Polish embassy in Tel Aviv defaced with swastikas

Israeli police have released photos showing swastikas and slurs daubed onto the gates of Poland’s embassy in Israel. The incident came after the Polish prime minister suggested Jews were also complicit in the Holocaust.

Tel Aviv: Swastika graffiti on Polish embassy (Reuters )

Israeli police released photographs on Sunday of graffiti scribbled onto the gate of the Polish embassy in Tel Aviv, which included Nazi swastikas and the word “murderer.”

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld tweeted photos of the graffiti under the caption, “Police units searching for suspects in Tel Aviv after graffiti written on the entrance of the Polish embassy. Investigation continues.”

Police units searching for suspects in tel Aviv after graffiti written at entrance of polish embassy today. Investigation continues.

What is the background?

The incident came just a day after Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki prompted outrage in Israel for equating Polish collaborators in the Holocaust to supposed “Jewish perpetrators.”

  • At the Munich Security Conference (MSC) on Saturday, Morawiecki was asked by an Israeli journalist if Poland would consider him a criminal if he reported that Polish neighbors had betrayed his Jewish family to the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s secret police.
  • The Polish prime minister responded: “It’s extremely important to first understand that, of course, it’s not going to be punishable, not going to be seen as criminal to say that there were Polish perpetrators — as there were Jewish perpetrators, as there were Russian perpetrators, as there were Ukrainian … not only German perpetrators.”
  • He later backtracked from his remarks on Twitter, writing: “Dialogue about this most difficult history is necessary, as a warning. We will conduct such dialogue with Israel.”

    Sadly,this period also exposed dark parts of human nature, which for some meant collaboration with German Nazis. Dialogue on these difficult chapters of our history is essential—a dialogue we hope to continue w/ Israel. Today, I spoke about this with Prime Minister @netanyahu 2/2

Why this is important: Morawiecki’s comment reignited the countries’ diplomatic dispute over a controversial new Polish law, which allows the government to jail anyone who, “publicly and against the facts,” suggests Polish involvement in Nazi war crimes committed during World War II.

Read more: Israeli minister ‘honored’ by canceled Poland trip amid Holocaust bill row

Watch video02:16

Polish Holocaust law: an attempt to rewrite history?

How did Israel react? Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his Polish counterpart had shown a “lack of understanding of history and lack of sensitivity to the tragedy of our people.” The two leaders also spoke on the phone on Sunday. Netanyahu’s office later issued a statement, saying the prime minister had “pointed out that the goal of the Holocaust was to destroy the Jewish people and that all Jews were under sentence of death.”

Read more: Poland’s new ‘Holocaust law’ widely condemned in Israel

Watch video03:31

Could new Polish law criminalize discussion of Holocaust?

What does Poland’s new law say? The law criminalizes ascribing blame for crimes committed by Nazi Germany to the Polish nation. Anyone found guilty could face a maximum sentence of three years. Morawiecki reiterated that the law made clear “there were no Polish death camps … There were German Nazi death camps.”

How has Germany reacted? Germany has repeatedly taken full responsibility for the Holocaust, with Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterating that Nazi Germany was responsible for the atrocities committed during World War II.

Read more: Angela Merkel and Mateusz Morawiecki seek to repair German-Polish relations

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dm/rt (Reuters, AP)

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Australia, US, India, Japan mulling ‘infrastructure scheme to rival China’

Australia, the US, India and Japan are talking about plans for a regional scheme to counterbalance China’s growing influence, a report says. A US official spoke of an “alternative” rather than a “rival” plan.

Train running from London-Jiwu (Getty Images/AFP/I. Infantes)

 Australia, the United States, India and Japan have been discussing a joint regional infrastructure scheme designed to be a rival to China’s multibillion-dollar “Belt and Road” initiative, the Australian Financial Review reported on Monday.

The paper cited an unnamed US official as saying the plan would possibly be on the agenda at talks in Washington this week between Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and US President Donald Trump, although he said the scheme was not yet ready to be announced officially.

