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International News

Asylum seeker baby born in Australia denied refugee visa

BBC

Suspected asylum seekers arrive at Christmas Island, after receiving assistance by Australian Navy, on 13 October  2012 on Christmas Island.

Asylum seekers sailing to Christmas Island often arrive in rickety boats and have to be assisted by the navy

A federal court has ruled that a baby born in Australia to an asylum seeker is not entitled to a refugee visa.

Ferouz Myuddin, who is 11 months old, was born in Brisbane when his mother was transferred to hospital from a refugee detention centre on Nauru.

A judge backed the government’s earlier ruling that the baby was an “unauthorised maritime arrival” so could not claim refugee status.

Lawyers said he and 100 similar babies could now be sent to Nauru.

The hearing comes as the federal government considers amending the Migration Act to retrospectively declare all babies born to asylum seekers who arrive by boat as unauthorised maritime arrivals, irrespective of whether they were born on Australian soil.

If the amendments are passed, babies born to asylum seeker parents in Australia will have no right to apply for a permanent protection visa and should be transferred offshore.

Ferouz’s family are Muslim Rohingyas who said they fled to Myanmar (also known as Burma) to escape persecution.

They landed on Australian territory in September last year and were taken to the off-shore processing centre in Nauru. Ferouz was born prematurely after his mother was taken to hospital in Brisbane because of concerns over her pregnancy.

‘Ludicrous decision’

Immigration Minister Scott Morrison had previously denied Ferouz a protection visa - which allows refugees to live permanently in Australia - on the basis that he had arrived on Australian territory by sea illegally.

Grey line

Australia and asylum

Asylum seekers - mainly from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Iran - travel to Australia’s Christmas Island by boat from Indonesia

The number of boats rose sharply in 2012 and early 2013. Scores of people have died making the journey

To stop the influx, the government has adopted hard-line measures intended as a deterrent

Everyone who arrives is detained. Under a new policy, they are processed in Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Those found to be refugees will be resettled in PNG, Nauru or Cambodia

Tony Abbot’s government has also adopted a policy of tow-backs, or turning boats around

Rights groups and the UN have voiced serious concerns about the policies and accuse Australia of shirking international obligations

His parents then appealed to the Federal Court but after examining how the family had entered Australia, Judge Michael Jarrett backed the government view.

He said the rule was intended to discourage people smugglers.

Lawyer Murray Watt said he was advising the Myuddin family, currently staying in a detention centre in Darwin, to appeal.

“This is a ludicrous decision given he was born here in Brisbane’s Mater Hospital and he even has a Queensland birth certificate,” ABC News quoted him as saying.

He said his firm - which is representing the families of 100 babies born in Australia to asylum seekers who arrived by boat - would be seeking assurance from the government that the families will not be moved to Nauru until the appeal is heard.

Mr Morrison welcomed the ruling, saying it has “always been the intention of successive governments that children born to illegal maritime arrivals, are taken to have the same status as their parents,” ABC News reports.

Ferouz’s family are also applying for citizenship for him as a “stateless” migrant, saying that as a Rohingya he is denied citizenship in Myanmar.

Children born in Australia to non-citizens or non-permanent residents can automatically get citizenship but only once they turn 10 and have spent most of their life in Australia.

 

Australia has been clamping down on asylum seekers, particularly those who arrive by boat.

 

Last month Australia signed a controversial deal with Cambodia to resettle refugees in the South East Asian nation. It also reintroduced temporary visas for refugees, which allow for the refugees to be sent home after a period of time if conditions in their home country are judged to have improved.

Australia’s High Court is also hearing a separate challenge over 157 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka who set out from southern India and were intercepted by Australia security in July.

They were held on a customs ship at sea for a month, initially in secret, Their lawyers argued they were illegally detained, but government lawyers said the decision was made under existing laws.

The court on Wednesday said it was reserving its decision, with a ruling not expected for some time.

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Mother ‘killed and froze’ her newborn babies

AFP

 

A woman convicted of killing two of her newborn babies and keeping their bodies in freezers has received a 35-year jail sentence in Spain, her lawyer said.

The 37-year-old mother, named by Spanish newspapers as Sara Lopez Hernandez, “denied killing the babies”, her lawyer Manuel Caballero told AFP.

A court in the southern city of Seville handed her a 35-year jail term, he said, after a jury had found her guilty on September 17.

