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Netanyahu pulled out of deal for demilitarized Palestine, shared Jerusalem, in 2011

Netanyahu nixed 2011 dealIn the summer of 2011, then-president Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were close to reaching a framework agreement that would have enabled Israel and the PA to restart peace negotiations, Israeli and Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel.

In conversations in various European capitals and in Amman over the course of a year, the two reached far-reaching informal understandings, with the knowledge and support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Toxic orange cloud spreads after chemical blast near Barcelona

toxic cloud barcelonaThree people were injured in an explosion at a chemical plant in northern Spain on Thursday and authorities advised residents of several small towns near Barcelona to stay indoors as a large toxic cloud spread over the area.

The regional government of Catalonia said in a statement that the blast appeared to have been caused by two chemicals coming into contact during delivery to the plant, owned by Spanish company Simar.


Ukraine cease-fire agreed after marathon talks, but flashpoint unresolved

Ukraine cease fireThe leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany emerged from marathon talks in Minsk on Thursday with what they said was a comprehensive peace deal for eastern Ukraine, but disagreement over a key flashpoint still exist and it remains to be seen if this truce can succeed where past ones have failed.

Vladimir Putin told reporters that a cease-fire would be effective starting from Sunday. As part of the deal special status would be granted for the pro-Moscow rebel regions in Ukraine’s east and consensus had also been reached over border controls and humanitarian issues, the Russian president added.


Costa Concordia captain convicted of manslaughter

Captan of Concordia convictedThe captain of the cruise ship Costa Concordia was convicted on 32 counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years in prison Wednesday in a Grosseto, Italy, court.

Testimony in Francesco Schettino's 19-month multiple manslaughter trial ended with Schettino claiming he was a scapegoat for the incident. The ship, under Schettino's command, struck rocks as it traveled too close to Italy's Giglio Island and capsized in January 2012. The wreck and the ensuing evacuation attempt caused the death of 32 passengers.


UN: At least 300 migrants missing in new sea tragedy

missing migrantsSome 300 migrants who tried to cross the frigid Mediterranean in open, rubber boats, were reported missing Wednesday by survivors as the U.N. refugee agency and other aid groups sharply criticized the new EU rescue operation as insufficient and costing lives.

The suspected deaths add to the 29 reported earlier in the week by the Italian coast guard, which said those victims had died of hypothermia during the voyage that began over the weekend in Libya, where most smuggling operations originate.


Islamic State hostage Kayla Mueller confirmed dead

US hostage deadThe family of Kayla Mueller, an American hostage of the Islamic State, has received confirmation that she is dead.

Mueller, 26, was captured in August 2013 while working as a humanitarian aide in Aleppo, Syria. The Islamic State demanded a $7 million ransom with a deadline of Aug. 13, 2014, but what happened to Mueller after the deadline is unknown.


20,000 foreign fighters flock to Syria, Iraq to join IS

20,000 join ISISForeign fighters are streaming into Syria and Iraq in unprecedented numbers to join the Islamic State or other extremist groups, including at least 3,400 from Western nations among 20,000 from around the world, U.S. intelligence officials say in an updated estimate of a top terrorism concern.

Intelligence agencies now believe that as many as 150 Americans have tried and some have succeeded in reaching in the Syrian war zone, officials told the House Homeland Security Committee in testimony prepared for delivery on Wednesday. Some of those Americans were arrested en route, some died in the area and a small number are still fighting with extremists.


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