The official was quoted as preferring to describe the plan as an “alternative” and not a “rival” to the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” scheme, under which Beijing has been funding major infrastructure projects, including ports, rail networks and roads, in more than 60 countries.

“No one is saying China should not build infrastructure,” the official was quoted as saying. “China might build a port which, on its own, is not economically viable. We could make it economically viable by building a road or rail line linking that port.”

The US, in particular, views the Chinese scheme as an attempt to increase Beijing’s global clout.

Read more: ‘New Silk Road’ and China’s hegemonic ambitions

Silk Road map

Nervous China

News of the planned joint initiative comes shortly after the same countries agreed to revive four-way talks known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), first devised in the 1990s but later abandoned.  The quartet held talks on the revival in Manila on the sidelines of the November ASEAN and East Asia Summits.

Beijing has expressed its disapproval at the renewal of the QSD, which it sees as a bid to contain its economic advances.

Turnbull is to fly to Washington on Wednesday for a three-day visit at the head of a delegation containing a number of business executives. The meeting with Trump would be the fourth time they have held official talks in less than a year.

Turnbull was one of the first world leaders to congratulate Trump on winning last year’s presidential election.

Read more: China proposes ‘Polar Silk Road’ across Arctic to streamline trade

Watch video42:45

China’s way to the top

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

COURTESY: DW

Trump expresses support for senators’ gun bill

 1:17
Gun control discussed after Florida school shooting

Politicians and others discussed gun control on Feb. 18, following a school shooting in Florida that left 17 dead. 

 February 19 at 10:34 AM 
President Trump signaled support for one piece of gun control legislation on Monday, five days after a mass shooting at a Florida high school left 17 people dead and scores injured.“The president is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, wrote in a statement Monday morning.

Sanders said the president spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) on Friday to express support for the bill Cornyn has introduced with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). The bill is still being amended, the White House cautioned.

The statement did not address how the president would react to more aggressive gun control measures.

 2:09
The calls for action get louder as the Parkland community grieves

Grieving students, friends and family gathered outside of the Federal District Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale to demand stricter gun control laws. 

The senators’ bill is narrow in focus, reinforcing the requirement that federal agencies report all criminal infractions to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and creating financial incentives for states to do so, as well.

Federal agencies are required to report various felonies, indictments and other crimes — including domestic assaults — into the federal database, but Congress has no power to compel states to do the same. The Murphy-Cornyn legislation would offer direct financial incentives, as well as favorable future access to other federal assistance programs, to states that report infractions into the system.

The powerful National Rifle Association has not opposed the bill like it has more exhaustive pieces of legislation, such as banning assault rifles or limiting the sale of high-capacity magazines.

It’s unclear whether the legislation will go forward. After a mass shooting in Las Vegas last year, officials said they were studying a ban on bump stocks, an attachment that allows a rifle to fire more frequently.

Over the weekend at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Trump weighed gun control measures in conversations with friends, according to people who spoke to him. He told them he was affected by seeing victims at a Florida hospital on Friday evening.

Trump has faced two of the country’s deadliest mass shootings as president, including a gunman opening fire from his hotel room in Las Vegas in October and the shooter at the Parkland school last week. Police say 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz admitted last week that he walked into the school — where he had been a former student — and began shooting at students and staff.

Thus far, Trump has not mentioned limiting gun access in his response to the most recent shooting. He initially focused on mental health issues, calling the shooting suspect “mentally disturbed” and saying that he wanted to support local jurisdictions in addressing mental health issues. He said that fixes in the system could prevent future crimes.

Trump also said that people needed to report more to law enforcement. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!” he said Thursday in a tweet.

After the FBI admitted last week that it failed to investigate a warning from a person close to Cruz that he spoke about violence and might be capable of shooting up a school, Trump criticized the agency’s response. He accused the bureau of being too focused on finding wrongdoing related to him and his 2016 presidential campaign to follow up on a tip. His claim that the Russia investigation had anything to do with the Florida office’s failures was widely denounced.

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The president has publicly said little about the victims, but he refrained from golfing, which aides said was to show respect. On Monday, Trump arrived at his gold course around 9 a.m.

