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Netanyahu tells Macron ‘wrong time’ for talks with Iran

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday to avoid any rapprochement with Iran, amid European efforts to rescue the embattled 2015 nuclear deal, his office said.

“It is precisely the wrong time to talk with Iran”, Netanyahu told Macron in a phone call initiated by the French leader, according to a statement from the Israeli premier’s office.

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Macron has spearheaded attempts to overcome a standoff between US President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart President Hassan Rouhani.

The French president announced with Trump at the G7 summit in Biarritz on Monday that a face-to-face meeting between the adversaries could take place within weeks.

Tensions have soared between Tehran and Washington since the US last year unilaterally pulled out of the landmark nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and reimposed biting sanctions.

Netanyahu said in his call with Macron that Iran was stepping up its aggression in the region, his office said.

On Thursday, the Israeli army had accused Iran of collaborating with Lebanon’s Hezbollah to assemble precision-guided missiles that could cause “massive” human casualties in Israel.

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In apparent reference to Lebanon, Netanyahu emphasised in his call with Macron that “those who provide shelter for aggression and arming” Iran will not be spared, according to his office.

Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus told journalists in a conference call on Thursday that Tehran and the Lebanese Shiite movement plan to convert “stupid rockets into precision-guided missiles”.

The allegations come after Hezbollah — with which Israel has fought several wars — accused the Jewish state of carrying out a drone attack Sunday on its stronghold in the Lebanese capital Beirut.

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Israel’s military did not confirm whether it was behind the weekend attack, which saw one drone explode and another crash without detonating.

According to the UK’s Times newspaper, the drones fell near Iranian installations manufacturing a fuel used in precision missiles.

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‘A slam-dunk-case’: MSNBC analysts predict GOP will defend Trump — and ‘the guy is going to get off’

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More evidence was outed Sunday as the Wall Street Journal revealed emails from EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who promised to keep the White House abreast of President Donald Trump's demand for an investigation by Ukraine. The news prompted an MSNBC panelists to explain that it wouldn't matter how much evidence was presented, Republicans will never vote to remove Trump.

Host Geoff Bennett asked about the witness testimony and preponderance of evidence that "all points in one direction at this point, that President Trump orchestrated this entire" Ukraine investigations.

"It's a slam dunk case, and yet we know the guy is going to get off," said Los Angels Times White House reporter Eli Stokols. "That's effectively what you're saying. Because all the testimony has lined up so closely, the fact that [EU Ambassador Gordon] Sondland has come to come in, and because testimony from [Ambassador Bill] Taylor and others, has had to change testimony, Republicans have no choice -- the president has no choice but to try to dismiss the entire thing as partisan."

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President helped ‘increase anti-Trump turnout’ in red-state governor’s races — which could spell disaster for the GOP

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President Donald Trump was once the Republican Party's greatest asset in an election, mobilizing thousands of supporters to rush to the polls. Recently, however, it seems he's now driving anti-Trump votes up so much that it may no longer be worth the Trump trouble.

“So you’ve got to give me a big win, please,” Trump told a Louisiana crowd this week before the GOP candidate lost the governor's race in a red state.

“What Trump did in Louisiana was increase voter participation. While he increased the pro-Trump turnout, he also increased the anti-Trump turnout. That’s kind of the lesson here,” polling analyst Ron Faucheux told The Washington Post in an interview.

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Fire holds off Hong Kong police at campus as democracy protests escalate

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A large fire held off an apparent police advance on the Hong Kong campus where hundreds of pro-democracy protesters were holed up early Monday, hours after officers warned they may use "live rounds" if confronted by deadly weapons in a dangerous escalation of the near six-month crisis engulfing the city.

Protests have rocked the global financial hub since June, with many in the city of 7.5 million people venting fury at eroding freedoms under Chinese rule.

China has repeatedly warned that it will not tolerate the dissent, and there have been concerns that Beijing could send in troops to put an end to the spiralling unrest.

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