and staff for these major accomplishments.”

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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Senate GOP Backs Budget, Clears Way For Tax Overhaul

Republicans must now shift their focus to enacting President Donald Trump’s sweeping tax plan, a far heavier lift than the $4 trillion budget plan they’ve muscled through the Senate to lay the groundwork for the first tax overhaul in three decades.

The GOP on Thursday narrowly backed the budget plan, a prerequisite to major tax legislation. The Senate methodically worked through a pack of amendments, with Republicans rebuffing Democrats’ successive attempts to reshape the blueprint and derail the tax cuts in the Senate. The final vote was 51-49 with deficit hawk Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky the lone opposing GOP vote.

Republicans will have a far harder time approving a complex plan to bring steep tax cuts, especially for corporations, and overhaul the nation’s tax system, which has sharply divided House Republicans on regional fault lines.

Trump, who made revamping the tax system a campaign pledge, told reporters Thursday that the budget “will be phase one of our massive tax cuts and reform.”

Enacting a tax overhaul by year’s end is a prime goal of Trump and the Republicans, who are looking for accomplishments following an embarrassing drought of legislative achievements and the collapse of several Obamacare repeal attempts. Republican lawmakers publicly admit that failure on taxes would be politically devastating with control of the House and Senate at stake in next year’s midterm elections.

“It would be a complete disaster,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said after the final budget vote.

The budget blueprint, using Congress’ twisty rules, greases the wheels for the tax package by enabling the Senate Republicans to catapult it through without fear of a filibuster – a delaying tactic meant to kill legislation – by Democrats.

But the Republicans are split. A restive rump of House Republicans from high-tax states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California staunchly oppose the tax plan’s proposed elimination of the federal deduction for state and local taxes. They maintain it would hurt low- to mid-income

(AP)

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One Of The Last ‘Alter Mirrer’ Niftar; Yiddle Brisker The ‘Youngest’ Bochur In The Mirrer Yeshiva

R’ Yehuda Dickstein a”h was niftar in Atlanta, Georgia on 25 Tishrei. He had been living there with his son in law and daughter R’ Binyomin and Dena Friedman.

R’ Yehudah was born in Brisk, Poland in the early 1920’s. He attended cheder with R’ Refoel Soloveitchik.

As a child he displayed extreme devotion to Torah and his family saw to it that he was able to continue his learning even though his siblings went to work at young ages.

By age 12, he was learning in the Yeshiva in Pruzhin. It was there that he celebrated his bar mitzva. At Shalosh Seudos the Rosh Yeshiva announced Mazel Tov Yiddlel Brisker who just became Bar Mitzva. His father came to spend that Shabbos in yeshiva with him and gave him a watch. That was the entire Bar Mitzvah.

From Pruzhin the next step for aspiring Talmedei Chochomin was to move on to Baranovitch and the famed R’ Elchonon Wasserman HY”D. Sometime after Shavuos in 1938, R’ Yehuda decided that it was time to move on to the Mirrer Yeshiva. This was unusual because he was too young for the Mir because he was only 16 years old. Nonetheless, he wanted to be a part of the famed Mir Yeshiva. He convinced two chaveirim to join him. They hitched rides in farmers wagons and upon arriving in Mir presented themselves to R’ Lazer Yudel Finkle the Rosh Yeshiva. R’ Lazer Yudel gave them a farher and accepted them into the Yeshiva. R’ Yehuda would later explain that he didn’t feel that the Rosh Yeshiva was very impressed with his Torah but the clouds of war were gathering and he felt the safest place for a bochur was inside the Bais Hamedrash.

After those three were accepted, no new bochurim joined the yeshiva. For the next ten years R’ Yehuda started off in Mir then to Slabodka, then to Kobe, Japan and finally to Shanghai, China. R’ Yehuda remained the youngest Bochur in the Mir.

