U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday designated Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country’s military a terrorist group.
Critics have warned that the move could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments. The United States has already blacklisted dozens of entities and people for affiliations with the IRGC, but not the organization as a whole.
“The IRGC is the Iranian government’s primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign,” Trump said in a statement.
The designation “makes crystal clear the risks of conducting business with, or providing support to, the IRGC,” Trump said. “If you are doing business with the IRGC, you will be bankrolling terrorism.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strident critic of Iran, has pushed for the change in U.S. policy as part of the Trump administration’s tough posture toward Tehran.
Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close
Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.
An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.
With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.
The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.
Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.
Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.
His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.
Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.
Inflation rate falls to 1.7%
The office for National statistics says the consumer price index is 1.7%-down from 2.1% – in August
Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “The inflation rate has fallen noticeably into August, to its lowest since late 2016. This was mainly driven by a decrease in computer game prices, plus clothing prices rising by less than year after the end of the summer sales.
“Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year”.
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