- WHO: 338 Syrians, including 100 children, killed in Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes on Aleppo in past week
Leaders from all around the world gathered to pay tribute to former Israeli President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres as he was laid to rest in Jerusalem on Friday. U.S. President Barack Obama eulogized Peres, stating, “His skill secured Israel’s strategic position. His boldness sent Israeli commandos to Entebbe, and rescued Jews from Ethiopia. His statesmanship built an unbreakable bond with the United States of America and so many other countries.” Obama continued, “He championed the promise of science and technology to make the desert bloom, and turned this tiny country into a central hub of the digital age, making life better not just for people here, but for people around the world.”
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, the first to speak, said of Peres, “Your stubborn faith in mankind and the good of people – in the victory of progress over ignorance, in the victory of hope over fear – was your eternal fountain of youth, thanks to which you were the eternal fountain of youth for all of us.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, “He belonged to the generation that emerged from bondage to liberty, that struck roots in our ancient homeland, and wielded the Sword of David in its defense. Shimon made a monumental contribution to guaranteeing our capacity to defend ourselves for generations. And for that he will have the gratitude of generations.” The prime minister said that Peres “lived a life of purpose… he was a great man of Israel, he was a great man of the world.” He concluded his remarks by saying, “I weep for you. I loved you. We all love you.”
Before the ceremony, Netanyahu spoke briefly with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He told Abbas and chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat of their attendance, “It’s something that I appreciate very much, on behalf of our people, and on behalf of us.” Netanyahu’s wife Sara told Abbas she was “happy” to see him and continued, “I am looking forward to having you at our house.”
Seventy-five world leaders attended the ceremony, including former President Bill Clinton, former British Prime Ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron, Britain’s Prince Charles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and former Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto.
44-year-old human rights lawyer and women’s activist Narges Mohammadi has been given a 16-year prison sentence in Iran, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. Ms. Mohammadi built a career for herself defending victims of acid attacks and fighting against the death penalty.
“She has committed no crime and has just been doing her job as a lawyer and citizen,” said Nasrin Sotoudeh, another prominent lawyer and human rights activist whom Iran jailed previously. Amnesty International called her imprisonment “shameful”.
Writing from Evin prison in May, Ms. Mohammadi said the “pain and suffering in Evin prison is beyond tolerance,” and likened long periods of solitary confinement to “psychological torture.” She was cut off from all contact with her children—prompting a hunger strike and social media campaign. Consequently, her restrictions were eased, but she remains behind bars alongside 25 other female political prisoners.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday that 338 people have been killed in the bombardments of eastern Aleppo carried out by the Syrian regime and Russia this past week, including more than 100 children. The number of wounded was 846, including 261 children. Rick Brennan, the WHO’s director of emergency response, told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland, “We are asking for four things: stop the killing, stop attacks on health care, let the sick and wounded out and let the aid in.” Aleppo’s two largest hospitals came under attack this week and are no longer functioning, he added.
Earlier this week, the American ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, said that what Russia was doing and sponsoring in Aleppo was “barbarism.” Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday, “I think we’re on the verge of suspending the discussion [with Russia over Syria] because it’s irrational in the context of the type of bombing taking place.” The United States and Russia had reached an agreement on September 9 in Geneva to implement a ceasefire and deliver aid to besieged communities in Syria – should the violence be kept down and aid be delivered successfully for seven consecutive days, the U.S. said it would coordinate with Russia in targeting ISIS and Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria. This agreement lies in tatters after the combined Russian-Syrian assault over the past several days. Russia announced on Friday, the one-year anniversary of its intervention in Syria, that it would be sending more warplanes to Syria to intensify its air campaign.
In an attack earlier this month that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called “sickening, savage,” airstrikes (which the U.S. accused Russia of carrying out) destroyed 18 out of 31 trucks that made up a joint UN-Syrian Arab Red Crescent convoy that was delivering aid for 78,000 civilians. Twenty civilians were killed in the attack.
During the five year-long civil war that has killed over 400,000 people and displaced millions, the Assad regime has committed war crimes including the indiscriminate murder of civilians through the use of barrel bombs, massacres, intentional starvation, and chemical weapon attacks. The Assad regime and its Russian backers have been denounced for intentionally targeting schools and medical facilities. Assad has been fully backed in his onslaught against Syrian civilians by Iran and its terror proxy Hezbollah.
Apple’s Herzliya R&D center is its second-largest in the world and has over 700 employees. Chief executive officer Tim Cook flew to Israel to inaugurate the new center in 2015, telling Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that he and his staff “have an enormous admiration for Israel, not just as an important ally for the US, but as a place to do business.”
The tech giant has taken special interest in Israeli chip design, and already bought two Israeli microprocessor chip design firms. “Apple’s Israeli acquisitions and its expanding local workforce show that the company is becoming more and more independent on the chip level, where it once had to rely on external suppliers,” Shlomo Gradman, chairman of the Israeli Semiconductor Club, told The Wall Street Journal in 2015. A year later shares in an Israeli microchip company hit a record high after analyses showed that its technology was used in the iPhone 7.
More than 250 other international companies have also established R&D centers in Israel, including Google, Facebook, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard.