June 23/2019
Compiled & Prepared by: Elias Bejjani

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Bible Quotations For today
You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry.
First Letter of Peter 04/01-11:”Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. But they will have to give an account to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever.

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on June 22-23/2019
Report: US Delegation in Beirut Next Week to Discuss Syria, Border Demarcation
Report: Europeans Tell Lebanon to Distance ‘Hizbullah’ from Gulf Confrontation
Israel Mobilizes Troops to Monitor Lebanese Army Works in Naqoura
Jumblat Hits Out at Trump and 'Trump-Like' Lebanese Leaders
Jreissati inspects waste sorting plants in Jeb Jenin and alManara, waste dump in Hosh alHarima
Alain Aoun: Budget on way to endorsement
Chinese delegation tours Bekaa region, explores possibilities of economic and development cooperation
Abdallah: All natural statetostate channels were skipped in the issue of the two kidnapped State Security members
Bassil from Northern Bekaa: Together, Muslims and Christians, we defeated terrorism in the outskirts, We support the steadfastness of the people of this region
Greek Ambassador visits Zahle Chamber, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate: To promote economic relations between Lebanon and Greece
UN to Appeal for $1.2 Billion to Help 5 Million Palestinians

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 22-23/2019
Trump eyes more Iran sanctions, says military action still on the table
Trump nominates Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense: White House
White House’s Jared Kushner unveils economic portion of upcoming Middle East peace plan
Trump, Saudi Crown Prince Discuss Iranian 'Threat'
Iran Warns US Attack Would Have Regional Consequences
Germany’s Merkel says neo-Nazis must be tackled ‘without taboos’
Regime Strikes Kill 4 Civilians in Northwest Syria
Afghan leaders begin peace summit in Pakistan
Kim, Xi agree to grow ties ‘whatever the external situation’
Three dead in building fire in central Paris
Nine dead as plane crashes in Hawaii, believed during skydiving trip
Sri Lanka extends state of emergency in surprise move

Titles For The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 22-23/2019
White House’s Jared Kushner unveils economic portion of upcoming Middle East peace plan/Arab News/June 22/2019
Analysis/Egypt's Sissi Had No Time to Kill ex-President Morsi – He Has a Few Countries to Run/Zvi Bar'el/Haartz/June 22/2019
UK: A Clash of Educations/Denis MacEoin/Gatestone Institute/June 22/2019
Promoting FDI into Saudi Arabia/Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini/Arab News/June 22/2019
Time to curb Qatar’s terror financing/Nathalie Goulet and Ghanem Nuseibeh/Arab News/June 22/2019
Turkey’s fraught relationships in a fragile region/Cornelia Meyer/Arab News/June 22/2019
No-deal’ Boris moves another step closer to Number 10/Andrew Hammond/Arab News/June 22/2019

The Latest English LCCC Lebanese & Lebanese Related News published on June 22-23/2019
Report: US Delegation in Beirut Next Week to Discuss Syria, Border Demarcation

Naharnet/June 22/2019
A delegation of US congressmen and former US diplomats will arrive in Beirut early next week for talks with senior officials and to discuss the latest developments in Syria and the demarcation of Lebanon’s border with Israel, al-Joumhouria daily reported Saturday. The delegation has formed a "work group" to follow up on the "Syrian issue" and discuss the latest developments in the region and to "stand on the position of Lebanon," said the newspaper. The delegation includes Chairperson of the Group, Dana Straw, her Executive Secretary, Mona Yacoubian; former Ambassador Frederick Hoff, who was entrusted with the follow-up on the demarcation of the maritime boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zone between Lebanon and Israel; Christopher Totle, Mara Carlin and Vance Sirkhoek.

Report: Europeans Tell Lebanon to Distance ‘Hizbullah’ from Gulf Confrontation

Naharnet/June 22/2019
European diplomats have reportedly advised Lebanon to stay impartial from any military confrontation that could take place in the gulf, amid escalating US-Iranian tensions, the Saudi Asharq al-Awsat reported on Saturday. Well-informed Lebanese ministerial sources said “several European and non-European diplomatic sources have advised senior Lebanese officials to safeguard Lebanon from being entangled in any confrontation that could take place in the Gulf,” in reference to Hizbullah party, said the daily. The sources quoted diplomats as stressing the need for “restraint and not to provide any pretext that could be exploited by Israel or others to threaten the stability in Lebanon.” They said it is a “proactive advice so that Lebanon can take all the precautions and not be dragged into uncalculated reactions.”Earlier in June, amid escalating US-Iranian tensions, Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah warned that if there was a war against Iran the whole Middle East region would "erupt.”"We have precision missiles in Lebanon, and enough to be able to change the face of the region," said the head of the Iran-backed movement.

Israel Mobilizes Troops to Monitor Lebanese Army Works in Naqoura

Naharnet/June 22/2019
Israel has mobilized its troops to monitor the construction works carried out by the Lebanese army to build a military control tower in Ras al-Naqoura, the National News Agency reported on Friday. NNA said Israel has mobilized troops, military vehicles on land and sea in the Ras Naqoura village, at the border between Lebanon and Israel to monitor the army’s works. It also dispatched two military boats and intensified patrols opposite Ras Naqoura and Alma al-Shaab .They monitored the Lebanese Armed Forces Directorate of Engineering while constructing the tower.

Jumblat Hits Out at Trump and 'Trump-Like' Lebanese Leaders

Naharnet/June 22/2019
Progressive Socialist Party leader ex-MP Walid Jumblat on Friday criticized the policies of U.S. President Donald Trump, amid an escalating standoff between Washington and Tehran.“Where to? Yes, where to? Today more than ever I'm thinking of this question: to where is the world being dragged by America's ruler and to where are we being dragged by those who are like him in Lebanon?” Jumblat asked in a tweet. He had recently compared Free Patriotic Movement chief and Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil, who is President Michel Aoun's son-in-law, to Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Jreissati inspects waste sorting plants in Jeb Jenin and alManara, waste dump in Hosh alHarima
Sat 22 Jun 2019/NNA
Environment Minister, Fadi Jreissati, checked this afternoon on underway works in the waste sorting plant in Jeb Jenin, joined by former Minister Mohammad Rahhal and a number of dignitaries from the region. "Work in the plant is nearing completion, and it will be operative soon," assured Jreissati. The Minister also inspected the waste dump in Hosh al-Harima and the waste sorting plant in al-Manara.

Alain Aoun: Budget on way to endorsement
Sat 22 Jun 2019/NNA
MP Alain Aoun disclosed Saturday that the annual budget is on its way to endorsement, adding that "the correct thing is to adopt it in the best way."Speaking in an interview with "Voice of Lebanon" Radio Station, Aoun said: "The government has done its work and deputies are working to complete it."He explained that the efforts exerted by the Money and Budget Parliamentary Committee are aimed at rectifying and developing matters in the right direction, hoping that the 2020 budget would be better."Taxes have not been canceled on imported goods, but have been suspended to search for a new formula to amend the article to maintain this income revenue," stated Aoun."The most important thing is to maintain the level of deficit," he underscored, adding, "We cannot increase spending, but we have to reduce it to maintain the deficit level."

