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21 November, 2014


Israel military disperses stone-throwing West Bank protests

The Israeli forces have dispersed some 300 stone-throwing Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron, the military said Friday. No injuries were reported and no arrests were made, according to the army. Smaller clashes took place at Qalandiya and Kadom in West Bank, AP reported. The clashes came as Palestinians say that Israel wants to change the status quo at a contested Jerusalem holy site. During prayers on Friday, no serious incidents were reported at the Temple Mount, which for the second week in a row was open to all Muslim worshipers, regardless of age.


Yemen Al-Qaeda branch denounces Islamic State for declaring caliphate

Yemen’s Al-Qaeda branch on Friday denounced the Islamic State group (also known as ISIS or ISIL) for declaring a caliphate on territory it seized in Syria and Iraq, and for its expansionist plans. The Al-Qaeda Yemeni offshoot’s purported spiritual guide, Sheikh Harith al-Nadhari, said efforts to expand IS’s area of influence are “driving a wedge” among jihadist groups, AP reported. The IS “forced the nation, all the nation, to pledge allegiance” in the absence of consultation with other jihadist leaders, Al-Nadhari said in a message posted on one of Yemeni Al-Qaeda’s Twitter pages.


2 demonstrators arrested in Ferguson ahead of grand jury decision

Police arrested at least two demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri as tensions simmer ahead of a grand jury decision whether to charge officer Darren Wilson in the slaying of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb in August. About a dozen protesters gathered again outside the police station in Ferguson. Brief scuffles broke out and at least one woman and a man were handcuffed and taken away, Reuters said.


Russia preparing new package of documents for MH17 crash probe

Russia is preparing a new package of documents for the Netherlands’ commission investigating the crash of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight. The package will be sent in response for the commission’s request, RIA Novosti quoted deputy head of the Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) Oleg Storchevoy as saying. “Everything that we have available and that could help in investigating the crash, we are ready to hand over – and we are doing this - to the Netherlands,” he said.


ESA publishes sound of Philae’s touchdown on comet

The European Space Agency (ESA) has published the sound of touchdown recorded as Rosetta’s lander, Philae, first came into contact with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Sensors were turned on during the descent and clearly registered the first touchdown, in the form of vibrations detected in the soles of the lander’s feet. Klaus Seidensticker from the DLR Institute of Planetary Research said that the data show that Philae’s feet “first penetrated a soft surface layer – possibly a dust layer – several centimeters thick until they hit a hard surface – probably a sintered ice-dust layer – a few milliseconds later.”


2 men killed, 6 injured after London balcony collapse

Two men reportedly died and at least six others were injured when a balcony collapsed in central London. The Ambulance Service initially said one man had died and another was taken to hospital following the incident at Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, Press Association said. The second man has died in hospital, according to the Metropolitan police.


Russia’s Rosatom ‘ready to resume discussion’ with US on new nuclear projects

Russian nuclear power corporation Rosatom is ready to resume cooperation with the US, CEO Sergey Kiriyenko said on Friday. “All our contracts are in force. The nuclear power industry should be beyond political situation,” TASS quoted him as saying. The two states earlier discussed projects in the nuclear sector, but now “this conversation stalled,” Kiriyenko said. “If our partners get ready to continue the discussion, we will be glad. If not, then not.”


WHO says separate Ebola outbreak in DR Congo over

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday that an outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo is over, Reuters reported. No people showed symptoms for two incubation periods since the last case. The seventh outbreak since the virus was identified there in 1976 was separate from the one spreading in West Africa, where more than 5,400 people have died. There were 49 deaths out of 66 people infected in the remote northwestern Equateur province during the three-month outbreak, according to Congolese authorities.


Iran’s foreign minister to leave nuclear talks ‘for consultations’

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohommad Javad Zarif will leave the nuclear talks with six world powers on Friday and return to Tehran, Reuters reported. Zarif will return to Tehran tonight “for consultations and exchange of views with top officials,” IRNA news agency reported, citing a member of the Iranian delegation at the Vienna talks. Western diplomats said Zarif was expected to return to Austria during the weekend.


At least 11 people dead in Zimbabwe church stampede

At least 11 people died and several others were injured during a stampede at the end of a church service in the Zimbabwean mining town of Kwekwe, AFP reported. Four people died during a crush at a stadium in Kwekwe, and the other seven died on arrival at a hospital in the town, police provincial spokesman Shadreck Mubaiwa said Friday.


Israel rejects EU appeal not to raze Palestinian militants’ homes

Israel has rejected an appeal by the five biggest members of the EU not to raze the homes of Palestinians who carried out attacks in Jerusalem, Reuters said. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon confirmed that Thursday’s meeting with the German, French, British, Italian and Spanish ambassadors took place. They were told that the measure was consistent with Israeli law and would be pursued to deter further violence. “This is not meant to be punitive, but rather to dissuade others from carrying out terrorist attacks,” Nahshon said.


Lavrov: Balance of interests needed in nuclear talks with Iran

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday that a balance of interests should be reached at nuclear talks between six world powers and Iran. Diplomats should correctly put together all existing components for reaching agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program and display a political will, TASS quoted Lavrov as saying. He added that for Russia, “the quality of the agreement” is more important than date by which it could be reached.


S. Korea starts live-fire maneuvers near disputed Yellow Sea border with North

South Korea staged a live-fire military drill on Friday near its disputed Yellow Sea border with North Korea, despite warnings from Pyongyang, AFP said. The maneuvers were held on two front-line islands. One of them was shelled by North Korea on November 23, 2010, killing four people. The live-fire exercise wrapped up a two-week annual military drill. It involved more than 300,000 troops across South Korea and was denounced by the North as a provocation.


Hong Kong buyer pays $32.6mn for Sotheby’s 10-carat blue diamond

A buyer from Hong Kong has paid $32.6 million for a near 10-carat blue diamond at an auction held by Sotheby’s in New York, Reuters reported. The unnamed collector saw off six other bidders to set a new record price-per-carat for any diamond, according to Sotheby’s. The price was around double pre-auction estimates. China has recently become the second largest market behind the US in the global $79 billion sector.


Abe dissolves Japan lower house ahead of snap election

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of parliament on Friday, forcing a snap election expected to be held on December 14. Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in power for most of the post-World War II era, may lose some seats. However, it is likely to retain a solid majority with its coalition partner in the 480-seat chamber. The PM said this week that he wanted to ask for voters’ endorsement for his decision to postpone a sales tax rise after an earlier hike had knocked the economy off its axis, AP reported.


​Five Ukrainian parties agree to Parliament coalition

Five Ukrainian parties have signed a draft agreement on a coalition in the country's parliament, RIA Novosti reports. The parties in the coalition include the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, the People's Front party, Samopomich (Self-Help) party, Batkivshchyna (Fatherland) party and the Radical Party.