The court also ordered her to pay 300,000 euros ($384,000) in compensation to her ex-husband and her three living children.

The 37-year-old mother, named by Spanish newspapers as Sara Lopez Hernandez

Lopez went on trial after her husband found the babies in freezers in their home near Seville in 2012. Autopsies showed they had died by suffocation.

State prosecutors had demanded a 40-year jail term, branding her “a monster of a mother”.

The mother reportedly told the court she had given birth to one of the babies alone in the bath, having kept the pregnancy secret from her husband.

The local newspaper Diario de Sevilla quoted Lopez as telling the court she had not killed the babies and that she “adored” them.

She said one of the babies was stillborn and she had kept the body in the freezer so as “not to be separated” from the child.

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U.S. woman beheaded by co-worker who had been fired

Global News

OKLAHOMA CITY – A man fired from a food processing plant beheaded a woman with a knife and was attacking another worker when he was shot and wounded by a company official, police said Friday.

Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says police are waiting until the 30-year-old man is conscious to arrest him in Thursday’s attack and have asked the FBI to help investigate after co-workers at Vaughan Foods told authorities that he recently started trying to convert several employees to Islam.

The man, whom The Associated Press is not naming because he has not been charged, stabbed Colleen Hufford, 54, severing her head, Lewis said.

Lewis said the man then stabbed Traci Johnson, 43, a number of times before being shot by Mark Vaughan, a reserve sheriff’s deputy and the company’s chief operating officer.

“This was not going to stop if he didn’t stop it. It could have gotten a lot worse,” Lewis said.

Lewis said that Moore police have asked the FBI to aid in the investigation and look into the man’s background because of the nature of the attack, which comes in the wake of a series of videotaped beheadings by Islamic State militants.

A spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City told NewsOK.com that leaders of the society’s mosque in northwest Oklahoma City are on alert and taking precautions.

“They have this ISIS thing on their minds and now this guy has brought it to America,” the spokesman said.

BELOW: 911 calls released from Oklahoma beheading

Johnson and the suspect were hospitalized and in stable condition Friday, Lewis said. He does not yet know what charges will be filed.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections records show the suspect has multiple, apparently religious tattoos, including one referencing Jesus and one in Arabic that means “peace be with you.”

Lewis said the suspect had been fired in a building that houses the company’s human resources office, then immediately drove to the entrance of the business. Lewis said he didn’t know why the man was fired.

A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the attack.

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Islamic State crisis: Al-Nusra issues threat over air strikes

BBC In an online statement, the al-Qaeda-linked group called on jihadists around the world to target Western and Arab countries involved. It comes as the US and other nations widened air strikes against Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria. The Pentagon said jets hit the Syrian city of Raqqa on Saturday as well as IS positions near the Turkish border. Kurdish fighters have been defending the Kurdish town of Kobane on the Syrian side of the border since an IS advance sent about 140,000 civilians fleeing to Turkey. The US-led coalition of about 40 countries, including Arab states, has vowed to destroy IS which controls large parts of north-eastern Syria and northern Iraq. The group’s brutal tactics, including mass killings, beheadings, and abductions of members of religious and ethnic minorities, triggered the international intervention. Despite sharing radical Islamist beliefs, IS and al-Nusra Front have been rivals, recently clashing with each other in Syria. Turkish soldier monitors Kurdish refugees near border town of Suruc. 26 Sept 2014 Fighting near Kobane has sent thousands of Syrian Kurds fleeing to the Turkish border Paul Wood’s exclusive report from Kobane: ‘’The battle is far from over’’ But on Saturday, al-Nusra spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri threatened the coalition nations. “These states have committed a horrible act that is going to put them on the list of jihadist targets throughout the world,” he said. “This is not a war against al-Nusra, but a war against Islam.” Both IS and al-Nusra form part of the complex network of rebel forces fighting in Syria. The US has not said al-Nusra is also being targeted but its planes have attacked a new group it terms Khorasan, which some analysts suspect is part of al-Nusra Front. IS has also called on jihadists to launch attacks on coalition countries. On Saturday, a spokesman for the moderate opposition Free Syrian Army said it supported air strikes against IS but opposed any action that caused civilian casualties. Hussam al-Marie told the BBC that Western countries should also carry out strikes against the government in Damascus. “(The) so-called Islamic State is our enemy as much as (President) Assad’s regime is our enemy,” he said. UK warplane in Akrotiri near southern city of Limassol, Cyprus. 27 Sept 2014 British warplanes are carrying out missions over Iraq from their base at Akrotiri, Cyprus “We want Syria free from dictatorship and from terrorism. We need the support of the free world to continue this battle against the regime and Isis (IS). We are fighting on two fronts.” Meanwhile on the ground, IS shelled Kobane on Saturday and several people were killed, the BBC’s Paul Wood reports from the scene. The US Central Command announced that an IS-occupied building and two armed vehicles were destroyed near the Kobane border crossing. Several thousand Kurdish refugees, along with their sheep and cattle, are camped out at the railway line which marks the border with Turkey. Other strikes hit IS targets elsewhere in Syria and in northern Iraq on Saturday. On Friday the UK became the latest nation to join the air campaign against IS after MPs voted in favour of strikes in Iraq, but not in Syria. Two of six RAF Tornados based in Cyprus carried out their first combat mission on Saturday but returned without carrying out any strikes. The UK also has a Rivet Joint spy plane in the region. French fighter jets are already taking part in strikes in Iraq with Belgium and the Netherlands each pledging six F-16s planes and Denmark deploying seven. European countries have so far only agreed to strike targets in Iraq where the government has asked for help.

