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Friday, Feb 12th

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Israeli forces evacuate settlers from West Bank buildings

Security forces evit settlersBorder Police forces evacuated several dozen Jewish settlers from two houses in Hebron Friday morning, a day after the settlers entered the buildings, claiming they had bought them from Palestinians.

Security officials said the decision to clear them was made by the Defense Ministry and that the evacuation was completed without incident.

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At least 41 refugees drown off Greek Islands

More than 40 migrants drownAt least 41 people, including 17 children, died in two separate incidents of boats smuggling refugees sinking off two Greek islands overnight into Friday. Dozens survived, and a search and rescue operation was underway for more potential survivors.

In the first incident, a wooden boat carrying 48 people sank in the early hours off the small islet of Farmakonissi in the eastern Aegean. Forty one of the passengers managed to make it to shore, while authorities recovered seven bodies — six children and one woman — from the sea.

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Pope: Holy Thursday foot-washing should include women

Pope to include women in foot washing riteA decree by Pope Francis, issued Thursday, expressly includes women in the traditional Holy Thursday rite of foot-washing.

The tradition of the priest washing the feet of 12 parishioners seated at the altar during Mass on the Thursday before Easter is taken from the Gospel of John, where Jesus washed the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper. The custom, known as the Mandatum, traditionally involved 12 men. The Pope's decree, contained in a letter to Prefect Cardinal Robert Sarah and published Thursday by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, specifies the recipients will no longer be "the men who have been chosen," but "those chosen from among the people of God."

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Israel says it will seize West Bank land; demolishes EU structures

israel steals land in West BankIsrael confirmed on Thursday it was planning to appropriate a large tract of fertile land in the occupied West Bank, close to Jordan, a move likely to exacerbate tensions with Western allies and already drawing international condemnation.

In an email sent to Reuters, COGAT, a unit of Israel's Defence Ministry, said the political decision to seize the territory had been taken and "the lands are in the final stages of being declared state lands".

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Pentagon: Islamic State destruction of Christian monastery an act of 'savagery'

Islamic State The destruction of the Christian monastery of St. Elijah in Iraq shows the fight against the Islamic State "really is a battle of savagery against decency," Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said.

Satellite images released Wednesday confirmed the militant group destroyed the monastery, one of the oldest Christian sites in Iraq that stood for more than 1,400 years near Mosul.

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Taliban take credit for Pakistani university attack; at least 19 dead

Taliban U attackedAt least 19 students were killed at a university in northwest Pakistan that came under attack Wednesday by armed militants, officials said.

The three-hour attack at Bacha Khan University began about 9:30 a.m. when militants climbed over the back wall of a university guest house. Explosions and gunfire grew intense as security guards fought the militants. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility.

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Auschwitz price-fixing claims: Israel police arrest nine

Auschwitz tickets inflated by Israeli execsNine executives at Israeli travel agencies have been arrested on suspicion of fixing the price of high school students' trips to former Nazi death camps, including Auschwitz.

Police say they are investigating allegations of a secret price-fixing arrangement by companies who organise the trips for students.

Investigators have raided the homes of executives and frozen bank accounts.

At least six travel agencies are accused of violating competition rules. They are suspected of colluding on prices before responding to an education ministry tender to take students to Holocaust memorials.

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