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Hamas announces Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel – Aljazeera.com

Israeli military begins striking Hamas targets in Gaza - Aljazeera.com

Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, says it has reached an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Israel after an exchange of fire on Monday.

“Egyptian efforts succeeded with a ceasefire between the occupation and the resistance factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said.

Israel has yet to comment.

The reported truce comes shortly after multiple rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel on Monday evening, according to a joint statement issued by Gaza’s armed groups, in response to Israeli air strikes that pounded Hamas positions across the enclave.

Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Gaza said in a joint statement said they fired targets across the border and warned they would escalate if the Israeli army launched further attacks.

Sirens were sounding in multiple places in southern Israel close to the border, the Israeli army said.

Earlier on Monday evening, Israeli warplanes launched air raids against Hamas positions across the Gaza Strip, in retaliation for a rocket from the Palestinian enclave that hit an Israeli home.

As the Israeli assault began, residents in the northern part of the Gaza Strip reported hearing the sounds of explosions earlier on Monday evening. Local media reported that air strikes landed in an agricultural area east of Khan Younis in Gaza’s south.

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from the Gaza-Israel border, said several empty buildings associated with Hamas have been hit. 

“We’ve seen several plumes of smoke coming up from the Gaza skyline behind us and we’ve seen confirmation from the Israeli military that these strikes have begun.

Flames and smoke are seen during an Israeli air raid in Gaza City [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

“From our colleagues inside Gaza, we’re hearing that so far, the targets seem to have been empty training camps associated with Hamas’ military wing … also a sea base as well,” Fawcett said. 

Later he said a building “right in the middle of densely populated Gaza city” had been “entirely destroyed”.

Ambulances were on the scene, but there had four small warning explosions prior to the largest one that flattened the building that may have allowed people to get out of the area. 

Israel said it had destroyed Hamas’s military intelligence headquarters.

Gaza’s health ministry says seven Palestinians have been wounded in the attacks.

Israel has blamed Hamas for the rocket launched into Israel early Monday that injured seven Israelis when it landed in central Israel. 

When asked whether the group was responsible for that Hamas spokesman Abdullatif al-Kanoo, told Al Jazeera:

“The Israelis continue to impose a crippling siege on the Gaza Strip and practise all kinds of aggression against Palestinians … Therefore, the Israeli occupation should bear the consequences of its actions against our people in Gaza and the West Bank and in Jerusalem, as well.

Hamas will not leave our people undeterred … the resistance will strike back if needed”.

He condemned the Israeli response. 

“The current Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip reflects its criminal nature. The Palestinian resistance will not allow the occupation to oppress its people.”

Warnings to civilians 

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniya called for unity to address Israeli attacks 

“The Palestinian cause is being attacked on various fronts – in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, as well as inside Israeli jails.

“We must face this onslaught with a united national front, and in coordination with our Arab allies … Our people and the resistance will not surrender if the occupation crosses red lines”.

Ashraf al-Qudrah, spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry, said hospitals and medical points across the strip are ready and on high alert. 

The health ministry has also called on residents to take precautions as Israel begins to launch attacks across Gaza. 

Israel issued a similar warning about an hour before the raids began, telling Israeli residents to open bomb shelters in the expectation of potential rocket fire coming from inside Gaza in response.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “gravely concerned” by the recent developments in Israel and the Gaza Strip and urges all sides to exercise maximum restraint, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.


The escalation comes 10 days after rockets were fired from Gaza towards Tel Aviv – in which Hamas denied responsibility. Israel has long said it holds Hamas responsible for all violence from Gaza, controlled by the group since 2007.

It was the first time the city had been targeted since a 2014 war between Israel and Hamas.

At the time, Israel said it had targeted 100 Hamas positions in the besieged Gaza Strip, home to more than two million Palestinians.

Israel has also waged three offensives on Gaza since December 2008, a year after Hamas assumed control of the coastal enclave.

The last war of 2014 severely damaged Gaza’s already weak infrastructure, prompting the UN to warn that the strip would be “uninhabitable” by 2020.

Tensions have been high for the past year along the Israel-Gaza frontier since Palestinians began popular protests near Israel’s fence west of the Gaza Strip, protesting their right of return and demanding an end to the 12-year-siege.

The siege has devastated the local economy, severely restricting food imports and access to basic services. It has also stopped the flow of construction materials.

