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Pompeo says settlement report shows UN’s ‘unrelenting anti-Israel bias’

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday denounced the UN release of a list of companies involved with Israeli settlements, saying it proved the world body was biased against the Jewish state.

“Its publication only confirms the unrelenting anti-Israel bias so prevalent at the United Nations,” Pompeo said in a statement, calling himself “outraged.”

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet on Wednesday released a list of 112 companies with activities in Israeli settlements, including major US firms Airbnb, Expedia and TripAdvisor.

The report was ordered in 2016 by the UN Human Rights Council, from which President Donald Trump’s administration withdrew the United States in protest at its alleged targeting of ally Israel.

“The United States has not provided, and will never provide, any information to the Office of the High Commissioner to support compilation of these lists and expresses support for US companies referenced,” Pompeo said.

“We call upon all UN member states to join us in rejecting this effort, which facilitates the discriminatory boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) campaign and delegitimizes Israel,” he said.

The BDS campaign, which seeks international boycotts to pressure Israel to improve its treatment of Palestinians, welcomed the publication of the list, which the Palestinian leadership hailed as a victory for international law.

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Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law, according to the United Nations and most countries.

Pompeo said last year that the United States no longer agreed that the settlements were illegal, and a Middle East plan released last month by Trump would open the way for Israel to annex much of the West Bank.


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COVID-19

Plastic bubble brings joy to French nursing home

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Nathalie Szczepaniak caresses the hand of her husband Joseph, a care home resident, as the couple reunites after weeks without a visit because of France's coronavirus lockdown.

But this is no ordinary reunion.

The couple meets in an anti-virus "bubble" at Joseph's nursing home in Bourbourg, northern France, separated by a clear plastic sheet that allows them some physical contact, face-to-face, without the risk of infection.

Nathalie holds up the couple's dog, a white fluffy creature named Valco, so that Joseph, who has Parkinson's disease, can press his palm to its paw through the plastic.

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‘I’m entitled’: Kayleigh McEnany defends her 11 mail-in votes while calling it ‘fraud’ for the masses

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White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday faced questions from Fox News about why she had voted by mail 11 times even though President Donald Trump has called absentee ballots a "scam."

McEnany was asked about her voting history after the Tampa Bay Times reported that she had used mail-in voting nearly a dozen times in recent years.

"So why is it OK for you to do it?" Fox News host Ed Henry asked McEnany. "I understand you are traveling, you're in a different city. But how can you really be assured that your votes were counted accurately but when other people do it, it's fraud."

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COVID-19

American Airlines to cut 30% of management staff

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American Airlines will cut 30 percent of its management and support staff in its latest belt-tightening move during the prolonged COVID-19 downturn, the company disclosed Thursday.

The big US carrier outlined a series of measures to reduce headcount throughout its operations in an email to staff that was released in a securities filing Thursday.

American currently has a team of 17,000 people in management and support, meaning the actions planned will cut about 5,100 jobs.

The move follows statements from United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and other carriers that have signaled deep job cuts due to sinking air travel demand from coronavirus shutdowns.

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