“Have a great, but very reflective, Presidents’ Day!” he tweeted.

Karoun Demirjian contributed to this report.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

Winter Olympics: Day 10 roundup

The first day of the final week in Pyeongchang sees Germany trailing Norway at the top of the medals table. Day 10 also featured a double-gold-medal win in the two-man bobsleigh, with Germany and Canada finishing even.

Pyeongchang Winter Olympia 2018 - Skispringen (picture-alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild/H. Schmidt)

Gold in team ski jumping for Norway

Monday’s action in Pyeongchang wrapped up with Robert Johansson (pictured above, second from right) anchoring Norway to Olympic gold in the men’s team ski-jumping event. His final jump of 136 meters edged Germany into a silver medal, while Poland, led by Kamil Stoch, the large-hill champion, had to settle for bronze.

Germany and Canada share gold medal

Just moments earlier, a bit of history was made on the ice track, as Germany and Canada finished in a dead heat, and wound up sharing the gold medal in the two-man bobsleigh. After their final run, Germany’s four-time world champion, Francesco Friedrich and his brakeman, Thorsten Margis must have thought they had done enough to win gold outright. However, Canada’s Justin Kripps and brakeman Alexander Kopacz had other ideas, romping home on their final run to achieve exactly the same aggregate time of 3:16.86. This is only the second time in Olympic history that two teams have tied for a gold medal – the first time was at the Nagano Games in 1998.

Olympia 2018 Pyeongchang Bobsled (picture alliance/AP Photo/A. Wong)Francesco Friedrich, Thorsten Margis, Justin Kripps and Alexander Kopacz celebrate their gold-medal win.

CAS opens doping case against OAR curler

The big news in Pyeongchang earlier in the day was the latest suspected doping case. The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) confirmed that it had charged Alexander Krushelnitsky, competing as an Olympic Athlete from Russia, with a doping offense. Krushelnitsky won bronze in the mixed doubles event with his wife, Anastasia Brzgalova. The CAS said a hearing date was yet to be fixed and gave no details of the case. However, there have been reports that Krushelnitzsky tested positive for meldonium, the same substance that saw Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova suspended from competition.

Olympic record

Also on Day 10, Havard Lorentzen of Norway crossed the finish line in 34.41 seconds to take gold and set a new Olympic record in the men’s 500-meter speedskating event. South Korea’s Cha Min-Kyu pleased the home fans by taking the silver medal, just 0.01 seconds behind Lorentzen, while Gao Tingyu of China won the bronze medal.

Shiffrin pulls out of downhill

Also on Monday, two-time Olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin announced that she is dropping out of the downhill at the Pyeongchang Games so she can focus on the combined event that was moved to the following day.

The usual suspects in women’s ice hockey

Surprise, surprise, the gold-medal match in women’s ice hockey will feature four time defending champions Canada and the United States. Canada beat the OARs 5-0 to advance to the final, while the Americans beat Finland by the same score.

The two teams have featured in every final but in 2006 in Turin, when Canada beat Sweden in the gold-medal contest. The only time Canada has not won gold was in the first women’s Olympic tournament, when they lost to the Americans in Nagano in 1998.

Here’s how the medals table stands at the end of Day 10:

As it happened

14:31 – DOUBLE GOLD! Unbelievable! In their final run, pilot Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis take gold in the 2-man bobsleigh after finishing with the exact same time as Canada’s Justin Kripps!

Junge, Junge, Junge! Francesco Friedrich und Thorsten Margis holen doch noch GOLD im Zweierbob. Zeitgleich mit den Kanadiern!

14:00 – Like London buses! We’ll have another gold medal handed out in a few moments time. Canada’s Justin Kripps is on course to collect gold, but has Friedrich and Lochner breathing down his neck.

13:48 – GOLD for… Norway! Many expected the Netherlands to pick up another speed skating medal, but Norway’s Havard Lorentzen had other ideas as he set an Olympic record with a time of 34.41 seconds to claim Norway’s first gold in the event since 1968.