Since the start of the protests, dubbed the Great March of Return, nearly a year ago, the Israeli military has killed more than 200 Palestinians.

About 60 more have died in other incidents, including exchanges of fire across the fence. Two Israeli soldiers have been killed by Palestinian fire.

Meanwhile, Egypt, Qatar and the UN are trying to broker a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, but that effort has yet to bring about an agreement.

US-Israel ties ‘unbreakable’

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu appeared alongside US President Donald Trump in a press conference at the White House shortly after the raids began.

Netanyahu said Israel was “responding forcefully” to what he called “wanton aggression”.

“We will do whatever we must do to defend our people and defend our state,” he said adding that he will cut his meeting short to return to Israel. 

Trump called the attack on Tel Aviv “despicable” and said that the United States “recognises Israel’s absolute right to defend itself”, describing the alliance between the US and Israel as “unbreakable”.

During the press conference, Trump signed a proclamation formally recognising Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, a move that reversed decades of US policy. 

The recognition is expected to come as a boost to Netanyahu, who is running for re-election in Israel’s presidential elections next month.

An Israeli Apache helicopter releases flares as it flies over the Gaza Strip [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

Additional reporting by Maram Humaid in Gaza.

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ER visits linked to marijuana rose at Colorado hospital after legalization, study finds – NBCNews.com

ER visits linked to marijuana rose at Colorado hospital after legalization, study finds - NBCNews.com

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By Shamard Charles, M.D.

After marijuana use was legalized in Colorado in 2012, ER visits linked to cannabis use tripled over the next five years at one of the state’s largest hospitals, according to a new analysis. Psychiatric ER visits were more common after people consumed marijuana edibles, compared to smoking or inhaling cannabis products.

The researchers examined nearly 10,000 patients at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital from 2012 to 2016, finding that while sales of edibles are lower than inhaled pot products, people eating marijuana candies or food were more likely to show up at the ER with severe panic attacks or other sudden mental disorders. Inhaled marijuana caused a higher rate of hospitalizations, mostly due to cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, a severe vomiting condition associated with heavy cannabis use.

“About 10 percent of cannabis-related ED visits were associated with edible forms of weeds, but only 0.32 percent of total cannabis sales were for edible products. That’s 33 times higher than what we expected,” said Dr. Andrew Monte, lead author of the study and associate professor of emergency medicine and emergency toxicology at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine. “Acute psychiatric visits like acute panic attacks, acute psychosis, and acute-on chronic conditions such as acute exacerbations of schizophrenia were also much more commonly associated with cannabis edibles,” said Monte.

The study was published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Monte believes that people who consume marijuana edibles may be ingesting unsafe levels because they don’t feel the immediate high. The effect of edible cannabis products is typically not felt until 2 to 3 hours after ingesting, so ample time needs to be given before re-dosing with more of the drug, Monte added.

“So some users over-consume edible cannabis products, resulting in adverse effects,” he said.

The market for cannabis edibles is growing. According to a report from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, edibles spending in Canada and the United States topped $1 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow more than $4.1 billion by 2022.

As the industry grows, more research needs to be done to see if edible marijuana use is a direct cause of negative psychiatric events, experts say.

One of the major limitations of the study is that it is observational, meaning that it does not prove that use of marijuana edibles is the exact cause of psychosis or causes an exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms, or some other illness. Prior research indicates that people predisposed to psychosis or other psychiatric disorders may be at higher risk for adverse events following cannabis exposure, but doctors caution that claiming a cause-and-effect between marijuana use and onset of psychosis may be an exaggeration.

“Studies such as these are unable to say whether it is the use of stronger forms of cannabis or edibles that is the cause of these patients having psychosis or other conditions that result in an emergency visit, but it also cannot be ruled out,” said Dr. Amir Englund, a post-doctoral researcher in Psychopharmacology, Institute of Psychiatry Psychology & Neuroscience, at King’s College London, who was not involved in the study.

Another limitation is that the study only looked at one hospital, so it’s unclear whether this is a larger trend.

Still, the concerns about marijuana’s link to psychiatric ER visits should be taken seriously, Monte says. The findings come on the heels of a study published last week citing that daily use of high potency marijuana may be linked to higher rates of psychosis.

“Ultimately, we urge consumers to use cannabis in moderation, use low doses if unfamiliar with a product, and avoid riskier behaviors such as driving after using cannabis,” Monte told NBC News.

“Those who use edibles should use a much lower dose and should not re-dose until at least four hours later.”

