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Israeli ministers approve new restrictions on dovish groups

Israeli ministers crack down on dovish groupsIsraeli Cabinet ministers on Sunday gave a preliminary approval for a bill that imposes restrictions on nonprofit groups that receive foreign funding, drawing accusations it is meant to crack down on government critics.

The bill, proposed by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and approved by a committee of ministers, would affect organizations that receive more than half their funding from a foreign government.


Floods of biblical proportions leave UK cities, towns and villages under water

UK floodsIt was the day the floodwaters inexorably advanced across the Pennines, leaving much of the north of England sodden and beleaguered. From Greater Manchester in the north-west to parts of North Yorkshire some 50 miles to the east, Boxing Day 2015 will be remembered as the day the rains came.

In Todmorden, in West Yorkshire’s Calder Valley, Rebecca Marshall was last night facing the grim prospect of having to abandon her home as the floodwaters slowly rose around her house. The incessant rains had left the little town cut off after all the roads in and out were flooded.


Belgian college's concerns over Paris attacker ignored: newspapers

Belgian college concerns ignoredA police commission is interviewing staff at a Brussels college after education authorities failed to act on concerns that a student who later became one of the Paris suicide bombers had been radicalized, two Belgian newspapers said on Saturday.

Bilal Hadfi, 20, named as one of the attackers who detonated a suicide bomb outside the Stade de France in Paris on Nov. 13, attended the Anneessens-Funck college in Brussels until he dropped out in February to travel to Syria.


Top Syrian rebel leader killed in air strike

Syrian rebel leader killedA top Syrian rebel leader and head of the most powerful insurgent group in the eastern suburbs of Damascus was killed in an aerial raid that targeted the group's headquarters, rebel sources and the Syrian army said on Friday.

The death of Zahran Alloush, 44, head of Jaysh al Islam, is a big blow to rebel control of the rural eastern suburban area of Damascus known as al Ghouta, the rebels said.


Jailed reporter sends colleagues 'Season's Greetings' from Iran prison

Jason RezaianJailed Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian, who has been held in prison in Iran for more than 500 days, was allowed a Christmas Day visit from his wife and mother on Friday.

The Post's Tehran correspondent was handed an unspecified prison term last month, following his conviction on spying and other charges.

Rezaian, 39, who holds both U.S. and Iranian citizenship, was charged with espionage, collaboration with hostile governments, gathering classified information and spreading propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Post editors have repeatedly denied the accusations against their reporter and called for his release.


Late-night earthquake rattles Pakistani capital, Afghanistan

Earthquake afghanistanA strong earthquake shook parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan early Saturday, rattling buildings and forcing sleeping residents out of their homes.

More than 30 people were injured as houses or walls collapsed in the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, said emergency rescue service spokesman Bilal Ahmed Faizi. A total of 41 people were taken to hospitals in the city, according to doctors and rescue officials.


Kei Taniguchi, pioneering female mountaineer, dies in fall from peak

Kei TaniguchiThe Japanese mountaineer Kei Taniguchi has died in an accident while climbing in the snowy Daisetsuzan range in northern Japan’s Hokkaido. She was 43.

Taniguchi, who climbed Mount Everest in 2007, became the first woman to win the prestigious Piolet d’Or (Golden Ice Axe) mountaineering award in 2009. A friend and fellow climber, Hiroshi Hagiwara, said on Friday that she fell while taking a break on Mount Kurodake, a peak of 1,984 metres (6,510ft), as she and four companions were descending.


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