In the yeshiva, he joined the chaburah of R’ Aharon Kreiser zt”l with whom he developed a lifelong attachment. R’ Aharon Kreiser and his chabura engaged in vigorous debates with R’ Shmuel Birnbaum and his chabura. R’ Yehuda became the designated go between to deliver challenges and responses across the Bais Hamedrash between the two groups. R’ Yehuda can be seen in the famous Mirrer Yeshiva photo a few rows behind the bima (8-14his glasses glinting in the flash.) Those glasses became famous. On the seventh of Av near the end of the war, R’ Yehuda was sick and in bed in his 3rd story apartment building. An allied bomber erroneously bombed his building totally demolishing it. When R’ Yehuda came to, he was still in his bed but now in the basement of the building under tons of rubble. A man appeared and told him to follow him. He followed the man out of the building to safety. He was completely unharmed with the exception of his glasses that had been lost. After that he was know in the Mir as Zayin Av a day he celebrated annually with a seudas hodaah.

R’ Yehuda’s entire family; parents, grandparents, sibilings, aunts, uncles, and cousins were all destroyed in the Churban of Europe leaving him an orphan with no family to return to after the war.

After the war, R’ Yehuda emigrated to America with the yeshiva. He taught for the Mir in Brooklyn and it was there that R’ Kalmanovitz zt”l introduced him to Chava Beer a”h a graduate of the Bais Yaakov in Williamsburg. After spending some years teaching and working for shuls in Maulden, Massachusetts and Washington DC, the Dickstein family settled in Baltimore, Maryland where they raised their family.

Ten years ago, they moved to Atlanta Georgia. In Atlanta, R’ Yehuda became popular with the many baalei teshuva in his son in law’s shul who came to him regularly to learn Torah and experience the connection to a lost world. Whenever anyone came to visit, they always found him engrossed in a sefer.

R’ Yehuda was predeceased by his oldest child, Rochel Weissman a”h. He is survived by his children, Dena Friedman of Atlanta, Georgia, Gittel Cweiber of Flatbush, Heshy Dickstein of Frederick Maryland, Faygie Dasheff of Kensington, Chaya Lovett of Far Rockaway, Mendel Dickstein of Atlanta, Georgia, and Rivka Lipshutz of Atlanta, Georgia along with many grandchildren and great grandchildren bli a”h.

Yehi Zichro Baruch…

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

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WATCH: Building The Wall! Check Out 8 Prototypes For Trump’s Border Wall

(VIDEO IN EXTENDED ARTICLE)

The last two of eight prototypes for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall took shape Thursday at a construction site in San Diego.

The prototypes form a tightly packed row of imposing concrete and metal panels, including one with sharp metal edges on top. Another has a surface resembling an expensive brick driveway.

Companies have until Oct. 26 to finish the models but Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said the last two came into profile, with crews installing a corrugated metal surface on the eighth model on a dirt lot just a few steps from homes in Tijuana, Mexico.

As the crews worked, three men and two women from Nepal, ages 19 to 30, jumped a short rusted fence from Tijuana into the construction site and were immediately stopped by agents on horseback.

Francisco said there have been four or five other illegal crossing attempts at the site since work began Sept. 26.

The models, which cost the government up to $500,000 each, were spaced 30 feet (9.1 meters) apart. Slopes, thickness and curves vary. One has two shades of blue with white trim. The others are gray, tan or brown — in sync with the desert.

Bidding guidelines call for the prototypes to stand between 18 and 30 feet (5.5 and 9.1 meters) high and be able to withstand at least an hour of punishment from a sledgehammer, pickaxe, torch, chisel or battery-operated tools.

Features also should prevent the use of climbing aids such as grappling hooks, and the segments must be “aesthetically pleasing” when viewed from the U.S. side.

The administration hasn’t said how many winners it will pick or whether Trump will weigh in himself.

BORDER WALL prototypes underway! pic.twitter.com/arFNO80zmO

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017

There is currently 654 miles (1,052 kilometers) of single-layer fence on the 1,954-mile (3,143-kilometer) border, plus 51 miles (82 kilometers) of double- and triple-layer fence.

“I’m sure they will engage in a lot of tests against these structures to see how they function with different challenges,” U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday after touring the construction site.

Trump has asked Congress for $1.6 billion to replace 14 miles of wall (22.4 kilometers) in San Diego and build 60 miles (96 kilometers) in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, the busiest corridor for illegal crossings.

