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Thursday, May 28th

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Five global banks to pay $5.7 billion in fines over rate rigging

rate rigginhg banks finedFive of the world's largest banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup Inc, were fined roughly $5.7 billion, and four of them pleaded guilty to U.S. criminal charges over manipulation of foreign exchange rates, authorities said on Wednesday.

A fifth bank, UBS AG, will plead guilty to rigging benchmark interest rates, the U.S. Justice Department said.

U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup will pay $550 million and $925 million in criminal fines, respectively, as part of their guilty pleas.

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Israeli prime minister calls off West Bank bus segregation

palestinian workersIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday called off a proposed plan to segregate Palestinians from Israelis on West Bank buses, overruling his own defense minister following a flurry of criticism in an attempt to avert the first crisis of his new government.

An official in the prime minister's office said Netanyahu called Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to tell him he found his proposal "unacceptable" and the two then decided to freeze the plan.

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Steinem, Nobel laureates in North Korea for march across DMZ

Women march for peaceA group of female peace activists including Gloria Steinem and two Nobel laureates arrived in North Korea's capital on Tuesday for a march across the Demilitarized Zone that they hope will bring world attention to calls for a resolution to tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

The rare crossing of the DMZ, approved by both Koreas, is to take place Sunday.

North and South Korea have technically been in a state of war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice, not a peace treaty. Their border along the DMZ is one of the most heavily fortified in the world and it is highly unusual for crossings to be allowed.

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Ethiopian Jews hold protest in Tel Aviv against racism

ethiopian JewsAbout 1,000 Israeli Ethiopian Jews have held a rally in Tel Aviv to protest against institutional racism in Israeli society.

Monday night's march passed without incident under the watch of dozens of security officers, a police spokesman said.
Demonstrators chanted slogans demanding "social justice" and "the arrest of racist police".

Ethiopian Jews in Israel have staged several rallies against alleged police brutality and racism in recent weeks, and some gatherings have turned violent as they clashed with security forces.

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Israel Hands Peace Talks to Minister Who Opposes 2 States

Silvan ShalomIsrael’s new hardline interior minister, Silvan Shalom, was appointed the country’s chief peace negotiator for any future peace talks with the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appointed Shalom, a senior member of Netanyahu’s Likud Party and a former foreign minister, on Monday, according to Israeli media reports.

Shalom has repeatedly said that he does not support the establishment of a Palestinian state, a key component of any peace deal, and has backed expansion of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian lands, Haaretz reported.

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Italy, France, Germany sign European drone project

drones to be made in EuropeItaly, France and Germany agreed on Monday to develop a European drone program for reconnaissance and surveillance, seeking to inject momentum into a proposal first considered in 2013 to reduce reliance on U.S. and Israeli technology.

In a joint signing ceremony, the defense ministers of the three countries pledged a two-year study to lay the basis for a European drone to be operating by 2025 and said Spain and Poland had expressed interest in joining the plan.

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IS jihadists take Ramadi but pinned back in Palmyra

Ramadi falls to ISISThe Islamic State group sealed its capture of Ramadi Sunday after a dramatic pullout by Iraqi forces but was prevented by Syrian troops from taking the heritage site of Palmyra.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi urged government forces to hold fast in Ramadi and prevent IS from making further gains, saying they would have air cover and Shiite militia reinforcements.

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