02132016Sat
Last update: Sat, 13 Feb 2016 01pm

Europe

World - Europe

EU calls on Israel to halt demolition of Palestinian housing BRUSSELS: The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to halt the demolition of Palestinian housing, some of which was EU-funded, and reiterated its opposition to expanding Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank."In the past weeks there have been a number of developments in Area C of the West Bank, which risk undermining the viability of a future Palestinian state and driving the parties yet further apart," the EU diplomatic service said in a statement.It referred to Israel's decision on January 25 to declare 154 hectares (380 acres) of land near Jericho in the West Bank as state land, with reported plans to build around 150 new residences for settlers.This was followed by the demolition of several Palestinian residences in the south Hebron hills on Wednesday."This is particularly concerning both because of the extent of the demolitions and also the number of vulnerable individuals affected, including children who need ...

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Five Czech skiers killed in Austrian Alps avalanche VIENNA: Five skiers from the Czech Republic were killed Saturday in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps that also engulfed 17 other people, police said.Two of the skiers were injured, but not critically, they added.The five fatalities, men and women, belonged to two groups of off-piste skiers in a valley south of Innsbruck in western Austria.Around mid-day, a third group of skiers had raised the alert about the avalanche at an altitude of some 2,000 ...

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Merkel urges better protection of EU external borders BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Saturday for better protection at the European Union's external borders in order to maintain the passport-free Schengen zone. Merkel, who opened her country's borders to Syrians fleeing civil war last summer, is under increasing pressure to limit the influx of migrants after more than a million arrived in Germany last year.A poll published this week showed popular support for Merkel had tumbled to a four-and-a-half-year low with more ...

World - Europe

EU says Turkey must keep border open to Syrian refugees AMSTERDAM: Top EU officials on Saturday reminded Turkey of its international obligations to keep its frontiers open to refugees as thousands fleeing a new government offensive in Syria remained camped out along its southern border.Up to 20,000 Syrians may be stranded on the border, officials say, trying to get into Turkey which already hosts more than two million refugees from the bloody conflict."The Geneva convention is still valid which states that you have to take ...

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UK press takes swipe at Assange and UN panel LONDON: British newspaper columnists on Saturday took aim at Julian Assange and the UN panel that found the anti-secrecy campaigner had been "arbitrarily detained".The WikiLeaks founder, who faces a rape allegation in Sweden, urged Britain to let him walk free from Ecuador's London embassy following the panel's findings Friday.The 44-year-old Australian, who has been in the embassy for approaching four years, has refused to go to Sweden, fearing deportation to the United States over WikiLeaks' ...

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Zika-hit nations should allow access to contraception, abortion: UN GENEVA: The United Nations on Friday urged countries hit by the dangerous Zika virus to let women have access to contraception and abortion.The UN human rights office said the South American countries now urging women to hold off getting pregnant over Zika fears had to offer them the possibility of controlling their fertility."How can they ask these women not to become pregnant, but not offer... the possibility to stop their pregnancies?" spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly told ...

World - Europe

Stick to path of reforms: Merkel to Portugal BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday urged Portugal to stick to its commitments on economic reforms, as concerns grow that the new Socialist-led government was easing off on budget discipline."The predecessor of Prime Minister Antonio Costa led Portugal through difficult times," she noted, urging Lisbon to "do everything to stay on this path" of reforms."Together with solid public finances, it would lead to jobs," she told journalists after hosting Costa for talks."It is important ...