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Czech FM slams settlements, warns backing Israel becoming more difficult

Czech FM slams settlementsThe Czech Republic may find it increasingly difficult to maintain its largely pro-Israel stance should the Jewish state fail to take viable steps toward establishing a Palestinian state and achieving regional peace, the European country’s foreign minister warned Monday.

Speaking during an interview with the Walla news site, Lubomír Zaorálek declared that Israel will likely suffer international isolation and be labeled a racist state if it doesn’t change its policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


Russia, Qatar could lose World Cups; Morocco 'outbid' for 2010 event

Russia, Qatar may lose WorldRussia and Qatar could lose their 2018 and 2022 World Cup soccer tournaments, respectively, if evidence surfaces that they "bought" their hosting rights with bribes, a FIFA executive said Sunday.

Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA's audit and compliance committee, told Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung on Sunday the respective nations would lose their World Cups independently or collectively if such evidence is discovered -- which, he noted, has not happened so far.


Saudi court upholds blogger's 10 years and 1,000 lashes

Raif BadawiSaudi Arabia's Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told news agency AFP, "this is a final decision that is irrevocable."  In March, the kingdom expressed "surprise and dismay" at international criticism over the punishment.


American School in Japan admits covering up teacher’s sex abuse for decades

American Scnool in JapanThe scandal-hit American School in Japan admitted Friday that it concealed decades of sexual abuse it said was committed by former teacher Jack Moyer and offered its first public apology since the scandal broke in March last year.

“Survivors attempted many times to expose abuse, and we are ashamed to report that they were rebuffed or ignored by the school,” the international school’s board of directors said in a message to alumni on Friday.


Israeli rights groups join battle to save symbol of Arab resistance to evictions

Israeli rights groupIn the cool of evening, the Palestinian villagers of Khirbet Susiya go about their business.

A beekeeper in a protective suit and veil moves among his hives with a smoke can. Others use the warm wind blowing from the nearby Negev desert to separate rough legumes from chaff. Shepherds move their animals across the low, rolling yellow hills while children run about the playground.


Warships rescue thousands off Libya coast

Warships recue migrantsEuropean warships and coast guard vessels have rescued more than 2,000 migrants off the coast of Libya.

The Malta-based, Migrant Offshore Aid Station, said it coordinated the operation along with Italian, Irish and German ships.  Italy's coastguard could not confirm the numbers, but said it was trying to help around a dozen other vessels.



Egyptian court overturns naming Hamas terror organization

HamasAn Egyptian court overturned a decision naming Hamas a terrorist organization Saturday, a ruling coming after months of increasing hostility to the blockaded rulers of the Gaza Strip.

The Urgent Matters Appeals Court cited a lack of jurisdiction as the reason for annulling the earlier court's ruling.  Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman in Gaza, welcomed the court's ruling, saying it would have "positive consequences on the relationship between Hamas and Egypt."


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