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G7 powers warn Russia of more sanctions over Ukraine
2014.07.31 02:35:25

The leaders of the world's major developed economies condemned Russia for destabilizing Ukraine and warned it faces still tougher sanctions if it does not change course.

"Russia still has the opportunity to choose the path of de-escalation, which would lead to the removal of these sanctions," the G7 powers said on Wednesday, in a joint statement released by the White House.

"If it does not do so, however, we remain ready to further intensify the costs of its adverse actions." [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | G7

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Israeli shelling of UN school
2014.07.31 02:34:26

Valerie Amos , the under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator, has made the following statement on the Israeli shelling of UN school on Wednesday:

"I am alarmed at the intensity of the violence in Gaza after a brief humanitarian ceasefire. Today another UN school serving as a shelter has been hit in gross violation of international law. More children, civilians killed and injured. Yesterday, the UNSCO/UNOCHA Headquarters in Gaza was hit five times over a period between 1 am and 2 am Gaza’s sole power plant was also hit and is unlikely to be operable for the foreseeable future leaving most homes with an average of 2 hours of electricity per day.

She also said:

"The harrowing pictures we see every day are a reminder to us all of the terrifying ordeal being suffered by children and families in Gaza. Communities coming under rocket fire in Israel are also fearful. Protecting civilians caught in the middle of this violence remains a priority for humanitarian agencies. But we can't end the brutal conflict that continues to claim so many civilian lives in Gaza. I hope that all those with influence over the parties involved in this conflict will continue to do their utmost to agree on a lasting ceasefire and bring this conflict to an end. Let's put people first."



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Russia increasing troops, moving towards Ukraine border
2014.07.31 02:33:00

The number of Russian troops and weaponry along the border with Ukraine is increasing and is "well over 12,000", NATO military commander General Philip Breedlove said.

"We watch the materials move from inside the central military district in Russia to the area of Rostov, where they are assembled, then meet, train, and move towards the border and we see them across the border," he told reporters on Wednesday at Pristina airport after visiting NATO troops in Kosovo.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Israeli holiday makers evacuated
2014.07.31 02:31:24

Israeli holiday makers were evacuated from their Maldivian resort after one of them tore up an anti-Israeli placard equating the Nazi Swastika to the Israeli flag, an official has said.

Some 30 Israeli surfers were moved out to safety from Thulusdhoo island, near the capital island Male, as residents of the overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim archipelago protested the pulling down of anti-Israeli placards.

Tensions rose after an Israeli man tore down the placard daubed with a Swastika which had been pinned to a coconut tree.

An official at the president's office, Mohamed Shareef, said they evacuated the tourists for their own safety. He said Israelis were not banned from entering the archipelago, better known for its upmarket tourism, but the Maldives was bitter with Israel over the violence going on in Gaza.

[AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Czech Republic worries Russia sanctions could affect economy
2014.07.31 02:29:44

While most of Europe decided to go along with sanctions against Russia, the Czech Republic has expressed its opposition to broader economic sanctions move.

In a Reuters report, the Czech government said the sanctions should not hurt its economy, which is still recovering from a recession.  

"Neither for the European Union, nor for Russia, is it favorable to get into a drawn out trade war and that some new economic and political Iron Curtain appears on Ukraine's eastern border," the statement quoted Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka.

Czech exports to Russia last year came to $5.67bn - or 3.7 percent of the total - and imports accounted for 5.5 percent of the total. [Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Czech Republic

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Temporary window for a ceasefire
2014.07.31 02:24:54

The Israeli army says it has authorized a temporary window for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The proposed window commenced today for four hours between 12:00 and 16:00 GMT (3pm and 7pm Gaza time.)

The army said the window would not apply to the areas in which its soldiers were operating.

The temporary truce doesn’t include Beit Hanoun, Shujayea and Khan Younis



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Russian parliament's lower house
2014.07.31 02:23:30

"Obama will go down in history not as a peacemaker, everyone has already forgotten about his Nobel Peace Prize, but as a US president who started a new Cold War."

Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee at the Russian parliament's lower house, writing on Twitter.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Barack Obama

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Israeli military's initial response to the killing
2014.07.31 02:21:55

The Israeli military, in an initial response to the killing of 19 Palestinians in a United Nations-run school in Gaza, said fighters near the facility had fired mortar bombs and Israeli forces had shot back.

"Earlier this morning, militants fired mortar shells at (Israeli) soldiers from the vicinity of the UNRWA school in Jebalya (refugee camp). In response, soldiers fired towards the origins of fire, and we're still reviewing the incident," a military spokeswoman said.

A UN official said 19 people in the school were killed when five Israeli tank shells hit it.

[Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | UNRWA

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Germany: Sanctions may hurt, but peace is more important
2014.07.31 02:20:09

Fresh sanctions on Russia may hurt the German economy, but peace is more important, German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said on Wednesday.

