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Merkel to visit Kiev
2014.08.20 02:48:40

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to Kiev on Saturday for political talks on the Ukraine crisis, a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesman said on Tuesday.

The visit will take place on the eve of Ukraine's Independence Day celebrations.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Germany

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More than 6,000 new fighters joined Islamic State in Syria
2014.08.20 02:47:46

More than 6,000 new fighters joined Islamic State in Syria last month in the group's fastest expansion to date, a body monitoring the war said on Tuesday.

Islamic State, previously estimated to number some 15,000, has seized control of large areas of Syria and Iraq.

Just over a thousand of the new recruits are foreign and the rest Syrian, Rami Abdelrahman, founder of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Reuters.

The organization says it gathers data from all sides of the Syrian conflict.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Hamas spokesman in Doha
2014.08.20 02:41:53

Hussam Badran, a Hamas spokesman in Doha, said that the group could not confirm whether Hamas or any other factions fired rockets into Israel and that the next few hours would clarify the situation.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Fighters captured by the Peshmerga in Iraq
2014.08.20 02:40:48

British broadcaster Sky News has aired footage of what it says are Islamic State group fighters captured by the Peshmerga in Iraq. Here's what one, Alozat Abbas said:

"If you run away they (the Islamic State group) kill you. Whatever you do, if you fall in the hands of the militants there is no coming back."

[AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Russia works on retaliatory measures
2014.08.20 02:39:36

Russia works on retaliatory measures in case of more western sanctions:

"Various options are being worked out. We have repeatedly said that Russia is not an advocate of the sanctions rhetoric and did not initiate it. But in the event that our partners continue the nonconstructive and even destructive practices, additional measures are being worked out."

Dmitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Japanese man in Syria
2014.08.20 02:38:13

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for detaining a Japanese man in Syria in a post on the Internet, Kyodo news agency reported.

The Japanese foreign ministry said on Monday Japan was investigating whether one of its citizens had been captured in northern Syria by Islamic State fighters.

A video clip posted on YouTube this week showed a man wearing a T-shirt lying on the ground being questioned by unidentified people. The man responded by saying his name was Haruna Yukawa and that he was both a journalist and a doctor.

The name is the same as that of a chief executive of a self-described private mercenary and security firm.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Japan

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Israeli official on the negotiations
2014.08.20 02:26:12

There are no talks if the ceasefire is violated. The Egyptian process has a clear sequence. A complete and absolute cessation of hostilities. If that first part is not held, there’s nothing to talk about.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Iraqi forces halted short-lived offensive
2014.08.20 02:24:50

Iraqi forces halted a short-lived offensive on Tuesday to recapture Tikrit, home town of executed dictator Saddam Hussein, due to fierce resistance.

The twin has been under the control of fighters connected to the Islamic State group since June, and a number of previous attempts by Iraqi security forces to capture the town have failed. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Bodies recovered from hit refugee convoy
2014.08.20 02:23:11

Fifteen bodies have so far been recovered from the site of Monday's rocket strike on a refugee convoy of buses and cars in eastern Ukraine, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

"By 7 pm last night we retrieved 15 bodies ... The search continued into the night and is continuing today," the spokesman, Andriy Lysenko, told Reuters news agency.

Ukrainian government forces blame the attack on pro-Russian rebels. The rebels have denied responsibility.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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FAA bans US airlines from flying over Syria
2014.08.20 02:22:25

The US aviation regulator on Monday ordered airlines based in the United States to stop flying over Syria, citing a "serious potential threat" to civil planes, including armed groups with anti-aircraft weapons.

"Based on an updated assessment of the risk associated with such operations and the lack of any requests from operators wishing to fly in this airspace, we believe it prudent to prohibit US operators from flying into, out of and over Syria," the US Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. [AFP]



Tags: Syria | United States

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BREAKING NEWS
2014.08.20 02:10:42

-Netanyahu orders Israeli negotiators home from Cairo - Reuters.

Peace negotiations now appear at an end.

-It appears the ceasefire has broken down. Palestinian and Israeli sources say that targets have been hit in northern Gaza by Israeli air strikes.

-Israeli aircraft have carried out airstrikes in Gaza



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Rocket fire reported
2014.08.20 02:08:42

The Israeli military has said three rockets landed a short time ago in open areas near Beer Sheva. No interceptions



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Displaced Iraqi children and adults
2014.08.20 02:07:54

Each day, displaced Iraqi children and adults queue for rice and soup distributed by the World Food Program.

