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Hamas insists that resistance weapons are not for discussion

September 23, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

The Deputy Leader of the Hamas Political Bureau reiterated on Friday that resistance weapons are “not for discussion” during the talks about internal reconciliation with rival faction Fatah, Al-Hayat.com has reported. Mousa Abu Marzook pointed out that the issue of resistance weapons had never been discussed before and noted that it was not even proposed to be on the agenda. Such weapons, he added, are the property of all the Palestinians and their “guarantee” against Israeli aggression. Stressing that Hamas wants guarantees for any elections, Abu Marzook said that it is also ready to share the responsibility with the Palestinian Authority and the other Palestinian factions for making decisions about peace and war. “This is a national issue and needs […]

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Bangladesh grants bail to two detained Myanmar journalists

September 23, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
Reuters
Sat, 2017-09-23 10:26
ID: 
1506153755825956000

DHAKA: Two journalists from Myanmar, who had been detained in Bangladesh while reporting on the influx of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, have been released on bail, a police official said on Saturday.
The journalists, Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat, were detained in early September in the Cox’s Bazar border region of Bangladesh, where refugees are arriving from Myanmar to escape a military offensive against insurgents.
“A court granted them bail, but they can’t go back to their country now,” police official Ranajit Kumar Barua, told Reuters by telephone, adding that the court would decide whether the two could leave the country at a separate hearing which may take place sometime in the next week.
A lawyer for the two journalists also confirmed their release, but did not provide any further detail.
Bangladesh police had said that the pair were detained for engaging in journalistic work for a German magazine, while on tourist visas.
More than 422,000 refugees from Myanmar have poured into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts triggered a Myanmar army crackdown in response.
Germany’s GEO magazine, which had assigned Minzayar Oo to cover the Rohingya crisis, said he had traveled to Bangladesh on Sept. 6, and was detained the next day.
Minzayar Oo is one of Myanmar’s most prominent photographers and has worked for various media outlets, covering the country’s emergence from military rule. He has previously worked as a contractor with Reuters.
Hkun Lat is also a well-known photographer in Myanmar and has won prizes for his coverage of conflict in frontier regions.

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Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulcher’s ceiling collapses

September 23, 2017 Middle East Monitor 0

Part of the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in occupied East Jerusalem collapsed yesterday afternoon, Ma’an has reported. Although there were hundreds of worshippers at the site, no injuries were reported. The church was subsequently closed while officials inspected the site and ensure it was safe. “About an hour and a half ago, a prayer was held in the Ethiopian Church in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the presence of about 50 people from the Ethiopian parish,” said Adeeb Joudeh Husseini, a church official. “After the prayer and after the worshippers had left, some of the ceiling fell, causing great damage to the church, but thanks to God and His kindness there were no casualties […]

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China follows UN sanctions with bans, limits on fuel products to North Korea

September 23, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
Reuters
Sat, 2017-09-23 07:59
ID: 
1506145989725741300

SHANGHAI: China said on Saturday it will ban exports of some petroleum products to North Korea, as well as imports of textiles from the isolated North, in line with a United Nations Security Council resolution passed after Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test.
The announcement from Beijing came at the end of a week that saw tensions ratchet up between the US and North Korea, with the leaders of both countries trading insults.
The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its website that China would limit exports of refined petroleum products from October 1 and ban exports of condensates and liquefied natural gas immediately to comply with the latest UN sanctions.
Imports of textiles from North Korea would also be banned immediately, the statement said.
Textile trade contracts signed before September 11 would be respected if import formalities are completed before midnight on December 10, the statement said.
The moves follow the adoption of a unanimous UN Security Council agreement on sanctions after the isolated North conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on September 3.
That resolution imposed a ban on condensates and natural gas liquids, a cap of 2 million barrels a year on refined petroleum products and a cap on crude oil exports to North Korea at current levels.
Russia urged calm on Friday after US President Donald Trump called North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a “madman”. Kim had called Trump a “mentally deranged US dotard” a day earlier after Trump said Washington would “totally destroy” North Korea if it threatened the US or its allies.
Trump announced new US sanctions on Thursday that he said allows the targeting of companies and institutions that finance and facilitate trade with North Korea. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said banks doing business in North Korea would not be allowed to operate in the US.
China has also urged calm, with Foreign Minister Wang Yi telling his Japanese counterpart that Tokyo should not abandon dialogue over North Korea.
North Korea has launched dozens of missiles this year, several of them flying over Japan, as it accelerates a weapons program aimed at enabling it to target the US with a nuclear-tipped missile.
The US and South Korea are technically still at war with North Korea because the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce and not a peace treaty.
The North accuses the US, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, of planning to invade and regularly threatens to destroy it and its Asian allies.