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Hong Kong Occupy Central protesters issue demands

BBC

A

 civil disobedience pro-democracy movement aiming to paralyse parts of Hong Kong with a massive sit-in has issued its demands.

Occupy Central says it wants the Chinese government to scrap rules outlining the election of the next chief executive in 2017.

It also wants the resumption of public consultation on democratic reforms.

Thousands of protesters are camped outside government headquarters in central Hong Kong.

Occupy Central leader Benny Tai announced the launch of the campaign to the cheers of supporters on Saturday.

A statement said that Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung had “failed to deliver on political reform”.

“We demand CY Leung deliver a new report on political reform to the central government, which must adequately reflect the demands of Hong Kong people for democracy,” it said.

“If CY Leung does not respond, we will escalate our actions.”

The movement had originally planned to paralyse the central business district on Wednesday, but organisers brought forward the start of the protest and changed the location in an apparent bid to harness momentum from student protests outside the government complex.

Protester stands on barricade during demonstration outside government headquarters in Hong Kong. 28 Sept 2014

Protesters outside Hong Kong’s government buildings wear protection against pepper spray

Protesters outside government headquarters in Hong Kong. 28 Sept 2014

Protesters say they will stay until they are forcibly removed

Student activists had stormed into a courtyard of the complex late on Friday and scuffled with police using pepper spray.

 

Police said they made scores of arrests including prominent student activist leader Joshua Wong.

The BBC’s Juliana Liu in Hong Kong says that, even before Mr Tai’s announcement, thousands had arrived spontaneously to support the demonstration by students.

Those outside the government buildings plan to stay until they are forcibly removed, she says.

However, some students expressed unease that their protest was apparently being taken over by Occupy Central.

“A lot of students left as soon as Occupy made the announcement they were starting their occupation,” said university graduate Vito Leung, 24.

“I think they were really forcing it. This was always a separate student movement with similar goals but different directions. I don’t think it should be brought together like this.”

The protests at government headquarters followed a week-long strike by thousands of students.

Police protect a cordon outside government offices in Hong Kong. 28 Sept 2014

Overnight, police protected a cordon outside the government offices

Unrest began when the Chinese government announced that candidates for the 2017 chief executive election would first have to be approved by a nominating committee.

Activists have argued that this does not amount to true democracy.

 

Many of those who spent the night on the streets wore plastic raincoats and goggles in case police deployed more pepper spray.

Riot police stood nearby.

“The courage of the students and members of the public in their spontaneous decision to stay has touched many Hong Kong people,” Occupy Central said in a statement.

“Yet the government has remained unmoved. As the wheel of time has reached this point, we have decided to arise and act.”

At least 34 people have been injured since the protests began, including four police officers and 11 government staff and guards, authorities said.

One police officer suffered a gash after being poked by one of the umbrellas protesters are using to deflect pepper spray.

