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PA decries Torah scrolls-placing ceremony at synagogue in Silwan

The Palestinian Authority (PA) denounced a Torah scrolls-placing ceremony at a synagogue established by Israeli settlers in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, according to Palestinian media, calling the act a “new act of Israeli aggression.” According to Wafa news agency, some 300 Israelis, including Israel’s Minister of Agriculture Uri Ariel and Israeli lawmakers, attended the ceremony in Silwan, which was organized by settler group Ateret Cohanim. The group has been behind several Palestinian evictions in occupied East Jerusalem, including in the Old City. Ateret Cohanim — which receives tax-deductible donations from the United States through their financial intermediary American Friends of Ateret Cohanim — focuses on “Judaizing” East Jerusalem through a Jewish reclamation project […]


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Israeli forces injure scores of Palestinians during clashes in Gaza

Israeli forces deployed near the borderlines of the Gaza Strip on Friday afternoon opened live ammunition and shot tear gas canisters at Palestinians protesting near Israel’s border fence in several areas of Gaza, causing scores of Palestinians to suffer tear gas inhalation, while another was injured after being struck by tear gas canisters. Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces shot live ammunition and tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters who had approached the border fence between Gaza and Israel in the northern Gaza Strip, east of the town of Jabaliya. Israeli forces were deployed at nearby military towers and in army tanks near the border. According to locals, a Palestinian “youth” – however, they did not specify the exact age […]


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Israel issues demolition orders on homes in Silwan

Israeli municipal authorities delivered summons to several Palestinian homeowners in the Silwan neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Friday, requesting that the families pick up demolition notices issued on their properties from Israeli authorities. According to locals, the families were summoned to pick up the demolition notices from Israeli authorities, who have said that their homes were built without Israeli-issued building permits. Locals identified one of the families as the al-Abbasi family in Ein al-Luza area of Silwan. However, the other families were not identified. A spokesperson for the Jerusalem municipality was not immediately available to comment. When delivering demolition notices, Israeli authorities either enter Palestinian neighborhoods and deliver the notices by hand to the soon-to-be demolished homes, or notify […]


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Fighters withdraw after clashes in Yemen capital

Gunmen from both groups in a strained civil war alliance withdrew from streets in the Yemeni capital on Sunday after trading fire in unprecedented violence, officials from the two groups said. The clash late on Saturday between members of the Houthi movement and loyalists of a powerful former president killed at least three combatants and marked a breakdown within the main political gathering confronting a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen’s 2 1/2-year-old war. “The situation has been contained and armed men have been withdrawn. A commission to investigate the incident has been formed,” a Houthi official told Reuters. Residents of the upscale Hadda district where the fighting raged for several hours said traffic was picking up as people began morning […]


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Saudi factory stitches gold-laced cover for Islam’s holiest site

Dozens of Saudi craftsmen, mostly in their 40s and 50s, are hard at work in a factory in Mecca preparing an embroidered black and gold cloth to cover the Kaaba, the holiest site in Islam. Known as the kiswa, the cloth is woven from silk and cotton and adorned with verses from the Koran. A new one is made each year to be placed on the Kaaba in Mecca’s Grand Mosque during the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage, which begins on Wednesday. Many of the craftsmen have worked in the factory in the Oum al-Jood district of Mecca all their lives but they will retire soon, so a new generation is being trained to carry on the trade. General manager Mohammed […]


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France backs Iraqi forces’ efforts to liberate Tal Afar

France is involved in efforts to recapture Tal Afar in western Mosul city from the clutches of Daesh terrorist organisation, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Saturday, who said 70 percent of the district had been liberated. Tal Afar is located roughly 60 kilometers (37 miles) east of the Iraq-Syria border. Speaking at a joint news conference with his French counterpart and French defense minister in capital Baghdad, al-Jaafari said he expected the entire district to be liberated soon. On Sunday, the Iraqi government launched a major offensive to retake Tal Afar, involving army troops, federal police units, counter-terrorism forces and armed members of Hashd al-Shaabi — a largely Shia force that was incorporated into the Iraqi army last year. About […]


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WHO: Cholera has killed 2,018 people in Yemen

A total of 2,018 people have been killed by a cholera epidemic in war-torn Yemen since late April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Saturday. In a statement, the WHO said 565,041 suspected cases of cholera have been recorded in the country since April 27. According to the WHO statement, the recorded suspected cases were in 22 out of 23 provinces. The UN agency said the highest number of fatalities — 382 cases — was recorded in the northwestern Hajjah province, while in western Yemen’s Hudaida province only around 70,000 suspected cases were recorded. Impoverished Yemen has remained in a state of civil war since 2014, when Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa. The conflict escalated when Saudi Arabia and its […]


