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Stoping bloodshed
2014.08.27 04:46:34

Ukraine's Poroshenko says the goal of his visit to meet Putin in Minsk is to do everything possible to stop bloodshed and begin process of finding a political compromise.

He said he saw the talks as playing a crucial role in the future of Europe.

"In Minsk at this meeting the fate of the world and Europe is being decided. That is how I see it," Poroshenko said after shaking hands with Putin.

[Reuters and AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Sheitat tribesmen beg Islamic State fighters for mercy
2014.08.27 04:45:20

Clan and tribal elders from groups opposed to Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have appeared in a video posted on Sunday appealing the leader to pardon them.

"We ask that you extend forgiveness to the people of Sheitat, who have pledged allegiance to Islamic State... and your forgiveness will facilitate a new phase," said one of the leaders, dressed in traditional tribal robes.

Hundreds of members of the Sheitat clan have been executed after their tribe refused to submit to the Islamic State group.

The entire tribe had been deemed "hostile apostates" by the group.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Senior Hamas official says ceasefire reached with Israel
2014.08.27 03:54:43

Senior Hamas official, Moussa Abu Marzouk, has said a ceasefire has been reached with Israel.

In a statement published on twitter, Abu Marzouk said "we have reached an agreement that will crown the resilience of our people and the victory of our resistance", adding "a statement will be announced soon for the start of the ceasefire and the end of aggression".



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Ukraine's EU association deal
2014.08.27 03:53:51

Speaking of Ukraine's EU association deal - a treaty between the EU and Ukraine that established political association between the two parties - Putin says Russia "always respected and respects"  the choice of nations, but it should not be at other nations' expense.

Russia's president said that the Ukraine crisis cannot be resolved through further escalation of use of force, or without launching peace dialogue with Ukraine's eastern regions.

He also said the Russian economy could suffer a loss of some 100 billion roubles ($2.77bn) if European goods reach the Russian market via Ukraine after Kiev signed a trade pact with European Union.

He said that Moscow would retaliate with trade measures if that were to happen, and that Belarus and Kazakhstan, Moscow's partners in a customs union, would also be affected.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Qatar seeks to free more US hostages in Syria
2014.08.27 03:52:50

Qatar is working to help free four Americans held hostage in Syria by various armed groups, a day after the Gulf Arab state's diplomacy helped free a journalist held since 2012.

A source told the Reuters news agency, "four other Americans who have gone missing in Syria have now been located, and Qatar is working to free them."

He said the hostages were being held by "various groups" but declined to give details.

A rebel commander in Syria reached by Skype from Beirut told Reuters that Qatar was continuously trying to secure the release of captives of all nationalities.

Its latest foray into hostage diplomacy brought Sunday's release of Peter Theo Curtis, an American held for nearly two years by the al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate group.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Qatar

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Maccabi coach Garcia quits because of Gaza conflict
2014.08.27 03:43:45

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Spanish coach, Oscar Garcia, has left the club because of the Israel's ongoing conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Maccabi general manager Jordi Cruyff said Garcia's decision to leave was personal, and said compatriot Pako Ayestaran will replace him.

Israeli sport has been greatly affected by the conflict in Gaza which Israel launched on July 8 with the declared aim of ending the rocket salvos which Islamist militants have fired into the Jewish state.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Putin sits down with Ukrainian president for talks
2014.08.27 03:42:30

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine have sat down for talks, meeting face-to-face for the first time since June on the fighting that has engulfed eastern Ukraine.

Russia's Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko were joined by the presidents of Belarus and Kazakhstan and three senior officials from the European Union.

In opening Tuesday's meeting in Minsk, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko urged both sides to "discard political ambitions and not to seek political dividend."

The Ukrainian president was expected to face pressure to find a negotiated settlement - not a military victory - to the fighting that began in April.

That was the option called for by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a visit to Kiev last weekend.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Australia steps up efforts against radicalization
2014.08.27 03:41:29

The Australian government has announced a $60 million dollar package to help prevent youngsters from being radicalized and joining groups fighting in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said up to 60 Australians were fighting alongside the Islamic State group, while a reported 100 others were actively working to support the movement at home.

"Recent images of brutal killings in Syria and the brazen presence of Australian citizens amongst the foreign fighters highlights the need for action to counter radicalization," Abbott said, adding that IS was using "medieval barbarism allied to modern technology".

"That's how serious and dangerous this movement is. Because of the Australians who are involved with this movement, what might otherwise be a problem in a far away country is a problem for us."

The funding follows a warning from spy chief David Irvine this month that the bloody conflicts in Iraq and Syria are creating a new generation of militants.

Abbott said the $60 million would help support community groups and security agencies, with the emphasis on preventing radicalization and reducing the threat of home-grown terrorism.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Iraq | Australia

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Turkmen fighters allied with Iraqi police
2014.08.27 03:39:29

The Associated Press has obtained a video filmed August 13 by an Iraqi cameraman, which shows Turkmen fighters allied with Iraqi police and Iraqi government forces in the town of Amirli, firing toward the position of the Islamic State fighters.

The Islamic State group has been in control of Amirli since June 15. About 15,000 Shia Turkmen in the town have been under a tight siege and are running out of food and medical supplies.

All shots of firing seen in the video are believed to show covering fire or general firing in the direction of the Islamic State forces. The video does not purport to show direct fighting between the two forces.

The only way to get in and out of the besieged town is by air.

The Iraqi military has been trying to fly in reinforcements and humanitarian aid in order to ease the suffering of the people living there.

"Firstly there is no gas, no petrol, we haven't got electricity or water and the communication network is cut. In other words, everything that a citizen needs has been cut off," said Amirli fighter Sami Saleh.