Here’s a rundown of companies building prototypes, their headquarters and value of their contract. Two are making one concrete prototype and another using other materials.

CADELL CONSTRUCTION CO., Montgomery, Alabama. ($344,000 for concrete wall, $320,000 for other wall)

Its tan concrete wall is thick at the bottom and narrows considerably toward the pointed top. The other, also tan, has metal poles on the bottom, a metal plate in the middle, and concrete block on top.

The general construction company founded in 1983 says its projects include U.S. embassies in Beijing and Kabul, Afghanistan, terminals at Houston’s George Bush International Airport and renovations to the Denver Mint.

W.G. YATES & SONS CONSTRUCTION CO., Philadelphia, Mississippi. ($453,548 for concrete wall, $458,103 for other wall)

Its models are a darker brown than other prototypes and topped by round beams. Its concrete panel has a plain face; its metal one has a corrugated surface.

The 53-year-old company has worked in a wide range of projects, including a Toyota plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, a county jail in Olmito, Texas, a marine terminal in Jacksonville, Florida, and a power plant near Panama City, Florida.

___

Two companies are building concrete walls.

FISHER SAND & GRAVEL CO., Tempe, Arizona. ($365,000 contract)

It’s the only prototype to be built entirely on site — as opposed to being hauled in. Its tan surface gradually narrows toward the top, like a long triangle.

Part of conglomerate Fisher Industries, the company produces sand, gravel and other products for roads, dams and large public works projects. The company is active is 12 western states.

TEXAS STERLING CONSTRUCTION CO., Houston. ($470,000 contract)

The gray surface of the U.S. side is stamped with patterns of different-sized bricks, like a driveway or sidewalk at an upscale home. There is a steel plate on top with prongs that feature at three metal spikes, resembling an agave plant.

Parent company Sterling Construction Co., founded in 1991, specializes in water and transportation projects, including highways, bridges, ports, light rail, wastewater and storm drainage systems. It is active in Utah, Texas, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, California and Hawaii.

___

Two companies were selected to build walls made of materials other than concrete.

KWR CONSTRUCTION INC., Sierra Vista, Arizona. ($486,411 contract)

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Its gray metal columns are topped with a large metal plate. The small, Hispanic-owned company counts the Homeland Security, Defense and Interior departments among its largest customers.

ELTA NORTH AMERICA INC., Annapolis Junction, Maryland. ($406,319 contract)

Its solid metal wall features six light blue squares with white trim on the bottom third, topped by dark blue beams and metal plates.

ELTA is a large Israeli defense contractor owned by state-run Israel Aerospace Industries. The company, which makes radar and other gear, opened its new U.S. headquarters in Maryland in May.

(AP)

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Additional Arrests Made In IDF Corruption Investigation

Following the arrest of twelve suspects in an ongoing probe into alleged fictitious billing of the IDF, netting millions, authorities on Wednesday 28 Tishrei arrested additional suspects.

An air force captain and NCO were taken into custody in connection with the billing scheme, in which the military was billed for work never performed. All the suspects in the case have been arraigned and remanded.

As reported earlier, two officers were arrested along with employees of a civilian company which provided services to the IDF. Channel 2 News reports one of the suspects is a relative of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-General Gadi Eizenkott.

Members of Eizenkott’s staff responded to the report, explaining he has no connection with the relative, with whom he last communicated with at a family function eight months ago.

Israel Police Lahav 433 unit continues the investigation.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Foreign Affairs’ Wilson Calls On State To Probe Cuba Attacks

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson is calling on the U.S. State Department to investigate a bizarre string of attacks on diplomats in Cuba.

The South Carolina Republican and House Foreign Affairs Committee member made that request Thursday in a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

At least 22 American diplomats, intelligence agents and their spouses in Havana have been harmed in unexplained, invisible attacks over the last year.

President Donald Trump has blamed the island nation for the attacks, even though Cuba’s government has repeatedly denied both involvement in and knowledge of the incidents.