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North Korea ‘more opaque’ after YouTube propaganda ban: monitors

September 23, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
AFP
Sat, 2017-09-23 08:07
ID: 
1506145633175727100

SEOUL: North Korea has become “more opaque” to the outside world following a decision by YouTube to silence an official propaganda channel, a monitoring group has warned, as new sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear program begin to bite.
Observers have long relied on state-run news for glimpses into Pyongyang’s shadowy regime and weapons program, but one such source — the Uriminzokkiri channel — went dark earlier this month.
YouTube “has cut off a vital supply of video used by open source researchers, which means there is now less visibility into what’s happening in North Korea,” said Martyn Williams in a commentary published Friday on the respected 38 North website, which focuses on North Korea analysis.
“The Western world’s understanding of North Korea is limited to begin with, cutting off access to these few windows into North Korean thinking and life further hampers our knowledge of the country.”
YouTube first pulled the channel in early September with a message stating that it was in violation of “community standards” and the page currently has a notice that it is subject to a “legal complaint”.
The Google-owned company was not immediately available for comment.
Academics use official footage of missile launches and visits to factories by the North’s leader Kim Jong-Un to gain rare insights into the progress of the country’s weapons programs.
Williams said the YouTube move “served to highlight the sometimes-unintended consequences of sanctions”.
North Korea was slapped with tough new restrictions this month after it conducted its sixth and largest nuclear test, following months of increasingly brazen missile launches.
The United Nations measures include limits on oil shipments into the country and a ban on lucrative textile exports from the North.
The resolution also imposes asset freezes on government agencies including the country’s Propaganda and Agitation Department, which the UN said has “has full control over the media”.
Experts have raised concerns over further punishing the already deeply isolated North, which pressed on with nuclear and missile tests in defiance of a slew of previous embargoes.

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Foreigners killed in Mexico quake from Taiwan, Korea and Spain

September 23, 2017 rbksa 0
Author: 
AFP
Sat, 2017-09-23 06:42
ID: 
1506144134485684500

MEXICO CITY: The bodies of eight foreigners have been recovered from the rubble of the quake that struck Mexico City, officials said Friday.
The remains were those of four Taiwanese women, a Korean man, a Spanish man, a Panamanian woman and an Argentine man, Mexico’s high court said in a statement citing information from the forensic institute.
The statement did not detail when the bodies were recovered, or from where.
They were among nearly 300 people killed by the powerful, 7.1-magnitude earthquake that parts of Mexico City and nearby regions on Tuesday.
In the capital, the quake toppled 39 buildings, mostly in a central area with older construction that is popular with tourists and foreigners living in the city, and also in the south.
The court statement said the bodies of the foreigners were pulled “from the rubble caused by the earthquake on Tuesday.”
It also said that no more bodies had been delivered to the morgue operated by the forensic institute for identification since Thursday.
All but one of the 65 corpses examined by the service have been handed over to next of kin, it said.
The remaining unidentified body was that of a woman pulled from a collapsed building in the chic neighborhood of Condesa.

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S&P 500 Looks to Maintain Footing; DAX, German Elections This Weekend

September 23, 2017 Paul Robinson 0

Looking ahead to next week markets will try to keep steady footing barring surprises – North Korea, German elections – FTSE rises back into key resistance on May ‘Brexit’ speech.
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