Shamard Charles, M.D.

Dr. Shamard Charles is a physician-journalist for NBC News and Today, reporting on health policy, public health initiatives, diversity in medicine, and new developments in health care research and medical treatments. 

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No Man’s Sky is coming to VR – The Verge


It’s finally happening: more than two years after launch, sci-fi exploration game No Man’s Sky is coming to virtual reality. It’ll be available as part of a free update this summer on PlayStation VR.

The new VR support is part of the recently announced Beyond update for the game, which features three key components. The first will offer a “radical” new online multiplayer experience for the game, while the second is VR. The third pillar of the update has yet to be revealed.

Though it had a bit of a rocky launch, developer Hello Games has steadily improved No Man’s Sky since its 2016 debut, adding things like multiplayer support, base building, new underwater worlds, and alien archaeology. Meanwhile, the studio also recently announced its next game, a much smaller-scale experience called The Last Campfire.

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The 10 Teams Left With a Realistic Hope of Winning the NCAA Tournament – The Big Lead

The 10 Teams Left With a Realistic Hope of Winning the NCAA Tournament - The Big Lead

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The dust has settled on the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament. What the event has lacked in upsets it has made up for in intrigue and thrilling games. Oh wait, that’s not entirely true either. But lest we get too discouraged, feast your eyes upon the remaining teams. They all have something in common.

They are good. Very few pretenders. But not all have realistic aspirations of winning it all. Here are 10 that do and find themselves in the best situation going forward.

#1 Virginia

The Cavaliers decided to play the hits again and fall behind against a No. 16 seed. Then they woke up and looked every bit the team that lost only three times all year. A suffocating defense, veteran guard play and a path that includes Oregon won’t have Tony Bennett sleeping like a baby, but looking at the board, I’m not sure any other team is in a better position. Ty Jerome is one of the smoothest and calmest operators to take the court in a long time. I fully expect him and the rest of UVA to maintain a resting heart rate of 50 deep into the tournament.

#2 North Carolina

The Tar Heels put handcuffs on Washington. If they play lock-down defense, then forget about it. Luke Maye and company will be perfectly comfortable running with Auburn, then should have a serious advantage over a P.J. Washington-less Kentucky or Houston. Coby White looks like the next great floor general when it matters and Nassir Little is capable of dropping an avalanche of points at any time.

#3 Duke

Let’s be brutally honest here. Coach K’s team should be out of this tournament. But they aren’t. Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett and some interesting officiating helped the Blue Devils avert disaster against UCF. Putting them this low is not a contrarian play. Simply put, they look mortal. Should they survive Virginia Tech — a team that beat a Zion-less squad earlier this year — they’ll have to figure out Michigan State. Talent-wise, there’s no one who can match up with them, though. And it’s reasonable to believe Zion will literally move heaven and earth to keep his title hopes alive.

#4 Gonzaga

The Zags shook the rust off from a disappointing West Coast Conference tournament and throttled teams they were supposed to throttle. Brandon Clarke had a game for the ages against Baylor, dropping 36 points on 15-for-18 shooting. Florida State does present unprecedented length, but give Mark Few a full week to prepare and he’ll be able to figure something out.

#5 Michigan State

Flirted with disaster against Bradley, but were rescued by Cassius Winston. Weathered an absurdly overblown “Tom Izzo yells sometimes” storyline to throttle Minnesota by 20 despite a nasty turnover habit. This is a team that’s been doubted all year and rose to the occasion. Maybe it’s time to stop doing that. Still, Tom Izzo’s 1-101 career record against Coach K is a bit concerning.

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Trump Blames 'Treasonous' Critics for Russia Inquiry – The New York Times

Trump to Meet Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, Reinforcing Close Ties - The New York Times


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Trump Blames ‘Treasonous’ Critics for Russia Inquiry


In the aftermath of the special counsel’s conclusion that President Trump did not conspire with an effort by Russia to tilt the 2016 election, he claimed that his critics were guilty of “evil” and “treasonous” actions.CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump went on the offensive on Monday a day after the special counsel investigation reported no conspiracy with Russia, suggesting that critics who pursued such suspicions were “treasonous,” guilty of “evil things” and should be investigated themselves.

Grim faced and simmering with anger, Mr. Trump repeated his assertion that a collection of partisan foes had effectively conspired to try to disrupt or even end his presidency with false allegations about his campaign’s ties with Moscow in 2016.