Earlier this month, the U.S. expelled 15 of Cuba’s diplomats to protest its failure to protect Americans from the unexplained attacks, plunging diplomatic ties between the countries to levels unseen in years.

(AP)

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Shas Declares War Against Bnei Brak Mayor Zeibert

The Shas party has declared war against Bnei Brak Mayor Chanoch Zeibert in response to the battle to save Mosdos Ohr David, affiliated with HaGaon HaRav Daniel Zar.

The new storm erupted following the request of the Bnei Brak Municipality to the court to immediately evacuate the building of the girls’ school of Ohr David institutions in Bnei Brak.

Shas notes that the appeal was made despite all the agreements on mediation proceedings and the lowering of all legal proceedings, with the immediate risk that dozens of chareidi girls would be thrown into the street without a place to study.

As a result, the Shas party will hold a protest rally on Sunday in the plaza of the Bnei Brak municipality, attended by Shas MKs and the parents of the students.

Rabbi Zar announced that he had decided to withdraw all the legal petitions against the allocations in the city of Bnei Brak after a meeting with Shas Chairman and Interior Minister Aryeh Deri.

The petitions in question dealt with Rabbi Zar’s claims against the allocations of the Bnei Brak municipality, since they skipped its institutions. His lawyers argued among other things that there is a fear of corruption in the distribution of allocations.

Behind the scenes, those who asked Rav Zar to withdraw all complaints was a member of Shas’ Moetzas Gedolei Torah of Shas; HaGaon Rav Shimon Ba’adani Shlita and Aryeh Deri. Deri promised Zar to withdraw the petitions and that would benefit from the move, convincing him to withdraw the legal petitions.

It should be noted that Deri’s entry into the affair came in light of the request from Rav Ba’adani to end the crisis, especially that these are the institutions of Rabbi Zar, who is known to have worked very hard for Shas, so that the party saw no reason for his institutions to be harmed.

Deri promised during the meeting that the issue would be addressed by him personally. “I will lay all my weight so that the rabbi’s institutions will rise and flourish,” he said. Rabbi Zar, on his part, thanked Deri and said: “I always obey the gedolim, especially HaGaon HaRav Ba’adani.”

Rabbi Zar added: “Although I have not received any promise from the municipality, I do so at the request of the gedolim, who said that Minister Deri will give his soul to solve this.” During the meeting, Deri identified with Rabbi Zar: “We have done injustice here”.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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Google Parent Leads $1B Lyft Investment, Deepening Uber Rift

Google’s parent company is throwing its financial support behind ride-hailing service Lyft, deepening its rift with market leader Uber.

Alphabet Inc., which gets most of its money from Google’s digital ad network, is leading a $1 billion investment in Lyft that values the privately held company at $11 billion. The investment announced Thursday is being made through Alphabet’s CapitalG venture capital arm.

Lyft is still far smaller and worth far less than Uber, another privately held company based in San Francisco whose investors have valued it at nearly $70 billion.

But Uber has been enmeshed in internal strife amid management upheaval and allegations of rampant sexual harassment that culminated in the departure of co-founder Travis Kalanick. Uber lured away Expedia’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, to replace Kalanick and clean up the mess.

Lyft has seized on Uber’s turmoil as an opportunity to gain ground on its rival in the rapidly growing ride-hailing market while expanding into more cities across the U.S. Its drivers’ cars can now be summoned by 95 percent of the U.S. population, up from 54 percent at the beginning of this year.

“While we’ve made great progress towards our vision, we’re most excited about what lies ahead,” Lyft President John Zimmer said in a statement.

Alphabet, which is based in Mountain View, California, has also emerged as a thorn in Uber’s side, even though Google was among Uber’s early investors and still holds a stake in the company.

Google’s self-driving car spin-off Waymo is suing Uber in federal court, alleging that its former ally recruited some of its top engineers as part of an elaborate scheme to steal its trade secrets. The high-profile legal battle is scheduled to go to trial in early December and, if Waymo prevails, could cost Uber billions of dollars in damages and derail its efforts to build its own fleet of self-driving cars.