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Saudi beheads four men for smuggling drugs

 BBC

Rights watchdog Amnesty International denounced what it called a “disturbing surge” in executions in Saudi Arabia. “The Saudi Arabian authorities must halt all executions,” the group said, adding that the executions of the two sets of brothers came “report- edly on the basis of forced confes- sions extracted through torture”. Amnesty’s statement said the lat- est executions “bring the number of state killings in Saudi Arabia in thepasttwoweeksto17-arateof more than one execution per day”. “The recent increase in executions in Saudi Arabia is a deeply disturbing de- terioration. The authorities must act immediately to halt this cruel practice,” Amnesty’s Said Boumedouha said. The group said it was contacted by rel- atives of the men on Thursday “asking for help amid fears that the executions were imminent”, and that later the fam- ily was told by the interior ministry to stop contacting the rights watchdog.

sion in Afghanistan ends this year. The audit has checked nearly 50 percent of the ballot boxes and the next stage of invalidating fraud- ulent votes will likely raise ten- sions between the candidates - who are meant to be in talks over a post-election unity government. Karzai, who has ruled since the Tal-

iban regime fell in 2001, has stayed publicly neutral in the election, al- though Abdullah has accused him of being involved in the alleged fraud. Preliminary results from the runoff vote in June showed Ghani well ahead of Abdullah, a sharp turn-around of the first round when Abdullah came top of a field of eight candidates.

 

Rights group condemns execution of two sets of brothers accused of im- porting “large quantities of cannabis”. Last updated: 18 Aug 2014 19:29

Saudi Arabia executes those found guilty of drug smuggling, apostasy and murder , among other crimes [AFP] Four Saudi men have been behead- ed by sword after being convicted of smuggling cannabis into the coun- try, the interior ministry has said. The government-owned SPA news agen- cy identified the Saudi men on Monday as two sets of brothers - Hadi and Awad al-Motleq, and Mufarraj and Ali al-Yami. They were beheaded in the southwest- ern city of Najran, found to have smug- gled “a large quantity of hashish” into the country. The government did not say when the executions took place. The beheadings raise to 32 the num- ber of executions announced in Sau- di Arabia so far this year, according to a tally by the AFP news agency.

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Gaza ceasefire ‘extended by a day’ after Cairo talks

 BBC

The Gaza ceasefire has been ex- tended for a further 24 hour af- ter talks in Cairo, Egypt says. The truce was extended un- til midnight on Tuesday (21:00 GMT) to allow talks on a more long-term arrangement.

Many Palestines were left homeless

However, Palestinian officials say discussions are continuing but that there has been “no progress” on reaching an agreement with Israel. Officials say that 2,016 Palestinians and 66 Israelis have died since Israel began its offensive on Gaza on 8 July. In a statement minutes before the expiry of a previous truce at mid-

night on Monday, Egypt released a statement confirm- ing both sides had accepted its request for an extension. The previous cease- fire came into effect last Wednesday Earlier, Prime Min- ister Benjamin Ne- tanyahu said Israeli forces would hit back hard if Hamas resumed rocket fire. He said the mili- tary was “ready for all scenarios” and were prepared “for very resolute action if fire resumes”. Negotiating teams returned to Egypt’s capital Cairo for indirect talks on Sunday. Ishraeli forces are prepared to retaliate if Gaza militants resume rocket fire Palestinian negotiator Qais Ab- dul Karim said on Sunday that Israel was seeking guaran- tees that Hamas and other fac- tions in Gaza would be disarmed. Palestinians are calling for an end to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of Gaza without preconditions, he added. Hamas says it will not give up its weapons, while Israel in- sists it must maintain some con- trol over Gaza’s crossings to pre- vent the smuggling of weapons. Israel is also concerned by the im- port of building materials into Gaza, saying they could be used by Ha- mas to rebuild its tunnel network. ‘Unprecedented destruction’ But Middle East envoy Robert Ser- ry said on Monday that the UN was ready to oversee imports of construction material sent to Gaza. Mr Serry said the imports were crucial after “the unprecedented amount of destruction” had caused an “unprece- dented level of humanitarian needs”. Approximately 16,800 hous- ing units in Gaza had been de- stroyed, Mr Serry added, affect- ing some 100,000 Palestinians. In addition, he said more than 100 installations belonging to the UN agency for Palestini- an refugees had been damaged.

