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Thu, 17 Aug 2017
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'Nowhere to go': Palestinian family on brink of eviction by Israel from home of 50yrs

© Ahmad Gharabl / AFP
A general view shows the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in mostly Arab East Jerusalem.
An elderly Palestinian couple have told RT they have "nowhere to go" if Israel carries out a decision to evict them and their relatives from the home they have owned in East Jerusalem for over 50 years. The EU is already urging Israel to reconsider the step.

The Shamasne family have been living in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood since 1964, when the area was under Jordanian rule. When Israel took over East Jerusalem in 1967, nobody claimed the rights to the property.

The issue came to light after an Israeli right-leaning settler group, the Israel Land Fund, found the previous owners of the house several years ago.

"We lived for 53 years in this house, it is a great injustice. Israel should give us back our land. They take our homes and claim it is theirs," 76-year-old Fahmiah Shamasne told RT.

Under Israeli law, property proven to have been owned by Jews before 1948 can be reclaimed. Four years ago the Shamasnes lost their appeal to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the family must hand over their home.

No Entry

No going back: Crimean officials say Ukraine tourist blockade attempts have failed

© Sergey Malgavko / Sputnik
Senior Crimean officials have said that despite the attempts of Ukrainian authorities to isolate the peninsular and damage its tourist-oriented economy, the flow of visitors has remained constant with many of them coming from Ukraine.

"An attempt to impose a 'tourist blockade' of Crimea has drowned in the thousands-strong torrent of Ukrainian citizens who, despite of all propaganda and lengthy queues, did not change their decision to visit Crimea," the head of the Crimean governmental committee for inter-ethnic relations, Zaur Smirnov, said in comments with RIA Novosti.

Smirnov said that the Ukrainian government had ordered border guards to create artificial delays at transition points, forcing Ukrainians to spend hours at transition points at the Crimean border. He added that in the end this plan had failed, however, as the interest in Crimea among tourists is only increasing.

"The Kiev officials got scared of their own citizens' outrage and of a social mutiny at border checkpoints," Smirnov said.


San Francisco a "sanctuary city," takes DOJ to court in showdown over federal grants

© West Coast Surfer / Global Look Press
San Francisco, a "sanctuary city," stands to lose $1.5 million in police-related federal funding, but now the city and California are suing the US Department of Justice over this rule. Some $500,000 of the funding is distributed by the federal government.

On Monday, San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera slapped the US Department of Justice with the lawsuit.

Sanctuary cities, a generic term for cities not taking up federal immigration enforcement responsibilities, have been threatened with funding freezes by the DOJ. The Justice Department has warned that the federal government will withhold grant money for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Program, which subsidizes police equipment and vehicles as well as community and social programs.


The insanity continues: Protesters tear down Confederate statue outside North Carolina courtroom

Around 100 protesters in Durham, North Carolina, have toppled a Civil War memorial statue honoring Confederate soldiers. They chanted, "No cops, no KKK, no fascist USA" and "We are the revolution" before tying up and destroying the 93-year-old monument.

The gathering started out small Monday evening, WTVD reported. Demonstrators rallied in solidarity with other nationwide protests; responding to the tragically deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. Those protests arose out of the ordered removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The statue of a generic Confederate soldier outside the courthouse in Durham had an engraving memorializing "the boys in gray." Activists threw a nylon rope around the soldier and pulled it off its pedestal.


Putin: Masterminds of suicide 'death groups' are no different from murderers

© Thanasis Zovoilis / Getty Images
People who encourage minors to join groups promoting suicide are no different from murderers, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. Russia is now struggling with 'death groups,' which are believed to contribute to teen suicides.

"Look, they [the organizers of 'death groups,' which urge minors to commit suicide] bring [the young people] to suicide. What's that? It is an attempt upon the life of a man," Putin said on Tuesday. He added that the organizers even make money on their activities.

"So what makes them different from murderers? Right, nothing does," the president said at a meeting with Vladimir Vasiliev, the head of United Russia MPs.

Vasiliev said Russia has found itself in a difficult situation with groups promoting suicide, which mostly affect the "fragile mentality" of minors, and attention should be given to the problem.