The falling out dates back to last year when Kalanick became convinced that Waymo intended to deploy its robotic cars in a rival ride-hailing service. Those tensions prompted one of Google’s top executives, David Drummond, to resign from Uber’s board last year. Shortly after Drummond stepped down, Google’s mapping service, Waze, began to expand a carpooling program that could eventually draw riders away from Uber.

Earlier this year, Waymo and Lyft formed a partnership to begin testing self-driving cars on the roads in a move that was widely seen as another attack on Uber.

Now that Lyft is growing even closer to the Alphabet family with the $1 billion investment, it is giving one of the seats on its board of directors to a CapitalG partner — David Lawee.

(AP)

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Trump Reprises Campaign Allegations About 2010 Uranium Deal

Re-airing campaign allegations, President Donald Trump is pointing to an Obama era uranium deal as the “real Russia story” in contrast to a broader inquiry into Russian meddling during the 2016 election.

Trump told reporters Thursday in the Oval Office that media outlets have failed to adequately cover the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company in 2010, an issue which Democrats have dismissed as widely debunked. The agreement was reached while Hillary Clinton led the State Department and some investors in the company had relationships with former President Bill Clinton and donated to the Clinton Foundation.

“That’s your real Russia story. Not a story where they talk about collusion and there was none. It was a hoax. Your real Russia story is uranium,” Trump said during a meeting about Puerto Rico’s hurricane recovery.

As he attempts to push back against the investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump has sought to link his former Democratic presidential rival to Russia’s purchase of Uranium One and accused Hillary Clinton of selling one-fifth of the nation’s uranium. Democrats contend Trump is seeking to deflect from the Russia probe and his friendly rhetoric toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has launched an investigation into a Russian nuclear bribery case after a series of stories by The Hill that showed the FBI had evidence that Russian nuclear officials were involved in fraudulent dealings in 2009 before the uranium deal was approved.

During his 2016 campaign, Trump frequently cited the deal for the uranium, which is used in nuclear reactors, and has returned to the issue at rallies during his presidency. Trump tweeted about the uranium deal on Thursday morning and administration officials have sought to bring attention to the transaction, which also was explored in “Clinton Cash,” a 2015 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Clinton’s State Department, however, was one of nine U.S. government agencies that had to approve the deal and her campaign and former State department officials said she was not involved in the approval process by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS.

Clinton said in a June 2015 interview with WMUR in New Hampshire that she “was not personally involved because that wasn’t something the secretary of state did.” Only the president can suspend or block a transaction reviewed by CFIUS.

Republicans have also pointed to some of the investors in the deal and their ties to the former president. Canadian financier Frank Giustra, a top Clinton Foundation donor, sold his company, UrAsia, to Uranium One, which was chaired by Ian Telfer, also a Clinton Foundation donor. Giustra has said he sold his stake in the deal in 2007, while Clinton and Barack Obama were vying for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And PolitiFact found that the majority of the donations from individuals related to Uranium One and UrAsia were made before and during Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign — before she became Secretary of State.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Thursday requested the Justice Department to lift a non-disclosure agreement he said prevented a former FBI confidential informant from speaking to Congress about the handling of a criminal probe linked to the deal. Grassley said the Justice Department had threatened to prosecute the informant if he disclosed details of his involvement in the investigation.

(AP)

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Pentagon Faces Demands For Details On Deadly Attack In Niger

Members of Congress demanded answers Thursday two weeks after an ambush in the African nation of Niger killed four U.S. soldiers, with one top lawmaker even threatening subpoenas. The White House defended the slow pace of information, saying an investigation would eventually offer clarity about a tragedy that has morphed into a political dispute in the United States.

Among the unresolved inquiries: Why were the Americans apparently caught by surprise? Why did it take two additional days to recover one of the four bodies after the shooting stopped? Was the Islamic State responsible?

The confusion over what happened in a remote corner of Niger, where few Americans travel, has increasingly dogged President Donald Trump, who was silent about the deaths for more than a week.