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Iraq army advances towards rebel-held Tikrit

Al Jazeera

Government forces launch operation to retake Tikrit from Islamic State fighters day after Mosul dam is recaptured. Last updated: 19 Aug 2014 10:37 Iraqi forces have launched an operation to retake Tikrit, the hometown of toppled President Saddam Hussein, from Islamic State fighters. Al Jazeera sources reported that the troops were advancing from the south and southwest and heavy clashes with the armed group were taking place 10km from the the city, capital of Sa- lahidin province and located about 200km north of Baghdad. Tikrit fell to the group former- ly known as ISIL on June 11 and has since been controlled mostly by Sunni armed groups, including former members of Saddam’s ruling Baath party. “We have to remember Tikrit is an urban city so there’s going to be fighting in urban areas. The army had abandoned their positions in much of the Sun- ni heartland in June when the IS group took control of that territory,” Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reported from Erbil. “There’s a real risk of this becoming a Sunni-Shia war because the Iraqi army now is dominated by Shia’s and they’re getting the support of Shia militias,” she added. The troops’ advance from the

south was slowed down by landmines, roadside bombs and snipers installed by Is- lamic State fighters, an army major and a police captain told Reuters news agency. The offensive in Tikrit came a day after Kurdish Peshmer- ga forces regained control over the strategic Mosul dam from Islamic State fighters af- ter days of fighting, aided by dozens of air strikes from US jets and drones in the north. Islamic State fighters have seized Iraq’s second city, Mo- sul, and control large swaths of land in northern Iraq and in Neighbouring Syria. Aid operation Also on Tuesday, the UN ref- ugee agency announced that it was launching a major aid oper- ation to get supplies to more than half a million people displaced by fighting in northern Iraq. A four-day airlift of tents and other goods will begin on Wednesday to Erbil from Aqa- ba in Jordan, followed by road convoys from Turkey and Jor- dan and sea shipments from Dubai via Iran over the next 10 days, UNHCR spokes- man Adrian Edwards said. “This is a very, very significant aid push and certainly one of the largest I can recall in quite a while,” Edwards said in Geneva. “This is a major humanitari- an crisis and disaster. It con- tinues to affect many people.”

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Karzai calls for end to Afghan poll dispute

Al Jazeera

again, as results emerge from an anti-fraud audit of all eight million votes and pressure builds for the new president to be instated within weeks. “I hope that Afghanistan’s election has a result soon. The people are waiting impatiently for the result,” the AFP news agency quoted Karzai as saying. “I hope both of our brothers... reach an agreement so that Afghan- istan soon has an inclusive govern- ment in which nobody is left out.” The political stalemate has re- vived divisions that lay behind the 1990s civil war in Afghanistan. Many of Ghani’s supporters are Pashtuns in the south and east, while Abdullah’s loyalists are Ta- jiks and other northern groups. Fragile economy The uncertainty has hit an already fragile economy, which is depend- ent on aid funding that is declining as the 13-year international effort to develop Afghanistan winds down. The US has been pushing for the next president to be inaugurated by the end of the month, ahead of a NATO sum- mit that should sign off on follow-up support after NATO’s combat mis-

 The US brokered an emergency deal with the two parties amid fears of civil war in Afghanistan [AP] Afghan President Hamid Karzai has appealed for the two men vy- ing to succeed him to end their dispute over election results and save the country from further vi- olence and economic decline. Afghanistan has been paralysed for months after the first round of the presidential election failed to pro- duce a clear winner and the sec- ond round of voting in June trig- gered allegations of massive fraud. “I hope we stay united... so that our country is led towards peace and prosperity,” Karzai said in a speech in Kabul to mark In- dependence Day on Tuesday. Amid fears of a return to civil war, the United States brokered an emergency deal designed to end the impasse be- tween Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank economist, and former an- ti-Taliban fighter Abdullah Abdullah. But neither candidate ap- pears willing to back down. The dispute could potentially erupt

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Ukraine says rebels shot down fighter jet

Al Jazeera

Ukraine has blamed separatists for downing several of its aircraft since hostilities first started [Reuters] A Ukrainian fighter jet has been shot down while flying over rebel-held territory in the restive east, as Kiev accused Moscow of supplying rebels with a convoy of rocket launchers. Ukraine’s military blamed pro-Russian separatists of shooting down the MiG-29 jet on Sunday morning, close to the Russian border. Military spokesman Oleksiy Dmytrashkivsky told Al Jazeera the aircraft was downed in the Luhansk region after carrying out an attack on rebels. The military said the pilot had ejected and had been found alive and well after a search. Hours later, Ukraine’s military spokesman said a convoy of rock- et launchers had crossed over from Russia in the past 24 hours. Andriy Lysenko accused Russia of sending over three Grad missile systems, and Russian drones of violating Ukrainian air space on 10 occasions. Al Jazeera’s Emma Hayward, re- porting from the Ukrainian town of Novotroyitske, said that despite Ukrainian forces making sever- al advances into rebel-held territory, it looked like the separatists still held considerable fire-power. The flashpoint city of Luhansk is encircled by Ukrainian forces and is reportedly suffering from severe electrical outages and shortages of food and medicine. Fleeing residents told Human Rights Watch there was no gas and mobile phone coverage in the city, and it was difficult finding drinking water and food. Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city, is also suffering frequent fighting including shelling. The city’s mayor said at least 10 civilians were killed and eight injured during heavy