Chinese delegation tours Bekaa region, explores possibilities of economic and development cooperation
Sat 22 Jun 2019 /NNA
An official Chinese delegation representing the Chinese Embassy in Beirut visited the Bekaa region on Saturday, as part of China's open-door policy towards Middle Eastern countries and its efforts to create economic and trade cooperation with Lebanon.
In this framework, the delegation members visited the Union of Bekaa Municipalities at its center in Maksi, where they were welcomed by Union Head Mohamad al-Bast and members of the Union. In a brief word on the prevailing conditions in the Bekaa region, al-Bast said: "The Bekaa is an agricultural area with many industrial institutions for agricultural production...with a strategic location due to its proximity to Damascus." He stressed that "the Bekaaians look forward to a good relationship with the Chinese state through Lebanese state institutions and investors.""We hope that this visit will be positive in reflecting a good image of the Bekaa region, in order to boost and strengthen bilateral relations," he added. Al-Bast outlined a number of plans which he hoped would be of interest to China in line with the "Silk Road Project," in addition to the possibility of providing humanitarian and cultural assistance because of China's role in promoting intercommunication. The delegation then paid a visit to the Municipality of Zahle, where they highlighted with its officials the importance of bilateral communication and interconnection between both countries in the fields of development and economic projects. Other stop-overs in the delegation's Bekaa tour included visits to the Industrialists' Center and the Municipality Unions of Western Bekaa and Rashaya, where they discussed with concerned officials possible bilateral cooperation. The Chinese delegation members expressed their admiration for the Bekaa region's positive components at the economic, tourism and agricultural levels, expressing their willingness to promote the region among Chinese industrialists. "The Chinese government supports industrial and agricultural economic cooperation between China and Arab governments," said Li Jing, Economic Adviser to the Chinese government. "I had a closer look at the region's prevailing conditions, and we will relay the vision of the Bekaais, industrialists and civil society, to the leadership and to Chinese investors to help find an investment mechanism," she added, pointing to the need to work with the Center for Studies and the Ministry of Industry to draw projects and submit them to the Chinese State through the Lebanese Foreign Affairs Ministry. "The Chinese Embassy in Lebanon is ready to create a cooperative atmosphere," the Chinese Adviser corroborated.

Abdallah: All natural statetostate channels were skipped in the issue of the two kidnapped State Security members

Sat 22 Jun 2019/NNA
Following the recent release of the two State Security members after being detained in Syria, MP Bilal Abdallah tweeted Saturday, saying: "All natural channels of the relationship between countries has been omitted in the issue of the return of the two State Security members who were kidnapped." "The Ambassadors, the esteemed Higher Council, the official security coordination channels were all absent...and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not release any statement," he noted, adding, "Unfortunately, only small calculations were present in this matter," while congratulating the released on their safe return.

Bassil from Northern Bekaa: Together, Muslims and Christians, we defeated terrorism in the outskirts, We support the steadfastness of the people of this region
Sat 22 Jun 2019/NNA
Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Minister, Gebran Bassil, commended Saturday the people of the Bekaa region, praising their loyalty and attachment to their land and roots, adding, "We support the steadfastness of the people of this region." "We have to build the state, build the economy, and preserve the people and their cohesion so that they can live in a free economy," he corroborated. "Muslims and Christians together have won over terrorism in the outskirts, and the people of this region stayed on alert throughout the long nights to protect their land...I visited them on some nights in the presence of the Lebanese army and resistance, and hand-in-hand we defeated terrorism through their faith in their land," Bassil confirmed.
His words came during his visit earlier today to the Northern Bekaa region, accompanied by Governor of Baalbek-Hermel Bashir Khodr, where he began his tour from the town of al-Qaa by meeting with a number of young men and women of the Free Patriotic Movement and highlighting their role within society.
He then moved to the town of Ras Baalbek, where he paid tribute to Army Martyr George Abu Saab by visiting the garden dedicated to his name and laying a floral wreath on his tomb, after which he held an open dialogue with a crowd of citizens and townsmen from the region.
Bassil thanked the people of Baalbek-Hermel "who have given a lot to Lebanon, where they joined the army and other security forces and sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation."
"This region, despite the difficult circumstances it has experienced, and in spite of the injustice and deprived rights it has suffered, its people have preserved its land by clinging to it and to their coexistence," maintained Bassil. "Today we must create an economic resistance, and it is our duty to ensure the requirements of agriculture e.g. water and others, and more importantly the young expertise and the future look of the youth on agriculture and how to create markets for processing the produce," he went on. Bassil commended openness in thinking through living together while respecting each other's existence without dissolving one another, adding, "We at the Free Patriotic Movement embody an open political thought." He also hailed all sacrifices of the Lebanese Army, deeming the military institution as "the sole uniting foundation that protects the homeland."He added: "Our struggle within the state budget is to preserve their rights [military] and no one compares to our love for the army. We are at the heart of this institution starting from our president, and we stand by its leadership command and we shall not remain silent towards any mistake."Bassil stressed that "institutions protect us, and we are all concerned to preserve them and ensure their continuity."

Greek Ambassador visits Zahle Chamber, Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate: To promote economic relations between Lebanon and Greece

Sat 22 Jun 2019/NNA
Greek Ambassador to Lebanon, Franciscos Verros, visited Saturday the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture in Zahle accompanied by Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Zahle and the Bekaa, Antonios Al-Souri, where they were welcomed by Vice President Mounir Al-Tinni, and a number of prominent figures and business associates. In a word during the encounter, Al-Tinni said: "The Greek-Lebanese relationship is long-standing and the ancient Greek culture was spread by the Phoenician alphabet." He stressed on the importance of deepening economic relations between Lebanon and Greece, which would help open a channel for Lebanese produce to European markets. For his part, Ambassador Verros expressed his joy to be in Zahle, calling for "the development of economic ties between both countries and overcoming all geographical obstacles." Verro also highlighted the need for "integration between the economies of the two countries."In turn, Al-Souri gave a brief word in which he called for "the promotion of economic relations and trade, cultural and tourism exchange between Lebanon and Greece." Later, the Greek diplomat paid a visit to the Syriac Orthodox Patriarchate where he met with Bishop of Zahle and the Bekaa, Mar Justinus Paul Safar, accompanied by the Vice-President of the Association of Greek-Lebanese University Graduates, George Stamadiades. The meeting was a chance to tackle relations between Christian communities and Lebanese-Greek bilateral ties.

UN to Appeal for $1.2 Billion to Help 5 Million Palestinians
Associated Press/Naharnet/June 22/2019
The head of the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees said Friday he hopes donors will be as generous this year as they were last year after the United States cut all funding for the $1.2 billion program to help some 5 million Palestinians. Pierre Krahenbuhl said at a news conference that 42 countries and institutions increased their funding to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency last year. He called that "unprecedented," adding that it was also "very remarkable" that every single pledge in 2018 was honored. He praised the strong mobilization of funds from Europe, the Gulf countries, Asia, the Americas and beyond, adding that "we're very inspired by that result."Krahenbuhl said the agency is pursuing the same appeal for $1.2 billion this year and hopes donors will pledge that amount at a conference Tuesday at U.N. headquarters. UNRWA was established after the war surrounding Israel's establishment in 1948 to aid the 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes. Today, it provides education to 500,000 Palestinian students, health care at 144 centers that handle 8.5 million patient visits a year, and social services to some 5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as well as Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The agency is also a major employer in the Palestinian areas. Krahenbuhl said UNRWA has covered its expenses for the first five months of 2019 "in a fairly stable way ... and that is positive."But, he said, "in June, we started entering deficit figures."
At Tuesday's pledging conference, Krahenbuhl said, "If every single donor would preserve and maintain their level of contribution reached in 2018, we would be able to cover the financial needs of UNRWA." He said he will be appealing for immediate funds to avoid any break in services. The big question, Krahenbuhl said, is whether there will be enough money for schools to open in late August and early September. The U.S. government contributed $360 million to UNRWA in 2017, but the Trump administration cut that to just $60 million last year and to nothing this year.
In announcing the total cutoff in funding, the Trump administration called UNRWA an "irredeemably flawed operation." It said the U.S. was no longer willing to pay for a "very disproportionate share" of UNRWA's costs and criticized what it called the agency's "fundamental business model and fiscal practices" and its "endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries." The UNRWA pledging conference is taking place on the same day that the architects of the long-awaited U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace — Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and the president's special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt — are rolling out their economic plan for the Palestinians at a workshop in Bahrain. The Palestinians are boycotting. Krahenbuhl told reporters that "contrary to what you might expect, I do not see any elements of tension between a conference and workshop that is being organized in Bahrain and our own focus." "Our focus is a very immediate one," he said, stressing that UNRWA has to ensure education, health care and food for 1 million Palestinians in Gaza and other services "not in two years, but today and tomorrow."Krahenbuhl said UNRWA is focused on delivering on its mandate immediately while the Bahrain discussions "have value" but are not immediate. "We are just going to be very, very focused on our event ... and to seek to mobilize all the support that we can," he said.