“There are a lot of people out there that have done some very, very evil things, some bad things, I would say some treasonous things against our country,” he told reporters during an Oval Office meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel. “And hopefully people that have done such harm to our country — we’ve gone through a period of really bad things happening — those people will certainly be looked at.

“I’ve been looking at them for a long time,” he added, “and I’m saying why haven’t they been looked at? They lied to Congress, many of them, you know who they are. They’ve done so many evil things.”

The president’s comments expanded on the theme he expressed on Sunday after the Justice Department reported that the special counsel investigation by Robert S. Mueller III had wrapped up without finding a criminal scheme to influence the presidential election in tandem with Russia’s government. With the Mueller inquiry behind him, Mr. Trump seems intent on turning the tables on his foes.

Mr. Trump took a softer line toward Mr. Mueller himself. Asked at an earlier appearance with Mr. Netanyahu on Monday whether Mr. Mueller had acted honorably, Mr. Trump said, “Yes, he did. Yes, he did.”

Mr. Trump indicated that he would support releasing the full report by Mr. Mueller, as demanded by congressional Democrats. “Up to the attorney general,” he said. “Wouldn’t bother me at all.”

But he brushed off a question about whether he was considering pardons of any of the associates who were convicted or pleaded guilty during Mr. Mueller’s inquiry. “Haven’t thought about it,” he said.

Follow Peter Baker on Twitter: @peterbakernyt.


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Cannabis-related ER visits in Colorado jump threefold after legalization, study says – CNN

Your brain on marijuana

Although inhaled cannabis leads to more visits overall, new research says, edibles — foods containing cannabis extract — account for more visits for psychiatric and cardiovascular symptoms.
Research has shed light on increasing safety concerns related to cannabis. The researchers identified 9,973 cannabis-related emergency department visits at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital from 2012 to 2016, a more than threefold increase in such visits.
Lead study author Dr. Andrew A. Monte, a medical toxicologist and emergency medicine physician at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital, and his colleagues were motivated by their own experiences. “We observed a higher number of visits attributable to edibles than expected, and there was no data to determine if this was indeed true,” he said.
Daily or high-potency cannabis increases risk of psychotic disorder, study findsDaily or high-potency cannabis increases risk of psychotic disorder, study finds
For the study, published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the researchers also looked at the relationship between cannabis sales reported to the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division and emergency department visits. Although edible cannabis only made up 0.32% of sales in Colorado from 2014 to 2016, 10.7% of cannabis-related emergency department visits at UCHealth University of Colorado were due to edibles.
“There have been several high-profile deaths due to cannabis edibles but no documented death attributable to inhaled cannabis,” Monte said. The study noted a 2015 case of a man in Colorado who died by suicide after consuming an edible marijuana product.
The researchers note that the study had some limitations, including that patients who go the emergency room “differ from the overall population of cannabis users, most of whom may use cannabis with no adverse effects.” Additionally, there was often no way to quantify the exact doses of cannabis, and researchers suspect that ingested doses may have exceeded inhaled doses.
With the liberalization of cannabis laws in some states, more patient education is needed on the impact that different forms of cannabis can have on health. “Edible marijuana can be a lot different. The effect can last a lot longer,” said Dr. G. Sam Wang, a pediatric emergency medicine physician and toxicologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, who was not involved in the new study.
Pot smoking may leave mark on teen brainsPot smoking may leave mark on teen brains
In the edible form, there’s a slower rate of both absorption and the body’s ability to clear tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. If people use too much because they don’t immediately feel the effects, edibles can be even more dangerous, Drs. Nora D. Volkow and Ruben Baler of the National Institute on Drug Abuse wrote in an editorial published alongside the study.
Anyone can be susceptible to safety issues that accompany edible and inhaled cannabis. “Use and its outcomes cross all socioeconomic classes, races and ethnicities,” Wang said.
There have also been reports of unintended exposure in children. In Wang’s own practice, “I typically see the kids who unintentionally ingest cannabis, kids who use it medically or teenagers who recreationally use it.”
As cannabis laws continue to change, Monte says that while edibles have a role in treating some medical conditions such as pain, recreational use may carry its own risks. “States moving to liberalize cannabis policy should consider keeping edibles out of the recreational marketplace,” he said.
Emergency department visits due to cannabis can be prevented, Wang said. There is a growing need for policy and public education on the potentially harmful effects of cannabis, he said. There have been limitations on how much THC can be put in cannabis products in many states, including Colorado, and there are restrictions on mass marketing of cannabis that targets young adults and children. “He emphasizes, “The biggest thing that needs to happen is prevention.”