artillery shelling on Saturday. Fighting in Ukraine has escalated since the insurgency arose in April, with government troops steadily taking back rebel-held territory in the east. Russian aid convoy the latest fighting comes as a Russian aid convoy waiting on the Ukrainian border began edging closer to Ukraine. The delay followed fears from Kiev and the West that the convoy could be a pretext to help the re- bels in eastern Ukraine, or provide Moscow with an excuse to send

in the 20,000 troops that NATO says it has massed on the border. Russia insists the trucks are carrying water, food and medicine to suffering civilians in the region. However, in a video reportedly posted online this weekend, the leader of the self-proclaimed rebel government in the Donetsk region, Alexander Zakharchenko, said new military equipment was on its way from Russia. He said the shipment included

tanks and about 1,200 fighters who have undergone training in Russia. Ukraine’s president, Petro Poroshenko, said Ukraine had destroyed a large number of military vehicles that had recently crossed from Russia. Russia has consistently denied al- legations that it is supporting the rebels with equipment or training. The United Nations says more than 285,000 people have fled fighting in Ukraine’s east.

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Ferguson on edge as curfew takes hold

BBC

A couple of hundred remaining pro- testers chanted “No justice! No cur- few!” as the deadline took effect on Sunday morning as part of a state of emergency declared by the governor. As five armoured tactical vehicles approachedthecrowd,officersspoke through a loudspeaker: “You are in violation of a state-imposed curfew. You must disperse immediately. Fail- ure to comply may result in arrest.’’ As officers put on gas masks, a

We got guns. We are ready.’’ Racially charged protests The unrest between police and pro- testers came after Governor Jay Nixon on Saturday declared a state of emer- gency following a week of racially charged protests after police officer Darren Wilson, 28, shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown as he and a friend walked down a street that runs through an apartment complex

Remaining protesters chant- ed ‘No justice! No curfew!’ as the curfew in Ferguson took effect on Sunday [Reuters] Police said they fired smoke and tear gas canisters into a crowd of defiant protesters in the St Louis suburb of Ferguson where an un- armed black teenager had been shot by a white police officer while walking down the street.

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Israel: No Gaza deal until security needs met

Al Jazeera

 Syrian opposition leaders have called for air strikes against the Islamic State group [Reuters] The Islamic State group has execut- ed 700 members of a tribe it has been battling in eastern Syria during the past two weeks, the majority of them civilians, a monitoring group said. The killing spree happened in several villages inhabited by the al-Sheitat tribe in Deir Ezzor prov- ince, where the tribe are from, the Syrian Observatory for Hu- man Rights said on Saturday. The Observatory said many of the victims, who were Sheitat tribes- men, were beheaded after they were capturedbytheIslamicStategroup. Among the members of the Shei- tat tribe killed were 100 fighters, but the rest were civilians, the ac- tivist group, which opposes Syri- an President Bashar al-Assad, said. The men were killed in the Ghranij, Abu Hamam and Kashkiyeh villag- es of the mainly IS-controlled prov- ince of Deir Ezzor, according to the Observatory, which relies on a vast network of activists and medics on the ground for its information. Observatory head, Rami Abdel Rah- man, said that the fate of 1,800 other members of the tribe was unknown. On Saturday, the opposition Syr- ian National Coalition (SNC) called on the United States and its allies to conduct air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State group, similar to those being car- ried out against the same group’s positions in neighbouring Iraq. During a press conference in Tur- key SNC leader, Hadi al-Bahra, accused the international com- munity of double standards.