Titles For The Latest English LCCC Miscellaneous Reports And News published on June 22-23/2019
Trump eyes more Iran sanctions, says military action still on the table
Reuters, Washington/Saturday, 22 June 2019
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday he will impose additional sanctions against Iran in an effort to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons, adding that military action was still a possibility. “We are putting additional sanctions on Iran,” Trump said. “In some cases we are going slowly, but in other cases we are moving rapidly.”Trump spoke to reporters as he prepared to depart Washington for the presidential retreat Camp David, where he said he would be deliberating on Iran. Trump made his comments after recently calling off military actions against Iran to retaliate for the downing of a US military drone. On Saturday, Iran warned the United States that any aggression against the Islamic republic would have serious consequences for US interests in the region. “Firing one bullet towards Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies” in the Middle East, armed forces general staff spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the Tasnim News Agency.

Trump nominates Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense: White House
AFP, Washington/Saturday, 22 June 2019
Donald Trump has nominated Mark Esper to be the US Secretary of Defense, the White House said late on Friday, as Washington navigates a spike in tensions with Iran. The nomination of Esper, who was this week elevated to acting Pentagon chief from his post as Army Secretary, was announced hours after Trump revealed he had come close to authorizing a strike on Iran after it shot down an American drone. There hasn’t been a full defense secretary since the resignation of James Mattis in December last year after splits in the administration over Trump’s sudden decision to remove US troops from Syria.
Esper, who must be confirmed by the Senate, is the third man to lead the Pentagon in six months. He replaces Patrick Shanahan, who also led the military in an acting capacity but this week withdrew his name from consideration for defense secretary after facing questions over his past personal life and an allegation of domestic violence. The new upheaval in what is one of the most powerful posts in the US government comes amid rising tensions in the Middle East. Trump said on Friday that the United States was “cocked & loaded” to strike Iran but pulled back at the last minute because it would not have been a “proportionate” response to Tehran shooting down an American drone. The downing of the drone - which Iran insists violated its airspace, a claim Washington denies - has seen tensions between the countries spike after a series of attacks on tankers the US has blamed on Tehran.
Unlike Shanahan, who had no military experience, 55-year-old Esper served in the 1991 Gulf War as part of the famous 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Esper had been a senior executive at the Raytheon defense firm for seven years when he was tapped by Trump to be Army Secretary in 2017.

White House’s Jared Kushner unveils economic portion of upcoming Middle East peace plan
Arab News/June 22/2019
WASHINGTON: The Trump administration’s $50 billion Middle East economic plan calls for creation of a global investment fund to lift the Palestinian and neighboring Arab state economies, and construction of a $5 billion transportation corridor to connect the West Bank and Gaza, according to US officials and documents reviewed by Reuters. The “peace to prosperity” plan, set to be presented by President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at an international conference in Bahrain next week, includes 179 infrastructure and business projects, according to the documents. The approach toward reviving the moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace process was criticized by the Palestinians on Saturday. The economic revival plan would take place only if a political solution to the region’s long-running problems is reached. More than half of the $50 billion would be spent in the economically troubled Palestinian territories over 10 years while the rest would be split between Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. Some of the projects would be in Egypt’s Sinai peninsula, where investments could benefit Palestinians living in adjacent Gaza, a crowded and impoverished coastal enclave. The plan also proposes nearly a billion dollars to build up the Palestinians’ tourism sector, a seemingly impractical notion for now given the frequent flareups between Israeli forces and militants from Hamas-ruled Gaza, and the tenuous security in the occupied West Bank. (For factbox with more on the plan see )
The Trump administration hopes that other countries, principally wealthy Gulf states, and private investors, would foot much of the bill, Kushner told Reuters.
More than half of the $50bn would be spent in Palestine. The rest in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.
● Some projects would be in the Sinai peninsula, and could benefit Gaza.
● Nearly a billion dollars is earmarked to create a Palestinian tourism sector.
The unveiling of the economic blueprint follows two years of deliberations and delays in rolling out a broader peace plan between Israelis and Palestinians. The Palestinians, who are boycotting the event, have refused to talk to the Trump administration since it recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in late 2017.
Veteran Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi dismissed the proposals on Saturday, saying: “These are all intentions, these are all abstract promises” and said only a political solution would solve the conflict.
Kushner made clear in two interviews with Reuters that he sees his detailed formula as a game-changer, despite the view of many Middle East experts that he has little chance of success where decades of US-backed peace efforts have failed. “I laugh when they attack this as the ‘Deal of the Century’,” Kushner said of Palestinian leaders who have dismissed his plan as an attempt to buy off their aspirations for statehood. “This is going to be the ‘Opportunity of the Century’ if they have the courage to pursue it.”Kushner said some Palestinian business executives have confirmed their participation in the conference, but he declined to identify them. The overwhelming majority of the Palestinian business community will not attend, businessmen in the West Bank city of Ramallah told Reuters. Several Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, will also participate in the June 25-26 US-led gathering in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, for Kushner’s rollout of the first phase of the Trump peace plan. Their presence, some US officials say privately, appears intended in part to curry favor with Trump as he takes a hard line against Iran, those countries’ regional arch-foe.The White House said it decided against inviting the Israeli government because the Palestinian Authority would not be there, making do instead with a small Israeli business delegation.
Political disputes remain
There are strong doubts whether potential donor governments would be willing to open their checkbooks anytime soon, as long as the thorny political disputes at the heart of the decades-old Palestinian conflict remain unresolved. The 38-year-old Kushner — who like his father-in-law came to government steeped in the world of New York real estate deal-making — seems to be treating peacemaking in some ways like a business transaction, analysts and former US officials say. Palestinian officials reject the overall US-led peace effort as heavily tilted in favor of Israel and likely to deny them a fully sovereign state of their own. Kushner’s attempt to decide economic priorities first while initially sidestepping politics ignores the realities of the conflict, say many experts.
“This is completely out of sequence because the Israeli-Palestinian issue is primarily driven by historical wounds and overlapping claims to land and sacred space,” said Aaron David Miller, a former Middle East negotiator for Republican and Democratic administrations. Kushner acknowledges that “you can’t push the economic plan forward without resolving the political issues as well.” The administration, he said, will “address that at a later time,” referring to the second stage of the peace plan’s rollout now expected no earlier than November. Kushner says his approach is aimed at laying out economic incentives to show the Palestinians the potential for a prosperous future if they return to the table to negotiate a peace deal. White House officials have played down expectations for Manama, which will put Kushner just across the Gulf from Iran at a time of surging tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Kushner, for instance, is calling it a “workshop” instead of a conference, and a “vision” instead of an actual plan. He stressed that governments would not be expected to make financial pledges on the spot. “It is a small victory that they are all showing up to listen and partake. In the old days, the Palestinian leaders would have spoken and nobody would have disobeyed,” he said.
Travel corridor
Kushner’s proposed new investment fund for the Palestinians and neighboring states would be administered by a “multilateral development bank.” Global financial lenders including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank plan to be present at the meeting. A signature project would be to construct a travel corridor for Palestinian use that would cross Israel to link the West Bank and Gaza. It could include a highway and possibly a rail line. The narrowest distance between the territories, whose populations have long been divided by Israeli travel restrictions, is about 40 km (25 miles). Kushner insists that if executed the plan would create a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza, reduce Palestinian poverty by half and double the Palestinians’ GDP. But most foreign investors will likely stay clear for the moment, not only because of security and corruption concerns but also because of the drag on the Palestinian economy from Israel’s West Bank occupation that obstructs the flow of people, goods and services, experts say. Kushner sees his economic approach as resembling the Marshall Plan, which Washington introduced in 1948 to rebuild Western Europe from the devastation of World War Two. Unlike the US-funded Marshall Plan, however, the latest initiative would put much of the financial burden on other countries. Trump would “consider making a big investment in it” if there is a good governance mechanism, Kushner said. But he was non-committal about how much the president, who has often proved himself averse to foreign aid, might contribute. Economic programs have been tried before in the long line of US-led peace efforts, only to fail for lack of political progress. Kushner’s approach, however, may be the most detailed so far, presented in two pamphlets of 40 and 96 pages each that are filled with financial tables and economic projections. In Manama, the yet-to-released political part of the plan will not be up for discussion, Kushner said. The economic documents offer no development projects in predominantly Arab east Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their future state. What Kushner hopes, however, is that the Saudis and other Gulf delegates will like what they hear enough to urge Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to consider the plan. The message Kushner wants them to take to Ramallah: “We’d like to see you go to the table and negotiate and try to make a deal to better the lives of the Palestinian people.”Palestinian officials fear that, even with all the high-priced promises, Kushner’s economic formula is just a prelude to a political plan that would jettison the two-state solution, the long-time cornerstone of US and international peace efforts.