Asked why, Trump on Monday turned the topic into a political tussle by crediting himself with doing more to honor the dead and console their families than any of his predecessors. His subsequent boast that he reaches out personally to all families of the fallen was contradicted by interviews with family members, some of whom had not heard from Trump at all.

And then the aunt of an Army sergeant killed in Niger, who raised the soldier as her son, said Wednesday that Trump had shown “disrespect” to the soldier’s loved ones as he telephoned to extend condolences while they were driving to the Miami airport to receive his body. Sgt. La David Johnson was one of the four Americans killed Oct. 4 in southwest Niger; Trump called the families of all four Tuesday.

In an extraordinary White House briefing, John Kelly, the former Marine general who is Trump’s chief of staff, described himself as “stunned” and “brokenhearted” by the criticism of Trump. He also invoked his son serving in Iraq to explain why American soldiers operate in dangerous parts of the world, saying their efforts to train local forces mean the U.S. doesn’t have to undertake large-scale invasions of its own. Kelly’s other son, Robert, was killed in combat in Afghanistan seven years ago.

The deadly ambush in Niger occurred as Islamic militants on motorcycles, toting rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns, seized on a U.S. convoy and shattered the windows of their unarmored trucks. In addition to those killed, two Americans were wounded. No extremist group has claimed responsibility.

The attack is under official military investigation, as is normal for a deadly incident.

What is abnormal, according to Sen. John McCain, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is the Trump administration’s slow response to requests for information. He said Thursday it may take a subpoena to shake loose more information.

“They are not forthcoming with that information,” McCain told reporters.

Sen. Bob Corker, the Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said members of Congress have been provided with some information about the attack, “but not what we should.”

At the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pushed back, saying it naturally takes time to verify information about a combat engagement. He promised to provide accurate information as soon as it’s available, but offered no timetable.

“The loss of our troops is under investigation,” he said. “We in the Department of Defense like to know what we’re talking about before we talk.”

Mattis did not offer details about the circumstances under which the Americans were traveling but said contact with hostile forces had been “considered unlikely.”

That would explain why the Americans, who were traveling in unarmored vehicles with Nigerien counterparts, lacked access to medical support and had no immediate air cover, although Mattis said French aircraft were called to the scene quickly. He said contract aircraft flew out the bodies of three Americans shortly after the firefight. Local Nigeriens found Johnson’s body and returned it Oct. 6.

It’s not clear why Johnson was not found with the three others Oct. 4.

Dana W. White, a spokeswoman for Mattis, said Johnson had become “separated.” Speaking at a news conference with her, Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, said he knew more about what had happened to Johnson but was not willing to share it. He said U.S., Nigerien and French forces remained in the area searching for Johnson until he was found, so it would be wrong to say he was “left behind.”

Mattis said the U.S. has about 1,000 troops in that part of Africa to support a French-led mission to disrupt and destroy extremist elements. He said the U.S. provides aerial refueling, intelligence and reconnaissance support, and ground troops to engage with local leaders.

“In this specific case, contact (with hostile forces) was considered unlikely, but the reason we had U.S. Army soldiers there and not the Peace Corps, it’s because we carry guns.”

McKenzie said last week that U.S. troops in that area had done 29 similar missions over the previous six months without encountering enemy forces.

Underlining how the attack and its response have rattled the White House this week, Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, also joined the defense. He said Thursday that it would be wrong for the Pentagon to provide details of the tragedy before it had fully verified them in the course of an in-depth investigation.

“Answers that are provided, oftentimes, short of that full investigation, turn out in retrospect to have been inaccurate and just cause more confusion,” McMaster said.

Mattis described the mission being performed by the U.S. troops in Niger as a classic example of training that Army Green Berets have performed worldwide for decades, usually with no publicity. Known in military parlance as “foreign internal defense,” the mission is to help local militaries improve their fighting skills and techniques. It requires a cultural acuity for which U.S. special operations troops are known.

(AP)

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WATCH THIS: Angry Peleg Protester Berates Elderly Irreligious Israeli; Where Are Your Tzitis?!

CIA Boss Says ISIS Can Attack US Even After Losing Raqqa

Islamic State terrorists are capable of orchestrating and carrying out an attack against the United States, possibly downing an airplane, even after being evicted from their self-declared Syrian capital of Raqqa, the CIA director said Thursday.

Mike Pompeo said the U.S. is threatened by other militant groups as well.

“IS’ capability to conduct an external operation remains,” Pompeo said. “But I wouldn’t put them in a singular bucket. Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula has for a long time had this mission statement, which includes the taking down of a commercial airliner bound for a western country. Certainly, among those would be the United States.”

Speaking a day after President Donald Trump’s acting homeland security chief invoked the possibility of another 9/11-style attack, Pompeo said America’s enemies around the world “are intent upon using commercial aviation as their vector to present a threat to the West.” However, he also worried about a terrorist capability “we just don’t see.”

The typically blunt threat assessment came during a wide-ranging discussion at a Washington think tank, in which Pompeo also underscored President Donald Trump’s intent to counteract North Korea. He said Pyongyang is only months away from perfecting its nuclear weapons capabilities.

“They are closer now than they were five years ago, and I expect they will be closer in five months than they are today, absent a global effort to push back against them,” Pompeo said. “From a U.S. policy perspective, we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective.”

On another nuclear concern, Iran, Pompeo stressed that Trump wants to ensure the U.S. foe has no pathway to developing the bomb. To that effect, he said, the Iran nuclear deal President Barack Obama and America’s allies negotiated with Iran was insufficient.

The notion that the agreement would “curtail Iranian adventurism or their terror threat or their malignant behavior has now … two years on, proven to be fundamentally false,” said Pompeo, a former Republican congressman from Kansas who keenly opposed to the seven-nation accord when it was reached.

He said the Iran deal put the United States in a better place with respect to inspections of Iranian facilities. But from an intelligence perspective, he said, even more “intrusive inspection” is needed.

“The Iranians have on multiple occasions been capable of presenting a continued threat, through covert efforts to develop their nuclear program along multiple dimensions … the missile dimension, the weaponization effort, the nuclear component itself,” he said.

Trump has provided the CIA with the authority it needs to track Iran’s compliance with the deal, he said.

Pompeo also said it’s an “open secret” that Iran has links to al-Qaida.

“There have been relationships, there are connections. There have been times the Iranians have worked alongside al-Qaida,” Pompeo said. “There have been connections where, at the very least, they have cuts deals so as not to come after each other.”

Pompeo and Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, who also spoke at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies event, both said the U.S. must counter Iran’s aggression in the region. They noted Iran’s support for the Lebanon’s Hezbollah militants, who threaten Israel; backing of Shia militias in Iraq and Syria; cyber activities; ballistic missile efforts; and a long history of proliferation ties with North Korea.

Pompeo also discussed Pakistan’s help in getting an American woman, her Canadian husband and three children released last week from the Haqqani militant network. The couple had been held for five years inside Pakistan, he said.

(AP)

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Obama To Campaign In NJ, Virginia Governor Races

Former President Barack Obama is stepping back into the political spotlight for the first time since leaving the White House, publicly stumping for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey in preparation for this fall’s elections.

Unlike more low-key appearances earlier this year, Obama’s foray into two states Thursday won’t be a one-and-done. The former president is planning more public appearances as the year closes, and preparation for the all-important 2018 midterm elections begins.

“Obama seems to be determined to be an engaged and active former president who’s playing a role in different issues and is involved in politics,” Rutgers University professor David Greenberg said.

Obama is hoping to sway voters in New Jersey and Virginia, the only two gubernatorial races this year. Both Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, are term-limited out of office. Those races will be considered a bellwether of Democrats’ strength in the face of President Donald Trump’s victory last year and first year in the White House.

Obama will first drop in on campaign workers in Newark, New Jersey, for a private “canvass kickoff” for Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, who is running against Republican Kim Guadagno. The former president will then head to Richmond in an effort to help boost Democrat Ralph Northam in his campaign against Republican Ed Gillespie.

At the end of the month, Obama goes to Chicago to head up his first Obama Foundation leadership summit on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, bringing in speakers like England’s Prince Harry, former Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and artists like Gloria Estefan, Chance the Rapper, and indie rock band The National.

Obama’s popularity is still undeniable. In an August NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 51 percent of Americans said they have a favorable opinion of Obama, while 35 percent had a negative opinion. In the same poll, 36 percent said they had a positive opinion of Trump and 52 percent had a negative opinion.

In Richmond, thousands of people lined up Tuesday afternoon to get tickets to Obama’s rally.

Retired Richmond social worker Nancy Jackson, 67, said she missed Obama “tremendously” and wished he could serve a third, fourth and fifth term. She said black voters like herself have been despondent since Trump took office. “I think Obama will bring some light to the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Next to her was William Merriman, 63, an electrician from Richmond, who said Trump stirred racial division with his comments after the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville this summer. He said Obama’s appearance will give Northam a major boost with Virginia’s black voters. “Obama will be a breath of fresh air with the direction this country’s going right now,” Merriman said.

Obama never completely disappeared from public life, in part because of Trump’s constant criticism and efforts to undo much of Obama’s legacy after eight years in office. He has publicly defended his policies that Trump and the GOP-led Congress have set out to dismantle: the Affordable Care Act — or Obamacare — and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allowed immigrants brought into the country illegally as children to be temporarily shielded from deportation.

Trump is phasing out the DACA program, giving Congress six months to act before recipients’ work permits begin to expire, and last week stopped federal payments to health insurers that keep costs down for low-income consumers on Obamacare.

Obama was forced to return “pretty quickly,” presidential historian Julian Zelizer of Princeton University said.

“The current president has changed all the conventional assumptions about what to do,” Zelizer said. “There is a sense of urgency that makes this moment different than others and former President Obama has continued to be directly in Trump’s line of fire — both his policies and his legacy.”

Surrogates also have been quick to defend Obama from Trump criticisms, including recent remarks that Obama did not call families of U.S. military members killed in action.

The former president has attended two fundraisers for Democratic causes since leaving office, one for the Democratic National Committee in Washington, and one for the National Democratic Redistricting Committee chaired by his former U.S. attorney general Eric Holder. Obama has also quietly, and with little notice, dropped in on schools in the Washington, D.C. area, where he and former first lady Michelle Obama now live, and has made surprise appearances in Chicago around his foundation work.

(AP)

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An important and unique letter from Admor of Shotz challenging the Rabbinical consensus for being too “LENIENT” on Zionistic issues

Sharp words from the Admor Rabbi Shalom of Shotz protesting collaboration with the government of Israel and the mandatory education law.
The Admor of Shotz adds that the situation in the Land of Israel prevents himfrom sleeping; ” until now we have been accustomed to decrees from thegentiles, and now, when Jewish blood from the Nazi atrocities has not yet dried, Jews are already decreeing decrees on Jews! ”  He even justifies his criticism ofhis own Rebbe, Rabbi Aharon of Belz by explaining that at the time when G-d’sname is being desecrated, one does not have to adhere to his Rabbi.

As usual, Winner’s again has come through with a series of rare valuable items. Their upcoming October 24th auction includes:

A letter from the first Admor of Sadigura, Rabbi Avraham Yaakov, son of the Admor Rabbi Yisrael of Ruzhin, to his brother-in- law the Admor Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vizhnitz, author of Tzemach Tzedek.

A lengthy letter from Rabbi Yaakov Yosef the first Chief Rabbi of New York to Rabbi Shmuel Salant.

A set of the First Edition Keter Shem Tov, a rare and early Chassidic print of theteachings from The Baal Shem Tov.

Novellae on Tractate Sanhedrin, in the Handwriting of the Chatam Sofer.

An Autograph signature letter from the Chafetz Chaim.

A halachic response written by the Rogatchover regarding chalitza by an apostate who was at the center of a Torah polemic, written in Dvinsk 1929.

Winner’s Auction House has been conducting public auctions for over 30 years and is one of the leading Authorities specializing in ancient Hebrew books, manuscripts and Judaica objects.

The auction catalog along can be viewed on the website –  winners-auctions.com

The auction will be broadcast in real-time on the website.

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