Netanyahu warned that Hamas would not walk away from the Cairo talks with any political success [AP] Israel will not agree to any long- term ceasefire in Gaza at indirect talks in Cairo unless its security needs are clearly met, Prime Min- ister Benjamin Netanyahu has said. His comments came as Egyptian-bro- kered talks between Israel and Pales- tinian factions resumed on Sunday. A five-day truce between the two sides is set to expire on Monday night. “The Israeli delegation in Cai- ro is acting with a very clear man- date to stand firmly on Israel’s security needs,” Netanyahu told ministers at the start of the week.

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Iraqi Kurds battle Islamic State fighters

Al jazeera

Kurdish peshmerga troops, backed by US air strikes, push back against Is- lamic State fighters in Iraq [Reuters] Kurdish military forces, known as peshmerga, have retaken three towns on the way to Iraq’s largest dam after a series of US air strikes. Officials told Al Jazeera that the peshmerga captured Tel Skuf, about 15km east of the Mosul dam, from Islamic State fight- ers early on Sunday morning. The town is one of several seized by the Islamic State - a group of self-declared jihadists who have cap- tured large swaths of land in north- ern Iraq and neighbouring Syria. Peshmerga forces have also retaken the towns of Ashrafia and Batnaya. Their progress was reportedly slowed down by explosive devices, includ- ing homemade bombs and land- mines, placed by the Islamic State. The US launched air strikes near the cities of Mosul and Erbil to pushbackthefighters,butthescope of the strikes has been limited. “They’re meant to target fighters,

weapons and armoured vehicles the Islamic State fighters seized from the Iraqi army - originally American weaponry,” said Al Ja- zeera’s Jane Arraf, reporting from Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish au- tonomous region. “While they’re able to take out major targets, they don’t manage to get rid of fight- ers around or inside the facilities.” The Mosul dam fell under con- trol of Islamic State fighters earli- er this month. Control of the dam could give the fighters the abil- ity to flood cities and cut off vi- tal water and electricity supplies. ‘Armoured vehicles destroyed’ Air strikes on Saturday targeted posi- tions near Erbil and the Mosul dam. “The nine air strikes conducted thus far destroyed or damaged four ar- moured personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armoured vehicle,” the US Cen- tral Command said in a statement. The Central Command said the strikes were aimed at supporting humanitarian efforts in Iraq and protecting US personnel and facil-

A Kurd soldier on a tank

ities there.After the Islamic State’s capture of the northern city of Mo- sul in June, its swift push to the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan alarmed Baghdad and last week drew the first US air strikes on Iraq since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011. In the worst violence since the peak of bloodshed in 2006-2007, Islam- ic State fighters have taken over large parts of the west and north of Iraq, killing hundreds, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee for their lives and threatening ethnic

Kurds in their autonomous province. The Islamic State has also seized large parts of Syria as it tries to build a caliphate across several countries. On Saturday, the Syrian Observa- tory for Human Rights said Islamic State fighters had killed about 700 members of a tribe in eastern Syria. The monitoring group said the kill- ings took place in several villages inhabited by the al-Sheitat tribe in Deir Ezzor province. The Observa- tory said many of the victims were beheaded after being captured.

ly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. “OnlyifthereisaclearanswertoIs- rael’s security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding,” he said, as Israel’s negotiating team made its way back to Cairo for indi- recttalkswiththePalestiniansovera long-term arrangement to end more than a month of bloodshed in Gaza. Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett, re- porting from West Jerusalem, said the prime minister faces deep divisions within his cabinet on whether to sup- port plans for a long-term ceasefire She said hardliners are opposed to any discussions of the development of a seaport in Gaza, one of the key de- mands of the Palestinian negotiators. Hamas defiant

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinians would not back down from their de- mands, central of which is a lifting of Israel’s eight-year blockade on the enclave, and that the outcome of the talks was in Israel’s hands. “We are committed to achiev- ing the Palestinian demands and there is no way back from this. All these demands are basic hu- man rights that do not need this battle or these negotiations,” Abu Zuhri told the AFP news agency. “The ball is in the Israe- li occupation’s court.” But Netanyahu warned that Ha- mas, which he said had suffered a major military blow, would not walk away from the Cairo talks with any political success. “If Hamas thinks it will make up for its military losses with a political achievement, it is wrong,” he said. “If Hamas thinks that by contin- uing the steady trickle of rocket fire it will force us to make con- cessions, it is wrong. As long as there is no quiet, Hamas will continue to suffer heavy blows. “Hamas knows we have a lot of power but maybe it thinks we don’t have enough determination and pa- tience, and even there it is wrong, it is making a big mistake,” he said. At least 1,980 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since fighting began, as well as 64 soldiers and three civilians on the Israeli side. Islamic State group ‘ex- ecutes 700’ in Syria

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US steps up military preparations over Iraq

US sends more ships to Gulf and considers drone strikes in Iraq as politicians hint they may cooperate with Iran.

