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Friday, Jul 31st

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The Latest: US Embassy condemns blast at Italian Consulate

Italian Embassiy blastThe latest news on the blast outside the Italian Consulate in Cairo early Saturday morning (all times local): 3:40 p.m.

The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has condemned the car bombing at the Italian Consulate in Cairo that killed one person, saying: "We extend our condolences to the family of the victim of this attack and wish the injured a speedy recovery."

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Netanyahu Admits Aide Bullied Family of Israeli Held in Gaza

Ethiopian Israel in GazaPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted Friday comments made by a senior aide to the family of an Israeli of Ethiopian descent who has been missing in Gaza for the past 10 months and said the official spoke with the family and apologized for comments the prime minister said were inappropriate.

The official, Lior Lotan, who serves as Netanyahu’s coordinator for hostages and missing persons, met with the family of Avera Mengistu last Wednesday, and threatened them not to criticize the way the government is handling the affair, which was only cleared for publication Thursday morning, Channel 10 News reported.

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U.S. spy agency tapped German chancellery for decades: WikiLeaks

Gernman chandelloryThe U.S. National Security Agency tapped phone calls involving German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her closest advisers for years and spied on the staff of her predecessors, WikiLeaks said on Wednesday.

A report released by the group suggested NSA spying on Merkel and her staff had gone on far longer and more widely than previously realized. WikiLeaks said the NSA targeted for long-term surveillance 125 phone numbers of top German officials.

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#BlockTheFactory: One Year After Gaza War, Protesters Shut Down Drone Plants

Elbit protestMarking the one-year anniversary of the 2014 attack on Gaza, protesters in the United Kingdom and Australia on Monday shut down four drone factories owned by the biggest arms company in Israel, Elbit Systems.

The factories produce military drones that were used in Israel's 51-day offensive last summer, which saw the deaths of more than 2,200 people—including 1,400 Palestinian civilians, one third of them children.

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Eurozone tells Greece not to expect debt relief in near future

Greek crisisThe Greek government has been told by its eurozone partners not to expect debt relief any time soon, amid fading hopes of decisive action to stop the country tumbling out of the currency union.

Arriving at an emergency summit of eurozone leaders, Angela Merkel said there was no clear basis to negotiate with Athens after Greek voters rejected an EU bailout plan in a referendum on Sunday. The German chancellor warned that time was running out. “It is not a matter of weeks anymore, it is a matter of days.”

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US allows cruises to Cuba; Carnival plans trips from Miami in May

US to Cuba Carnival Cruise to beginThe U.S. has authorized the first cruise service to Cuba in half a century.

Cruise giant Carnival Corp. announced Tuesday that it has received U.S. government licenses to offer "purposeful" cruises from the U.S. to Cuba for people-to-people, humanitarian and other exchanges.

Pending approval from Cuban authorities, Carnival aims to offer seven-day trips from Miami to several Cuban ports starting in May on its new "fathom" brand, which offers travel for social causes such as volunteer work and cultural immersion.

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Twin attacks reported in Afghan capital Kabul

Attack in KabulGunfire and explosions have been reported in Afghanistan's capital Kabul, hours after a Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a convoy belonging to foreign forces, security officials said.

Police spokesman Ebadullah Karimi said that armed men entered a building close to an installation used by Afghanistan's intelligence agency on Tuesday afternoon.

Al Jazeera journalists in Kabul reported that the attack took place at a compound in Kabul's District Eight, and gunmen had taken up positions within it.

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