Thursday, Jul 30th

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Prayers inflame tensions over Jerusalem holy site

Jerusalem battle between religious factionsEvery morning at 7.30, Murad Hamad sets up a flimsy plastic chair in the shade of the Moroccans' Gate entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and waits for the tourists to arrive.

Hamad's job is to help keep the peace at one of the world's holiest places, a site sacred to both Muslims, who call the compound the Noble Sanctuary, and to Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount because of the building that once stood there. The guard is not much concerned with the sun-creamed tourists. But he pays close attention to the groups of devout Jews and Israeli nationalists who try most days to enter the site and pray.


Gas station explodes in Ghana killing 90 seeking shelter from flooding

Ghana gas station explodesA gas station explosion in Accra, Ghana's capital, has killed at least 90 people who were seeking shelter from torrential rain and heavy flooding that have left many homeless.

The start of the fire at the gas station on Thursday is believed to be linked to the torrential weather the city is experiencing, according to Accra fire brigade spokesman Prince Billy Anaglate.

Accra has been dealing with a downpour of rain for the past two days, leaving many without homes or electricity. More rain is expected, according to BBC News.


Elephant population on "catastrophic" decline in Tanzania

Tanzania elephants in great dangerA wildlife conservation group said Tuesday a reported "catastrophic" decline of elephants in Tanzania is due to the East African country's inability to control a flood of poaching.

The Tanzanian government found the country's elephant population, one of the largest on the African continent, dropped some 60 percent in five years, from 109,051 in 2009 to 43,330 in 2014.

"It is incredible that poaching on such an industrial scale has not been identified and addressed before now," said Steven Broad, head of the conservation group TRAFFIC.


Forced church schooling of Canada’s First Nations was ‘cultural genocide’

Canada first nation childrenCanada’s now defunct policy of removing aboriginal children from their families and schooling them in church-run institutions amounted to “cultural genocide,” according to the findings of a government-sponsored report into a century-long system that ended only in the 1990s.

After spending more than five years gathering the testimony of nearly 7,000 former residential school students, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released on Tuesday a summary of its study of the country’s system of forcibly assimilating its indigenous populations


Sepp Blatter will step down as president of FIFA

Blatter steps downSepp Blatter sensationally announced his impending resignation as president of FIFA, soccer's world governing body, on Tuesday.

Blatter, who has been in charge of the organization since 1998 and won re-election for a fifth term Friday despite allegations of mass corruption within FIFA, announced at a press conference in Zurich that he would step down after a special congress is called between December and March to appoint his replacement.


Iraq losing equipment to Islamic State at staggering rate

Iraqi equipment being lost to ISISIraqi security forces lost 2,300 Humvee armored vehicles when Islamic State overran the northern city of Mosul in June 2014, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday in an interview with Iraqiya state television. Coupled with previous losses of American weapons, the conclusion is simple: The United States is effectively supplying Islamic State with tools of war the militant group cannot otherwise hope to acquire from its patrons.

In addition to the Humvees, Iraqi forces previously abandoned significant types and numbers of heavy weapons to Islamic State. For example, losses to Islamic State include at least 40 M1A1 main battle tanks, as well as small arms and ammunition, including 74,000 machine guns, and as many as 52 M198 howitzer mobile gun systems.


Canadian court orders tobacco giants to pay $12 billion to smokers

Canada tobacco firms to pay $12bA Canadian court on Monday ordered tobacco firms to pay $12 billion to smokers in Quebec province who claimed they were never warned about the health risks associated with smoking. The companies said the same day that they would appeal the award, which is the largest of its kind in Canadian history.

Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Benson & Hedges and JTI-MacDonald all issued statements disagreeing with the ruling by Quebec Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan.


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