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Monday, May 02nd

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Cuba and Europe sign agreement to normalize relations

Cuba=europe pactThe European Union and Cuba have signed an agreement to normalise ties, paving the way for the 28-member bloc to establish full economic cooperation and aid with the Caribbean island country.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez witnessed the signing of the deal on Friday at a ceremony in the capital Havana along with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who was visiting Cuba.

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South Sudan: UN reports campaign of killing and rape

south sudan

Children and the disabled in South Sudan have been burned alive and pro-government militia allowed to rape women as a form of payment, a new UN report has said.

The investigation accused all sides in the country's civil war of targeting civilians for murder and rape but said the army and government-allied forces were most to blame for what it described as "one of the most horrendous human rights situations in the world".

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Israeli textbook 'bad for Arabs, bad for Jews'

Israeli anti Arab text booksLeaders of Israel's large Palestinian minority have begun creating an alternative syllabus for Arab schools, in what they are terming "a revolutionary" step towards educational autonomy.

It will be the first time in Israel's history that the Palestinian minority has tried to wrest control of the curriculum taught in Arab schools from the Israeli education ministry.

The move follows the Israeli education ministry's decision to revise the civics textbook, a central part of Israel's matriculation exam.

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US zoos secretly fly 18 elephants out of Swaziland ahead of court challenge

Elephants flown out of Swaziland by US zookeepersThree American zoos have pulled off an audacious clandestine operation to fly a group of elephants out of Swaziland despite a legal challenge to block the transfer, enraging conservationists who claim that removing elephants from the wild for display in zoos is cruel and outdated.

The 18 elephants – three males and 15 females ranging in age from six to 25 – were sedated, loaded onto crates and placed on a large cargo plane that arrived in Swaziland at around 7.30am local time on Tuesday. Pictures taken at the scene show several large crates, ostensibly for elephants, being picked up by a crane and placed onto trucks.

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One killed and at least 13 injured in Tel Aviv stabbings

American killed in Tel AvivThree attacks by Palestinians in the space of just over an hour and a half left one dead and at least 13 injured across Israel on Tuesday evening, in incidents that including a mass stabbing in Jaffa during a visit to the coastal city by US vice-president Joe Biden.

Israeli police later confirmed that the person killed in Jaffa was a 29-year-old American tourist who was pronounced dead on arrival at a hospital in Holon. There were no details on the American’s identity.

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White House surprised as Netanyahu cancels U.S. visit

Netanyahu cancels US visitThe White House signaled its surprise that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled an upcoming meeting with President Barack Obama.

Obama and Netanyahu have had a frosty relationship, largely because of disagreement over the accord with Iran reining in its nuclear program. They were to participate in their first face-to-face meeting since November, on March 18 in Washington, D.C.

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Report: US, Iran huddled prior to Iraq War

US and Iran held secret talks before Iraq warThe United States and Iran held confidential talks about the future of Iraq prior to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to a new book by a top Bush administration diplomat.

Among the topics at the talks, Iran agreed not to fire at U.S. aircraft flying over Iran, and the United States wanted Iran to encourage Shiites to participate in forming a new government in Iraq, according to a report in The New York Times about the book.

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