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Berlin Zoo seeks Jewish members stripped of shares during Nazi era
More than 70 years after the Berlin Zoo forced Jewish shareholders out of its ranks, the institution is trying to come clean about its own dark chapter during the Nazi era. A Berlin historian is combing through thousands of names to identify members made to sell their shares back to the zoo at a loss under the Third Reich, and has begun tracking down their descendants ahead of publishing her ...
Israel denies Hezbollah killing, warns against attack
Israel denied accusations Wednesday that it was behind the assassination of a top Hezbollah commander and warned the Lebanese Shiite movement against any attack. "If Hezbollah attacks Israeli territory our response will be firm and painful," Deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon was quoted by army radio as saying following the accusations. Early on Wednesday, Hezbollah announced that Hassan Hawlo ...
Israel Provides Humanitarian Aid to Syrians
Israel acknowledged for the first time Tuesday that it is providing humanitarian aid to victims of the civil war inside neighboring Syria, saying it has funneled food and other emergency supplies to embattled villages just across the frontier.
Israel 'clears West Bank land for settler homes'
Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Israel has bulldozed land slated for settler homes in the West Bank, a local official said Tuesday, ahead of a visit by the top US diplomat to boost peace talks. "The occupation (Israeli) authorities informed us, through notifications to landowners, that new settler homes would be built in the village of Al-Mazraa al-Qabaliya," Abdallah Lawadeh told AFP ...
Israel invited into Western club at UN rights council
Western nations Monday formally invited Israel into their club within the UN Human Rights Council, a key step in renewing cooperation between the Jewish state and the global watchdog. "Today a letter was sent to Israel, it's an invitation for them to join the Western European countries group," a diplomatic source told AFP. "Now they are waiting for Israel's response," the source said. Israel has ...
Rocket fire kills 17 in Syrian city of Aleppo
Rockets fired into a government-controlled district of Aleppo killed at least 17 people in the northern Syrian city on Wednesday, state media and a monitoring group said. Photographs from the incident in Meridien and Furqan, two adjacent neighborhoods in western Aleppo, showed pools of blood on the pavements and a crater in the road where one of the rockets appeared to have landed. The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the casualties included nine civilians and five members of President Bashar al-Assad's security forces. Assad's forces have gained ground to the southwest of Aleppo and carried out air strikes, dropping improvised barrel bombs from helicopters on the town of al-Bab to the northeast.
By Laila Bassam and Dominic Evans BEIRUT (Reuters) - A Hezbollah commander who fought in Syria's civil war was shot dead outside his home in Lebanon on Wednesday in a killing which the militant Shi'ite Muslim group blamed on Israel. Hassan al-Laqqis was shot in the head from close range by a silenced gun as he arrived home at around midnight in the Hadath district of Beirut, a source close to Hezbollah said. Israel, which fought a 34-day war with Hezbollah in 2006, denied any role in the shooting and hinted that the motive may have been Hezbollah's military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in his war with Sunni Muslim rebels.
Ukraine PM warns protesters as delegation seeks financial help in Moscow
By Richard Balmforth and Thomas Grove KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's prime minister warned protesters trying to blockade government buildings on Wednesday they would be punished for any "illegal acts", as officials went to Moscow seeking aid to avoid a financial meltdown. Meeting the Ukrainian delegation, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said their country needed "stability and order", in the two sides' first high-level talks since Kiev pulled out of a planned trade alliance with the European Union, provoking mass protests. Prime minister Mykola Azarov also accused the opposition of trying to provoke violence, and tension remained high in Kiev with protesters confronting ranks of black-helmeted riot police in front of President Viktor Yanukovich's main offices after his government's U-turn in trade policy back towards Russia.
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a police intelligence headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding dozens more, a health official said. Hospitals in the city, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, counted six people killed and 47 wounded, said Sabah Amir Ahmed, head of the health directorate in Kirkuk. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Sunni Muslim insurgents linked to al Qaeda have regularly hit targets linked to the Shi'ite-led government and security services since the start of 2013. Areas around Kirkuk are strongholds of al Qaeda, according to security officials.
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP) ? The Newport Jazz Festival is adding a third day of music to mark its 60th anniversary. The focus will be on new and emerging acts, but at least one familiar name will be on hand to help kick off one of the world's top jazz festivals on Aug. 1.
LOS ANGELES (AP) ? "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker was killed by impact and fire in a crash that occurred while he was a passenger in a Porsche driven by his friend, according to an autopsy released Wednesday.
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower in choppy trading on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 falling for a fourth session in a row, as U.S. economic data sparked speculation on how soon before the Federal Reserve starts to wind down its stimulus program. An ADP National Employment Report, which showed private employers added 215,000 jobs in November and topped economists' expectations, was among the latest reports suggesting the economy's outlook was brightening. ...
By Jason Lange WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers stepped up hiring in some parts of the country in October and early November as the economy expanded at a "modest to moderate pace," the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. The Fed's Beige Book report, a collection of anecdotes from the central bank's business contacts across the nation, could bolster the view that the robust growth in payrolls in October carried over into November. It also supports the view that the Fed is nearing the point where it will reduce monthly bond purchases aimed at propping up the labor market. "Hiring showed a modest increase or was unchanged" across the country, according to the report, which was prepared by the Cleveland Fed with responses collected on or before November 22.
By David Ingram and Aruna Viswanatha WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department plans to bring mortgage fraud cases against several financial institutions early in 2014, using as a template the case that ended last month in JPMorgan Chase & Co's $13 billion settlement, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said on Wednesday. In an interview with Reuters, Holder would not say which companies or how many could face lawsuits but said the Justice Department was in contact with them and it was hard to say whether the talks would lead to settlements. That settlement included a $2 billion penalty to resolve civil fraud claims from the Justice Department and an acknowledgement from JPMorgan of problems in the securities it sold in the run-up to the financial crisis. At the time, the department sent subpoenas to more than a dozen financial institutions and warned of action.
By Lucia Mutikani WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. private-sector hiring rose in November at the fastest clip in a year, opening the door wider for the Federal Reserve to start trimming its bond purchases within the next few months. Other data on Wednesday also pointed to a brightening outlook, with the services industry expanding at a decent pace last month and exports hitting a record high in October. There was also good news on the housing market as new home sales posted their largest increase in nearly 33-1/2 years. "The economy seems to be building enough momentum that growth should accelerate as we move through the first part of next year," said Joel Naroff, chief economist at Naroff Economic Advisers in Holland, Pennsylvania.
A University of Guelph student's decision to stream his suicide attempt on the internet this past weekend raises the obvious question about what would drive him to want to end his life. But equally perplexing is the fact that 200 people signed up to an online chat room to watch him do it.