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ISIL attacks Syrian village, kills scores

ISIS attackThe Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) killed at least 37 people in a Syrian village near the city of Hama overnight, a group monitoring the country’s civil war said, part of a pattern of attacks by the armed group in government-held areas of western Syria.

Syrian state television put the number killed at 44 and said 21 others had been wounded in the attack on Mabouja, 40 miles east of Hama. A Syrian military source said the army had repelled the assault on Tuesday.


Swiss bank pays $211M for aiding U.S. tax evasion

BSI BankA mayor Swiss bank will pay a $211 million in a deal to avoid prosecution on charges it secretly helped American clients evade U.S. taxes, the Department of Justice said Monday.

The agreement with BSI SA makes the private bank the first to come clean under a federal program that encourages overseas banks to disclose their role in suspected criminal offenses stemming from undeclared offshore accounts held by wealthy U.S. citizens.


Air strike at Yemeni refugee camp kills 45

yemen refugees killedAn air strike at a camp for displaced people and refugees in Houthi-controled northern Yemen on Monday killed 45 people and wounded 65, the International Organization for Migration said.

The strike hit the vicinity of the Mazraq refugee camp in northern Yemen, spokesman Joel Millman said, citing IOM staff at the scene. He said it was not immediately clear how many of the casualties were civilians or armed personnel.


Sweden adds gender-neutral pronoun to dictionary

SwedenThe editors of Sweden's official dictionary have added the gender-neutral "hen" to the Swedish language.

"It's quite simple," the dictionary's editor in chief, Sven-Goran Malmgren, told The Independent on Thursday. "It is a word which is in use and without a doubt fills a function."

The Swedish language already uses the words "han," meaning "he," and "hon," meaning "she."


Former Israeli Premier Olmert convicted in corruption case

Ehud Olmert convictedFormer Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted Monday of unlawfully accepting money from a U.S. supporter in a retrial on corruption charges, the latest chapter in the downfall of a man who only years earlier hoped to lead the country to a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians.

The conviction could land Olmert five years in prison, in addition to a six-year prison sentence he received last year in a separate bribery conviction, all but ensuring the former premier will not return to politics for many years to come.


Demanding recognition, Negev Bedouin march into Jerusalem

Befouin march on jerusalemRepresentatives of the Joint List of Arab political factions presented a plan for government recognition of Bedouin villages in the Negev to the President’s Office on Sunday, as dozens of demonstrators protested outside Reuven Rivlin’s official residence demanding more equitable planning for some 100,000 Arab residents living in 36 villages in Israel’s south.

The demonstrators arrived in Jerusalem following a four-day march from the unrecognized village of Wadi Ni’m in the Negev, a distance of 130 kilometers (80 miles). They argued that the government-commissioned Prawer Plan — a costly five-year scheme prescribing the relocation of tens of thousands of Bedouins from their makeshift communities to recognized villages — is both unjust and incompatible with the residents’ pastoral lifestyle.


Malawi to burn $7.5 million worth of ivory to try and deter further elephant poaching

ivory burnedOne of the world's poorest countries is to have a $7.5 million bonfire this week.

Malawi, a landlocked country in south-eastern Africa, will set fire to a huge stockpile of ivory, reports The Independent. Almost four tons of ivory poached from elephants will be set on fire to try and deter poachers.

The pile is estimated to be worth millions in a country which is extremely poor and in the throes of a corruption scandal, when millions of dollars were removed from government funds.


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