The UN called for a humanitarian corridor to be put in place after Amirli was surrounded and attacked by Islamic State militants.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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#Hamas decries Israeli attack on #Gaza as 'war crime'
2014.08.27 03:12:46

Hamas has denounced Israeli jets hitting two Gaza City highrises as a "war crime," as the death toll on the Palestinian side reached 2,138, on day 50 of the conflict.

Israeli jets kept up their pressure on Hamas with airstrikes killing six and the raids on two high-rise apartment blocks in Gaza City, leaving 40 people wounded.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum told the AFP news agency, the bombardment was "a war crime aimed at terrorizing the people".

In the first strike, fighter jets fired at least six rockets at a 16-storey complex in the Nasser neighborhood, in which there were 60 apartments and a commercial complex, completely destroying the building and wounding 25.

Jets then fired on the 14-storey Al-Basha building in Rimal neighborhood, causing massive damage and wounding 15, witnesses and medics said.

The Israeli army acknowledged hitting buildings serving as "Hamas command and control centers" as well as two schools in central and northern Gaza from which "low-trajectory fire" had been directed at Israel

[AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Russian Mi-24 helicopters had attacked a border post
2014.08.27 03:11:33

Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko have said that Russian Mi-24 helicopters had attacked a border post in Luhansk region the previous day, killing four border guards.

"Yesterday, during the day, at the border post of Krasnatalovka, Russian Mi-24 helicopters attacked Ukrainian border guards. As a result of the attack, four guards were killed, three were injured," Lysenko told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Obama authorized surveillance flights over Syria
2014.08.27 03:10:42

A senior administration official says President Barack Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria in order to gather intelligence on the Islamic State group.

The move could mark the first step toward US airstrikes against targets inside Syria.

The White House says Obama has not yet made a decision on whether to take military action inside Syria.

The US is already launching airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq. The group announced last week that it had murdered an American journalist in Syria and is threatening more US hostages.

The official was not authorized to discuss Obama's decision by name and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

[AP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Barack Obama

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Iran supplied weapons to Iraqi Kurdish forces
2014.08.27 03:09:36

Iran supplied weapons and ammunition to Iraqi Kurdish forces, Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani has said at a joint press conference with Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Arbil, capital of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region.

"We asked for weapons and Iran was the first country to provide us with weapons," Barzani said on Tuesday.

The armed group Islamic State have clashed with Kurdish peshmerga fighters in recent weeks and taken control of some areas on the periphery of Iraqi Kurdistan. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Iran

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Gaza's reported death toll
2014.08.27 02:52:59

The health ministry in Gaza has reported that the death toll in the ongoing conflict in the Palestinian territory just hit 2,138, with more than 11,100 other people injured.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Russian servicemen
2014.08.27 02:51:39

A group of Russian servicemen who were captured by Ukrainian troops had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine accidentally, a source from Russia's Defense Ministry was quoted by Russian news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

"The soldiers really did participate in a patrol of a section of the Russian-Ukrainian border, crossed it by accident on an unmarked section, and as far as we understand showed no resistance to the armed forces of Ukraine when they were detained," the source said on Tuesday.

Ukraine said its forces have captured 10 Russian soldiers in an eastern region where the Ukrainian troops are fighting pro-Russia separatists.

The Facebook page for the anti-rebel operation, which includes the military, the national guard and Interior Ministry forces said the soldiers are from a Russian paratrooper division and were captured on Monday in the area of Amvrosiivka, near the Russian border in the Donetsk region on Tuesday.

[Agencies]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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White House says Obama has taken no decision on Syria airstrikes
2014.08.27 02:50:41

The White House says President Barack Obama has so far made no decision on whether to launch air strikes on Islamic State fighters in Syria.

"The president has not made any decision to conduct military action in Syria," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, amid rising expectations of US action following American attacks against the group in Iraq.

Earnest did not directly respond to a comment by President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria that it was willing to work with the United States to take on "terrorism" inside Syria, in a reference to IS forces opposed by both Washington and Damascus.

Earnest appeared to hint that if Obama were to decide to launch attacks on Syrian territory, he would not feel the need to inform the Damascus government.

"The president has already demonstrated a willingness, where necessary... to use military force to protect the American people, regardless of borders.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Barack Obama

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Shia neighborhood of Baghdad
2014.08.27 02:49:33

A least seven people have been reportedly killed and 18 others injured after a car bomb explosion in the predominantly Shia neighborhood of Baghdad.

More details to follow.



Tags: Iraq

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Death and destruction in Gaza
2014.08.27 02:40:52

Palestinians in Gaza woke up to death and destruction on Tuesday, as Israeli air strikes destroyed much of one of Gaza's tallest apartment and office buildings, setting up huge explosions and wounding 20 people, according to Palestinian health officials.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Russia's growing military presence in Ukraine
2014.08.27 02:39:56

White House National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Monday that Russia's growing military presence in Ukraine marked a "significant escalation" of the conflict.

"Repeated Russian incursions into Ukraine unacceptable. Dangerous and inflammatory," Rice said on Twitter. "Russia's military incursions into Ukraine- artillery, air def systems, dozens of tanks & military personnel-represent significant escalation."

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States

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Video shows supporters of the Islamic state celebrating
2014.08.27 02:38:21

This video uploaded to Youtube purportedly shows supporters of the Islamic state celebrating after they captured the Tabqa military air base in northeastern Syria.

The footage shows dozens of vehicles driving through the city of Tabqa, in Raqqa province, sounding their horns during the day.

MWC cannot independently verify the content of the video.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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