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West Bank women donate essential goods for Gazan mothers
2014.09.02 03:21:49

A group of Palestinian business women in the West Bank city of Ramallah have launched a campaign to raise money for essential household goods and toiletries for Gazan mothers.

'Mother-to-Mother' have put together 1,500 bags of necessities which will be taken to Gaza on Wednesday in co-ordination with the United Nations, the Reuters news agency has reported.

Each bag carries a letter from the mothers from the West Bank to mothers in Gaza expressing their support.

Around 100 volunteers worked for a week to put 12 different items used by women at home into each bag. The items included household goods such as washing-up liquid, toiletries such as shower gel and first aid goods including antiseptics.

This campaign is a campaign (to) support the mothers in Gaza. To support and thank our mothers in Gaza for their patience and giving birth to the resistance.

"This campaign is a campaign for support the mothers in Gaza. To support and thank our mothers in Gaza for their patience and giving birth to the resistance. This small move does not show how grateful we are toward them," said Maram Shamasneh, organizer of the campaign.

Thousands of homes in Gaza have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory of 1.8 million Palestinians.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | West Bank

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Presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil
2014.09.02 03:13:36

The presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil is "unjustified and unacceptable", British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday.

"Russia appears to be trying to force Ukraine to abandon its democratic choices at the barrel of a gun," Cameron told parliament, warning Moscow its relationship with the rest of the world would be "radically different" in future if it continued with its current policy on Ukraine.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Britain

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A 'great war' has broken out with Russia
2014.09.02 03:12:20

Ukraine's defense minister warned on Monday that a "great war" has broken out with Russia over his country's future that could claim tens of thousands of lives.

"A great war has arrived at our doorstep - the likes of which Europe has not seen since World War II.

"Unfortunately, the losses in such a war will be measured not in the hundreds but thousands and tens of thousands," Valeriy Geletey wrote in a Facebook post.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Poroshenko accused Moscow of 'direct and open aggression'
2014.09.02 03:02:20

Ukraine's military said on Monday its forces were battling a Russian tank battalion for control of a vital airport in the east of the country as President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of "direct and open aggression" against his country.

Poroshenko, speaking at a military academy in Kiev, said Russia's direct involvement in the war against the separatists in eastern Ukraine had tipped the balance on the battlefield and was the main reason for recent reversals.

"Direct and open aggression has been launched against Ukraine from a neighboring state. This has changed the situation in the zone of conflict in a radical way," he said.

Fighting continued to rage near Luhansk, the region's other main city, for control of the main civilian airport just to its south, the military said in a statement.

"Ukrainian paratroopers are fighting a tank battalion of the Russian armed forces to hold the airport," it said.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Australia toughen sanctions against Russia
2014.09.02 03:00:25

Australia will toughen its sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine so they match those of the EU, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Australia already has some sanctions against Russia, but Abbott said on Monday that these would be tightened as a result of Moscow's persistent and deliberate violation of its neighbor's sovereignty.

"Australia will lift its sanctions against Russia to the level of the EU," Abbott told parliament in the capital, Canberra.

"There will be no new arms exports, there will be no new access by Russian state-owned banks to the Australian capital market, there will be no new exports for use in the oil and gas industry, there will be no new trade or investment in the Crimea."

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Australia

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Israeli children return to schools after Gaza fighting
2014.09.02 02:55:02

More than 2 million Israeli children have joined schools after a summer spent by many in bomb shelters or far away from homes near the Gaza border, Israel's education ministry has said.

The ministry said that the decision to open schools and kindergartens on Monday was taken in coordination with the army department which deals with civil defense.

"It was made possible after the home front command ruled that classes could be held in every part of the country," it said on its website.

In the wake of Israel's 50-day war with Hamas in Gaza, which began on July 8 and ended last Tuesday, Israel said that the first two weeks of the new school year would be spent helping children "return to routine".

[AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Islamic State group has been pushed out of another town in Iraq
2014.09.02 02:53:47

Sulaiman Bek, 100 kilometers south of Kirkuk, is now under the control of an alliance of Iraqi army forces, Kurdish troops and local fighters.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Russian and Ukrainian representatives meet in Minsk
2014.09.02 02:52:31

Russian and Ukrainian representatives will meet in Minsk on Monday after Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the stakes in the Ukraine conflict by calling for "statehood" to be discussed for the restive east of the former Soviet state.

Putin's remarks on Sunday came just hours after the EU gave Moscow a week to change course or face new sanctions.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Britain to seize passports from citizens fighting overseas
2014.09.02 02:43:23

Britain will make it easier for police to seize passports from citizens fighting overseas, increase air travel checks and tighten controls on the movement of suspected fighters under plans announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.

Cameron was addressing the House of Commons after Britain on Friday raised its terrorism threat level to "severe" because of concern about possible plots by fighters returning from Iraq and Syria with battlefield experience.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Britain | Iraq

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US lawmakers urge Washington to arm the Ukrainian
2014.09.01 10:21:05

US Democratic and Republican lawmakers urged Washington to arm the Ukrainian government, saying it needed help to repel what they called Russia's invasion of the country.

Senator Robert Menendez, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN the United States, European Union and NATO should work together to arm Kiev, which has been fighting Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine for months.

"We ... should be providing the Ukrainians with the types of defensive weapons that will impose a cost upon (Russian President Vladimir) Putin for further aggression," the New Jersey Democrat told the "State of the Union" program from Kiev.

Asked whether the Obama administration is considering such a move, Menendez said: "I think that may very well be on the table right now. These are changed circumstances."

President Barack Obama last week ruled out US military action over Ukraine and called for a diplomatic solution.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Artists protest Israel-sponsored Brazil arts fair
2014.09.01 03:36:28

Dozens of artists taking part in Sao Paulo's 31st Art Biennial have lodged a protest against the event after it received sponsorship from Israel.