Azerbaijan accuses Israeli defense company of attacking Armenian outpost with drone

© Sputnik/ Vladimir Vyatkin
An Israeli drone manufacturer has been accused of attempting to test one of their weapons systems on an Armenian military position on behalf of Israel's defense partner, Azerbaijan.

The complaint was levied against Aeronautics Defense Systems Ltd (ADS), an Israeli defense contractor that specializes in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and reconnaissance systems. So the complaint goes, ADS were demonstrating their Aeronautics Defense Orbiter 1K drone to Azerbaijani military leaders in Baku. The Azerbaijanis then asked the Israeli contractors to fly their drone, which was equipped as a "suicide" drone to deliver an 2-pound explosive payload, at a nearby Armenian military position.

The two ADS operators sent to demonstrate the drone refused to follow the request despite threats from their superiors, according to the complaint. Two higher-ranking members of the delegation then attempted to fulfill the Azerbaijani wish, but as they were not experienced drone operators they missed their target. No injuries or damage were reported.


Texas convicts 89 white supremacist gang members and associates

© Carlo Allegri / Reuters
An investigation targeting white supremacists with long and violent criminal histories and who sold illegal drugs in north Texas has ended with 89 convictions - the largest prosecution of violent white supremacist gangs in US history.

On Monday, in the Northern District of Texas, US District Judge Jane Boyle sentenced the 89th and final defendant in a case that has lasted two years.

Members convicted in the lawsuit belong to groups such as the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas, the Aryan Circle, the Irish Mob, the Dirty White Boys, the White Knights, and Peckerwood.

Assistant US Attorney P.J. Meitl prosecuted.

The final defendant, Jeramy Weatherall, 29, of Dallas, Texas, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison. Weatherall pleaded guilty in March to one count of possession of Methamphetamine with the intent to distribute. The combined sentence for all members convicted in the case is 1,070 years in federal prison, a press release stated.

Two other people were also charged in the case. However, one is a fugitive believed to be somewhere in Mexico, while the other died before the trial began.

Arrow Down

"Largest epidemic in the world": Yemen's man-made cholera epidemic pushing its health service to brink of collapse

© Khaled Abdulla / Reuters
A man infected with cholera lies on a bed at a cholera treatment center in Sanaa, Yemen
The cholera outbreak in Yemen which began in April, has now claimed 2,000 lives and has infected 500,000. The nation has been suffering from what the World Health Organization (WHO) describes as the "largest epidemic in the world" amid a civil war and non-stop bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia.

While the outbreak slowed in July in the worst affected areas, the waterborne disease continues to spread to new areas, creating additional strain on the limited resources available to deal with the crisis.


Until Gaza is free, Israel will never be free

© AP Photo/ Adel Hana
The abandonment of 1.8 million men, women, and children to their fate in Gaza by the so-called international community is one of the most grievous moral outrages of our time.

Let us not mince words: Gaza in 2017 is a vast open air prison whose inmates have committed no crime or transgression other than that of being Palestinians who dare assert the right to self-determination on land that has long been coveted by an oppressor whose flagrant disregard for international law and human rights is beyond dispute.

Since 2007 the Gaza Strip - comprising a narrow stretch of land which hugs the eastern Mediterranean Coast, and which at 40km long and 12km (at its widest point) is one of the most densely populated parts of the world - has existed in a state of unyielding siege and blockade. Nothing can enter or leave via its Erez border crossing with Israel to the north, or its Rafah border crossing with Egypt to the south, without the consent of the Israeli authorities in agreement with their Egyptian counterparts.


Israel detains diamond magnate and four others in money laundering probe

Beny Steinmetz
Israeli police on Monday detained diamond magnate Beny Steinmetz and four others as part of an international money laundering investigation, authorities said.

Tal Silberstein, an adviser to Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern, was also among those detained, as was the acting chairman of Israeli telecommunications firm Bezeq.

It was the second time Steinmetz had been detained by Israeli authorities since December, when he was placed under house arrest as part of a corruption probe involving mining deals in the African nation of Guinea.

Besides the Guinea investigation, the Israeli billionaire was charged in Romania last year with forming an organized criminal group and money laundering in a property-related case that cost the state $145 million.

Israeli police said five suspects had been detained on Monday morning for questioning on suspicions including money laundering, fraud, forgery, obstruction of justice and bribery.

Homes and offices were also searched.