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Israeli Extension of Sovereignty Over West Bank Areas May Prompt ‘Massive Conflict’, Jordan’s King Says

On 20 April, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival, Benny Gantz, clinched a coalition agreement empowering the Jewish state to start the de-facto extension of sovereignty over some West Bank territories, in line with a peace plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump in January.

In an interview with the magazine Der Spiegel on Friday, Jordan’s King Abdulla II warned Israel of a “massive conflict” with the Hashemite Kingdom if the Jewish state proceeds with its extension of sovereignty over certain areas of the West Bank in the coming months.

“Leaders who advocate a one-state solution do not understand what that would mean. What would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed? There would be more chaos and extremism in the region”, he said.

The King was apparently referring to the so-called two-state solution which implies establishing two states of Israel and the Palestinians on the disputed territories of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

He made it clear that even though he doesn’t want “to make threats and create a loggerheads atmosphere”, Jordan is “considering all options”.

“We agree with many countries in Europe and the international community that the law of the strongest should not apply in the Middle East”, the King pointed out, recalling that at Arab League gatherings, a one-state solution “is still vehemently rejected”.

“When the one-state solution plan was addressed six or seven months ago, His Majesty the King of Saudi Arabia said that no, we are with the Palestinian state”, King Abdullah II noted.

The remarks came after Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi underscored the necessity of taking “practical steps that reflect the rejection of any Israeli decision” to extend sovereignty over West Bank areas.

The statement followed EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell reaffirming the bloc’s support for “a negotiated, two-state solution” and adding that “for this to be possible, unilateral action from either side should be avoided and, for sure, international law should be upheld”.

He also signalled the EU’s readiness to use “all our diplomatic capacities in order to prevent any kind of unilateral action”.

Israel May Begin Extending Sovereignty Over West Bank Areas in July

The comments were preceded by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main political rival, Benny Gantz, clinching a coalition deal last month which stipulates that the Israeli government can start considering the implementation of West Bank-related extension of sovereignty as of 1 July, in sync with US President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan.

Earlier, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman announced that the Trump administration was ready to recognise Israel’s extension of sovereignty over 30 percent of the West Bank.

Trump revealed his Middle East peace plan in late January, dubbing it the “deal of the century”. The blueprint proposes the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but with its capital on the outskirts of East Jerusalem, rather than inside it. Under the plan, the scattered Palestinian territories would be united by a system of highways, bridges, and tunnels.

Head of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, in turn, rejected the Trump plan, calling it a “Swiss cheese” deal and insisting that it would limit Palestinian sovereignty.

Israel has for decades been in conflict with the Palestinians, who seek diplomatic recognition for their independent state on the territories of the West Bank which were occupied by the Jewish state during the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel has been refusing to recognise Palestine as a state and defying UN resolutions in the process.

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Indians Demand YouTube Restore ‘Roast King’ CarryMinati’s Clip Bashing TikTok Star

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New Delhi (Sputnik): The past few weeks have divided locked down idle Indians into gangs of YouTubers and TikTokers. Both of the video platforms are quite popular in India, with over 265 million and 119 million users respectively. However, the latter is more often blamed for “cringeworthy content” that it spills on social media.

One of India’s “most popular” YouTubers Ajay Nagar, who also goes by the name of CarryMinati and has over 16 million subscribers, recently uploaded a video of himself roasting TikTok “star” Amir Siddiqui who has 3.4 million followers on the Chinese video-making app.

The former’s video became the first to reach 10 million views for a non-music video, breaking all records.

The video, however, was removed from CarryMinati’s “temple of work” by YouTube, for reportedly violating the platform’s terms and services, and on charges of “cyber bullying”.

On Friday, netizens who support the YouTube star took it upon themselves to push the platform to restore the video.

Twitter and Instagram feeds in India have been flooded with requests, suggestions, and memes revolving around CarryMinati’s video. #CarryMinati is trending on Twitter in India with over 200,000 mentions.

​India is the biggest market for the Chinese short video making application with 44 percent of its global downloads. TikTok, even though extensively used in India, has been criticised for not weeding out inappropriate content from its platform, which allows users to create and share content with nudity, vulgarity, and questionable subjects. The app was temporarily banned by some states in India last year.

