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Sunday, Feb 14th

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Despite Protests, Japan to Restart 2 Nuclear Reactors

Japanese protest reactor openingsA Japanese court has cleared the way for Kansai Electric Power Co. to restart two of its nuclear reactors early next year.

The Fukui District Court on Thursday removed an injunction preventing the operation of Kansai Electric’s Takahama No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear reactors, Tadashi Matsuda, a representative for the citizen’s group that initiated the case, said by phone. The court also rejected a demand by local residents to block the resumption of reactor operations at Kansai Electric’s Ohi plant.

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Deadly fire rips through Saudi hospital

Fire in Saudi hospitalAt least 25 people have been killed and 107 injured in a fire at a hospital in Jizan, Saudi Arabia, authorities said.

The Saudi civil defence directorate said in a post on Facebook that the fire at the Jizan General Hospital started at about 2.30am local time.

It is not yet known what caused the blaze, which began on the first floor of the hospital. The intensive care unit and maternity ward are both on the first floor.

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Amnesty: Russian airstrikes in Syria killed 200 civilians; possible war crimes

Russians kill 200 civilians- Amnesty International has criticized Russia for conducting airstrikes in Syria that allegedly killed at least 200 civilians within two months.

Although Moscow insists it only targets "terrorist" groups, the human rights organization accuses Russia of using cluster bombs in civilian areas, which could constitute war crimes. As an ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia deems both the Islamic State and rebel groups opposing Assad as "terrorists."

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Israeli attacks on a dissident soldiers’ group could backfire

Israeli attacks on dissidentsYehuda Shaul was an infantryman in the Israeli army in Hebron during the second intifada. But in recent weeks, he and his group of veterans have been vilified by right-wing organizations and mainstream politicians in a public campaign against Israeli groups critical of their country’s occupation of Palestinian territories.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon forbade serving Israeli military personnel from cooperating or meeting with representatives of Shaul’s group, Breaking the Silence (BTS). Education Minister Naftali Bennet issued a similar order to all public schools. And right-wing advocacy group Im Tirzu published a report accusing most Israeli human rights groups of being “foreign agents” because of the funding they receive from friendly states. That report was accompanied by a video and an advertising campaign accusing specific human rights activists of “defending terrorists” and “representing foreign interests.” Those named all received death threats after the ads.

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Calls for David Cameron to step in after US bars British Muslim family from trip

UK MP Stella CreasyThe prime minister is facing calls to challenge the US over its refusal to allow a British Muslim family to board a flight from Gatwick to Los Angeles, to visit Disneyland.

Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow, has written to the prime minister after a family party of 11, about to embark on a dream holiday for which they had saved for months, were approached by officials from US homeland security as they queued in the departure lounge and told their authorisation to travel had been cancelled, without further explanation.

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Canada aims to double intake of Syrian refugees next year

Syrian refugees in CanadaCanada’s minister of immigration and citizenship says the country’s resettlement program for Syrian refugees could double its intake by the end of next year to 50,000.

John McCallum was in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Sunday, meeting with Syrian families preparing to board flights to Canada. He told one family: “Everyone in Canada is waiting to meet you.”

Canada’s new Liberal government is pushing forward with its pledge to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February.

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Israeli minister quits amid claims of sexual misconduct

Silvan ShalomA top official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is resigning amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Interior Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said in a statement Sunday that he is stepping down. He has denied the allegations.

Israel's attorney general has ordered police to investigate after at least seven women said Shalom sexually harassed them.

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