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Palestinians hoist flag in Washington for first time

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WASHINGTON — The Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington on Tuesday hoisted its national flag for the first time, saying it symbolized the struggle for independence.

The US State Department said the flag ceremony was approved several months ago and does not change the status of the Palestinian mission in Washington.

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Maen Rashid Areikat, the envoy to the headquarters of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization to the United States (PLO), raised the flag at a ceremony watched by journalists and others, the mission said.

The statement said delegates from the State Department and Arab League Ambassador Hussein Hasouneh attended the ceremony.

“This flag symbolizes the struggle of the Palestinian people for independence,” Areikat was quoted by his mission as saying.

The flag “also is a clear message that the Palestinian people and the PLO are central players in the equation of the Middle East, without whom there will be no peace, security and stability in the region,” he said.

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US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said: “The granting permission to raise the flag does not change their fundamental status.”

The move comes after direct US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians ground to a halt late last year over Israel’s refusal to renew a partial freeze on Jewish settlements on Palestinian land.

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It also comes as Arab nations prepare to formally put a resolution to the UN Security Council on Tuesday demanding a condemnation of Israel’s settlement building in Palestinian territories.

But no vote is expected for several days as Palestinian and other Arab negotiators try to persuade the US administration not to veto the resolution, diplomats said.

“Our view hasn’t changed… We do not think that New York or the UN Security Council is the right forum for this issue, and we’ll continue to make that case,” Crowley said.

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“I’m not going to speculate on what happens from this point forward,” he said when asked about a possible US veto.

A senior State Department official told reporters on the condition of anonymity that the Palestinians have “been told we think this is a bad idea… We’re encouraging them not to move this forward.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Anti-LGBT white supremacist to co-host new public affairs TV talk show that will Air on PBS

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Pat Buchanan, a longtime anti-LGBTQ white supremacist Christian nationalist pundit will co-host a re-boot of "The McLaughlin Group," a Sunday morning public affairs, news, and commentary TV talk show know for the fast and hot takes of its conservative creator, John McLaughlin. The show will be syndicated by Maryland Public Television and air on PBS stations, Media Matters reports.

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Hong Kong protesters kick off new weekend of rallies

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Hong Kong democracy activists kicked off a weekend of fresh protests on Saturday in a major test for the movement following criticism over an airport protest earlier this week -- and as concerns mount over Beijing's next move.

Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with the communist-ruled mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions "terrorist-like".

Activists are billing two planned rallies on Saturday and Sunday as a way to show Beijing and the city's unelected leaders that their movement still enjoys broad public support, despite increasingly violent tactics deployed by a minority of hardcore protesters that have cast a shadow.

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North Korea’s Kim supervised ‘new weapon’ test again: KCNA

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a "new weapon" launch, state media said Saturday, complicating efforts at denuclearization ahead of next week's visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang.

Friday's launch was the North's sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion.

Defense officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles Friday, that flew some 230 kilometers (140 miles) before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

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