YouTube, on the other hand, with its variety of content has never been subjected to a ban-like situation in India.

In their “roast fued”, 20-year-old CarryMinati and 25-year-old Amir Siddiqui put forth arguments, defending why their work and platform was better than the other.

As present, it remains unclear if YouTube will restore CarryMinati’s video after so many requests from India.

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CoinDesk 50: Why Bitcoin Is Still King

With so many cryptocurrencies and “blockchain solutions” it’s remarkable, yet unavoidably clear, that Bitcoin is still the most exciting project to watch in this space.

In the shadow of the coronavirus crisis, small groups of people use this censorship-resistant money to fundraise for emergency medical equipment, secure their savings and conduct international business. The godfather cryptocurrency still represents 64% of the crypto market.

Although it appears such usage is still an extreme outlier compared to speculative trading volumes, there are people who turn to bitcoin because it’s the only accessible tool that works in their particular circumstances.

This post is part of the CoinDesk 50, an annual selection of the most innovative and consequential projects in the blockchain industry. See the full list here.

Bitcoin is king because it is actually useful to people who want to do more than experiment. This cryptocurrency project isn’t run by a group of youthful researchers publishing their homework in hope of stress-testing models with other people’s money. Bitcoin isn’t a lifestyle brand, even if some zealots congregate around it. It is just money, already today. It is a tool and not a promise. Its value doesn’t rely on any single company. And that’s why, while startup dreams come and go like fashion trends, bitcoin remains resilient.   

Lebanese entrepreneur Michel Haber, founder of the remote web services startup cNepho Global, now pays most of his contractors with bitcoin. “They would rather get their payments in bitcoin because they can cash out locally, wherever they are,” Haber said. “I buy bitcoin peer-to-peer, and pay my developers the same way.”

Bitcoin is king because it is actually useful to people who want to do more than experiment.

Bitcoin Core contributor Sjors Provoost said perhaps one of the most bullish observations about the Bitcoin network is that development keeps “chugging along” despite the coronavirus crisis. At a time when central banks are opening the money spigot to combat COVID-19, bitcoin’s fixed scarcity becomes more attractive than ever.

“Lightning has been getting easier to use thanks to apps like Phoenix,” Provoost said, referring to the scaling solution that lets people quickly send small amounts. “We know that with Lightning, we can handle far more usage than the last peak.”

Privacy advances

Tieron senior software engineer Buck Perley, who made an open-source Lightning tool clients use for time-stamping, agreed Bitcoin’s “consistency and resiliency to external shocks” is the technology’s primary feature. Being reliable is precisely what makes the bitcoin currency exciting to watch in uncertain times. 

“As a project, the fact that [Bitcoin] doesn’t rely on funding models … that are tightly correlated to the broader economy is also proving to be an aspect of its resiliency,” Perley said.

Blockstream engineer Lisa Neigut said new privacy tools may eventually have Lightning counterparts as well, offering privacy features for a wider range of transaction types. Her company is collaborating with the French startup ACINQ to enable privacy gateways, called “blinded paths,” on the otherwise public Bitcoin ledger.

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“Blinded paths are a huge privacy win for services like Jack Maller’s Zap wallet or the Phoenix mobile app that mediate invoice payment on behalf of users,” she said. “The coronavirus has also opened up conversations about doing more intense tracking of people to see the virus move in real time. As commerce moves online, I think more than ever we’re going to need a permissionless option that Lightning (and bitcoin) help provide.”  

Even with on-chain fees, Provoost is optimistic about the balance of supply and demand. While some blockchain enthusiasts may see Bitcoin’s slow-moving development process and narrow focus as “boring,” advocates see this as the cryptocurrency’s most valuable feature. 

“With persistently low fees, my impression is that bitcoin is on standby for a lot more people to use it,” Provoost said. “Bitcoin, or the idea of it, is an insurance against tyranny. It’s okay if we don’t need it at the moment. As with insurance, it can be good news if they’re not sending you lots of money. And the [bitcoin] price hasn’t dropped through the floor, so apparently owners are still happy.” 