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Goldman Sachs CEO says Apple Card 'completely changes the credit card experience' – CNBC

David Solomon, chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon said that the new jointly-created Apple Card is a major step in its journey to becoming a player in the consumer finance industry.

Solomon, who attended Apple’s Monday event unveiling the card and other new services, addressed the joint effort in a memo to employees.

“Apple Card completely changes the credit card experience and is built to help customers lead a healthier financial life,” Solomon, 57, said. “We’re excited to partner with Apple on this card, which is designed to be truly on the side of the customer.”

The Apple product is meant to be simple and transparent, and that ethos meshes with the stated principles of Goldman’s consumer finance division. Marcus has more than 3 million customers, $45 billion in deposits and $5 billion in consumer loan balances so far, he said.

“This partnership is a major step in the growth of our consumer franchise, furthering our vision to create the leading digital consumer platform,” Solomon said.

WATCH: Apple just unveiled its big push into streaming video — Here’s what five experts say it means for investors

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Why Israel is so good at targeting Hamas – Washington Examiner

Why Israel is so good at targeting Hamas - Washington Examiner

Responding to a Hamas rocket strike that wounded seven Israelis, the Israeli Defense Forces successfully targeted high-value Hamas facilities across the Gaza strip. Once again, the IDF showed their great knowledge of where Hamas posts are hidden.

But how do they know those locations? It’s an important question because the IDF hasn’t been picking off low-hanging fruit. On the contrary, its targets included Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh’s office, Hamas’ military intelligence headquarters, and its internal security headquarters.

The answer: Israel is better at spying than Hamas is at catching spies. That’s down to Israel’s ability to saturate the Gaza strip with a wide range of highly capable intelligence platforms. Consider how these efforts come together.

First up, there are the IDF’s drones that provide near-constant real-time intelligence flow from the skies above Gaza. Monitoring the movement of Hamas officers, these drones allow the Israelis to know where targets are traveling to and from. That allows for other intelligence assets to be directed at locations that have a nexus to Hamas. Once identified as such, these facilities or officials can then be targeted by Israeli strikes.

Then there’s the work of the IDF’s Unit 8200 signal intelligence service. Monitoring Hamas communications, Unit 8200 provides insight into the group’s planning and enables IDF targeting.

But while the IDF controls the sky above Gaza and listens to the sounds inside the territory, Israeli intelligence forces also play a crucial role on the ground. This mission centers on the IDF covert infiltration units Samson, and Unit 217, and the border police’s Yamas unit. Operating in small teams throughout the Gaza strip, these units dress and act like normal Palestinian residents of Gaza. But they take extraordinary risks in monitoring Hamas leaders and identifying new Hamas facilities. This constant human intelligence effort is crucial because Hamas constantly relocates its operation centers so as to reduce the probability of Israeli detection. Of course, Israeli spies also recruit Hamas officials who can then provide intelligence on the group from a position of access.

The basic point is that when this effort comes together, it allows Israeli commanders to know where their enemies are located, and what they are doing in those locations. In turn, the IDF is able to launch short notice, but highly effective, strikes that drive Hamas to reconsider whether escalation with Israel is really such a good idea.

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Ah Jeez, The Video Of UCF's Locker Room After Losing To Duke Is Heartbreaking – Deadspin

Ah Jeez, The Video Of UCF's Locker Room After Losing To Duke Is Heartbreaking - Deadspin

UCF was so, so close to upsetting Duke in Sunday’s second-round game, but the Knights fell, 77-76, and were instantly, visibly crushed by how they lost. (As Aubrey Dawkins’s putback attempt rimmed out and time expired, you can see Terrell Allen, No. 2, put his hands on his head as he falls to the floor in shock.) The postgame locker room video is just as rough: UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins tells his team how proud he is as players sniffle and sob.

“I know it’s going to hurt,” Dawkins says. “It’s going to hurt for a while. I’ve been here before with the same thing. But we’re proud of you guys, we’re proud of the effort and the energy that you gave us all year long.”

The coach hugs his son Aubrey, a redshirt senior, and consoles 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall, who covers his face.

Aw, man. Why couldn’t it have been the other group of unpaid college athletes crying instead?

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