"We know that we may suffer economic consequences, we know that trade with Russia is not inordinately large but it has some significance. Nonetheless at a time of war and peace, economic policy is not the main consideration."

German Economy Minister and Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Germany

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16-year-old Palestinian
2014.07.31 02:09:58

A 16-year-old Palestinian, Farah Baker, has gained a lot of attention on twitter for her real-time tweets during one of the heaviest nights of Israeli bombardment in the last three weeks.

NBC News spoke to her on Tuesday: "My two sisters, who are 14 and 6 years old, stood in the room hugging my mom, and whenever they heard the bombs they started shouting to try to drown out the noise — but it was too loud."

Click here to watch the full interview on nbcnews.com



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Qassam Brigades released a video
2014.07.31 02:08:17

The military wing of Hamas, the Qassam Brigades, released this video which appears to show a group of fighters emerging from a tunnel into Israel.

The men then run through what appears to be a rural area in Nahal Oz, before attacking an Israeli watch-tower. Israeli officials confirmed that five soldiers were killed in the raid.

The video was shown on the al-Aqsa channel, following the group's statement rejecting a ceasefire. It’s the first time Hamas has released a video of this type, showing an attack on Israel.



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas | Qassam Brigades

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Dontesk death toll continues to rise
2014.07.31 02:05:07

Officials in the Donetsk region in eastern Ukraine say 19 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists.

The regional administration said Wednesday on its website that 31 people were brought to hospitals with injuries over the previous 24 hours.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Israel's war on Hamas
2014.07.31 01:51:29

Ilene Prusher, journalist for Haaretz and TIME, writes that Israel's war on Hamas may have taken a new turn with the shelling of Gaza's only power plant.

"Tunnels and rockets are easy for Israel to explain as military targets — both directly threaten Israeli citizens. But hitting the power plant as well as government and communications buildings might indicate that Israel is taking its Operation Protective Edge to a far more punishing level — a move some more conservative members in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have long advocated. Economy Minister Naftali Bennett of the influential Jewish Home party on Tuesday said that simply destroying Hamas’ tunnel network isn’t enough, and called on Israel to continue the operation until Hamas loses control. “Hit Hamas without mercy,” Bennett said. “Day and night. On weekdays and holidays. Without respite and without rest. Until they are defeated.”"

Click here to read the full piece



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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Ukrainian forces are responsible for continued shelling in the region
2014.07.31 01:48:13

Intense fighting between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine killed dozens of civilians, soldiers and rebels, as Kiev pressed on with an offensive on Tuesday including near the wreckage of Malaysian flight MH17.

Shells hit the center of Donetsk, a city with a pre-war population of nearly a million people where residents fear they will be trapped on a battlefield between advancing Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed rebels who have vowed to make a stand, Reuters reports.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Footage of Syrian rebels blowing up a government checkpoint
2014.07.31 01:44:51

Syria's main opposition group, the Islamic Front, has posted footage on YouTube showing Syrian rebels blowing up a government checkpoint and police building in Aleppo's old city.

At least 13 government soldiers are believed to have died in the bombing.

MWC cannot verify the authenticity of the footage.

Here's another view of the attack



Tags: Syria

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Gazan families face blackouts
2014.07.31 01:27:48

As the siege of Gaza continues, those families who survive are left battling with the reality of living in a war-zone.

Power outages are just one of the battles faced by Gazan families and the blackouts will now get worse after a strike on a power station.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Straining tensions with Russia are not leading to a new cold war
2014.07.31 01:26:02

President Barack Obama escalated US economic sanctions against Russia on Tuesday for its aggression against Ukraine but dismissed suggestions the growing chill in US-Russian relations marked the start of a new Cold War.

"It's not a new Cold War," Obama told reporters. "What it is, is a very specific issue related to Russia's unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path," AFP reported.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | Barack Obama

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Hospital struck by two Israeli tank shells
2014.07.31 01:16:02

Hasan Ajarami, director of al-Quds hospital in Gaza, confirms that the 8th floor of the hospital was struck by two Israeli tank shells in the last hour. The floor was empty at the time and there were no injuries. The hospital will remain open and is operating normally.

Ajarami said "no where in Gaza is safe. We will keep treating patients".



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Australia focused on MH17 crash site, not sanctions
2014.07.31 01:14:37

The United States and Europe has announced tough new sanctions targeting Russia's key financial, arms and energy sectors.

But Australia said it already had some sanctions in place, having imposed travel bans and targeted financial sanctions in response to the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in March.

"I am not saying that we might not, at some point in the future, move further, but at the moment our focus is not on sanctions, our focus is on bringing home our dead as quickly as we humanly can."

Tony Abbott, Australian PM



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Australia

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UN schools
2014.07.31 01:02:53

Two UN schools have been hit since the beginning of Israel's Operation Protective Edge on July 8. Three government run schools have also been targeted.



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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