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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Little Richard, The ‘King And Queen’ Of Rock And Roll, Dead At 87 : NPR

Singer Little Richard making peace sign and wearing an outlandish outfit as he prepares to perform at Wembley Stadium, 1972. (Photo by Rosemary Matthews/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

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Singer Little Richard making peace sign and wearing an outlandish outfit as he prepares to perform at Wembley Stadium, 1972. (Photo by Rosemary Matthews/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

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Little Richard, the self-described “king and queen” of rock and roll and an outsize influence on everyone from David Bowie to Prince, died Saturday. He was 87 years old.

His death was announced on his official Facebook page, as well as by his son, Danny Jones Penniman, in multiple media reports.

With his ferocious piano playing, growling and gospel-strong vocals, pancake makeup and outlandish costumes, Little Richard tore down barriers starting in the 1950s. That is no small feat for any artist — let alone a black, openly gay man who grew up in the South.

He was a force of nature who outlived many of the musicians he inspired, from Otis Redding to the late Prince and Michael Jackson. His peers James Brown and Otis Redding idolized him. Jimi Hendrix, who once played in Little Richard’s band, said he wanted his guitar to sound like Richard’s voice. The late David Bowie was 9 years old when he first saw Little Richard in a movie. “If it hadn’t have been for him, I probably wouldn’t have gone into music,” Bowie told Performing Songwriter magazine in 2003.

Little Richard was an audacious showman in everything he did: movies like Down and Out In Beverly Hills, music for children and commercials. But above all, he was a pioneer of rock and roll, mixing gospel, country, vaudeville and blues into something all his own.

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Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman on Dec. 5, 1932, in Macon, Ga. He was one of 12 siblings. His father was a brick mason, a bootlegger and eventually a nightclub owner. When Richard was 19, his father was shot to death outside of his club: Charles Penniman died on Feb. 15, 1952.

Little Richard told NPR’s Morning Edition in 1984 that Macon was “a muddy little town.”

“A lot of mud and a lot of cows and a lot of chickens and a lot of pigs,” he recalled. “It was a beautiful place and I was singing all up and down the street loud as I can. Everybody hollering out there, ‘Shut up! Shut up! You’re making too much noise!’ But I was singing ‘Tutti Frutti’ even then. And playing ‘Lucille’ at the piano at that time.”

To develop his style, Little Richard borrowed a few things from the performers he admired, like a singer and pianist who went by the name of Esquerita. Esquerita was openly gay, and he wore make-up and loud clothing. He also taught Little Richard to play the piano.

Then there was gospel singer Marion Williams, from whom Little Richard said he got his trademark whoop.

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Charles White, the author of an authorized biography called The Life And Times Of Little Richard, described his voice as “a fire blizzard across an arctic waste. I mean, every major rock singer tried to copy his voice.”

In the 1950s, the music industry — like so much else in America — was segregated.

“Back at that time, the black records was considered race records,” Little Richard told Morning Edition. “And black records was not played on white stations at the time.”

White artists like Pat Boone often scored big hits by covering Little Richard’s songs. And Little Richard claimed that he didn’t see “a dime” from some of those covers.

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“I been knocking for years and they won’t let me come in,” he said. “I keep coming back, trying it again. Haven’t got nothing. While I was slipping and sliding, they was keeping and hiding — putting my money in unknown banks.”

Eventually, Little Richard did make a lot of money from his recordings, movies and TV appearances. He toured the world. He was, in many ways, a living icon who was both respected and ridiculed.

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Little Richard was a man of extremes: A wild pop star and a deeply religious person known to carry his Bible everywhere, and quote from it often. There were periods during his career when he left show business altogether to preach. He often said he wanted to be a minister, like others in his family.

The 1970s were rough for Little Richard. He was drinking and doing drugs daily, a habit that was costing him hundreds of dollars a day.

“I just started falling. I started sinking,” he told NPR. “I just started getting out of it. I didn’t want to make my engagements. I didn’t want to do anything but just party hardy.”

His younger brother died around this time, and two of his friends were killed.

“And then I said, ‘Well, God is trying to tell me something.’ Then the thought came to me: ‘What shall he profit a man if he should gain the whole world and lose his own soul?’ Or ‘What shall a man give God in exchange for a soul?’ And I decided I would give my life to God.”

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It took someone like Little Richard — a fearless performer and gifted musician — to move American music forward. He liked to remind people he was “the architect” of rock and roll. He didn’t build the music by himself, but he was one of its most original designers.

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