The biennial, which started in 1951 and is the second oldest art biennial in the world after Venice, dating back to 1895, is scheduled to open its doors next Saturday.

But it will do so amid controversy after more than 50 artists urged organizers to return around $40,000 funding from Israel, whose consulate in the city is one of the sponsors of the event, in protest at the recent conflict in Gaza.

An artist from Ramallah, Ruanne Abou-Rahme, due to exhibit at the show with fellow Palestinian Basel Abbas, was among some 60 signatories to an open letter to organizers, prompting Globo daily Saturday to dub the event the "Biennial of conflict."

Three Israeli artists are set to feature with around 70 participants in total at this year's event. [AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Brazil

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Separatists hit Ukrainian vessel in first naval attack of war
2014.09.01 03:26:16

Separatist rebels attacked a Ukrainian naval vessel in the Azov Sea on Sunday by firing artillery from the shore, and a Ukrainian military spokesman said a rescue operation was under way.

Spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the vessel was a naval cutter.

There was no information on the number of people on board.

The pro-Russian rebels claimed responsibility for the attack.

The separatists have been fighting government forces since April in a conflict that has killed some 2,600 people, but this was the first naval attack of the war.

It came after rebel forces opened a new front in the fighting last week, breaking through to the Azov Sea in Ukraine's southeast.

"The militia have dealt the enemy their first naval defeat," Igor Strelkov, a former separatist military commander, said on the social media network VKontakte.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Putin spokesman says Ukraine's east should remain part of the country
2014.09.01 03:25:16

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said on Sunday that areas of eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists are fighting Kiev government forces should remain part of the country and he called the conflict a domestic one.

Dmitry Peskov was speaking after Putin was quoted by Russian media as calling for meaningful talks between the separatists and Kiev on issues including "society's political organization and statehood in southeastern Ukraine to protect legitimate interests of people living there".

"This is not a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, this is a domestic Ukrainian conflict," Peskov told reporters.

Asked if "Novorossiya" - the name the rebels give to the region in dispute - should remain part of Ukraine, he said: "Of course."

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Suicide bomber attacked army headquarters
2014.09.01 03:24:14

A suicide bomber has attacked an army headquarters in the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

The attacker drove a car full of explosives up to the building for before blowing it up. Thirteen soldiers have been killed and 21 were injured.



Tags: Iraq

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Ukraine hands over captured Russian paratroops
2014.09.01 03:12:31

Ukraine has handed over a group of captured Russian paratroops and Russia has returned 63 Ukrainian soldiers who crossed into its territory last week, Russian news agencies quoted a paratroop commander as saying.

RIA news agency quoted Russian Major-General Alexei Ragozin as saying the paratroops had been handed back after "very difficult" negotiations and after what he called an unacceptable
delay.

Ukraine said last week it had captured 10 paratroops and presented them to the press as evidence that the Russian military is fighting alongside pro-Moscow separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. Russia said the men had crossed an unmarked section of the border by accident.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Iraqi town of Amerli
2014.09.01 03:11:16

Kurdish Peshmerga troops and Shia militias are claiming to have retaken the northern Iraqi town of Amerli after fighting with the Islamic State. The town has been under seige by IS fighters for around two months.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Philippine UN peacekeepers safe after 'greatest escape'
2014.09.01 02:51:52

Dozens of Filipino UN peacekeepers performed the "greatest escape" from besieging Syrian rebels, slipping away under the cover of night after rebels rammed their Golan Heights outpost with armed trucks, the Philippine military said.

All 75 soldiers serving with a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Middle East flashpoint zone reached safety after the rebels, some linked to al-Qaeda, surrounded them and demanded their weapons on Thursday, Philippine military chief General Gregorio Catapang said on Sunday.

Catapang called it "the greatest escape" and praised the soldiers.

"Although they were surrounded and outnumbered they held their ground," he told reporters.

However the fate of 44 UN peacekeepers from Fiji remained unknown. [AFP]



Tags: Syria | Israel | Golan Heights | Philippines

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Australia to join in air lift of military equipment to Kurds
2014.09.01 02:50:34

Australia will drop military equipment and aid to Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State fighters in northern Iraq in response to a request from the United States, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Sunday.

Australia will join Canada, Italy, France, Britain and the United States in providing arms and humanitarian relief as part of a multinational effort to be coordinated by Iraq and other countries in the region, Abbott said.

"The situation in Iraq represents a humanitarian catastrophe," Abbott said in a statement. He said Australia would continue to work with international partners to "address the security threat" posed by the rebel fighters.

The United States is intensifying its push to build an international campaign against Islamic State fighters who have seized a third each of Iraq and Syria, declared open war against the West.[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Australia | Canada

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White House applaud the European Council's readiness
2014.09.01 02:47:36

The White House has applauded the European Council's readiness to consider further sanctions against Russia over its actions in Ukraine.

"We welcome the European Council's consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days," the White House National Security spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said in a statement.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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We could have fought for 500 days- Netanyahu
2014.09.01 02:40:32

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel agreed to a permanent truce in its 50-day Gaza war with Hamas in order to keep focused on the threat from regional militants.

"We fought for 50 days and we could have fought for 500 days, but we are in a situation where the Islamic State is at the gates of Jordan, Al-Qaeda is in the Golan and Hezbollah is at the border with Lebanon," Netanyahu said in an address on public television.

His remarks come as the United States, Israel's chief ally, is calling for a global coalition to fight the jihadists who have set up an Islamic "caliphate" in areas they have overrun in Syria and Iraq.

[AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Benjamin Netanyahu | Hezbollah

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