19FEB Speed Skating – Men’s 500m
2/19 스피드 스케이팅 – 남자 500m

Gold🥇 LORENTZEN Havard / Norway
Silver🥈 CHA Min Kyu / Republic of Korea
Bronze🥉 GAO Tingyu / People’s Republic of China

Congratulations! 축하합니다!🎉

13:10 – Time for a gold medal? Absolutely! The Men’s 500m Speed Skating final is underway. 18 pairs of skaters hit the ice, against the clock, fastest man wins. The world record is 33.98 seconds and we’re already several skaters deep. Will the Dutch domination continue on the ice?

13:06 – At the halfway stage, Team GB currently lead over Switzerland. The USA and Sweden are also ahead in their Round Robin ties, while it’s all level between Denmark and OAR.

12:58 – Despite being attacked for openly admitting she would refuse a visit to the White House, American skier Lindsey Vonn is not planning to change her mind or stop saying what she thinks.

“That’s what bullies want you to do: They want to defeat you. And I’m not defeated. I’m the same. I stand by my values. And I’m not going to back down,” the 33-year-old said on Monday. “I may not be as vocal right now with my opinions, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve won, you know? I haven’t changed my mind.”

FIS Alpine Ski in Garmisch Partenkirchen Lindsey Vonn (Imago/GEPA pictures/T. Bachun)Lindsey Vonn posted the third fastest time in downhill training on Monday.

12:37 – An incredible run from German Francesco Friedrich, who has catapulted himself into second place by setting a course record. He is now just six hundredths of a second behind Canada’s Justin Kripps.

12:34 – Well that’s one way to watch the curling. Not sure I’d be brave enough for it!

The cold never bothered him anyway! A warm-blooded, courageous, Canadian 🇨🇦curling fan tries to order a drink at the Centre

추위를 잊은 캐나다 컬링 열정팬 포착!

12:11 – The men’s 2-man Bobsleigh final heats are about to get underway. Meanwhile, there’s also women’s curling action that we’ll be keeping our eyes on so don’t go anywhere.  

11:55 – Here’s more on the banned substance linked with allegations which have rocked the Winter Olympics.

Allegations rock the Winter Olympics as anti-doping case is opened against bronze-medal winning Russian curler.

Details: http://p.dw.com/p/2suFb  pic.twitter.com/vkBCjIQuon

Meldonium is back in the spotlight, but what’s the story behind the banned substance? pic.twitter.com/fUbphvOxfu

11:38 – We brought you news of an anti-doping case being opened against Russian curler and bronze-medalist Alexander Krushelnitsky. Here’s more….

Read more: Anti-doping case opened against Russian curler

 PyeongChang Olympia 2018 Curling - Alexander Kruschelnizki (Getty Images/R. Martinez)

10:59 – Ole Einar Bjørndalen, a name etched in the Winter Olympics’ history books.

10:11 – The Men’s 2-man Bobsleigh event will be one of the highlights this afternoon. Would you fancy hurling down an ice track at those speeds?

09:34 – Canada’s Cassie Sharpe stole all the headlines during Monday’s women’s ski halfpipe qualifiers. She was head and shoulders above the competition courtesy of greater technical difficulty on her flowing ride down the halfpipe. Exciting stuff ahead of tomorrow’s final.

Olympia Pyeongchang 2018 Damen Freestyle Ski (picture-alliance/AP/L. Jin-man)Sabrina Cakmakli finished seventh in qualifying to reach the women’s ski halfpipe final.

09:11 – The USA retake the lead in the 11th end to snatch a 9-7 victory. That’s Canada’s third straight loss in Pyeongchang and a vital win for the USA, whose final four hopes are still alive. Elsewhere, South Korea beat Italy 8-6 to pick up only their second win from seven meaning they still sit in last place.

08:49 – In the curling, Great Britain has picked up a big win in Round Robin Session 9, leaving it late to complete their comeback against Denmark. Team GB currently sit in fourth in the standings and are poised to progress to the semi-finals. The USA and Canada are tied at 7-7, meaning they’ve gone to an 11th end to decide their tie.

