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Friday, Feb 24th

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Trump opponents protest outside UK parliament as lawmakers debate planned visit

Trump opponents protest at UK ParliamentThousands of Donald Trump's opponents gathered outside the British parliament on Monday to protest against a planned state visit while lawmakers debated whether the new U.S. president should be given a lavish meeting with Queen Elizabeth.

Britain invited Trump to visit later this year as Prime Minister Theresa May's government seeks to reaffirm the so called "special relationship" with the United States and secure a trade deal as it prepares to leave the European Union.

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Russia's ambassador to United Nations dies in NYC at 64

Russian ambassador to UN dies in NYCRussia's ambassador to the United Nations, a veteran diplomat known as a potent and personable voice for his country's interests as he sparred with his Western counterparts, died suddenly after falling ill Monday in his office at the mission.

Vitaly Churkin, 64, was rushed to a hospital in New York, where he died, Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Vladimir Safronkov, told The Associated Press. His cause of death wasn't immediately known.

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Israel settlements road to cut through East Jerusalem

Israel demoshes Arab homes to build road to settlementsHundreds of Palestinians in the Jabal al-Mukaber area of occupied East Jerusalem say they are living in a state of anxiety and fear as Israeli occupation authorities begin excavations for the "American road" project, set to be built on the ruins of their homes.

The road that constitutes only one section of a larger highway, titled al-Touq, will cut through East and West Jerusalem, with the unstated aim of connecting illegal Israeli settlements north, south, and east of the city. It is set to bridge between the West Bank settlements of Har Homa and Maale Adumim, passing through Jerusalem.

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Former Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP

NetanyahuIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a peace deal during a secret meeting orchestrated by then-Secretary of State John Kerry last February that sought to move toward ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to an AP report on Sunday.

Netanyahu participated in this secret meeting on Feb. 21, 2016 in Aqaba, Jordan, with King Abdullah II of Jordan and President el-Sissi of Egypt, former U.S. officials told the AP. Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, first reported the meeting.

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Blast in Mogadishu marketplace kills 34

Mogadishu blast kills 34The blast from a car parked near a restaurant went off when shoppers and traders were gathered inside the market, said district commissioner Ahmed Abdulle.

Mohamed Haji, a butcher who suffered shrapnel wounds, pointed to a clothes shop devastated by the blast. “Someone had parked the car here and left before it was detonated,” he said. Pieces of wood and metal sheets on the ground were all that remained of the shop.

Women sobbed and screamed outside the market as rescue workers moved bloodied bodies and wounded victims into ambulances.

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Iraqi forces launch offensive to take west Mosul

Iraqi forces launch Mosul offensiveIraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Sunday announced Iraqi security forces have launched the military offensive to retake western Mosul from the Islamic State.

The United Nations estimates about 750,000 civilians are currently in Mosul amid a humanitarian crisis in which shortages of basic needs such as food, water and fuel are widespread.

The U.S.-led international coalition suggested it may take up to six months for Iraqi security forces to capture west Mosul.

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Fears mount over scale of Buddhist sect sexual abuse

Dennis Lingwood, Buddhist sexual abuse revealedOne of the UK’s largest Buddhist orders has been forced to report allegations of sexual abuse after a former follower claimed he was coerced into sex with one of its elders. In a separate development, the group’s founder has apologised for having relationships with its members – some of which, he has previously acknowledged, may have been against their will.

Triratna, which has tens of thousands of followers, is battling to protect its reputation, both in the worldwide Buddhist community and among its own members who are questioning the extent to which the coercion was perpetrated and how long it continued.

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