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10 November, 2013


Greek government survives no-confidence vote in parliament

The Greek government has survived a vote of no-confidence in the Parliament, as thousands took to the streets protesting austerity measures introduced by Syriza of the Coalition of the Radical Left on Friday. With 124 lawmakers voting in favor and 153 against in a vote early Monday, the current government is to remain in power. Syriza accused the conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and his government of "catastrophic policies," as the government was considering new austerity measures with the troika, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank.


​Iranian deputy industries minister shot dead – reports

Iran’s Deputy Minister for Industry and Mining, Safdar Rahmat Abadi, was killed in Tehran on Sunday evening, Reuters reports citing the state news agency IRNA. The minister was reportedly shot twice – in the head and chest – as he got into his car at around 7:50 pm local time. “That two shells were found inside the car shows a strong likelihood that the assailant was inside the car and in conversation with Mr Abadi,” the agency quoted a police official as saying. “There was no sign of a struggle at the scene of the killing.” Tehran governor's deputy for security affairs, Safarali Baratlou, has confirmed the shooting, without further elaboration, AFP reports.


Germany marks 75th Kristallnacht anniversary

People gathered across Germany to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust in 1938. That evening saw a slew of attacks against Jews by Nazi forces in which homes, synagogues and businesses were ransacked and desecrated. Some 1,000 people were killed and a further 30,000 sent to concentration camps. A silent commemorative march was held across Berlin, while 120 retailers attached false cracks to their window panes using adhesive film. The event also saw Berliners and tourists polish around 5,000 ‘Stolpersteine’ (‘stumbling block’) street memorials in the city neighborhoods, signifying the last known addresses of victims. Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereitsaid said he hoped the event would prevent the lessons of the Holocaust fading from public memory.


​Far-right Lieberman to return as Israeli FM

Israel’s cabinet has approved the return of far-right leader Avigdor Lieberman to his post as Foreign Minister, in a move which could have unfortunate consequences for Israeli-Palestine peace talks. Lieberman was acquitted of charges of corruption on Wednesday, foreshadowing his return to the political sphere. The position had been kept open for him by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Lieberman heads the far-right Yisrael Beitenu party which is allied with Netanyahu’s Likud, and Lieberman has been openly skeptical about the US-sponsored negotiations which resumed in July


Russian arms show enters top ten largest worldwide

The Russia Arms EXPO in the city of Nizhny Tagil entered the top ten largest arms shows in the world, Russia’s Itar-Tass news agency reports. The September 2013 exhibition attracted approximately 400 companies from 50 countries. Oksana Demchenko, an official from the company Business Dialogue which organized the exhibition, said the primary advantage of the Russian Arms EXPO was the ability to demonstrate the hardware with live fire drills. The next exhibition will be held in 2015 on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory on the Eastern Front during the Second World War.


Kidnapped Syrian MP executed by jihadists – activists

A Syrian legislator, Mujhem al-Sahu, who was kidnapped earlier this year by opposition jihadists has been executed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A Damascus-based parliamentary source confirmed that while Al-Sahu, who was from the eastern Deir Ezzor province, had been executed. He added that he could not specify who was responsible.


Belgium raises Palestine’s diplomatic standing

Belgium’s foreign minister, Didier Reynders, has confirmed that his country will upgrade its diplomatic representation to the Palestinian National Authority from “general delegation” to “mission,” marking a higher profile for “Belgian and European support for the two-state solution,” Reynders told AFP. The head of the Belgian mission will use the title of ambassador, according to an agreement signed during a bilateral meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which will also see Reynders visit the Palestinian territories in the coming week. The plan to raise the Palestinians’ status has been in place since November 2012. Belgium was previously one of the 138 nations in the UN General Assembly to vote to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state.” The US and Israel voted against the motion.


4.7 magnitude earthquake hits Tajikistan

A 4.7 magnitude earthquake hit Tajikistan, the geophysical service of Tajikistan's Academy of Sciences reported. Tremors were registered at 10:15am local time (05:15 GMT) 26 kilometers southeast of Tajikistan's capital city, Dushanbe. No damage has been reported so far.


Pakistan private schools ban Malala book

Private schools in Pakistan have banned teenage campaigner Malala Yousafzai's book “I am Malala,” saying that it would have a “negative effect” on its readers. The All-Pakistan Private Schools Federation, a representative body for over 152,000 schools across the country, also stated that the book was not completely respectful of the Islamic religion. “In this book are many comments that are contrary to our ideology,” said the federation's president, Mirza Kashif. Yousafzai’s book outlines her life growing up as her father ran a private school in an area under Taliban rule and her active campaigning for female education. In Pakistan, female adult literacy stands at roughly 45 percent. While the book is not banned in state schools, the government has no current plans for pupils to study it. Critics called the ban a “deliberate smear campaign.”


​Maldives postpones run-off presidential election

The Supreme Court in the Maldives has postponed the second round of the country’s presidential election, prolonging an ongoing political crisis. The country tried to elect a new president in September and again in October, but both attempts failed amid bickering between political factions. Maldivians voted on Saturday, but no candidate scored a clear majority in the first round. The run-off was due to be held on Sunday, but was delayed by the Supreme Court until Saturday next week.