YES BOYS!! 👊@Team_Smith13 claim two in the final end and turn the match around to win 7-6!

The boys are now 4-3 for the round robin and are still in the hunt for the semi-finals.

 

08:24 – In case you’re just joining us, we had a Winter Olympics’ first earlier this morning as the Big Air qualifiers took place. If you haven’t seen Anna Gasser land the cab double cork 1080 then find the broadcaster of your choice to have a look see. It’s well worth it!

07:56 – A quick update on that unfortunate wardrobe malfunction during the ice dance, suffered by French skater Gabriella Papadakis, who had this to say about the incident, “It was pretty distracting, my worst nightmare at the Olympics,” the 22-year-old Papadakis said. “I felt it right away and I prayed. I told myself ‘you have to keep going’ and that’s what we did, and we have to be proud of ourselves, delivering a great performance with that happening.”

I so feel for Gabriella Papadakis. You work your whole lives for this moment. World, let’s not let their performance boil down to a wardrobe malfunction.

07:20 – It’s all over in the ice hockey as the USA clinch a 5-0 victory with another goal in the third period. It is the third successive final at the Games for the US, who lost the past two to Canada, their possible opponents again on Thursday. The Canadians take on Olympic Athletes from Russia in the second semi-final later today.

06:37 – Back to the ice hockey, where the USA have, to all intents and purposes wrapped things up as the players depart at the end of the second period.

DON’T BLINK, you might miss a goal! 😱 That’s two goals in 34 seconds, this one coming from @HilaryKnight!

🇺🇸 4
🇫🇮 0

06:33 – Things are fairly slow at the minute in Pyeongchang, so just time to keep you updated on the latest doping case to emerge from the Winter Olympics. Alexander Krushelnitsky, who won bronze with his wife in mixed doubles curling, has now been named as the athlete suspected of testing positive for meldonium.

A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said it would be “extremely disappointing for us if a case is proven”.  Krushelnitsky has reportedly left Pyeongchang.

06:04 – We’re about to see men’s curling for the first time today. It’s Italy vs. South Korea, Sweden vs. Switzerland, USA vs. Canada and Great Britain vs. Denmark. This is round 7 of 10. Sweden have a perfect record so far and the hosts look almost out of contention for the four qualifying berths, but otherwise it’s up for grabs.

05:48 – The ice dance has just wrapped up for the day, with the 20 qualifying pairs set to return for the Free Dance section that defines the medals on Tuesday. Canadian duo Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir broke their own World Record to be the pick of the bunch, recording a score of 83.67.

05:44 – USA beat Finland 3-1 in the group stages and they’re threatening an even bigger win here. Dani Cameranesi has just fired home to put them 2-0 up at the end of the first period.

05:30 – We have a wardrobe malfunction in the ice dancing. Gabriella Papdakis’ dress came loose at the top at the start of her routine with Guillame Cizeron but she managed to keep her cool, keep it (just about) together and register a score that puts them in second. Now that’s professionalism from the Frenchwoman.

05:20 – The US storm to an early lead over Finland in the ice hockey while in the ice dance, Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir knock the Shibutanis off top spot, with a score of 83.67. That’s a new world record, breaking a mark they set themselves last year.

05:10 – The lull is over, the US and Finland are doing battle on the ice hockey rink and there’s movement in the Ice Dance arena too, with the last five couples gliding around in preparation.

05:00 – They’re cleaning the ice dance rink ready for the final group and we’ve still got 10 minutes until the Women’s Ice Hockey starts. So, nothing to see here….

04:40 – Well, the Shibutanis have just shaken up the ice dance, with a score of 77.73 from a well-executed routine. After the scores are announced they take it in turns to have a sentence to the watching camera, including some thanks for ‘mom and dad’. Even their utterances appear to be choreographed…

04:31 – In just over half an hour, we’ll have the first of the women’s ice hockey semifinals, with the USA taking on Finland. The winners of that clash will play either Canada or the catchily-named Olympic Athletes from Russia.