Trump, Saudi Crown Prince Discuss Iranian 'Threat'
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 22/2019
U.S. President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman on Friday discussed the "threat" posed by Iran, the White House said, after Washington pulled back from launching strikes against Tehran. "The two leaders discussed Saudi Arabia's critical role in ensuring stability in the Middle East and in the global oil market. They also discussed the threat posed by the Iranian regime's escalatory behavior," a White House statement said. Trump's call with his close but controversial ally came shortly after he said he was in "no hurry" to attack Iran -- a rival of Saudi Arabia -- over its downing of a U.S. spy drone.

Iran Warns US Attack Would Have Regional Consequences

Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 22/2019
Iran warned the United States on Saturday that any aggression against the Islamic republic would have serious consequences for US interests across the Middle East. "Firing one bullet towards Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies", armed forces general staff spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the Tasnim news agency. "Today, the situation in the region is to Iran’s advantage. "If the enemy -- especially America and its allies in the region -- make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America's interests lie, the region will be set on fire," Shekarchi warned. President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States was "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran but pulled back at the last minute as it would not have been a "proportionate" response to Tehran's shooting down of an unmanned US drone. The downing of the drone -- which Tehran insists violated its airspace, a claim Washington denies -- has seen tensions between the two countries spike after a series of attacks on oil tankers the US has blamed on Iran.

Germany’s Merkel says neo-Nazis must be tackled ‘without taboos’
AFP/Saturday, 22 June 2019
Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday said Germany must resist neo-Nazis “without any taboos” following the killing of a local politician by a suspected right-wing extremist. Such violence “must be resisted from the outset and without any taboos,” Merkel said during an address to the Protestant Church Congress in the western city of Dortmund. “This is why the state is called upon (to act) at all levels and the federal government takes this very, very seriously,” said Merkel. Her remarks came days after police arrested an alleged neo-Nazi for shooting dead Kassel city local politician Walter Luebcke – Merkel’s fellow Christan Democrat – at his home in the western town on June 2. The 45-year-old killer has allegedly blamed his action on his anger at an influx of refugees and migrants to Germany. Several other German politicians believed sympathetic to the migrant cause have been threatened, and that, coupled with the Luebcke shooting, prompted Merkel to speak out. “This is not just a terrible act but also a major challenge for us to examine on all fronts where there are extreme-right tendencies,” said Merkel. Hours before her speech, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had warned on Twitter that “Germany has a terrorism problem. “We have more than 12,000 violent rightwing extremists in our country,” said Maas, lamenting that 450 of them were able to stay underground “even though they are the subject of an arrest warrant.”Maas, a Social Democrat coalition partner of Merkel, said Germans had to call out extremist behavior for what it is and said they must “not concede a millimeter to enemies of freedom.” Interior Minister Horst Seehofer meanwhile warned of a “very dangerous development” and said the government would be looking at ways of placing restrictions on the far right. “This killing moves me to do everything possible to reinforce security,” Seehofer, a member of the Christian Democrats’ conservative partner the Christian Social Union, told the Funke media group in an interview.

Regime Strikes Kill 4 Civilians in Northwest Syria
Agence France Presse/Naharnet/June 22/2019
Syrian government air strikes on the rebel-held northwest killed four civilians, two of them children, on Saturday, a war monitor said, as a two-month flare-up showed no let-up. The Idlib region of some three million people is supposed to be protected by a September buffer zone deal, but the jihadist-run enclave has come under mounting bombardment by the government and its ally Russia since late April. The two children were killed in a garage on the edge of the town of Maaret al-Numan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The other two civilians were killed in strikes on the Idlib province villages of Kansafra and Khan al-Subul, the Britain-based monitor said. The September deal signed by Russia and rebel backer Turkey was supposed to set up a buffer zone around the Idlib region, but it was never fully implemented as the jihadists refused to pull back from the front lines. Hostilities deepened In January when Hayat Tahrir al-Sham -- an alliance led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate -- took over administrative control of the region. Since late April, more than 460 civilians have been killed in government or Russian bombardment, according to the Observatory. The violence has forced around 330,000 people to flee their homes and hit 23 health centres, the United Nations says. The war in Syria has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since it erupted in 2011 with the brutal repression of protests against President Bashar al-Assad.

Afghan leaders begin peace summit in Pakistan
The Associated Press, Islamabad/Saturday, 22 June 2019
Dozens of Afghan political leaders are holding a peace conference in neighboring Pakistan to pave the way for further Afghan-to-Afghan dialogue. The three-day conference comes ahead of President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Pakistan next week. Ghani, his political opponents and a broad swath of civil society have been meeting in recent days with the United States’ special envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, who is continuing to press for talks between the Afghan government, the opposition and the Taliban. There are no representatives of the Taliban at Saturday’s meeting near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.
However, attending the conference is Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who struck a peace deal with Ghani’s government and was taken off a US terrorist list. That peace deal was touted as a blueprint for an agreement with the Taliban.

Kim, Xi agree to grow ties ‘whatever the external situation’
Reuters, Seoul/Saturday, 22 June 2019
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China’s President Xi Jinping reached a consensus on “important issues,” and agreed to build on their countries’ friendly relations “whatever the international situation,” North Korean state media reported. Xi left the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Friday after a two-day visit, the first by a Chinese leader in 14 years. State-run news agency KCNA issued a report on Saturday of the results of the visit. China is North Korea’s only major ally and Xi’s visit was aimed at bolstering the isolated country against pressure from United Nations sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs and stalled denuclearization talks with the United States. The visit comes a week before Xi and US President Donald Trump are due to meet at a Group of 20 summit in Osaka, Japan, amid a trade dispute that has rattled global financial markets. KCNA reported that during a luncheon on the final day of Xi’s visit the leaders discussed plans to strengthen collaboration, as well as their countries’ “major internal and external policies”, while exchanging views on domestic and international issues of mutual concern. An editorial in the official China Daily on Saturday warned that Xi’s short visit to Pyongyang would not solve all the region’s problems, but pledges to help develop the North Korean economy were the right way forward. “The world may hope that the Chinese leader has the magic touch that can turn a stone to gold, but it is unrealistic to expect that Xi can solve all the peninsula issues with a two-day visit - even if Beijing has always been the most reliable and considerate partner to Pyongyang,” it said. “Yet Xi has touched the right stone by focusing on economic cooperation to help bring the DPRK in from the cold,” it added.

Three dead in building fire in central Paris
AFP, Paris/Saturday, 22 June 2019
Three people died and another was seriously injured in a fire that broke out in a building in central Paris in the early hours of Saturday, fire services said. One of the victims died after jumping out of the window of the six-story block of flats situated in the 11th district, which also housed a restaurant and a hammam, a spokesman for the fire services said. The blaze was reported at around 5:00 am (0300 GMT) and it took nearly four hours for 200 firefighters to bring it under control, according to fire captain Florian Lointier. By 08:45 am, the fire still wasn’t fully extinguished. A total of 27 people were treated for smoke inhalation, the rescue services said.

Nine dead as plane crashes in Hawaii, believed during skydiving trip
Reuters/Saturday, 22 June 2019
Nine passengers and crew were killed on Friday evening when their plane crashed near an airfield in Hawaii, authorities said, during what broadcaster CNN said was a skydiving trip. The twin-engine King Air plane went down near the Dillingham Airfield, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) said. The fire service said the aircraft was engulfed in flames when fire crews arrived and there appeared to be no survivors.“We are still gathering information as to the intent of the flight and what they were doing,” Honolulu Fire Department Chief Manuel Neves told a news conference. CNN said the plane was on a skydiving excursion and that Federal Aviation Administration would investigate the crash. Dillingham is a joint-use airfield operated by the HDOT under a 25-year lease from the US army, according to its website.

