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Pope offers home to 12 Syria refugees after Lesbos trip

Pope in LesbosPope Francis has taken 12 Syrians, all of them Muslim, back with him to the Vatican after his visit to the Greek island of Lesbos to highlight the plight of thousands of people seeking to reach Western Europe from Turkey.

The three families, including six children, met with Francis on the tarmac and boarded his plane following his five-hour trip to the island on the frontline of the ongoing refugee crisis.


7.0 quake strikes Japan; rescuers try to free residents

Japan earthquakeDaybreak in Japan should reveal the extent of the damage from a magnitude-7.0 earthquake that struck early Saturday on Kyushu island, the same region hit by a 6.2 quake two days earlier.
One person was killed and numerous buildings were damaged, said Kumamoto Prefecture's disaster management office.

Rescuers scrambled to find survivors. TV Asahi showed crews crawling over a collapsed roof in an attempt to find an elderly couple. An 80-year-old man was pulled from the rubble, TV Asahi said.


Five UK terrorism arrests in Birmingham and at Gatwick Airport 'linked to attacks on Brussels and Paris'

UK terrorist arrestsFive people have been arrested by British anti-terror police as part of an operation with Belgian and French authorities following attacks in Europe.

Counter-terror officers in the West Midlands said they were working with MI5 and international partners to "address any associated threat to the UK" after militants struck in Brussels and Paris.

Whitehall sources described the arrests as “significant”.


Japan earthquake forces evacuation of 40,000

Japan evacuates 40000At least nine people have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake knocked down houses and destroyed roads in the southwestern Japan.

The tremor struck 11km east of Kumamoto on Thursday, according to the US Geological Survey, and strong aftershocks continued to shake the area around the city on Friday.


Palestinians: Israel settlement expansion a 'war crime'

Israeli settlements 'war crimes' Palestinian officials have slammed the latest Israeli authorisation to build more than 200 new settler houses in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as a "war crime" that serves to "destroy the prospects of two independent states living side by side in peace and security".

Chief Palestinian negotiator Sa'eb Erekat said: "The latest approval of settlement construction, and the significant increase in Israeli settlement activity during 2016, should serve as a reminder to the international community of its responsibility to put an end to such crimes."


Strong earthquake hits south Japan; people may be trapped

Japan earthquakeA powerful earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4 knocked over houses in southern Japan on Thursday evening, and police said people may be trapped underneath.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the 9:26 p.m. quake, and no risk of a tsunami.

“There was a ka-boom and the whole house shook violently sideways,” Takahiko Morita, a resident of Mashiki, the town at the epicenter, said in a telephone interview with Japanese broadcaster NHK. “Furniture and bookshelves fell down, books were all over the floor.”


First Nations suicide emergency: a symptom of Canada's systemic neglect

First Nation suicides in CanadaAs exhausted community leaders in Canada’s troubled Attawapiskat First Nation declared a state of emergency this week amid a wave of suicide attempts, Chief Cathy Merrick was watching closely.

Just one month ago, the small Aboriginal community she leads made a similar, heart-wrenching call; faced with six suicides in a span of some three months and more than 140 attempts in two weeks, the remote Manitoba community of Pimicikamak Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in early March.


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