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Bahrain to join US-led efforts to protect Gulf navigation

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Bahrain said Monday it would join US-led efforts to protect shipping in the Gulf amid tensions between Washington and Tehran after a series of attacks on tankers.

Bahrain’s King Hamad voiced his country’s appreciation of the “US role in supporting regional security and stability” during a meeting with US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Kenneth McKenzie, state media said.

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“The king confirmed the kingdom of Bahrain’s participation in the joint effort to preserve the safety of international maritime navigation and secure international corridors for trade and energy,” the official Bahrain News Agency reported.

The US has been seeking to form a coalition to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Gulf.

The BNA did not clarify whether Bahrain would join the coalition per se, or what its contribution would be.

Britain, which already has warships on protection duty in the Gulf after a UK-flagged tanker was seized by Iranian Revolutionary Guards, has said it will join the planned operation.

But other European countries have declined to join, for fear of harming European efforts to rescue a 2015 treaty with Iran over its nuclear program.

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Bahrain, which hosts the US Fifth Fleet, said last month that it would co-host a conference with the US on “maritime and air navigation security”, set for October.

Iran has seized three tankers in strategic Gulf waters since last month, including a British-flagged vessel.

That came after British Royal Marines helped impound a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4.

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Britain suspected it was destined for Syria in defiance of European Union sanctions, which Iran denies.

The US and its Gulf allies have also accused the Islamic republic of carrying out several mysterious attacks on ships in the region, which Tehran denies.

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GOP’s impeachment witness Kurt Volker tosses Giuliani under the bus – and makes a damning update to his testimony

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Ambassador Kurt Volker offered explosive testimony in his opening statement before the House Intelligence Committee.

Volker, the former U.S. special representative for Ukraine negotiations, was a witness requested by House Republicans.

On live television, Volker both threw Rudy Giuliani under the bus -- and poked a major hole in one of the right-wing conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden.

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7 out of 10 Americans – including majority of Republicans – oppose Trump letting adoption agencies refuse same-sex couples

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Seven out of 10 American disagree with a Trump administration decision to let child care agencies refuse to allow same-sex couples the right to adopt. The Dept. of Health and Human Services is moving to allow those agencies that wish to claim religious or moral opposition to same-sex marriage, homosexuality, or LGBTQ people to refuse to allow them to adopt of foster children.

new Hill-HarrisX poll finds 72% of Americans – including a large portion of Republicans – oppose allowing adoption agencies to refuse services to same-sex couples, The Hill reports.

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Alternet 2020

Don’t be too sure that impeachment won’t move public opinion

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Last week, I lamented about how the political press is incapable of conveying the gravity of a historic clash between two co-equal branches of government–one that has the potential to redefine a president’s powers and immunities going forward–in large part because most reporters are trained to cover political conflicts on the eve of an election first and foremost in the context of the horse race. So yesterday’s big impeachment news was that 70 percent of Americans believed Trump’s “actions tied to Ukraine were wrong” and a slim majority favored removing him from office, according to an ABC News/ Ipsos poll, and today we learn that “the first week of the House’s public impeachment hearings into President Donald Trump did not move public support for the inquiry in Democrats’ favor, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll.”

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