• iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Israeli officials are awaiting what could be one of the first announcements from the new Trump administration: A decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Such a move, which Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail, may please many Israelis but anger Palestinians as well as officials in Arab nations, who could see it as directly provocative and a hindrance to future peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians.Palestinians claim Jerusalem as a capital of their future state, and Trump, like the Israeli government, views Jerusalem as Israel’s “eternal capital." Since Israel's creation, the United States has maintained that the status of the holy city of Jerusalem should only be settled in negotiations between the two parties, and Trump appears prepared to dramatically break with tradition.Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday, but neither leader’s report of their conversation referenced the U.S. embassy move.“The President emphasized that peace between Israel and the Palestinians can only be negotiated directly between the two parties, and that the United States will work closely with Israel to make progress towards that goal,” the White House said in a statement.It also said that Trump invited Netanyahu to visit the White House in early February, making him one of the first foreign leaders invited to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. under the new administration.“We are at the very beginning stages of even discussing the subject,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told ABC News on Sunday about the embassy’s location.Aides to Netanyahu told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz over the weekend that that no announcement of a U.S. embassy move was imminent, leaving questions about when a decision could be announced or if it might be a gradual process.The right-wing mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said that the Trump administration is committed to the move, telling Army Radio Monday that he’s had conversations with people in the new administration that show “they are serious about their intentions.” Barkat has long advocated for the move."I applaud President Trump on his historic announcement that the White House has begun discussions regarding moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem,” Barkat said in a statement. “President Trump has proven that he is a true friend of the State of Israel and a leader who keeps his promises. [Monday] evening's announcement has sent a clear message to the world that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of the State of Israel. We will provide any and all necessary assistance to the U.S. administration to ensure that the embassy move is done seamlessly and efficiently."In December, Trump spokesman Jason Miller affirmed Trump’s commitment to moving the embassy, telling reporters on the phone that Trump made that promise “numerous” times during the campaign. Miller did not speculate on a timeline for a move or potential sites for the embassy.At an October Trump rally in Israel, Trump’s nominee for the next U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, told ABC News that if State Department employees refused to move the embassy, they’d be fired. The former ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, a career diplomat, has already packed up and vacated his office in Tel Aviv.Israeli Settlements in East JerusalemIsrael continues to build Israeli settlements -- Jewish towns and cities in the occupied Palestinian territories including the West Bank and East Jerusalem.Right-wing Israelis, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, defend settlement construction for various historical, religious, political and security reasons. But the United Nations considers Israeli settlements in occupied territory illegal under international law. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, passed last month, states settlements hav
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, has inherited a number of foreign policy challenges spanning the globe from the Middle East through East Asia.Trump tweeted Monday morning that "THE WORK BEGINS!" yet many of his top foreign policy positions have yet to be confirmed by the Senate, including CIA director and secretary of state.The White House website says Trump will execute an "American first foreign policy ... focused on American interests and American national security." The White House policy will center on "peace through strength," made possible in part, it says, by pursuing "the highest level of military readiness."ABC News looked at seven of the most challenging foreign policy issues facing the new administration, and what Trump said about each over the past several months:1. ISISThe White House announced Monday that for this new commander-in-chief, defeating ISIS and eliminating the direct threat it poses to Americans at home and abroad will be the "highest priority."Just in the last two days, the United States military conducted two separate rounds of airstrikes in Libya and Syria it says killed nearly 200 ISIS and al-Qaeda militants. The U.S. Department of State has a standing "worldwide travel caution" for all Americans traveling abroad, which warns about the continuing threat of terror attacks."In the past year, major terrorist attacks occurred in Belgium, France, Germany, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, Indonesia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh among others," the State Department warning says. "Authorities believe there is a continued likelihood of attacks against U.S., Western, and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia."The new administration will be under enormous pressure to finish the fights to retake ISIS strongholds in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria -- and could easily be faced with a shift in enemy tactics, an insurgency and a protracted fight that could force the White House to make difficult decisions about whether to commit more