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3 Saudi nationals drown in Arabian Sea off Karachi

Three Saudi nationals drowned in the Arabian Sea off southern port city of Karachi on Saturday, police and local media reported. Two diplomatic employees and son of an official of Saudi consulate in Karachi went to famous Hawksbay beach for picnic in western district of the metropolis, A.D Khawaja, the inspector general of Sindh province, of which Karachi is the capital, told Anadolu Agency. “I can confirm the death of 3 persons who have been identified as Saudi nationals,” Khawaja said. Local broadcaster Dunya TV, quoting unnamed police officials, reported that two bodies had been pulled out by the rescuers, while search for the third one was underway. Another local TV channel 92 News reported that the third victim was pulled […]


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Three missing after Japan military helicopter loses contact over Sea of Japan

Author: 
Reuters
Sun, 2017-08-27 09:57
ID: 
1503825206431901300

TOKYO: Japan’s Defense Ministry on Sunday said it was searching for three crew members of a Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF) helicopter in the Sea of Japan after contact was lost with the chopper. One crew member had been rescued uninjured.
The ministry said the SH-60J anti-submarine warfare helicopter lost contact around 90 km (56 miles) off the coast of Aomori Prefecture late on Saturday.
It said the flight data recorder had been located, but did not say what had actually happened to the helicopter, whether it crashed or ditched into the sea. The MSDF has launched an investigation into the incident.
Earlier this month, four Japanese crew members were injured after their CH-101 chopper crashed on land during a training exercise at Iwakuni Air Base in Yamaguchi Prefecture in western Japan.

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Disarmed, Colombia’s FARC seek political rebirth

Author: 
AFP
Sun, 2017-08-27 10:15
ID: 
1503825206321901100

BOGOTA, Colombia: Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels seek political rebirth on Sunday as they move to transform into a party to seek elected office after disarming to end a half-century war.
About 1,000 delegates from the freshly demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia will launch a founding congress to choose their political representatives.
They will choose a name for the party and candidates to run in next year’s general elections.
“We are going to define the character of the political party that we aspire to build,” former guerrilla commander Carlos Antonio Lozada told AFP.
He said they will also shape “its structure and name the leaders, at least at national level.”
Another former commander of the force, Ivan Marquez, said he expected the movement to call itself the Alternative Revolutionary Force of Colombia.
However, the overall FARC leader Rodrigo Londono canvassed opinion on Twitter and many respondents said they favored the name “New Colombia.”
Conflict analyst Frederic Masse of Bogota’s Externado University said the debate reflected a “dilemma” in the movement.
“Some want to keep the word ‘revolutionary’ while others want to change that to show that this is a new start,” Masse said.
Regardless of how many votes they may win, the peace deal signed with the government last year guarantees the new party five seats in each of the two legislative chambers for two terms.
“We hope to get enough votes not only to justify those five senate and five lower house representatives, but also we aspire hopefully to achieve an even greater representation,” Lozada said.
Londono has ruled out the new party fielding a presidential candidate.
But he said it will support a candidate who guarantees the peace deal the FARC signed with center-right President Juan Manuel Santos.
The communist FARC formed in 1964 from a peasant uprising for rural land rights.
Its members have avoided publicly framing their current discussions on their political future with terms such as “socialist” and “communist” however.
Another former FARC commander, Pastor Alape, said they were looking for a broader “liberal democracy” movement.
Some ex-FARC leaders have said it will be “anti-imperialist” and “anti-patriarchal” in spirit.
Lozada said it would focus on promoting free health and education and environmental protection.
After 53 years of attacks and kidnappings, the FARC in its new form faces a struggle for acceptance.
Recent polls indicate that more than 80 percent of Colombians are opposed to it.
“There is a long history of grievances weighing against the FARC,” said analyst Angelika Rettberg.
Voters narrowly rejected the peace deal in a referendum last year. Santos and the FARC tweaked it and the government pushed it through congress.
“The FARC will face a number of challenges The first is not to betray their support base. The second is to enlarge their electorate,” said Masse.
“The third is to show that they are capable of doing politics differently and not letting themselves get sucked into traditional patronage politics.”
The FARC has invited other likely presidential candidates to its congress, though none has publicly confirmed attendance. It has also invited some 150 international participants.
The congress in Bogota runs until September 1, when the party will hold an official launch ceremony in Bolivar Square, the heart of the capital’s political district.
The Colombian conflict drew in various rebel forces, paramilitary groups and state forces over the decades.
It left some 260,000 people confirmed dead, 60,000 unaccounted for and seven million displaced.
The government has opened peace talks with the last active group, the 1,500-strong National Liberation Army, in the hope of sealing what Santos calls an “overall peace.”

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