The US secretary of state has said his country is considering drone strikes in Iraq and is open to cooperation with Iran, as more US ships sailed towards the Gulf to deal with lightning advances by Sunni fighters.

John Kerry on Monday said drone strikes were "not the whole answer" to the takeover of large parts of northern Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the north of Iraq. However, he said that they could be "one of the options that are important".

"When you have people murdering, assassinating in these mass massacres, you have to stop that. And you do what you need to do if you need to try to stop it from the air or otherwise." When asked if the US was willing to work with Iran to save Baghdad's government, Kerry said his country would "not rule out anything that would be constructive".

"Let's see what Iran might or might not be willing to do before we start making any pronouncements," he said in the interview with Yahoo news. Kerry's comments came as Chuck Hagel, the US defence secretary, ordered the amphibious transport, the USS Mesa Verde, to the Gulf.

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An American War Ship

US prepares for possible Iraq air strikes

The Mesa Verde can carry up to 800 US Marines, their equipment and aircraft such as the Osprey helicopter / plane hybrid and Sea Knight helicopters. John Kirby, the Pentagon's spokesman, said the Mesa Verde had already joined up with the carrier strike group led by the aircraft carrier, the USS George HW Bush.

Al Jazeera's James Bays, reporting from New York, said the Iraq crisis was expected to be discussed with Iran on the sidelines of the nuclear talks in Vienna on Monday. "The Iranian foreign minister will be there, as well as the US deputy secretary of state," said Bays. "Iran and the US are deeply concerned about Iraq."

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Brazil's evicted 'won't celebrate World Cup'

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Every four years, Brazilians decorate their streets in green and yellow, celebrating the arrival of the most anticipated sports tournament in the country. With the kick-off for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil less than one month away, the country's passion for football should be pulsating more than ever.

But there are some signs to the contrary. "World Cup for whom?" read the words painted on a wall on a street in Sao Paulo.

Many in Brazil's middle class are unhappy with the effects the World Cup has already had on their lives. The cost of living has risen in the cities hosting the games, traffic jams have worsened, and a construction boom aimed at improving urban mobility has only compounded problems, they say.

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But it is the poorest Brazilians who have borne the brunt of the World Cup preparations. According to the Popular Committee for the World Cup and Olympics, a group opposed to how the games' preparations have been handled, 250,000 people across Brazil have been forcefully removed from their houses or are being threatened with eviction. Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre are the most affected cities, it says.

Marli Nascimento's family and 117 others had been living in the low-income Parque Sao Francisco area in the town of Camaragibe, just outside of Recife, for more than 60 years. Between February 2013 and March 2014, her whole community was levelled to make room for a highway leading to Arena Pernambuco stadium, where Germany, Italy, Mexico, Japan and the US teams will play.

'Some people didn't have a place to go'

"The government didn't want to negotiate. There was one public meeting and then the official said we had five days to leave. We were a community of mostly elderly people, and were afraid they would send the police in. Some people didn't have a place to go."

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Russia cuts off gas supplies to Ukraine

State-owned Gazprom refuses to delay deadline for repayment of Kiev's gas debt after talks fail to end pricing row.

Ukraine's energy minister says Russia has cut off all natural gas supplies to his country, adding however that he guarantees reliable gas flows will continue to Russia's European clients who get imports through pipelines via Ukraine.

Ukraine faced the threat of Gazprom, the Russian natural gas producer, cutting off supplies when a 06:00 GMT deadline passed on Monday after talks on a long-running gas-pricing dispute failed to produce a breakthrough.

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The impact of gas cuts would not initially be huge because it is summer and Ukraine has gas in storage

"We have an announcement to make today that gas supplies to Ukraine have been reduced to zero," Yuri Prodan, the energy minister, said in Kiev.Gazprom said it was not extending the deadline for Ukraine to start paying off its gas debts after the discussions ended in the early hours of Monday morning in Kiev.

The outcome is likely to increase political tensions that have mounted in the past few days between Ukraine and Russia as Ukrainian government forces clashed heavily with pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine. Russia says Ukraine has a total of more than $4bn in gas debts.

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