U.S. forces on the ground.Guiding stable government institutions to fill the vacuum left by ISIS and encouraging a successful political resolution to the five-year civil war in Syria, including the removal of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, are also enormous challenges.The refugee crisis caused by both the war in Syria and the violent tactics of ISIS is another pressing issue. Amnesty International estimates the conflict in Syria has forced more than 4.5 million refugees from Syria who are now living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. The Trump administration will need to work with world powers to manage that refugee flow to prevent more humanitarian suffering and potential they have to destabilize governments that take them in.What Trump has said: Trump has not presented a clear strategy to defeat ISIS, often claiming that public strategy discussion would tip off the enemy. He has said, though, that he would fight ISIS aggressively.On Sunday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer announced that the Trump administration would be keeping the State Department's top counter-ISIS planner, Brett McGurk, to ensure continuity.But in regards to the refugee crisis, Trump rejected calls from former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton to increase the number of refugees from Syria and Iraq admitted into the U.S. He instead proposed banning Muslim immigration to the U.S. and later called for "extreme vetting" of applicants.2. RUSSIA
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) -- Representatives of the Syrian government and rebel factions met Monday for the first time in a year for peace talks brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran.The talks are expected to focus on maintaining a cease-fire reached on Dec. 30 rather than a long-term political solution, analysts say.“In a best-case scenario, you get increased humanitarian access to besieged areas accompanied by a beefed up cease-fire enhancement mechanism to be monitored by the three external actors [Russia, Turkey and Iran],” Julien Barnes-Dacey, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told ABC News.If these first steps are agreed to, it could pave the way for continuing negotiations on a broader political solution when United Nations-led talks are expected to take place in Geneva in February, he said.
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  • Hemera/Thinkstock(FARINDOLA, Italy) — Emergency rescuers were able to experience some joy in their search and recovery efforts after the avalanche that struck last week near a hotel in central Italy. The rescuers broke down a wall to retrieve three puppies buried alive for at least five days in an avalanche in central Italy. The Abruzzo shepherd puppies, all born in December, were found buried alive in the hotel’s boiler room. The puppies are in good health.
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  • ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sen. John McCain praised President Donald Trump's cabinet picks and revealed he will vote in favor of Rex Tillerson, Trump's pick to lead the State Department, despite concerns about the nominee's relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin."I will be voting in favor of his nomination," McCain said of Tillerson in an interview Sunday with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos on This Week."Listen, this wasn't an easy call. But I also believe that when there's doubt the president, the incoming president, gets the benefit of the doubt, and that's the way I've treated every president that I've had the obligation to vote for or against as a member of the United States Senate."Sen. John McCain and his fellow Republican foreign policy hawk Sen. Lindsey Graham released a joint statement Sunday supporting Tillerson's nomination."After careful consideration, and much discussion with Mr. Tillerson, we have decided to support his nomination to be secretary of state. Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for U.S. interests," the statement said.But, another prominent Republican senator has still apparently not made up his mind on Tillerson.Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a key member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who sharply questioned Tillerson on Russia's involvement in Syria during the confirmation hearing, has not decided whether to vote for Tillerson, according to Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker of Tennessee, who spoke to Rubio on Friday.Rubio has met with Tillerson privately since the hearing, the senator's office said. He's also met with Vice President Mike Pence on the subject, according to Corker.Wihtout Rubio's vote, Tillerson's nomination would not move out of committee. Republican leadership could still hold a full Senate vote and confirm him, especially now that he has McCain and Graham's public support, but it would be an embarrassing bruise for Trump administration.McCain also praised some of Trump's other Cabinet picks on This Week, saying he has the "utmost confidence" in Trump's national security team, in particular."I have the utmost confidence in Gen. Mattis, Gen. Flynn, Gen. Kelly, Dan Coats. I couldn't have picked a better team," he said.But, the Arizona senator did not have the same praise for the president himself.Asked by Stephanopoulos if he has the "utmost confidence" in the commander-in-chief, McCain, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, replied, "I don't know because he has made so many comments that are contradictory.""I think the fact that he's appointed and nominated these outstanding individuals is bound to be an encouraging sign," McCain added. "I trust them, and I believe in them, and I've worked with them over many years.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(BANJUL, Gambia) -- More than $11 million is missing from the Gambia's state coffers after the country's longtime leader flew into exile, an adviser to the new president, Adama Barrow, said according to BBC.
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