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Iraqis protest mistreatment of minority Christians by jihadists

Hundreds of people demonstrated Thursday in Arbil, capital of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan region, to condemn the forced displacement of Iraqi Christians and call for their protection. Muslims, Christians, displaced people and political parties took part in the protest outside UN offices in Arbil, some 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of…

Ukraine prime minister resigns over parliament coalition break up

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday resigned in protest at the disbanding of the ruling parliamentary coalition. “I announce my resignation in connection with the dissolution of the parliamentary coalition and the blocking of government initiatives,” a furious Yatsenyuk told parliament after several parties withdrew from the majority European…

Baby among nine dead as Israeli shell hits UN school in Gaza

At least nine people were killed, including a baby, when an Israeli shell slammed into a UN-run school in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, an AFP correspondent said. Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra put the toll as high as 15 dead and dozens injured, with more bodies and wounded…

Sudanese Christian woman spared death sentence meets Pope Francis in Italy

A Sudanese Christian woman whose death sentence for renouncing Islam sparked a global outcry that eventually led to an acquittal, met Pope Francis on Thursday after arriving in Italy en route to the United States. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and her family were received by the Argentine pontiff at his…

Iran leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urges Palestinians to keep fighting Israel

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Palestinians Wednesday to keep fighting Israel and to extend a conflict that has killed nearly 700 Gazans to the occupied West Bank. “The only way to deal with this savage regime is to continue resistance and armed struggle and extend it to the…

British experts examine second MH17 black box

British investigators have started examining the second black box from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 which was shot down over Ukraine, the transport ministry said Thursday. The Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) in Farnborough, southwest of London, is looking at the flight data recorder, which records information from instruments on the…

Hamas rejects Gaza truce unless blockade lifted

Hamas Wednesday rejected a ceasefire to end 16 days of deadly fighting with Israel unless the blockade on the Gaza Strip is lifted, its chief Khaled Meshaal said in Doha. “We reject today… and will reject in the future” a ceasefire before negotiations on Hamas’s demands, which include lifting years…

Naval ships from US, India and Japan to start war games

The United States, India and Japan are set to kick off week-long war games in the Pacific, beefing up naval ties as they warily eye an increasingly assertive China and its military buildup. Warships from the three countries are to begin the joint exercises on Friday, after an official opening…

Fighting rages near MH17 crash site in Ukraine

Fighting between Ukrainian troops and rebels raged Thursday near the crash site of Malaysian flight MH17, as experts in Britain begin analysing crucial data from the downed airliner’s black boxes. A Dutch team leading the probe into the downing of MH17 was stuck in Kiev, unable to join a handful…

More than 2.2 billion people ‘poor or near-poor’: UN

More than 2.2 billion people are “poor or near-poor”, with financial crises, natural disasters, soaring food prices and violent conflicts threatening to exacerbate the problem, a United Nations report said Thursday. While poverty is in decline worldwide, growing inequality and “structural vulnerabilities” remain a serious threat, said the report by…

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