Nov 23, 2017

Pence to speak at Knesset on Israel trip

Pence speaks at the 2017 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference in Washington. Photo: Jose Luis Magana /AP

Vice President Mike Pence is planning to give a landmark speech at the Knesset — the Israeli Parliament — during his trip to Israel in Mid-December. Israeli officials said the initiative for the speech came from the Vice President and his advisers, and received a positive response from the Israeli side immediately.

The Israeli officials said Pence will arrive at the Knesset on December 18th, will be given a formal welcoming ceremony and will have a working meeting with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein before his speech.

A White House official said: "The Vice President's trip is still in the planning stages. Therefore, we cannot confirm the speaking venues at this time".

The big picture: Pence will use his visit in Israel and his speech at the Knesset to talk about the U.S.-Israel alliance and common threats like Iran. But he will also use it to further boost his foreign policy credentials and Pro-Israel record for a possible presidential run in the future.

Go deeper: Pence is the Trump administration's point man to the Jewish and Pro-Israel community. He will be the first U.S. official to give a speech at the Knesset in almost a decade. The last such speech was given in May 2008 by then-President George W. Bush. President Obama thought about giving a speech at the Knesset during his visit in 2013 but decided to move it to a conference center in Jerusalem to avoid possible protests by Israeli Members of Knesset during the speech. President Trump wanted to give a speech at the mount of Masada but eventually picked the Israel museum in Jerusalem as the venue for his speech to the Israeli people.

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Debate night: Candidates' last face-off before Super Tuesday

Sanders, Biden, Klobuchar and Steyer in South Carolina on Feb. 25. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders wanted to keep his momentum after winning contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, while former Vice President Joe Biden hoped to keep his own campaign alive. The other five candidates were just trying to hang on.

What's happening: Seven contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination were in Charleston, South Carolina, for the tenth debate, just days before the South Carolina primary and a week before Super Tuesday. They spoke, sometimes over each other, about health care, Russian interference in the election, foreign policy the economy, gun control, marijuana, education, and race.

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4 takeaways from the South Carolina debate

Former Vice President Joe Biden, right, makes a point during Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate, while Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders listens. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The 10th Democratic debate was billed as the most consequential of the primary thus far, but Tuesday night's high-stakes affair was at times awkward and unfocused as moderators struggled to rein in candidates desperate to make one last splash before Saturday's primary in South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

The big picture: After cementing himself as the Democratic favorite with a sweeping win in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders came under fire as the front-runner for the first time on the debate stage. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the ballot for the first time next Tuesday, was a progressive foil once again, but he appeared more prepared after taking a drubbing at the Nevada debate.

Coronavirus spreads to Africa as U.S. soldier in South Korea tests positive

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

A 23-year-old American soldier stationed at Camp Carroll in South Korea has tested positive to the novel coronavirus, as the outbreak spreads to more countries.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

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