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Japan enacts laws allowing combat missions abroad

Japan allowing combat missionsJapan has launched new security laws that allow its military to engage in conflicts abroad for reasons other than self-defence, a move critics see as a major deviation from the country's pacifist constitution.

For the first time since World War II, Japan will be able to participate more in international peacekeeping compared with its previous, mostly humanitarian, missions.


Israel backs out of spat with Brazil over Dani Dayan's pro-settlement stance

Dani DayanIsrael has withdrawn the nomination of Dani Dayan, a former West Bank settlement leader, as ambassador to Brazil, ending a seven-month standoff with Brasilia, which refused to accept his credentials.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Monday that Dayan would instead be appointed consul-general in New York, after months of tense exchanges between Israel and the South American country.


Bangladesh court upholds Islam as religion of the state

Bnagladesh court upholds Islam as state religionBangladesh's High Court on Monday rejected a 28-year-old petition calling for the removal of a constitutional provision recognising Islam as the official religion of the Muslim-majority South Asian nation.

The court ruled that the petitioning organisation, the Committee against Autocracy and Communalism, did not have the right to be heard in the court.


Riot police fire water cannon at right-wing protesters in Brussels

Protesters in BrusselsBelgian riot police used water cannons to control hundreds of demonstrators who gathered in central Brussels after ignoring an official call for a postponement of solidarity marches following the bomb attacks on Tuesday.

White-helmeted riot police followed by water cannon vehicles on Sunday steered protesters away from the city's colonnaded stock exchange building where wreaths and flowers had been laid out in a tribute to the victims of the attacks.

Protesters shouted slogans condemning this week's attacks, which killed 31 people and injured scores of others, and expressing solidarity with the victims.

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Scores killed in Lahore suicide attack

Lahore suicide bombAt least 65 people have been killed and over 300 others injured in a suicide blast outside a public park in Pakistan's eastern city of Lahore, health ministry officials said.

Al Jazeera's Kamal Hyder, reporting from the capital, Islamabad, said that people from the Christian community were out to celebrate Easter in the park when the bomber detonated himself. Hyder added that the park is popular with families and children.


Rolling Stones rock into Cuba and make history

Rolling Stones in HavanaThe Rolling Stones have rocked almost half a million jubilant Cubans in Havana, delivering a historic concert in a country where ardent fans once listened to their music behind closed doors.

"Hello Havana! Good evening to my Cuban people," lead singer Mick Jagger shouted in Spanish on Friday as he launched into the classic "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

The concert on Friday came just two days after Barack Obama finished the first trip to Cuba by a US president in nearly 90 years.


ISIL claims triple suicide attacks in Yemen's Aden

ISIL claims triple suicide bombs in YemenThree suicide bombs have targeted checkpoints in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, killing at least 26 people, residents and eyewitnesses said.

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks, which coincided with the first anniversary of the start of civil war in Yemen.


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