Sri Lanka extends state of emergency in surprise move
AFP, Colombo/Saturday, 22 June 2019
A state of emergency was extended by Sri Lanka’s president Saturday, going back on pledges to relax the tough laws introduced after the Easter Sunday attacks that killed 258 people. Maithripala Sirisena said in a decree he believed there was a “public emergency” in the country, and was invoking provisions of the public security act extending the state of emergency. The tough laws, granting sweeping powers to police and security forces to arrest and detain suspects, were due to expire on Saturday. Just over 100 people, including 10 women, are in custody in connection with April’s Easter Sunday suicide attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo. In late May, Sirisena told diplomats -- from Australia, Canada, Japan, the US and European states -- the security situation was “99 percent back to normal” and he would allow the emergency laws to lapse by June 22. He assured diplomats security forces had either detained or killed all those directly involved in the attacks, blamed on a local jihadi group and claimed by the Islamic State group. There was no immediate word from the government why Sirisena changed his mind, but security remains tight in the capital.
The emergency can be declared for a month at a time, and parliament must ratify it within 10 days. The continuation of the emergency came as police announced criminal investigations against several top officers, including the Inspector-General, for negligence and lapses ahead of the bombings.
Sirisena himself has been criticised for failing to act on precise Indian intelligence that jihadists were about to hit Christian churches and other targets in Sri Lanka. A parliamentary public inquiry has been told Sirisena -- who is also the minister of defense and law and order -- failed to follow proper national security protocols. The mainly Buddhist nation of 21 million people was about to mark a decade since ending a 37-year-long Tamil separatist war when the Islamic extremists struck.

Titles For The Latest LCCC English analysis & editorials from miscellaneous sources published on June 22-23/2019
Analysis/Egypt's Sissi Had No Time to Kill ex-President Morsi – He Has a Few Countries to Run
زفي بارئيل/الهآرتس: الرئيس السيسي ليس عنده والقت لقتل الرئيس المخلوع مرسي لأنه منشغل بإدارة عدد من الدول العربية
Zvi Bar'el/Haartz/June 22/2019

Could deposed leader's courtroom death be Cairo's Khashoggi affair?
"Did they murder him? Yes, but why?" That was the headline chosen by Yasser al-Zatara, a Jordanian journalist of Palestinian origin, as published by several Arab media outlets.
Who was murdered? There’s no longer any need to answer that. Everyone knows it means Mohammed Morsi, the deposed president of Egypt who died this week while testifying in court. Zatara says President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and his security forces “had” to get rid of Morsi because he had too much information about them and “the plot being hatched ever since [Sissi] rose to power about how to get rid of” Morsi.
The veteran journalist provides a few examples about how it was possible to kill Morsi the way the Mossad tried to kill Hamas’ Khaled Meshal by poison injection back in 1997, like the way the Russians have poisoned their rivals.
The details aren’t important, but the murder label has stuck in Egypt, at the United Nations, at human rights groups and of course in Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had been a close friend of Morsi’s.
Only one question remains: If the Egyptian authorities wanted to kill Morsi, why did they wait so many years? He had been in detention since July 2013; six years is long enough to choose the heart attack route or have him die of food poisoning.
The Morsi affair threatens to become Sissi’s Khashoggi affair. Along with the accusations that Morsi was killed, Egypt is being condemned for ordering a secret funeral for the late president that has been dubbed the “funeral of shame.” The Egyptian media has been banned from covering the event or writing about Morsi and his term in office.
Egypt’s strong denials have been taken as lies, so Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry is heading a campaign to clear his government’s name around the world. After all, if the slightest bit of evidence is found that Morsi was murdered, this could have a big impact on Egypt’s ties with Western countries, especially the United States.
The sanctions on Saudi Arabia, whose arms deal with Washington has been on hold due to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, could wind up being Egypt’s lot as well. Global financial institutions that provide Egypt with generous support, and that often applaud Sissi’s economic reforms, would reconsider their ties with the country. In short, Sissi would have to be a particularly foolish leader to have ordered Morsi’s demise, and he’s far from that.
Sudanese squeeze
Sissi has too much on his plate these days. To his south a volatile conflict threatens in Sudan, and Egypt was apparently involved in the regime change there, as was Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which are trying to stabilize the regime of the military council under Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.
On the eve of the ouster of President Omar al-Bashir in April, Sissi warned against his removal before preparations were made for an orderly transfer of power. But after the ouster, Sissi promised to help the military leaders in their relations with other countries. Also, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have committed to supply $3 billion in aid, of which some $500 million has already been deposited at Yemen’s central bank. Burhan recently visited Egypt to discuss with Sissi ways to handle the civil uprising in which more than 100 people have been killed in a matter of days. According to some media outlets in Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are pressing the military leaders to disperse the protesters by force and use Sissi’s methods for firming up one's rule.
The latter three countries have a great strategic interest in the military council staying in power, which could ensure continued Sudanese cooperation with the war against the Houthis in Yemen and help work out the issue of the dam Ethiopia is building on the Nile. Egypt, which sees the dam as an existential threat, and Bashir differ greatly over the division of the Nile’s waters.
The Sudanese military elite, which is close to the Muslim Brotherhood, has stood behind Bashir and is being tough on the water issue. But Egypt hopes the military regime will be easier to negotiate with due to its need for international legitimacy to obtain the money to finance its government.
Sudan isn’t Sissi’s only focal point. To its west, in Libya, Egypt seeks to unite the factions and strengthen the position of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, which is trying to take the capital Tripoli. Egyptian and UAE advisers are working with Haftar, who has defeated the Islamic State in the areas under his control. The general often visits Egypt to “exchange views” about combat strategies and discuss the common interests of the Arab troika in Libya.
Egypt has long been the address for many Western leaders seeking to persuade Haftar to drop his aspirations of conquest and recognize Libya’s “authorized” government, one of two governments running the country. The Arab League and the United Nations haven’t been handling either the Libyan or Sudan flash points, and they appear incapable of doing so.
These conflicts come on top of the Syrian and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. Other than Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE, no countries in the region have the influence to effect some kind of movement. But this troika isn’t necessarily an arm of the United States in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia, feeling the strength of American rejection especially in Congress and among the wider public, is forging a security belt with China and Russia. The UAE is trying to compete with Qatar and can’t rely on U.S. President Donald Trump. Egypt is dependent economically on the Saudis and the United States but has bought planes and other military equipment from Russia, while China is deeply invested in civilian projects in Egypt.
What about Iran?
If the economic vision of Gulf states and Egypt speaks of a diversity of income sources to break free of a dependency on oil, it seems this vision represents their political aspirations as well. To them, Trump is an excellent president, but they have to prepare for when he's no longer president – something that could happen in a year and a half.
A decade ago, any plans for forging strategic, diplomatic or military alliances with Russia and China were buried deep in the drawers of these countries’ national security councils. Today such cooperation seems not only realistic, but essential.
Also, this week a senior Saudi commentator, Khaled al-Dahil, tweeted a particularly interesting question that went viral. He asked what’s Egypt’s stance on Iran, and noted that since 2013, when Sissi came to power, we haven’t heard a clear Egyptian position on Iran.
Dahil complained that large Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco haven’t managed to form a bloc. A short time later it was reported that Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi had visited Egypt.
According to the article, Araghchi asked Egypt to mediate between Iran and Saudi Arabia due to the rising tensions in the Gulf. Egypt didn’t respond but it was no coincidence that the story was published. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said this week that the Saudis aren’t interested in a war in the Gulf, and Iran released a similar statement.
Can Egypt be an arbiter in the Middle East’s most dangerous conflict? It certainly wants to, though its ablity depends on the Saudis’ conditions. But if Iran has approached Egypt, this could show how Iran and maybe the Saudis are ready for diplomacy to neutralize the danger of war.
The other anchor that gives Egypt strategic standing is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Its role in recent years has been mainly to stifle the clashes between Israel and Hamas. It hasn’t launched any steps or shuttle diplomacy to renew negotiations.
The country considered the Arab flagship of Trump’s planned “deal of the century” is Saudi Arabia. Crown Prince Mohammed’s kingdom was supposed to pressure the Palestinians to accept the deal and get Jordan on board as well. Saudi Arabia had the mandate to propose its own formulations of the American proposals, and it was given a solo role at the conference in Bahrain.
Now it seems Washington’s decision to assign Saudi Arabia these last two tasks has blown up in its face. The conference has turned into a sideshow, the Palestinians won’t be there and Jordan is seething with fear and anger. Without declaring so publicly or leveling any criticism via the media, Egypt again looks like the only partner that knows how to read reality.