04:10 – It’s just the ice dance on at the minute, with the British pair still leading. Most of the big hitters are still to come though, with American brother and sister duo Maia and Alex Shibutani, Canadian favorites Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and well-regarded French pairing Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron the 18th, 20th and 21st to go. We’re currently on pair 15.

03:55 – A quick update on those two late-finishing curling matches in the women’s draw. USA eventually edged out Denmark 7-6, while hosts South Korea beat Sweden by the same scoreline. Those last two teams top the round robin group.

03:50 – And that’s it for Women’s Halfpipe qualification too. Cassie Sharpe the best performer there, the Canadian scoring 93.40. Germany’s Sabrina Cakmakli’s first run of 81.80 was enough to book her passage to tomorrow’s final too.

03:42 – That monster run from Gasser was enough to see her finish at the top of the 12 qualifiers, just ahead of Yuka Fujimori and Reira Iwabuchi of Japan. The final, which consists of three runs, will take place in a little less than 24 hours’ time.

03:22 – Anna Gasser has just laid down a real marker for the rest of the Big Air competition. The Austrian was in a strong position after run 1 but has just stepped it up a gear with a sensational 98 in run 2.

03:15 – We have a new leader in the Ice Dance. Great Britain’s Penny Coombes and Nicholas Buckland’s score of 68.36 puts them out in front. But before the Brits among us start thinking of Torville and Dean, there are still 14 competitors (and another day of competition) to go. Still, a lead’s a lead.

What a breathtaking performance in the from @N_Buckland & @PennyCoomes ⛸️

They’re through to the finals with a score of 68.36

Leave your congratulations messages 👇

03:05 – A couple of the Women’s Curling Round robin matches are done and both ended in hammerings. Switzerland beat Russia… erm… the Olympic Athletes from Russia 11-2 and Canada dished out an 8-3 mauling to Japan.

03:00 – Run 1 of the Halfpipe is also completed. There it’s another Canadian, Cassie Sharpe who leads, followed by Marie Martinod of France and Brita Sigourney of the USA. The cutoff mark there is 71-60. We’ll know the 12 women who make it through to the finals of the two events in about an hour.

02:51 – The first run of the Big Air snowboarding is done, with Laurie Blouin (Canada), Anna Gasser (Austria) and Julia Marino (USA) leading the way. The cut off mark stands at 70.75 with the second run to follow very shortly.

02:37 – Another German in action, this time in the Halfpipe. Sabrina Cakmakli catches the eye with the brightest of pink jackets and spins, twists and turns her way to 6th place and a decent shot at making tomorrow’s final.

02:28 – German pair Kavita Lorenz and Joti Polizoakis have just finished their routine in the Ice Dancing. The pair opted for a distinctly un-German Salsa, Rhumba, Samba musical combo and looked in control without offering anything particularly outrageous. They look relatively satisfied with their score of 59.99, which is enough to lead at this early stage. Lorenz blows a few kisses to the camera and we move on to the Israeli pair.

02:22: – We’re about halfway through the first qualifying run in both the Big Air and the Halfpipe. Julia Marino of the USA is leading the former, Canada’s Cassie Sharpe in front in the latter.

02:04 – That is some ramp to start off from in the Big Air. 49 meters apparently. Terrifying. Great Britain’s Aimee Fuller heads down it but lands badly. She tells the camera that she’ll get it next time before giving her mum a quick shout out. Nice.

02:00 – Other than a few round robin curling matches, which we’ll check in on soon, the day’s first events are qualifying for the Women’s Ski Halfpipe and the Women’s Big Air snowboarding and the Short Dance stage of the Ice Dance competition. For the uninitiated, the first will comprise two runs to whittle the numbers down and the Ice Dance will see all 24 pairs perform one routine.

No medals will be handed out but we’ll surely get some interesting costume and music choices in the ice dance and it’s the first time that the Big Air competition has made it in to the Olympics.

01:45 – Hello! And welcome back to our live coverage of Pyeongchang 2018. After day 9 featured photo finishes and German bobsleigh drama, we’re expecting similar scenes today.

