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25 July, 2014


French officials see bad weather as likely cause of Air Algerie crash

Poor weather was the most likely cause of the crash of an Air Algerie flight in the West African state of Mali that killed all 116 people on board, Reuters quoted French officials as saying on Friday. Investigators say the airliner broke apart when it hit the ground, and this meant it was unlikely to have been the victim of an attack.


FIFA speaks out against boycotting the 2018 World Cup in Russia

FIFA has spoken out against calls to boycott the 2018 World Cup in Russia, saying that a “policy of isolation or confrontation aren’t the most effective ways to solve problems.” The World Cup could be a “powerful catalyst for constructive dialogue between people and governments,” football’s governing body stressed. The Dutch football association is postponing discussion over the country’s participation in the 2018 event after the national day of mourning to remember the victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 plane, two-thirds of whom were from the Netherlands. The passenger jet was reportedly shot down over Ukraine last week, with the West blaming anti-Kiev rebels, who they believe are supported by Russia.


Paris bans pro-Palestinian rally on Saturday

French capital, Paris, has banned a pro-Palestinian demonstration planned in the city for Saturday, AFP reports. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the decision was justified after protests last weekend led to violence. Previously, around 50 political parties, unions and activist groups called for rallies across France demanding an “immediate end” to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, which has already left nearly 800 people dead.


Car bomb kills 3 in southern Thailand

Three people were killed and 36 others injured as a car bomb exploded outside a hotel in the town of Betong in southern Thailand, the AFP reports. “A car bomb went off in front of Holiday Hotel at around 4:00 pm (0900 GMT),” Sophon Saisuree, a Thai police lieutenant colonel, said. More than 6,100 people have been killed in frequent bombings and shootings in the Muslim-majority region of Yala near Thailand’s southern border with Malaysia since 2004.


6.1 magnitude earthquake strikes off Alaska

A magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck on the coast of Alaska on Friday, the US Geological Survey said. The quake’s epicenter was 55 kilometers west-northwest of Elfin Cove, Reuters reported. The depth was 35.4 kilometers.


Turkish FM to seek Gaza truce in Qatar talks

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu canceled a trip to France and flew to Qatar on Friday to help efforts for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Reuters said. Davutoglu held a “teleconference with his counterparts from the US and Qatar on Thursday. He also spoke separately with the Palestinian groups, a Turkish official told AFP. “The minister made an abrupt decision to fly to Qatar to contribute to efforts for an immediate ceasefire,” the official said.


Jordan air force shoots down drone near Syria border

The Jordanian air force shot down an unidentified drone in a desolate desert area near the north-eastern border with Syria, Reuters reported. Jordanian government spokesman, Mohammad al-Momanim, said that the “aerial target was shot after being intercepted” in Jordanian air space near the northern border city of Mafraq.


France’s Hollande says Air Algerie flight black box found

There are no survivors in the Air Algerie crash in Mali, AP quoted French President Francois Hollande as saying. He said on Friday that one black box has been found in the debris after French troops reached the site in the Gossi region near the border with Burkina Faso. No hypothesis will be excluded in the investigation, the president said. Paris is sending soldiers to guard the Air Algeria wreck.


Taliban stop buses, kill 14 Shiite civilians - Afghan official

Taliban insurgents halted minibuses in western Afghanistan and shot dead 14 Shiite passengers by the side of the road, AP said, citing an official. Sayed Anwar Rahmati, the governor of the western Ghor province, says the Taliban stopped three minibuses traveling from Kabul overnight on Friday. The buses were carrying around 30 passengers. After questioning the passengers, the Islamic militants identified 14, including three women, as Hazara Shiites. The passengers had gone to Kabul to shop for the upcoming holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.


McDonald’s Japan halts sales of all chicken from China

McDonald’s Holdings in Japan halted sales of all products that use chicken originating from China on Friday. The sourcing was switched completely to Thailand, Reuters said. McDonald's Japan had already stopped selling items that used meat sourced from the Shanghai Husi Food Co. The China-based supplier has been shut down over food safety concerns. “We made this decision in view of the growing concern over McDonald's chicken products made in China,” McDonald's Japan Chief Executive Sarah Casanova said.


Average of 38 US kids a year died of heatstroke in cars in 1998-2013

An average of 38 children a year died of heatstroke in cars from 1998 through 2013 in the US, AFP reported, citing officials. The overwhelming majority of them were under the age of five. The toll stands at 17 so far this year, prompting a national campaign: “Where's Baby? Look Before You Lock.” Twenty-nine percent of children who die of heat stroke in cars got into the vehicle by themselves. However, in 52 percent of cases, they were simply left behind by forgetful adults, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


S. Korea agency says impossible to determine cause of ferry businessman's death

South Korea’s forensic agency said on Friday it was impossible to determine the cause of death of a businessman linked to a ferry that sank and killed 304 people in April, Reuters said. An autopsy and DNA tests on the decomposed body of Yoo Byung-un revealed no evidence that he was poisoned, and there was also no indication of external trauma, according to forensic agency chief Seo Joong-seok. Yoo, 73, was found dead in an orchard on June 12 after eluding authorities for nearly two months in South Korea’s biggest manhunt.


Venezuela govt rejects detention of ex-intelligence chief Carvajal wanted in US

Venezuela’s former military intelligence chief, accused of involvement in drug trafficking by the US, was arrested on the Caribbean island of Aruba while on diplomatic business, Reuters reported. “The government rejects the illegal and arbitrary detention,” the foreign ministry said, when announcing news of the arrest of military general Hugo Carvajal. The detention came as another former Venezuelan official was hauled into federal court in Miami, accused of taking bribes from South American drug cartels.


Al Jazeera journalists to appeal 10 year prison terms in Egypt

Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt last month plan to appeal their convictions, the family of Australian reporter Peter Greste said. All three journalists – Greste, along with Al Jazeera English Cairo bureau chief Mohamed Fahmy and Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed – were charged with “aiding a terrorist organization,” with the court referring to the Muslim Brotherhood group. They were then sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.


US and the Netherlands seeking further sanctions against Russia

In a phone call between President Barack Obama and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte on Thursday, the White House said both leaders agreed that more sanctions need to be levied against Russia for arming separatists in eastern Ukraine and for failing to “de-escalate the situation” in the wake of the MH17 tragedy. Obama also spoke with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who reportedly agreed that international investigators need access to the crash site immediately.


France sends troops to secure Air Algérie crash site

France has sent troops to “secure” the Air Algérie flight crash site and “gather the first elements of information," a statement from French President Francois Hollande's office said. The wreckage of the Air Algérie flight that crashed with 116 passengers on board was found close to the Malian town of Gossi, “50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the Burkina Faso border." It was said that no one survived. Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is expected to visit the crash scene on Friday, according to Reuters.

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