UK: A Clash of Educations

Denis MacEoin/Gatestone Institute/June 22/2019
While Britons are striving to promote British values, those increasingly appear not to be the values everyone here wants.
The No Outsiders curriculum... teaches acceptance of people different from oneself, which is what brings pupils into contact with mutual respect for Christians, Muslims and Jews, the disabled, gays and everyone who might be considered "other". "It should make absolutely clear that no group should be left out...."
There seems to be a broader agenda at work here: that is, to find ways in which to maintain British values when faced with people who in many instances seem to oppose them. One example might be a lesson summed up in the Anderton Park expressions about British values...: "Jewish people are equal to Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and people with no religion." Many might not agree to that sentiment, whether in primary or secondary education, and possibly many Muslim parents would wish their children not to be taught it....
The importance of teaching children about respect for other people cannot be exaggerated. In the light of this, can there be any question that the lessons at Anderton Park school are vital for the West?
Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, England is an outstanding place of education for children between the ages of five and eleven. For more than two months now, it has been at the centre of a standoff between modern Western values and the concerns of a large group of Muslim parents. Pictured: Anderton Park Primary School.
What started as a small protest in the UK has taken on wider dimensions that are already spreading to other cities. For more than two months now, a primary school in Birmingham in the UK has been at the centre of a standoff between modern Western values and the concerns of a large group of Muslim parents. As early as April, reports said, leafleters were targeting schools in Birmingham, Manchester, Oldham, London, Blackburn and Bradford.
The almost daily protests outside the schools, although on a more muted scale, are the biggest since those against Salman Rushdie and his book, The Satanic Verses back in 1988 -- events that for some radicalized a generation. According to the author Kenan Malik, those early protests sowed the seeds of rifts that have since become wider. Some form of clash between these two sets of values is taking place again.
Anderton Park Primary School is an outstanding place of education for children between the ages of five and eleven. Most of the children are Muslims, but that does not restrict the efforts to introduce them to being fully educated citizens in the country where most were born.
According to the UK's 2011 Census, Muslims, numbering 234,014, make up 21.6% of Birmingham's population, well above the average for England and Wales as a whole (4.8%). Birmingham is the largest city by population after London. Its Muslim population is almost as large, and the city itself is even more ethnically diverse than the capital. Muslims have arrived from Africa, Asia (mainly Bangladesh and Pakistan), and parts of eastern Europe. "Islam is a growing social force in Britain's second city", according to The Economist, and its Central Mosque "has influence everywhere from the classroom to the bedroom".
Clearly, what is happening in Birmingham may have a disproportionate bearing on Muslims and others throughout the UK. The context within which social pressures are growing seems, first, that Muslims now make up one in every twenty people in the UK. Alongside that, there is the understanding, developed by Dame Louise Casey in her 2016 governmental review of opportunity and integration in the UK, that Muslim communities have been proving the hardest to assimilate within British society at large.
If some Muslims find it hard to integrate (whether of their own volition or because of lack of opportunity within the general public), they often run their own communities, and often seem to reject the opportunities Britain offers them. Many have also been given to what appears to some Britons as unneighbourly behaviour in a period when many in the UK have been striving to promote British values while enjoying and accommodating the diversity of its many new inhabitants. This is what Prime Minister Theresa May emphasized in her introduction to the government's 2018 Integrated Communities Strategy Green Paper, that while Britons are striving to promote British values, those increasingly appear not to be the values everyone here wants. She said:
Britain is one of the world's most successful multi-ethnic, multi-faith societies. We can rightly be proud of this diversity, which has contributed so much to our culture and our economy, and has made us the strong, vibrant nation we are today. But we cannot ignore the challenges we face. We still have a long way to go to tackle the inequalities and injustices that hold people back. It is not right that where you are born, who your parents are, or where you went to school should determine your outcomes in life. The government's ground breaking Race Disparity Audit of public services reinforces the importance of addressing the inequalities that can act as barriers to integration and opportunity, barriers which prevent us from building a Britain where everyone has the chance to succeed. We must also do more to confront the segregation that can divide communities. This undermines our unity as a nation and prevents those in isolated communities from playing a full part in society and benefiting from the opportunities that living in Britain brings.
Let us take this for a broad context in which to look at Anderton Park Primary, after which we can examine the protests being made against it.
Anderton Park Primary stands out as one of several British schools that put special emphasis on teaching children the ways in which they can grow up to fulfil those hopes of Mrs May and all those in and outside government who work to bring about what they consider a good society for all citizens. Here are, first, Anderton Park's Equality Charter, and then its love for British Values. It is worth reading in some detail:
Anderton Park Equality Charter
In our school everyone is equal.
We treat everyone equally and fairly & challenge inequality & stereotypes
We cannot sparkle if we are not equal
We use positive, kind language to and about each other
We do not use the language of hate
We celebrate and protect differences
We fully uphold and believe in the Equality Act 2010 and do not discriminate against anyone because of gender, race and nationality, age, disability, sexual orientation (and gender identity, LGBT+), pregnancy, religion or beliefs or marital status
We actively promote equality and foster good relationships between people who share a characteristic and those who don't
We always challenge views or comments that are unacceptable.
Everyone is special. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is different.
We love Fundamental British values
By law this means we as staff, children, governors and families need to understand:
the rule of law
individual liberty
Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith.
Our favourite law is the Equality Law 2010. We love it!
Girls are equal to boys. Gay people are equal to straight people. Disabled people are equal to able bodied people. Jewish people are equal to Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and people with no religion. You get the idea. This is so important.
We expect everyone to challenge any language or behaviour that is unequal.
We do not allow 'like a girl' to be used as an insult, just as we would not allow 'gay' or 'black' to be used as an insult. Boys play with dolls, dress up, girls are builders, pink is not for girls. Thus, we help students develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence, to distinguish right from wrong and to respect the civil and criminal law of England.
We encourage students to accept responsibility for their behaviour, show initiative, and to understand how they can contribute positively to the lives of those living and working in the locality of the school and to society more widely. We teach children they have choices. We reward what we value.
We will promote harmony & understanding between those with different cultural traditions by enabling students to acquire an appreciation for and respect for their own and other cultures.
Watch 'Like a Girl', 'Children See Children Do', 'Love has no labels' regularly to remember why this is important.
As a reflection of these values, Anderton Park is recognized by UNICEF as a Rights Respecting School, that is to say, a school that embeds the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in their practice and ethos. There are now more than 5,000 rights respecting schools in the UK, and all compete for awards that recognize how far they have developed.
The protests against the school are being led by a young man named Shakeel Afsar, about whom little else is known other than that he has a niece and nephew at the school. "Anti-LGBT protests" have been focusing on the claim that Anderton Park is teaching young children about LGBT issues that are inappropriate on the grounds that Islam opposes and punishes homosexuals, often executing them. Parents were reportedly told, "If you take your kids to school today, you're not a Muslim and you'll burn in hell."
"LGBT issues" are, of course, a gross exaggeration of what the school actually teaches. Its head teacher, Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, has made it clear that, among other things, Anderton Park does not even teach sex lessons:
The suggestion that Hewitt-Clarkson and her dedicated team are somehow "sexualising" pupils at the school is popular among the protest's leaders. But unlike many other primary schools, Anderton Park doesn't actually teach sex education.
"We have never taught sex here," Hewitt-Clarkson says. "Some primary schools do, but we don't, and we never will."
Anderton Park also does not deliver specific lessons on LGBT rights. Instead, the idea of families with "two mummies or two daddies" is normalised through the books that children read and the discussions they have with teachers.
"When you read all these news reports or listen to these protesters, you'd think we talk about being gay the whole time," Hewitt-Clarkson says. "It's probably 0.5 per cent of the time, but because it's here there and everywhere, it's just normal.
She goes on later, in Human Rights News and Views, to discuss the school's No Outsiders curriculum, which teaches acceptance of people different from oneself, which is what brings pupils into contact with mutual respect for Christians, Muslims and Jews, the disabled, gays and everyone who might be considered "other". "It should make absolutely clear that no group should be left out...."
These lessons are based on the No Outsiders lessons programme developed in Birmingham itself:
The No Outsiders programme was created in 2014 by Andrew Moffat, the assistant head teacher at Parkfield Community School in Birmingham.
The programme aims to teach children about the characteristics protected by the Equality Act -- such as sexual orientation and religion.
Books used in programme include stories about a dog that doesn't feel like it fits in, two male penguins that raise a chick together and a boy who likes to dress up like a mermaid.
Regrettably, the protestors' emphasis on LGBT has forced schools emphasis on are forcing schools to cancel a wider programme, No Outsiders , which teaches diversity of all sorts. Next year the government might make lessons based on it compulsory.
Since the protests, several schools – Parkview Community School, and four primaries: Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior and Infants School and Wyndcliff Primary School – have stopped teaching "No Outsiders" altogether, even though lessons in diversity of all sorts do indeed provide the most important lesson for all children – a lesson that will be present, one hopes, throughout their lives.
What on earth, we may ask, can there be to prompt months of protest in which so many people have become incensed? In March, just before the Anderton Park School protests began, Afsar had led similar cries of outrage against another primary school not far away, Parkfield School. On that occasion, the school backed down and agreed to suspend all LGBT lessons until they came to an agreement with parents –- an agreement Afsar and others might again try to prevent.
There seems to be a broader agenda at work here: that is, to find ways in which to maintain British values when faced with people who in many instances seem to oppose them. One example might be a lesson summed up in the Anderton Park expressions about British values, which underpin so much of the school's ethos: "Jewish people are equal to Sikhs, Muslims, Christians and people with no religion."
Many might not agree to that sentiment, whether in primary or secondary education, and possibly many Muslim parents would wish their children not to be taught it as it contradicts one of the most fundamental doctrines of the Islamic faith: that in God's eyes Islam and Islam alone is the true religion. Unfortunately, however, that doctrine contravenes the law against religious discrimination under the 2010 Equality Act. Here again:
Anderton Park's approach to equalities education, which weaves teaching about equal rights and the challenging of stereotypes into the wider curriculum and has the 2010 Equality Act at its core, is nothing new. (Italics added).
Hewitt-Clarkson has for many years devoted 0.5% of her annual timetable to teaching the characteristics of the Equality Act, which underlies her school's Equality statement above. Half of the school's staff are themselves Muslim. But everyone is expected to be proactive against discrimination:
As public sector workers, teachers have a duty to eliminate discrimination, tackle prejudice and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who don't. You don't just sit back and wait until a racist or homophobic thing happens to deal with it – you go out of your way to promote good relationships.
The headmistress's concern to meet the requirements of the Equality Act is endorsed by Amanda Spielman, the Chief Inspector of Ofsted, the government's Office for Standards in Education, which monitors, evaluates and grades all schools in the country.
With direct reference to the crisis facing Anderton Park and remarks by MP Esther McVey that parents know best and should be able to withdraw their children from relationship education until they are as old as 16, Spielman rebutted the idea forcefully:
"To be clear, this is about the Equality Act, which says children must be taught respect for the protected characteristics and to the extent we have got a case where it says this isn't a pick and choose whichever one's parents feel like."
The Equality Act is aimed at protecting people from discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age.
Spielman said the new relationships education lessons were "age appropriate" and not to be confused with sex education, which is not mandatory until secondary school.
But she added that opt-outs would undermine the National Curriculum:
"The idea that, on the one hand, children need to be prepared for life in modern Britain and this is an obligation for all schools, yet at the same time parents can opt out completely ... well, what would you do if parents could opt out of biology, could opt out of geography, because they didn't want their children knowing about evolution or reproduction? Where would it end?
"At the point you start saying every parent can choose which topics, we have completely lost sight of a national curriculum, of a national education system that prepares all children in this country."
The matter will have to be concluded soon. In September 2020, RSE lessons will become statutory [relationships and sex education] for all state-funded schools. The RSE curriculum lasts to age 16 and teaches children necessary information about family and friend relationships, and in later stages about sexual matters. Many faith schools are included in the statutory requirements. To refuse to teach such classes will mean breaking the law, and parents who withdraw their children for reasons that contradict those legal requirements may well face charges of denying them an education.
The importance of teaching children about respect for other people, including people with different sexual orientations, cannot be exaggerated. In the light of this, can there be any question that the lessons at Anderton Park school are vital for the West?
*Dr. Denis MacEoin has taught Persian, Arabic and Islamic studies in the UK and is currently a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.
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Promoting FDI into Saudi Arabia
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini/Arab News/June 22/2019
The Saudi economy is undergoing dramatic and positive changes, making it an attractive investment destination that provides rich opportunities in various sectors, exceptional resources, enhanced market conditions and pro-business regulations.
The Saudi government has made huge efforts to make it clear that the Kingdom is open for business and wants the world to be involved in the multibillion-dollar transformation underway as part of the Vision 2030 strategy.
The Kingdom has climbed the rankings of international competitiveness and ease of doing business. Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows increased by 127 percent in 2018, and the number of companies entering Saudi Arabia rose by 70 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019.
Since 2016, the government has delivered 45 percent of more than 500 planned reforms, including the introduction of 100 percent foreign ownership rights, enhancing legal infrastructure and offering greater protection for shareholders.
Moreover, the government has introduced several initiatives that act as an international platform for expert-led debate between global leaders, investors and innovators. Last week, the Saudi-Japan Vision 2030 Business Forum took place in Tokyo, and focused on creating investment opportunities in strategic sectors in the Kingdom. Bringing together experts from many fields demonstrates how Saudi Arabia is becoming more and more pivotal in the global economy beyond oil. As the only G20 member from the Middle East and North Africa, and with an economy that surpassed $782 billion last year, Saudi Arabia represents a tremendous opportunity for investors from around the world. Recognizing the importance of such initiatives, for more than a decade BMG Financial Group has been organizing an economic forum in the UK as a platform for Saudi and international experts to interact, share experiences and promote investment opportunities available in the Kingdom. The forum plays a crucial role in highlighting Saudi Arabia’s distinctive competitive position. This year, it will be held on July 9 at the London Stock Exchange.
These forums support the Saudi government’s plans to attract more business to the Kingdom, with the opening up of new sectors to foreign investment, the privatization of large parts of the state-dominated economy, and giga-projects underway such as NEOM city, the Red Sea Resort, Al-Qiddiya, and the world-class wellness resort Amaala.
*Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the Chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.

