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Flooding leaves 50 dead, up to 20 missing in southern Congo

Flooding in CongoFlooding this week in the Democratic Republic of Congo port city of Boma killed at least 50 people and left another 10,000 homeless, authorities told Reuters on Wednesday.

Torrential rain on Monday night caused the Kalamu River to overflow, flooding two districts of the southwestern city, said Therese-Louise Mambu, health minister for Kongo Central province.

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Putin: Russia, Turkey guarantee ceasefire in Syria

Syria truce reachedRussian President Vladimir Putin says an agreement has been reached on a countrywide ceasefire for Syria, with Russia and Turkey to act as guarantors.

He said the truce would begin at midnight on Thursday (22:00 GMT) and be followed by peace talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and the Syrian opposition in the Kazakh capital Astana.

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Benjamin Netanyahu subject of criminal investigation – report

Netanyahu under investigationIsrael’s attorney general has ordered police to open a criminal investigation into two unspecified matters involving the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s Channel 10 television has said.

A spokeswoman for Israel’s justice ministry declined to respond to the report. Netanyahu has in the past denied wrongdoing in the purchase of submarines from Germany, where media have reported a potential conflict of interest involving his lawyer.

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Israel postpones settlement approval in bid to calm relations with U.S.

Israeli settlement approval postponedIsrael postponed a vote Wednesday to authorize construction of additional Jewish settlement homes in East Jerusalem to avoid straining U.S.-Israeli relations, a local official said.

Final approval for the building of 492 new homes in the primarily Palestinian but Israeli-occupied sector of the city was scheduled by the city's Municipal Planning and Construction Committee. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the committee to postpone the vote in an apparent attempt to soothe relations with the United States, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

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Future of two-state solution in Mideast in jeopardy: Kerry

Kerry speechU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned on Wednesday that the future of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was in jeopardy, and laid out parameters for future peace talks, saying the United States could not stay silent.

In a speech just weeks before the Obama administration hands over power to President-elect Donald Trump, Kerry defended the U.S. decision to allow the passage of a U.N. resolution last week demanding an end to Israeli settlements, saying it was intended to preserve the possibility of a two-state solution.

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Palestinian MK placed under house arrest

Plestinian MK arrested by IsraelA Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament has been placed under house arrest for 10 days after he was accused of smuggling mobile phones and SIM cards to Palestinian prisoners.

An Israeli court in Rishon LeZion, a city near Tel Aviv, issued the decision on Tuesday.

Basel Ghattas, of the Joint List, a predominantly Palestinian electoral coalition in the Israeli Knesset, was arrested last week after he surrendered parliamentary immunity for search and arrest, and remained in police custody for six days undergoing interrogation.

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Obama, Trump and the Settlers

Israeli settlementsThis is not where Barack Obama intended to be at the end of his presidency — wrapped around the settlements axle again. That’s how the president’s first term began; he had been determined to avoid it in his second. It seems there’s no escaping it: For decades, the issue has been a constant source of tension between right-wing Israeli governments and American presidents,

Democrat and Republican alike. And just as settlement activity has now dragged Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu into a momentous donnybrook, it could well do the same with Donald Trump, even though some of his aides want to embrace rather than oppose settlement building.

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