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After bitter Iran row, Netanyahu gets White House invite

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is to visit the White House in early November, a US spokesman said Friday, the first time he’s been invited since a fierce row over the Iranian nuclear deal.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said there was an “ongoing effort” to find an exact date for the meeting, but that it would be a chance to deepen cooperation.

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“Despite our well known differences on even some key issues, the bond between the United States and Israel when it comes to our security relationship is unshakable,” he said.

US-Israeli relations are at one of their lowest points in decades, fueled by animosity between Obama and Netanyahu.

After years of frosty relations, Netanyahu stridently opposed a deal championed by Obama as the best way of preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

The Israeli prime minister described the accord, an important piece of Obama’s foreign policy legacy, as a “stunning, historic mistake.”

The White House regarded Netanyahu’s appearance before a joint session of Congress in April to call directly on US lawmakers to scupper the deal, as an affront.

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Obama pointedly refused to meet Netanyahu when he was in Washington to make the address.

The two men clashed again during Netanyahu’s re-election campaign, when he rejected a two-state solution.

In the midst of a bitter and sometimes personal dispute, Netanyahu insisted his opposition is “not about me and it is not about President Obama, it’s about the deal.”

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But with the deal now safely through Congress, Obama appears ready to smooth over relations.

Netanyahu is also under pressure to mend ties with Israel’s chief security guarantor and closest ally.

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President Reuven Rivlin accused Netanyahu this week of missing several chances to repair ties with Washington.

Rivlin said he and the prime minister “exhausted the subject of differences of opinion” on relations with the outside world and were now meeting less frequently.

The White House has floated the idea of a deeper security compact with Israel, but has said the offer has not yet been taken up.

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“The president has indicated on a number of occasions his desire to begin consultations with our Israeli allies about how to further deepen that cooperation,” Earnest said.

“We’re looking forward to doing that.”


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WATCH: New Zealand prime minister unfazed as quake hits during an interview

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A moderate 5.6-magnitude earthquake rattled New Zealand's North Island early Monday but failed to crack Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's trademark composure as she conducted a live television interview.

The quake struck just off the coast before 8:00 am local time (2000 Sunday GMT) at a depth of about 52 kilometres (32 miles) near Levin, about 90 kilometres north of Wellington, the US Geological Survey said.

St John Ambulance and New Zealand Police both said there were no initial reports of injuries or damage. There was no tsunami warning.

But there was sustained shaking in Wellington, where Ardern was being interviewed on breakfast television from parliament's Beehive building, which is designed to absorb seismic forces by swaying slightly on its foundations.

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US farmers are starting to worry as crop prices dip during COVID-19 crisis: ‘It’s kind of glum’

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Dave Burrier steered his tractor through a field, following a GPS map as he tried to plant as much corn as possible amid the yellow and green rye covering the ground.

Striving to get a massive yield out of his crops in rural Maryland is how Burrier hopes to make it through yet another uncertain year, beset by market disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and renewed trade tensions between the United States and China.

"We've had so much price erosion that we're basically at below the cost of production. We've got to figure out how to manage and turn a profit," Burrier told AFP.

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‘It’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months’: Trump makes excuses for golfing during coronavirus pandemic

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President Donald Trump was blasted on Sunday for playing golf during the coronavirus pandemic, a dramatic economic recession and after proclaiming churches "essential."

Instead of joining his voters sitting in the pews, Trump went for the links, which drew criticisms for the hypocrisy.

"Sleepy Joe’s representatives have just put out an ad saying that I went to play golf (exercise) today. They think I should stay in the White House at all times. What they didn’t say is that it’s the first time I’ve played golf in almost 3 months, that Biden was constantly vacationing, relaxing & making shady deals with other countries, & that Barack was always playing golf, doing much of his traveling in a fume spewing 747 to play golf in Hawaii - Once even teeing off immediately after announcing the gruesome death of a great young man by ISIS!" tweeted Trump.

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