Time to curb Qatar’s terror financing
Nathalie Goulet and Ghanem Nuseibeh/Arab News/June 22/2019
Blacklisted Al-Qaeda and Daesh terrorists and their supporters are using loopholes in UN sanctions enforcement procedures to access bank accounts that are supposed to be frozen, it was reported last week.
Among them are Khalifa Al-Subaiy, a Qatari banker who provided financial support to 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. He is withdrawing up to $10,000 at a time from his “frozen” account at Qatar National Bank, supposedly for essential living expenses, and continues to finance terrorism.
Affording banking facilities to such an individual is a collective failure of all those involved. The UN’s ability to enforce its own sanctions is very much under the spotlight, and Qatar needs to explain to the world why it has allowed him to operate a bank account, as does the bank that provided the facilities.
Opening bank accounts has become a tedious endeavour for most of us. Banks conduct strict due diligence to ensure they do not inadvertently become a vehicle for malicious financing. While the failure of states to enforce UN sanctions is something for the international community and international courts to deal with, banking regulators also need to act.
Qatar National Bank has branches around the world. It can only be assumed that through this extensive global banking network Al-Subaiy had access to those countries in which the bank operates. This not only makes a mockery of the UN, it also endangers global security. Banks should no longer be allowed to hide behind loopholes, particularly when it comes to terrorism financing. Terror financing is the backbone of the ecosystem that allows terrorism to flourish. It is impossible to assess the potential harm that has been caused by these failures without an extensive and transparent investigation.
First, the UN needs to investigate why loopholes in its own procedures allowed this breach. Second, Qatar needs to explain to the international community why it has allowed an individual on the UN sanctions list to have banking facilities through its most global bank, and give reassurances that he and other terrorists are no longer afforded such facilities. Third, Qatar National Bank needs to supply law enforcement authorities around the world, and particularly where the bank operates, with details of transactions carried out by Al-Subaiy, and give reassurances that others on the blacklist are not being afforded banking facilities.Finally, banking regulators in countries where the bank operates should conduct their own investigations into why this failure happened, and take urgent remedial measures to ensure that any potential damage is mitigated and that no such breaches take place again.
There has been a clear collective failure of the sort that endangers global security. Such failures can cost lives.
Terror financing is the backbone of the ecosystem that allows terrorism to flourish. The world needs urgent assurances, not only that such failures will not happen again, but also that they will bring heavy consequences for those who turn a blind eye to our collective security as a human race.
• Nathalie Goulet is a member of the Senate of France, representing the Orne department (Normandy). Twitter: @senateur61.
• Ghanem Nuseibeh is founder of the strategy and management consultancy Cornerstone Global Associates in London. Twitter: @gnuseibeh

