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Israel deploys ‘Iron Dome’ missile defense system near Jerusalem

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Israel deployed its Iron Dome missile defence system near Jerusalem Sunday, an AFP correspondent said, as the United States lobbied for domestic and international support for military strikes against Syria.

The correspondent said the battery was set up west of the city.

A military spokeswoman would not comment on the deployment, saying only that “defence systems are deployed in accordance with situation assessments.”

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Late last month a battery of the mobile system was set up in the greater Tel Aviv area, pointing northwards towards Syria. Israeli media have reported that six or seven such batteries are currently in use.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Israel “an island of tranquillity, quiet and security” amidst “the storm raging around us”, without explicitly mentioning Syria or its ally Iran.

In previous weeks Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel was not involved in the war in Syria, but would “respond with force” if anyone attacked it.

The Israeli line on Syria was reiterated in remarks by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon later Sunday.

“We are not involved in the civil war in Syria unless our interests are compromised,” he said at a counter-terrorism conference in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.

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“We are preparing for the ramification of action — or inaction — in Syria,” he continued.

“To our understanding, our neighbours, especially the Syrian regime, understands that whoever challenges us will encounter the power of the IDF (Israeli military), and we are preparing for that.”

Yaalon noted that “we held a security assessment today”, and the bottom line was that Israel was not reverting to a heightened level of alert in the wake of the developments in and regarding Syria.

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There are fears that if the United States and its allies attack Syria, forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or its Lebanese Hezbollah proxies could retaliate against neighbouring Israel, Washington’s key ally in the region.

Late last month, Iran’s army chief of staff General Hassan Firouzabadi warned: “Any military action against Syria will drive the Zionists to the edge of fire.”

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US President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking to shore up support both at home and abroad for limited military strikes against Syria in retaliation for what it says is the regime’s use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb.

In Washington, Congress is due to begin full debate this week on whether to approve Obama’s plans when it returns from its summer break on Monday.

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The Trump-bubble is bursting: Coronavirus is only part of the problem with the stock market

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As the coronavirus outbreak approaches global pandemic status, the financial markets started the week in the hole. In the case of the U.S. Stock Exchange, all of the gains for the year were erased in one day. But the cause isn't isolated to the deaths caused by the virus.

Axios reported Tuesday that the market tumble that President Donald Trump's precious economic bubble might be bursting.

Asset fund managers said coming into 2020 that the stock market would be less predictable, but would likely rise about 5 percent from the 2019 close.

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Democrat ‘appalled’ by classified Senate briefing on coronavirus: ‘Should have been fully open to American people’

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Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) blasted the Trump administration for withholding information about coronavirus preparations from the public.

The administration gave senators a classified briefing Tuesday morning on the virus, which Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned Monday could turn into a potential pandemic unless President Donald Trump and his team took swift action.

"The Trump administration has been asleep at the wheel," Schumer said. "President Trump, good morning, there is a pandemic of coronavirus. Where are you?"

After the briefing, Blumenthal sounded like he hadn't been reassured by the administration -- and called for more transparency.

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2020 Election

Math explains why the Democrats may have trouble picking a candidate

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From 28 declared candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination down to just eight, many Americans are likely wondering how the party will ultimately make up its mind and settle on the best candidate.

As mathematicians, we wondered whether there might not even be a best candidate. In fact, this is an established mathematical paradox. The more candidates there are, the greater the chance there is no clear favorite.

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