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“The Prime Minister and I have both stressed to our Israeli counterparts that a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation.
“It’s much more difficult to restrict and avoid civilian casualties during a ground invasion and a large ground operation would threaten to prolong the conflict.
“So we have made our views very clear on that with Israel, just as we have made very clear our view that the barrage of rockets from Gaza onto southern Israel is an intolerable situation for the Israelis and it’s not surprising they have responded to that.
“A ground invasion is much more difficult for the international community to sympathise with or support – including the United Kingdom.”
At the start of his weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday morning, Mr Netanyahu said: “The army is prepared to significantly expand the operation. The soldiers are ready for any activity that could take place.”
His remarks came as thousands of Israeli troops and hardware gathered along the border, fuelling concerns that the Jewish state was poised to expand its relentless aerial bombing campaign into a ground operation.
Israeli soldiers sit atop their tanks on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip (Getty Images)
The Israeli army sealed off the main roads around Gaza late on Friday and shortly afterwards, the cabinet authorised the recruitment of up to 75,000 reservists, prompting a flurry of diplomatic efforts to broker a truce to head off any escalation.
However, a truce remains a possibility and Mr Netanyahu’s warning could have been intended to maintain pressure on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel. Two more targeted Tel Aviv on Sunday morning, the fourth day in a row which the Israeli heartland has come under fire, but were intercepted by the Iron Dome’ missile defence system.
Israeli soldiers watch as an Iron Dome launcher fires an interceptor rocket near the southern city of Ashdod (Reuters)
Election night 2008 was an historic moment for the country, particularly for many African-Americans.
An African-American man was elected president of the United States for the first time, largely with the help of a community that voted for him at an unprecedented level. Barack Obama won 98 percent of the black vote in 2008.
As the results came in on Nov. 4, 2008, tears flowed freely. Many people watching were filled with emotion, hard for some of them truly to explain. Some in the black community wrestled with thoughts of the past, present and future, thoughts of Jim Crow and overcoming, all of which were crystallized in one epic moment.
But it is now four years later and there is a looming question: Will African-Americans turn out for Obama on Election Day as enthusiastically as they did before?
Black voters’ participation in a race many say to be too close to call could prove critical to President Obama’s chances for re-election.
A new BET documentary, “Second Coming: Will Black America Decide 2012,” tries to take the pulse of the community in the final days of the campaign. Film director Marc Levin sent teams around the country to talk to African-Americans from every walk of life, from celebrities to everyday people. The producers found the euphoria of 2008 has given way to some harsh realities.
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
“I think there is no doubt the thrill is gone and that for the African-American community, for a lot of young people, for a lot of Americans, period, that moment in 2008 was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Levin said.
the Great Recession has hit the African-American community hard. The ABC News polling unit said unemployment among African-Americans is at 14.3 percent, nearly double the national rate.
“To me, [Obama] hasn’t done anything,” said an African-American man in the BET documentary. “The economy hasn’t gotten better, nothing’s gotten better. We’re in the same spot we were when Bush was in presidency.”
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Instead of investigating fear and loathing in Las Vegas, artist Molly Crabapple and journalist Laurie Penny tripped off to Greece, where global bond-and-currency vigilantes have brought austerity to the homeland of democracy. The result
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Instead of investigating fear and loathing in Las Vegas, artist Molly Crabapple and journalist Laurie Penny tripped off to Greece, where global bond-and-currency vigilantes have brought austerity to the homeland of democracy. The result? The e-book-only anti-joyride Discordia, out now from Vintage Digital
Ikram ElQaisis phone has been ringing constantly in recent weeks. The 45-year-old Palestinian lawyer, whose fifth-floor office sits atop a ritzy mall in Ramallah, specializes in divorce, and most of her clients are women. Until recently, the divorce business was slow in the West Bank. As in other parts of the Muslim world, the law in the Palestinian territories prevented women from unilaterally ending their marriages. Instead, a woman had to ask her husband for a divorce and, if he refused, prove in court that he was abusive or neglectfuloften a long and expensive legal process. Without tangible evidence, cases were often tossed out. But changes in the law earlier this month giving judges the right to grant a divorce even without proof of abuse or neglect have suddenly shifted the dynamic. Across the West Bank, courts are being inundated with divorce filings. And El-Qaisi is hearing from potential new clients every day. Im getting calls from worried husbands who are inquiring about their precarious status in the context of the [new] law, and from women who had given up on achieving divorce, she told Newsweek recently. Now they feel they can get their freedom back.
Across the West Bank, courts are being inundated with divorce filings. (Abbas Momani / AFP-Getty Images)
The reforms are the work of Sheikh Yousef al-Dais, the head of the Palestinian Authoritys Islamic court system. A portly man who sports a turban, al-Dais chuckles at the thought of men worrying that they will now have to shape up or face the prospect of their wives leaving them. In an interview, al-Dais said that when he took the job in 2010, he worried that Islamic law was becoming less and less relevant to Palestinians, whose society is among the most liberal in the Arab worldat least in the West Bank (Gaza, run by the Islamic group Hamas, is more conservative). And so one of al-Daiss first moves was to appoint younger judges whose worldview reflects the Palestinian mainstream. Turning to family issues, he discovered that husbands were routinely extorting money from their wives as a price for granting divorcewhile they themselves were free to take on additional wives without having to end the marriage. Under the old law, these women suffered tremendously within the context of a conservative, male-oriented society, says al-Dais. I worked to achieve … what is possible and reasonable.
