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Honduras to talk with Israel and U.S. on Jerusalem embassy

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Honduras will hold talks with Israel, joined by the United States, aimed at opening an embassy in Jerusalem, the countries said on Tuesday, as the small Central American nation looks to follow U.S. President Donald Trump’s much-criticized move.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez held a meeting in the Brazilian capital on the sidelines of the inauguration of right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

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The three agreed to hold meetings in the capitals of each country “to advance the decision process to open embassies in both Tegucigalpa and Jerusalem,” as well as “strengthen political relations and coordinate development cooperation in Honduras,” the countries said in a joint statement.

The right-leaning Hernandez is the latest leader to consider following Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city of Jerusalem, which infuriated Palestinians and drew international condemnation.

Hernandez told reporters the trilateral talks represented “an important political alliance.”

Trump has repeatedly threatened to cut off aid to Honduras, a poor nation of less than 10 million people, over caravans of migrants crossing Mexico heading for the U.S. border.

Guatemala, another country seeking closer U.S. ties, quickly joined Trump’s decision and moved its embassy to Jerusalem just two days after the U.S. opened offices in May. Paraguay also followed, but a new government backtracked in September.

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Netanyahu said on Sunday that Bolsonaro told him it was a question of “when, not if” Brazil would move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Reporting by Mary Milliken in Brasilia and Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa. Writing by Michael O’Boyle; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

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Japan’s prime minister calls for nationwide closure of schools for a month over coronavirus

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday urged schools nationwide to close for several weeks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, as authorities reported the country's fourth death linked to the outbreak.

The move comes as crew members from the Diamond Princess, a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship quarantined off Japan, began leaving the vessel where more than 700 people have tested positive for the disease.

"The government considers the health and safety of children above anything else," Abe said.

"We request all primary, junior high and high schools... across the nation to close temporarily from March 2 next week until their spring break."

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The Constitution prohibits Trump from pardoning Roger Stone: law professor

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President Donald Trump has been dropping hints for a long time that he will pardon ally Roger Stone, the man who lied to Congress and obstructed justice to conceal the truth about his efforts to acquire emails that Russian hackers stole from Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.

Corey Brettschneider, a professor of political science at Brown University and visiting professor of law at Fordham Law School, argues in an editorial for Politico that the Constitution might prohibit Trump from issuing this particular pardon, despite the fact that the president's clemency powers are generally seen as very broad.

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A historian points out a startling fact about the current racial divisions in the Trump era

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America is a deeply divided nation. That fact may be the only thing that Americans of all racial, ethnic, and political groups can agree about. A Washington Post-University of Maryland poll conducted in late 2017 indicated that 70 percent of the American people think the country is “as divided as during the Vietnam War.”

This division manifests itself in political ways exemplified by the partisan impeachment proceedings and gridlock. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed 298 bills in 2019, yet the Republican-led Senate refused to consider hardly any of that legislation.

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