Israel’s ‘loyal’ Druze Arabs push for changes after Jewish state law

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel’s new “nation-state” law has provoked anger among members of its most integrated minority, the Druze, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek corrective legislation. FILE PHOTO: Members of the Druze community attend the funeral of Israeli Druze police officer Kamil Shanan in the village of Hurfeish, Israel July 14 2017 REUTERS/Ammar Awad/File Photo Netanyahu has defended the law, which declares that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, from fierce criticism at home

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After decades of triumph, democracy is losing ground

IN A glass case at the Diyarbakir Bar Association are a striped shirt, dark coat and coiled belt. They belonged to the former chairman, Tahir Elci, a lawyer who was murdered in 2015 amid clashes between the Turkish army and Kurdish separatists. He was standing by the Four-Legged Minaret, a 500-year-old landmark in the ancient city, calling for peace. Someone shot him in the head. No one knows who killed him. The government blames Kurdish terrorists. Many Kurds blame the

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UK Jewish leader urges apology over Labour anti-Semitism

LONDON –  The president of one of the U.K.’s main Jewish groups called Thursday on the leader of the Labour Party to make an “abject apology” to British Jews for allowing anti-Semitism to fester in the left-of-center opposition party. Allegations of anti-Jewish prejudice within Labour have grown since veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015. Some in the party allege that Corbyn, a longtime critic of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, has allowed anti-Semitic abuse to go unchecked. Corbyn

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68 years after the Korean War, hundreds of US families are still searching for closure

Growing up, she knew the word “Korea” before she even understood what it meant. “I’d heard that word since before I could talk,” she told CNN. “It was just part of our life.” Her father, Karle Seydel, was 24 when he left his wife, daughter and months-old son in Seattle, Washington to join the eventually hundreds of thousands of United States troops sent to the Korean Peninsula to fight in a bloody conflict which, almost 70 years later, has still

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Troops clear streets of Zimbabwe’s capital, election result ‘very soon’

HARARE (Reuters) – Troops ordered shops to close and told people to leave the center of Zimbabwe’s capital on Thursday, one day after three people were killed by soldiers sent in to break up demonstrators claiming this week’s presidential election was rigged. The crackdown by the army has punctured the euphoria that followed its removal of long-time strongman Robert Mugabe eight months ago, and fueled suspicions that the generals who launched the coup remain Zimbabwe’s de facto rulers. In Harare,

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A Muslim monarch and religious diplomat wins some overdue recognition

ONE of the world’s most lucrative prizes for spiritual endeavour,  bequeathed by an American-British billionaire who was a fervent Christian, has been awarded this year to one of the luminaries of the Muslim world, King Abdullah of Jordan. The Jordanian monarch, whose dynasty claims descent from the prophet Muhammad, is only the second Muslim to receive the Templeton Prize, worth £1.1m, since it was instituted in 1973. Its stated aim is to honour, every year, an individual who has made

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Water crisis salts the earth in Iraq’s long-neglected south

BAGHDAD –  Qassim Sabaan Ali has spent the past 15 years tending to orchards in southern Iraq, only to see them wither or die as saltwater has seeped into the once-lush soil. The southern city of Basra was once known as the “Venice of the East” because of its freshwater canals, and Iraq itself is still known as the “Land Between the Two Rivers” — the Tigris and the Euphrates — which have nourished civilizations since antiquity. But upstream dams

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U.S. welcomes home remains of presumed war dead from North Korea

WASHINGTON/OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea (Reuters) – In a solemn ceremony, the United States welcomed home on Wednesday human remains it said presumably included Americans killed in the 1950-1953 Korean War, and thanked North Korea for making good on a June summit pledge to hand them over. Only one identification “dog tag” was delivered by the North Koreans, underscoring the long path ahead for U.S. military efforts to identify the remains inside the 55 boxes presented by North Korea to

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How Iraq was deprived of its weapons of mass destruction

ROLF EKEUS, a Swedish diplomat, once personified the most sustained effort ever undertaken to deprive a country of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He was the leading figure in a programme to enforce peace terms on Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s dictator, in 1991, forcing him to renounce nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and long-range rockets. Get our daily newsletter Upgrade your inbox and get our Daily Dispatch and Editor’s Picks. His United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) had powers to inspect any

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Africa asks UN to seek court opinion on immunity for leaders

UNITED NATIONS –  Kenya is asking the United Nations on behalf of African states to request an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on immunity for heads of state and government and other senior officials. The request by Kenya’s U.N. ambassador, Lazarus Ombai Amayo, follows a decision by the African Union in January to seek an opinion from the court, the U.N.’s highest judicial body that deals with disputes between states. Some African countries have been highly critical

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