The changes wont solve every marriage problem in the West Bank. Granting the divorce is still left to the discretions of judges, who are all men. Women who do win favorable judgments are expected to pay back their dowries, a tall order for many. But the new law will certainly ease the process for women, including those who are contractually engaged but never marrieda subcategory of the wider problem. One such woman, a college student who did not want to be identified by name for fear of repercussions, told Newsweek that she has been engaged for four years, but her fianc will neither marry her nor let her out of the engagement. We started to fight, and he started to abuse me in front of my classmates, she says. He dragged me one day in front of them and tried to put me in his car. When I refused to get in, he slammed the door in my face. But no one would testify in my favor for fear of his bullying. The woman said shed offered to return the dowry and other money hed spent on her, but he kept raising the price. Under the new law, he can no longer turn her down. I feel alive again, she says.
Justin SullivanGetty Images
From left: Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney talks with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty backstage before speaking at a campaign rally in Rochester, N.H., Jan. 8, 2012.
Why has Mitt Romney written off Minnesota? While Democratic candidates have gone nine-for-nine in the presidential races here since 1976, this year had seemed to present an opportunity for a GOP surge: a ballot initiative that would ban same-sex marriage in the states constitution. Poll numbers show the majority of Minnesota voters currently support the ban, with 52% of respondents in favor of defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman, and 37% against it. With the conservative base mobilizing around the issue, shouldnt Mitt Romney benefit from higher Republican voter turnout in this blue-leaning purple state come November?
There is no indication of that so far, if the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul in late August is a barometer. The fair is a popular stop for politicians, and an electioneering battleground for issue campaigns, at the center of which is the hot-button marriage amendment. Along with the renowned assortment of deep fried foods served on sticks, also on sticks were orange paper fans urging sweaty fairgoers to vote no on Election Day. Green and white stickers supporting the amendment said, Marriage: One Man, One Woman.
(PHOTOS: The Rich History of Mitt Romney)
Romney, who happened to be in town for a pair of fundraisers when the fair opened on Aug. 23, skipped the conglomeration of thrill rides, animal contests and corn dogs in favor of a dinner that cost couples $50,000 each. Its a built-in retail opportunity to shake hands and kiss babies and all that stuff, and I was very surprised that he wasnt there, says Ken Martin, chairman of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party. But I think it speaks volumes to the fact that they know they cant win in this state.
Romney hasnt even opened a campaign office in Minnesota, and with good reason: Minnesotans have given their delegates to Democratic presidential candidates in every election since 1972. It would be very difficult for Romney to hit a switch and get something going in Minnesota, says Larry Jacobs, a professor of political studies at the University of Minnesota.
Even conservatives, like Annette Meeks, a former deputy to U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich., say confidence in Romneys chances here has been low. Everyone said the fundraising goal was too ambitious, says Meeks, who attended Romneys $2,500-a-head speech at the Lafayette Club in Minnetonka Beach. The fear was well never get Romney himself to come to the state.
(MORE: Gay Activists at the DNC: Happy With Obama, Anxious About Romney)
He did come, and he collected at least $875,000 in the process. But other than raising cash, Romney may have little reason to amp up efforts in Minnesota. Despite poll numbers indicating that the marriage amendmentand another amendment requiring voters to show IDsmight be headed for victory, political observers in Minnesota say a ballot question that resonates with conservatives will do little to bring Romney supporters out in droves. The states voter turnout is already legendary (it was 77.8% in 2008), which means that there are few non-committal voters left waiting to be inspired by the various campaigns.
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A politician has blasted Brendon Ayanbadejos support for gay marriage. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo hasnt tried to hide his support of gay marriage. Now a Maryland politician has publicly blasted Ayanbadejo and demanded that the Ravens muzzle their All-Pro.
Ayanbadejos public support for gay marriage issues has taken the form of columns for his hometown, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, and the Huffington Post. He also made a video for the Marylanders for Marriage Equality late last year.
Ayanbadejos political stands havent been relegated to gay marriage. Hes also used his celebrity as an NFL player to campaign for less controversial legislative issues such as requiring schools to monitor kids physical activities and promoting proper nutrition.
With legalized gay marriage in Maryland hinging on a November ballot initiative, state delegate Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, has called out Ayanbadejo, going so far as to send a letter originally obtained by WBAL-TV to Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti:
I find it inconceivable that one of your players, Mr. Brendon Ayanbadejo would publicly endorse Same-Sex marriage, specifically as a Raven Football player. Many of my constituents and your football supporters are appalled and aghast that a member of the Ravens Football Team would step into this controversial divide and try to sway public opinion one way or the other.
Many of your fans are opposed to such a view and feel it has no place in a sport that is strictly for pride, entertainment and excitement, Burns continued. I believe Mr. Ayanbadejo should concentrate on football and steer clear of dividing the fan base.
I am requesting that you take the necessary action, as a National Football League Owner, to inhibit such expressions from your employees and that he be ordered to cease and desist such injurious actions. I know of no other NFL player who has done what Mr. Ayanbadejo is doing.
Burns has been a loud critic of gay marriage as founder and pastor of Rising Sun First Baptist Church and previously criticized President Obamas support.
Ravens spokesman Patrick Gleason told Michael S. Rosenwald of The Washington Post: We are aware of the letter. Other than that, we will not have any further comment.
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The Olympian's mother knows a lot about her son's “love life.” She had this to say on Today.com . Image?by?Getty Images / Getty Images Thanks, Mom Image?by?Bethany Clarke / Getty Images Sorry, Ladies Image?by?DAVID GRAY / Reuters
The London Aquatic Center's pool camera captures a unique perspective of Olympic swimmers racing for gold. (All the images are courtesy of the best Olympic-focused Twitter account: @L2012PoolCam .) View Entire List ›
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8 Photos Of Olympics Swimmers Spotted From Below