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Kurdish election gains are ‘historic’ boost for inclusion in Turkey

Kurds in TurkeyThe surprising success of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HDP party in this weekend’s election was a historic moment for one of the country’s — and world’s — longest-persecuted ethnic minorities. By capturing 13 percent of the national vote in Sunday’s poll, the HDP became the first pro-Kurdish political faction to surpass the minimum threshold and gain representation in parliament for Turkey's 14 million Kurds.

But analysts said the bigger story was the unprecedented voting electoral alliance mustered by the leftist HDP. For the first time, a Kurdish-focused party had tabled the traditional platform of Kurdish self-rule and peace talks to end the decades-long conflict between Ankara and the Kurdish PKK insurgency in the southeast, in order to present a mainstream liberal opposition to the dominant AKP party. HDP voters and candidates included Turkish liberals, women and a spectrum of marginalized ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. The strategy paid off.


Report: Israel built, exploded 'dirty bombs' in nuclear test

Israel tests dirty bombIsrael built and exploded so-called "dirty bombs," explosives laced with nuclear material, to examine how such explosions would affect the country if it were to be attacked by the crude radioactive weapons, the Haaretz daily newspaper reported Monday.

Israeli defense officials and scientists refused to comment on the report when reached by The Associated Press. However, Israel has what is widely considered to be an extensive nuclear weapons program that it has never declared.


Czech FM slams settlements, warns backing Israel becoming more difficult

Czech FM slams settlementsThe Czech Republic may find it increasingly difficult to maintain its largely pro-Israel stance should the Jewish state fail to take viable steps toward establishing a Palestinian state and achieving regional peace, the European country’s foreign minister warned Monday.

Speaking during an interview with the Walla news site, Lubomír Zaorálek declared that Israel will likely suffer international isolation and be labeled a racist state if it doesn’t change its policies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.


Russia, Qatar could lose World Cups; Morocco 'outbid' for 2010 event

Russia, Qatar may lose WorldRussia and Qatar could lose their 2018 and 2022 World Cup soccer tournaments, respectively, if evidence surfaces that they "bought" their hosting rights with bribes, a FIFA executive said Sunday.

Domenico Scala, the independent chairman of FIFA's audit and compliance committee, told Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung on Sunday the respective nations would lose their World Cups independently or collectively if such evidence is discovered -- which, he noted, has not happened so far.


Saudi court upholds blogger's 10 years and 1,000 lashes

Raif BadawiSaudi Arabia's Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told news agency AFP, "this is a final decision that is irrevocable."  In March, the kingdom expressed "surprise and dismay" at international criticism over the punishment.


American School in Japan admits covering up teacher’s sex abuse for decades

American Scnool in JapanThe scandal-hit American School in Japan admitted Friday that it concealed decades of sexual abuse it said was committed by former teacher Jack Moyer and offered its first public apology since the scandal broke in March last year.

“Survivors attempted many times to expose abuse, and we are ashamed to report that they were rebuffed or ignored by the school,” the international school’s board of directors said in a message to alumni on Friday.


Israeli rights groups join battle to save symbol of Arab resistance to evictions

Israeli rights groupIn the cool of evening, the Palestinian villagers of Khirbet Susiya go about their business.

A beekeeper in a protective suit and veil moves among his hives with a smoke can. Others use the warm wind blowing from the nearby Negev desert to separate rough legumes from chaff. Shepherds move their animals across the low, rolling yellow hills while children run about the playground.


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