Among the events to watch out for are the Men’s 2-man Bobsleigh, where Germany are favorites to make it four golds in a row, and the Short Dance section of the Ice Dance competition, which has plenty of American contenders.

Here’s how the medal table looks ahead of day 10.

COURTESY: DW

Iranian FM calls Netanyahu’s drone stunt ‘cartoonish circus,’ says Israel ‘not invincible’

Iranian FM calls Netanyahu’s drone stunt ‘cartoonish circus,’ says Israel ‘not invincible’
Iran’s foreign minister ridiculed a security conference speech by Netanyahu, who used a part of a drone to make a point. He lashed out at Israel’s “aggression to neighbors” and mentioned the country’s “crumbling invincibility.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spoke at the Munich Security Conference a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu displayed what he said was a piece of an Iranian drone shot down last week by Israeli forces. The Iranian official dismissed the use of the prop as a “cartoonish circus” that was meant “to blame others for its own strategic blunders, or maybe to evade the domestic crisis they’re facing.”

‘Mr. Zarif, you recognize this?’ – Netanyahu to Iranian FM https://on.rt.com/8zel 

Netanyahu uses fragment of destroyed drone to taunt Iranian FM — RT World News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu used a piece of what he said was fragment of an Iranian drone downed by the Israeli military to taunt Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.

rt.com

He added that Israel was avoiding discussion of its own hostile and destructive policies in the Middle East.

“Israel uses aggression as a policy against its neighbors,” Zarif said, citing the regular air incursions into Syria and Lebanon. “The entire speech [by Netanyahu] was trying to evade the issue.”

Zarif also said that the loss of a fighter jet by Israel during the latest flare-up on the Syrian border tarnished the image of invincibility the Israeli military has.

Earlier on Sunday, Netanyahu called Iran the biggest threat in the world, and taunted Zarif while holding the aircraft fragment.

Courtesy: RT

Florida students call for gun control: ‘Without action, children die’

After 17 of their classmates and coaches were killed, the teens at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are making their voices heard. They want politicians to finally start taking action.

USA Anti-Waffen-Demonstration in Fort Lauderdale (Reuters/J. Drake)

The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland, Florida, have lived through a nightmare. On Wednesday, February 14, a gunman opened fire at their school, killing 17 people. The teens who survived were witness to classmates and teachers being shot. Now some of the survivors are taking action.

They are using their personal experience to try to convince politicians to pass gun control measures and to call out those who are unwilling to discuss the issue.

To the politicians saying this isn’t about guns, and that we shouldn’t be discussing this rn:

We were literally being shot at while trying to gain an education. So this is about guns. You weren’t in the school while this was happening. We were, and we’re demanding change.

The Valentine’s Day shooting in Parkland was the 18th shooting at an educational institution in the US in 2018. The number includes suicides and incidents where no one was injured.

The fact that shootings happen so frequently is making many Americans angry at their government and the National Rifle Association (NRA) for creating an environment in which even the smallest gun control proposals come up against fierce resistance. At an anti-gun rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Saturday, MSD student Emma Gonzalez gave voice to the anger she and her classmates felt.

“If all our government and our president can do is send ‘thoughts and prayers,’ then it’s time for victims to be the change we need to see,” Gonzalez said. “We, we are going to be the kids that you read about in textbooks…We are going to be the last mass shooting.”

‘This shouldn’t be happening anymore’

One MSD student named Carly emphasized on Twitter that guns should be at the center of the discussion about what happened at her school. Carly’s tweet came as a reply to conservative talk show host Tomi Lahren, who had tweeted that the Left was trying to “push their anti-gun and anti-gunowner agenda.”

I was hiding in a closet for 2 hours. It was about guns. You weren’t there, you don’t know how it felt. Guns give these disgusting people the ability to kill other human beings. This IS about guns and this is about all the people who had their life abruptly ended because of guns. https://twitter.com/tomilahren/status/963978544295505922 

“Blood is being spilled on the floors of American classrooms and that is not acceptable,” MSD senior David Hogg told the Washington Post.