Turkey’s fraught relationships in a fragile region
Cornelia Meyer/Arab News/June 22/2019
A convoy of Turkish armored vehicles drive towards Bab al-Hawa crossing point between Syria and Turkey on a highway in the northern countryside of the Syrian province of Idlib on June 20, 2019. (AFP / Aaref Watad)
When Ahmet Davutoglu was Turkey’s foreign minister his explicit policy was to have friendly relations with all his neighbors. That was a tough task in a region as riddled with conflict as the Middle East, and when the civil war in Syria lurched out of control Davutoglu’s vision was doomed. Turkey is in a difficult neighborhood, with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Georgia to the east, Russia to the north and Europe to the west; life where orient collides with occident is fraught.
Turkey is NATO’s easternmost member and its last line of defense against turmoil in the Middle East. Ankara’s relationship with Europe has always been strained, especially since Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the reins. His autocratic tendencies do not play well with Europe’s liberal democracies.
Nevertheless, Europe needs Turkey and vice versa. The economic relationship is particularly important to Turkey as the EU is its main trading partner. Turkey is of significant importance to Europe because it houses more than three million Syrian refugees. When the eastern EU member states feared being overrun by refugees via the eastern Balkans route, the EU sealed a deal with Ankara whereby Turkey kept the refugees in return for 3 billion euros. Not all those funds were transferred, because EU nations objected to Turkey’s human-rights record. Still, the Europeans are well aware that cooperation with Turkey is important, in light of the growing numbers fleeing conflict in the Middle East.
The same holds true for NATO. Its relationship with Ankara has not always been easy, as was demonstrated in November 2017 when German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen reassigned 250 military personnel to Jordan from their base in Incirlik after Erdogan refused to allow German parliamentary delegations to visit them.
It is in everybody’s interest for Turkey to be able to keep out of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, which does require talking to Russia and a whole host of other regional actors.
Further strife will occur in early July when Ankara takes delivery of Russian S-400 air defense missiles. NATO, especially the US, is not pleased at Turkey’s purchase of weapons that can shoot down NATO aircraft. Turkey could even face US economic sanctions, which would harm its already stuttering economy. The question is, how would it be in US interests for the fragile economy of a NATO ally to decline even further? For the EU, the question will be whether Turkey can afford to host three million refugees if its economy disintegrates.
So why is Turkey putting itself in this position? For one, Erdogan is strong willed and not easily persuaded to change course. In addition, Turkey’s relationship with Russia is geopolitically important.
A brief spat occurred in November 2015 when Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet operating out of Syria, but reason prevailed and they resolved their differences. Ankara has to consult Russia on Syria, where Vladimir Putin has gained strength and influence by backing Assad while Turkey supports the opposition. Ankara is concerned about the flow of Syrian refugees, particularly with increased fighting in Idlib, where Assad’s forces last week attacked Turkish outposts. Syria is a quagmire of fractious militias, proxy forces and the Assad regime. In that context it is understandable that Ankara wants to keep communication with Russia open. It may also buy the odd piece of weaponry from Moscow if it supports that aim and keeps its borders secure at the same time.
In other words, Turkey has to negotiate fraught relationships in a fragile region. It is in everybody’s interest for Turkey to be able to keep out of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, which does require talking to Russia and a whole host of other regional actors.
While NATO’s concerns are understandable and Erdogan may not be everybody’s favorite politician, sanctions against Turkey would serve nobody’s interest. Neither NATO nor Europe wants the Turkish economy to deteriorate any further. The former benefits from having a stable ally on its eastern front, and the latter would prefer not to worry again about refugees using the eastern Balkans route.
• Cornelia Meyer is a business consultant, macro-economist and energy expert. Twitter: @MeyerResources

No-deal’ Boris moves another step closer to Number 10

Andrew Hammond/Arab News/June 22/2019
A widely reported domestic altercation with his girlfriend failed to dislodge Boris Johnson from his position as firm favorite to be the UK’s next prime minister as the final phase of the UK Tory party leadership election began on Friday. Center stage in the contest between Johnson and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt is likely to be the growing possibility of a “no-deal Brexit.”
With a thick Brexit fog hanging over the nation, there is only one certainty; the default position legally is that the UK will leave the EU on Oct. 31, whether an exit deal is agreed or not.
Throughout much of the period since the 2016 referendum, the prospects of the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal were widely dismissed, not least by Theresa May’s government itself. However, it has become a very real prospect, with Johnson asserting that the nation must leave on Oct. 31 come what may. The concept of “no deal” is only patchily understood by much of the UK public, let alone international audiences. It would not mean only that the UK would abolish the rules that regulate its relationship with Europe. Many economic ties with the rest of the world would be undermined too, because they are underpinned by trade treaties that the EU has agreed with key nations from Canada to Japan. With Oct. 31 approaching fast, only about a quarter of 40 planned post-Brexit trade agreements have been signed.
Another common misconception is that there is only one no-deal outcome, when in fact there are several. At the extreme end of the spectrum is a chaotic no-deal Brexit whereby negotiations between Brussels and London break down acrimoniously.
Despite the economic harm it would cause the UK and the EU, a version of this chaotic option cannot be dismissed; Johnson’s dogmatic Brexit position is popular with the 160,000 Tory party members who will elect their leader. The underdog, Hunt, who voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, advocates a more nuanced approach, with the option of a further delay in leaving if a revised withdrawal deal appears possible at the end of October.
The May government has proposed a range of measures to cushion the blow of no deal. They include unilateral UK action to maintain as much continuity as possible, such as allowing European road hauliers to use their licenses in the UK after Oct. 31, and maintaining agreements in critical areas such as aviation and civil nuclear cooperation and safeguarding.
Despite the economic harm (a no-deal Brexit) would cause the UK and the EU, a version of this chaotic option cannot be dismissed; Johnson’s dogmatic Brexit position is popular with the 160,000 Tory party members who will elect their leader.
However, in the event of a no-deal exit, it is unclear what measures might come from the EU side to ease the impact. Given the time and political capital expended by both sides in trying to reach a withdrawal agreement, a no-deal outcome would generate significant acrimony and finger pointing over who is to blame. Despite Johnson’s apparent dismissal of the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the UK economy, there is a consensus among economists that this is wishful thinking. Longer-term forecasts aside, it is the short-term challenge that could be particularly intense; the Bank of England has asserted that the UK could tip into recession.
Part of the reason the short-term impact could be so severe is that, while it will ultimately be viable for the UK to trade as a third country with the EU and rest of the world under WTO rules and other international agreements, this cannot happen straight away; negotiating those new trade schedules will be neither automatic nor straightforward. In addition, many economists think that trading on WTO terms would have a negative effect compared with the status quo, at least to begin with.
This is why so many Members of Parliament are still trying to prevent a no-deal option through parliamentary means, aided by the activist House of Commons Speaker John Bercow. This month, for instance, there was a cross-party proposal for the Commons to take control of the chamber’s business from the government, but the vote was defeated by 309-298. On previous occasions there has been a majority in the Commons against no-deal. The problem facing those many MPs who want to avoid this outcome is that they also need to cultivate stronger support for an alternative option to command the confidence of the chamber — including a second referendum, or perhaps a revised version of May’s withdrawal deal. Success in this challenge has so far proved elusive, and will now be a defining political task in what is likely to be a frenzied few months.
*Andrew Hammond is an Associate at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics