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Asia and Australia Edition: Turkey, North Korea, U.S. Congress: Your Tuesday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Dan Amaranto/Associated Press • The Mayon volcano in the Philippines is spewing ash more than 4,000 feet high in a spectacular show of power. Officials said a hazardous eruption could come at any time. [The New York Times] • Turkish troops began a ground assault against U.S.-allied Kurdish militias in northeast Syria. [The New York Times] • The U.S. Embassy in Israel would move to Jerusalem before the end of 2019, Vice President Mike Pence told Israeli lawmakers. [The New York Times] • The Philippine authorities arrested an Iraqi explosives expert who they said has ties to extremist militants in the Middle East. [The New York Times] • In Vietnam, a court sentenced a high-profile energy official to life in prison on embezzlement charges as part of a corruption crackdown. […]

Emboldened Israeli Right Presses Moves to Doom 2-State Solution

But Palestinians and Israeli supporters of a two-state solution said the moves revealed the true colors of the country’s ascendant right wing.“We hope that this vote serves as a reminder for the international community that the Israeli government, with the full support of the U.S. administration, is not interested in a just and lasting peace,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, said Monday, adding that he would respond by revisiting the authority’s existing agreements with Israel. “Rather, its main goal is the consolidation of an apartheid regime in all of historic Palestine.”Daniel Seidemann, director of Terrestrial Jerusalem, which focuses on the Holy City’s fate in a potential two-state solution, said that “what was winked and nodded about before is now being acknowledged publicly: ‘We have no intent of sharing this land with anybody else except as a barely tolerated minority.’”Mr. Netanyahu has publicly said that he supports a two-state solution even as his government has expanded settlements on the occupied West Bank. […]

The Interpreter: The Jerusalem Issue, Explained

Maybe more important, Israel’s position on Jerusalem isn’t just that its capital should be somewhere in the city. A 1980 law declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s “undivided” capital, which was widely understood as a de facto annexation of the city’s eastern half.Mr. Trump, in endorsing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, did not explicitly endorse this idea. But he didn’t reject it, either. Nor did he say that Jerusalem should also become the Palestinian capital.This implies that the United States is increasingly supportive of Israel’s position — full annexation — though this would almost certainly kill any viable peace deal.Why Does It Matter if the U.S. Takes Sides?The United States has, for decades, positioned itself as the primary mediator between Israelis and Palestinians. Neutrality ostensibly allows the United States to remain a credible arbiter and keeps both sides at the negotiating table.American diplomats tend to consider neutrality a bedrock principle and essential for peace, and see Mr […]

Trump Calls Jerusalem Plan Step Toward Peace, but It Puts Mideast on Edge

Mr. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem isolates the United States on one of the world’s most sensitive diplomatic issues. It drew a storm of criticism from Arab and European leaders, including some of America’s closest allies.Many said that Mr. Trump’s move was destabilizing, that it risked setting off violence and that it would make achieving peace even more difficult […]

Asia and Australia Edition: North Korea, Puerto Rico, Iraqi Kurdistan: Your Wednesday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Cathal Mcnaughton/Reuters • Myanmar’s government denied accusations by Human Rights Watch that its security forces had committed “crimes against humanity” in its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. [Al Jazeera] • An Australian journalist, Ben McCormack, pleaded guilty to two counts of child pornography and faces up to 15 years in prison. […]

Europe Edition: North Korea, Bitcoin, Malaysia: Your Friday Briefing

#briefing-market-module.interactive-embedded .interactive-caption { display: none; } Market Snapshot View Full Overview In the News Photo Credit Fazry Ismail/European Pressphoto Agency • A fire at a Malaysian boarding school on Thursday killed 24 people, many of them boys who appear to have been trapped by barred windows. [The New York Times] Continue reading the main story • An E.U. report affirmed the safety of a contested weed killer — but parts of the analysis were copied and pasted directly from a study by the weed killer’s manufacturer. [The Guardian] • An Islamic State convoy stuck in the Syrian desert was said to have crossed into ISIS territory despite a vow by the American-led coalition to trap it. [The New York Times] • A British tourist is missing and presumed dead after witnesses saw a crocodile drag him into a lagoon in Sri Lanka. [The Telegraph] • An Israeli lawmaker caused an uproar in his party after disclosing that he had attended his gay nephew’s wedding. [The New York Times] • Several national antidoping organizations have demanded that Russia be banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics. [BBC] Smarter Living Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life. Photo Credit Three Lions/Getty Images • Here are five cheap(ish) essentials for your bathroom […]

If U.S. Attacks North Korea First, Is That Self-Defense?

Have those requirements been met yet?While North Korea may have an ability to attack the United States, there is widespread skepticism that an attack is imminent. And many officials, including some of Mr. Trump’s senior aides, have said other options have not been exhausted.“I think that the answer to the question is fairly unequivocally ‘no,’” said Kevin Jon Heller, a law professor at the University of London. “There’s no right of self-defense against a non-imminent threat.”If the legal conditions for a first strike were met, would the destruction of North Korea, as critics of Mr. Trump say he implied when he threatened “fire and fury,” be legally justified?Legal experts said an attack of self-defense in such circumstances must be “proportional” — meaning it is designed only to stop the threat. “It is not a carte blanche to destroy another country,” Mr. Schmitt said.How do we know that Mr. Kim’s threat of attacking the United States is not an imminent threat?We do not necessarily know. But North Korea has a well-established penchant for bombast and bluster, making threats without following through on them.“Kim says all kinds of crazy things, with no history besides incendiary statements,” said Anthony Clark Arend, a professor of government and foreign service at Georgetown University. […]