Hogg and a group of students ended up hiding in a closet during the shooting, where Hogg started interviewing his classmates and taping their opinions on gun control with his phone. He said he didn’t know whether anyone in the closet would survive, but that he hoped his footage would spur action if it was found.

One of the students Hogg recorded is Isabelle Robinson.

“I really don’t think there’s anything new to say, but there shouldn’t have to be,” Robinson said in the video. “If you looked around in this closet and saw everyone just hiding together, you would know that this shouldn’t be happening anymore.”

Watch video02:12

Florida shooting survivors call for tougher gun laws

In an interview with CNN, Hogg said he believed there was something seriously wrong with his country.

“Some of our policy makers, they need to look in the mirror and take some action,” Hogg said. “Because ideas are great, but without action, ideas stay ideas and children die.”

The voice of their generation

Sergio Rozenblat, the father of a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said on TV channel MSNBC that he wished someone “would film these kids and then show it to the politicians with their speeches, their empty speeches.”

In the days of smartphones and social media, however, no one needs to film the students – they are making sure that pundits are not just talking about them, but that they, the survivors, are part of the conversation.

MSD student Kyra wrote on Twitter that she and her classmates were going to be “the voice of this generation” despite their grief. They were going to make their voices heard, she said.

despite having our hearts ripped out of our chests. Despite losing our friends and coaches. Despite living through a nightmare. As students of Douglas, we are the voice of this generation. And I’ll be damned if anyone thinks they can silence us.

With 14 students and three faculty members dead, the shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas high school is among the deadliest school shootings in modern US history. In 1999, two students at Columbine High School in Colorado took the lives of 13 people before killing themselves. In 2012, a shooter killed 20 children and six staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut before fatally shooting himself in the head.

MSD students are old enough to remember the Sandy Hook massacre. One student named Isabel pointed out on Twitter that because gun control wasn’t tightened after Sandy Hook, she and her fellow MSD students are now “left traumatized.”

in sixth grade, i made paper snowflakes and wrote messages on them for the children of sandy hook. today, in 11th grade, i am left traumatized. because to politicians, guns are more important than the lives of my classmates.

But this time, maybe things will change. The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are old enough to voice their opinions, organize and put a lot of pressure on politicians. They have technology at their fingertips to make themselves heard, that the victims of the Columbine massacre, for example, didn’t have. And they are determined to fight the powerful gun lobby in the United States and get tougher laws on who can buy firearms, so that no other students will have to experience what they went through.

COURTESY: DW

Plane crashes in Iran’s Zagros Mountains with 66 on board

Iran’s state media reported the Aseman Airlines passenger plane crashed in the country’s south in a foggy, mountainous region, killing all 66 passengers on board. The crash happened near the flight’s destination.

A turboprop regional airliner operated by Iran Aseman Airlines (picture-alliance/dpa/EADS ATR)

Aseman Airlines spokesman Mohammad Taghi Tabatabai told state TV on Sunday that everyone on board Flight No. 3704 had been killed. The plane was carrying 60 passengers, including one child, and six crew members.

The ATR-72 twin-engine turboprop used for short-distance regional flying, crashed near its destination of the southern Iranian city of Yasuj, some 780 kilometers (485 miles) south of the Iranian capital Tehran.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei encouraged everyone involved “to heal the sorrow of the families and relatives of victims,” according to the the IRNA news agency.

President Hassan Rouhani said he has assigned officials to investigate the crash and apply measures to avoid similar incidents in the future.

Map showing Semirom and Tehran in Iran

Germany’s foreign ministry issued its condolences via Twitter.

We are dismayed by the crash of an airplane of Aseman Airlines in Iran this morning. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.

Aging aircraft

After decades of international sanctions against Iran, the country’s commercial passenger aircraft fleet has aged, with air accidents occurring regularly in recent years.

Following the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran signed deals with both Airbus and Boeing to buy scores of passenger planes worth tens of billions of dollars.

Read more: What is the Iran nuclear deal?

bik,law/jm (AP, AFP, dpa)

DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

COURTESY: DW

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