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Powerful quake strikes off Japan; no tsunami warning

Japan earthquake 2015A powerful earthquake struck near remote Japanese islands and shook most of the country Saturday evening, but it occurred well beneath the earth's surface and did not trigger a tsunami warning. Several people suffered non-life-threatening injuries, and there were no reports of deaths or major damage.

The magnitude-8.5 offshore quake struck off the Ogasawara islands at a depth of 590 kilometers (370 miles), the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake had a magnitude of 7.8 and a depth of 678 kilometers (421 miles).


Cuba Removed From US State Sponsors Terrorism List

Cuba flagThe U.S. Department of State announced Friday that Cuba has been officially dropped from its list of State Sponsor of Terrorism.

The State Department announced its intention to remove Cuba from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List last month. The move is part of an initiative to normalize relations between both countries.

On April 8, the Secretary of State completed the review of Cuba’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism and recommended to President Barack Obama that Cuba be dropped from the list.


At least ten killed in car bombs at two Baghdad hotels

car bombs BaghdadCar bombs at two hotels in Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, have killed at least 10 people, with dozens more wounded.

The explosions occurred just before midnight (21:00 GMT) and were heard across the city centre.

The first explosion went off near the Babylon hotel, an upscale and recently refurbished hotel overlooking the Tigris river.


In Jordan, ‘pipeline for peace’ with Israel strikes a nerve

Jprdan: pipeline for peace protestThe government of Jordan has a plan to diversify its fuel supply and save its economy over $4 billion, amid a potentially destabilizing energy crisis, by purchasing gas from Israel. There’s only one hitch: nearly everyone in Jordan is against it.

With a nudge from Washington, its most important ally, Jordan in September quietly signed a memorandum of understanding on a $15 billion deal that could start meeting 30 percent of the country’s electricity demand by 2018. The kingdom of 6 million people, which imports 97 percent of its energy supplies, has long relied on its Arab neighbors to keep the lights on.


Wife Of Hospitalized Russian Opposition Activist Urges His Evacuation

Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr.The wife of a prominent Russian opposition activist who mysteriously fell ill in Moscow this week is seeking his evacuation to Europe or Israel for toxicology tests, saying his condition has not improved.

Vladimir Kara-Murza Jr., a former political ally of slain Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, lost consciousness in Moscow on May 26 and was hospitalized with what his wife calls "symptoms of poisoning."


Sainthood for founder of California missions angers Native American groups

Oscar RomeroSalvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, slain in 1980 by a paramilitary death squad while celebrating mass in San Salvador, died as a martyr and thus deserves beatification, Pope Francis decreed on Tuesday.

Francis approved a decree that Romero had been killed “in hatred of the faith,” supporting recommendations by theological experts and a commission of cardinals. Francis unblocked Romero’s sainthood process shortly after his election in March 2013. Romero’s beatification will take place in El Salvador, but the Vatican did not provide a date.


Christian schools in Israel say budget cuts hurt community

Arab israeli school It was an unlikely display of protesters: nuns cloaked in white, a black-clad priest clutching a golden scepter and dozens of Arab schoolchildren picketing outside the hulking headquarters of Israel's Education Ministry. Their message, raised high on large banners: "Take your hands off our schools."

Private Christian schools are among Israel's highest ranked educational institutions, established by churches in the Holy Land hundreds of years ago — long before Israel's own creation. But school administrators are accusing Israel of slashing their funding as a pressure tactic to get them join the Israeli public school system — a move they say would interfere with the schools' Christian values and high academic achievements.


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