Faleh and Zidan are cousins who fled advancing Islamic State fighters in Sinjar two weeks ago.

"We now have to be homeless here and we left our homes behind," said Faleh.

He added, "we had no problems before, our house was very nice, we never wished to come here."

Faleh, his sister and two cousins walk more than a kilometer to get food for their families back at the UN shelter.

The children feel responsible for their families and although the journey is long, few things compare to the harsh conditions on top of Sinjar Mountain.

"On the way I saw many people who fell to the ground because they were thirsty. Some begged us for some water to drink but we had nothing," said 12 year-old Zidan.

[AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Citizens managed to flee the shelling
2014.08.20 02:06:32

Human Rights Watch writes on those citizens who have managed to flee the shelling, and those left behind:

Many who have the means have already fled but others, especially the frail and the elderly, are left in an increasingly desperate situation.

For the full article: Click here.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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US ship finishes neutralizing Syria's worst chemical arms
2014.08.20 02:04:35

A specially equipped US ship has finished neutralizing all 600 metric tons of the most dangerous of Syria's chemical weapons components surrendered to the international community this year to avert threatened air strikes, the Pentagon said on Monday.

It said the Cape Ray, equipped with the US-developed Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, neutralized 581.5 metric tons of DF, a sarin precursor chemical, and 19.8 metric tons of HD, an ingredient of sulfur mustard, while afloat in the Mediterranean.

The vessel will travel to Finland and Germany in the next two weeks to unload the resulting effluent, which will undergo treatment as industrial waste to render it safer, a Pentagon spokeswoman said. [Reuters]



Tags: Syria | United States

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Economic Costs of Israel’s War on Gaza
2014.08.20 01:51:39

Based on recent projections published by the Palestinian chamber of commerce:

The general rate of unemployment in the Gaza Strip is expected to jump to more than 50 percent , compared to a pre-war level of 40 percent, with losses reaching 60 per cent in the business sector.

Statistics also showed that more than 500 production facilities were bombarded during the Israeli attack.

Production facilities in different sectors of the Gaza economy, such as construction, plastic, food and other industries, were completely devastated by Israel’s mainly land and aerial  bombardment.

More than 50 per cent of Gaza’s poultry  resources were destroyed either by direct Israeli bombardment of the farms, or because of the severe shortages of water and animal fodder during the war.

The Gaza fishing industry has lost 9 to 10 percent of its annual fishing resources, that is around  200 to 250  tons of fishing output.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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People displaced by the fighting in Iraq
2014.08.20 01:50:42

The number of people displaced by the fighting in Iraq is at least 600,000, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency.

It said on Monday some 24,000 of them live in one village called Sharyia on the outskirts of Dahuk. They include young children housed in schools and unfinished buildings.

[AP]



Tags: Iraq

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Military operation against pro-Russia separatist
2014.08.20 01:48:36

Poroshenko met with heads of the country's security services in Kiev on Monday to discuss the military operation against pro-Russia separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine:

"The force (used) by the Ukrainian army and National Guard has been successful, but it is continuing (at a) very high price for us. Dozens of cities and villages have been liberated from terrorists. The main thing is that millions of people are free and returning to normal life."



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Islamic State group claims responsibility for detaining Japanese man-Kyodo
2014.08.20 01:46:21

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for detaining a Japanese man in Syria in a post on the Internet, Kyodo news agency reported on Tuesday.

The Japanese foreign ministry said on Monday that Japan was investigating whether one of its citizens had been captured in northern Syria by Islamic State fighters. [Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Japan

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Abbas will travel to Doha on Wednesday
2014.08.20 01:30:24

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas will travel to Doha on Wednesday and hold talks the next day with the emir of Qatar and Hamas exiled leader Khaled Mishaal, the Palestinian ambassador in Qatar said.

Abbas's visit to Qatar was initially announced for Monday by Palestinian officials who are in Cairo for indirect talks with Israel on a lasting truce in Gaza.

Abbas will on Thursday discuss separately with Mishaal and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani latest developments in the negotiations in Cairo and "aid and reconstruction" in Gaza, Palestinian ambassador Monir Ghannam told the AFP news agency.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Mahmoud Abbas | Qatar

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