In brief | Nation & World, 06-16-14


Israeli prime minister accuses Hamas militants of kidnapping teenagers in West Bank

JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister on Sunday accused the Hamas militant group of kidnapping three Israeli teenagers who disappeared over the weekend, as the military arrested dozens of Palestinians and closed off West Bank roads in a frantic search for the youths.

The crisis escalated already heightened tensions between Israel and the new Palestinian government, which is headed by Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas but backed by Hamas. Israel, which considers Hamas a terrorist group, has condemned the alliance and said it holds Abbas responsible for the teens’ safety.

“Hamas terrorists carried out Thursday’s kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers. We know that for a fact,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas denials do not change this fact.”

Speaking in English, Netanyahu also tried to rally international opinion against the new Palestinian government. His calls for the international community to shun the government have been ignored so far.

“Instead of abiding by his international obligation to disarm Hamas, President Abbas has chosen to make Hamas his partner,” he added. “I believe that the dangers of that pact now should be abundantly clear to all.”

Philippines against South China Sea constructions

BEIJING — The Philippines said Monday it would propose a moratorium on construction in the South China Sea, two days after China began building a school on a rugged outpost it created to strengthen its claims to disputed waters.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he will propose that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations call for a moratorium — a move that China is likely to ignore or dismiss.

China on Saturday began building a school on the largest island in the disputed Paracel chain to serve the children of military personnel and others.

China established the settlement of Sansha on tiny Yongxing island in July 2012 to administer hundreds of thousands of square kilometers (miles) of water where it wants to strengthen its control over potentially oil-rich islands that are also claimed by other Asian nations.

The island, also known as Woody Island, 220 miles south of China’s southernmost province and is part of the Paracel chain, which is also claimed by Vietnam.

As losing streak grows longer, some foes of gay marriage vow to fight on

For foes of same-sex marriage, their losing streak keeps growing. Some sense a lost cause, others vow to fight on.

On Election Day in 2012, they went 0-for-4 on state ballot measures. A year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages. And over the past seven months, more than a dozen federal and state judges have struck down part or all of state-level bans on gay marriage, with no rulings going the other way.

Faced with these developments, some longtime opponents of gay marriage now say that its nationwide legalization via a Supreme Court ruling is inevitable. Others refuse to concede, and some leaders of that cohort will be rallying Thursday at a March for Marriage in Washington that they hope will draw many thousands.

The event’s main sponsor is the National Organization for Marriage, which engaged in several successful state campaigns against gay marriage prior to the 2012 votes in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington state that reversed the tide.

NOM is promoting the march with a website that evokes a “road to victory” and a video featuring dramatic background music.

By wire sources