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Israel and Palestine
August 1, 2014

The Times of Israel on Friday briefly carried a post on the current Israel-Gaza conflict entitled, "When Genocide is Permissible," which was subsequently taken down from the site's opinion section.

The author, Yochanan Gordon, wrote:

The sad reality is that Israel gets it, but its hands are being tied by world leaders who over the past six years have insisted they are such good friends with the Jewish state, that they know more regarding its interests than even they do. But there's going to have to come a time where Israel feels threatened enough where it has no other choice but to defy international warnings — because this is life or death. [The Times of Israel]

After writing that Hamas is bent on Israel's destruction, Gordon concluded:

I will conclude with a question for all the humanitarians out there. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu clearly stated at the outset of this incursion that his objective is to restore a sustainable quiet for the citizens of Israel. We have already established that it is the responsibility of every government to ensure the safety and security of its people. If political leaders and military experts determine that the only way to achieve its goal of sustaining quiet is through genocide is it then permissible to achieve those responsible goals? [The Times of Israel]

As of now, the original web address for the post goes to a page that says, "The contents of this post have been removed for breaching The Times of Israel's editorial guidelines." However, an archived copy of the original post can be read at this link. Eric Kleefeld

This just in
1:44 p.m. ET
Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Euclid Tsakalotos was sworn in as Greece's finance minister on Monday, after the previous officeholder, Yanis Varoufakis, abruptly resigned earlier that morning. An Oxford-educated economist, Tsakalotos was Greece's chief negotiator with creditors and is said to be adept at the finer points of eurozone etiquette. "He speaks their language better than they do," a unnamed Greek official told The Guardian. That would be a departure from the pugilistic Varoufakis, who said upon his exit, "I shall wear the creditors' loathing with pride."

On Sunday, Greece overwhelmingly voted to reject a bailout deal with its creditors, handing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras a decisive victory and strengthening his position in negotiations.

You can read more about Tsakalotos' aristocratic upbringing at The Guardian. Nico Lauricella

Le Crash
1:37 p.m. ET

Several riders are out of the Tour de France after a crash involving 20 or so cyclists lead to a massive pile up on the road. Organizers halted the race following the incident, with the Daily Mail reporting that "the number of doctors that had to stay behind at the scene would have meant it was unsafe for the peloton to ride ahead." Former pro Paul Sherwen told NBC that he couldn't remember a time when the Tour had actually stopped the race due to a crash; the Daily Mail likewise dubbed it "one of the worst crashes" in the race's history. Several cyclists are out of the race entirely due to injuries, including Giant-Alpecin's Tom Dumoulin, who had been in third place before the crash. Jeva Lange

Debating E.T.
1:30 p.m. ET
Handout/Getty Images

Data relayed by the Rosetta spacecraft's Philae probe that landed on Comet 67P indicate the duck-shaped rock body could be home to alien life, astronomers reported Monday at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno, Wales.

Astronomers from the University of Cardiff and Buckingham University said the unusual organic black crust on the surface of the comet, formally known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, appears to have frozen lakes beneath it that could be inhabited by microbial organisms.

"Rosetta has already shown that the comet is not to be seen as a deep-frozen inactive body, but supports geological processes and could be more hospitable to micro-life than our Arctic and Antarctic regions," Dr. Max Wallis said in a statement.

However, scientists behind the Rosetta project are less convinced that the comet could harbor alien lifeOpen University Professor Monica Grady, who helped design Philae's chemical spectrometer, and Rosetta project scientist Dr. Matt Taylor both dismissed claims of alien life as "highly unlikely."

“It's pure speculation,” Dr. Taylor said.  Kelly Gonsalves

Trump's take
1:02 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump just can't seem to learn his lesson. Just last week, the Republican presidential candidate and business mogul landed himself in a heap of trouble for making racist comments about Hispanic-Americans, which cost him contracts with Macy's, Univision, and NBC. But Trump seems to be having a tough time containing himself, tweeting Monday that Jeb Bush likes "Mexican illegals because of his wife." Bush's wife, Columba, was born in Mexico.

Trump seemingly tried to correct his political incorrectness, eventually deleting the offending tweet, but it was too little, too late. The tweet remained up for a total of 24 hours, according to screenshots captured by The Wrap.

Bush, however, isn't too flustered by Trump's derogatory comments. "He's doing this to inflame and incite and to draw attention, which seems to be the organizing principle of his campaign," Bush said. "To make these extraordinarily ugly kind of comments is not reflective of the Republican Party." Becca Stanek

Queen Bey
12:45 p.m. ET

The land down under is giving Bey the respect she deserves — they're literally putting her on the skyline. Australian design firm Elenberg Fraser has been approved for a 740-foot tower inspired by Beyoncé's music video for "Ghost," Dezeen reports.

"For those more on the art than science side, we will reveal that the form does pay homage to something more aesthetic — we're going to trust you've seen the music video for Beyoncé's 'Ghost,'" explains Elenberg Fraser's website.

Although the building will mostly be residential, visitors may be able to stay in the Beyoncé Tower (okay, okay, its real name is the "Premiere Tower") as it will also host a 160-room hotel. And while the tower's curvy features are also supposedly architecturally significant — something about "structural dispersion, frequency oscillation, and wind requirements" — we all know who Beyoncé's really been haunting. Jeva Lange

Art meets life
11:56 a.m. ET
Tetra Images/Corbis

While it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase a piece of Leonardo da Vinci's artwork, his home can be bought for a fraction of the price. Da Vinci's Tuscan Villa and former residence is currently on the market for $14.6 million, CNBC reports. While that price sounds pretty steep, it's a relative bargain considering a piece of da Vinci artwork recently sold for $75 million — and that was after bargaining down from the original asking price of $200 million.

Da Vinci's Tuscan abode offers views of the Mediterranean Sea, and its garden walls were designed by the artist himself. Da Vinci lived in the five-bedroom house for only a short period of time in the early 1500s, but he wasn't the only famous owner of the home: Before serving as the artist's residence, the villa was a military fort owned Napoleon Bonaparte's sister, Princess Elisa Bonaparte, in the 19th century. Becca Stanek

shop til you drop
11:24 a.m. ET
David McNew/Getty Images

Amazon just asked Black Friday to step aside and make room for the new biggest day of shopping: "Prime Day." On Wednesday, July 15, Amazon will celebrate its 20th birthday by offering gifts to everyone in the form of tons of new deals. The company announced the big day Monday, offering shoppers the promise that Prime Day would be "filled with more deals than Black Friday." New deals will start appearing on the site at midnight and will be added as often as every 10 minutes.

But before shoppers get too excited about this upcoming online shopping extravaganza, take heed: These deals are only for Prime members. Alas, in the spirit of commerce, Amazon is using "Prime Day" as a chance to attract new Prime members through a 30-day free trial. Next Wednesday's shopping event will be open to Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria. Becca Stanek

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