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Sunday, May 24th

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EU ministers urged to act after hundreds of migrants feared dead

immigfrants saved at seaRescue crews searched Monday for survivors and bodies from what could be the Mediterranean's deadliest migrant tragedy ever as hundreds more migrants took to the sea undeterred and EU foreign ministers gathered for an emergency meeting to address the crisis.

If reports of at least 700 and as many as 900 dead are confirmed, the weekend shipwreck near the Libyan coast would bring to well over 1,000 the number of migrants who died or went missing during the perilous Mediterranean crossing in the last week. More than 400 are feared dead in another sinking and more than 10,000 others were rescued.

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Police: Israeli man stabs Arab because of victim's ethnicity

Israeli sabs arabIsraeli police say a Jewish man has stabbed an Arab and later confessed that he did so because of the victim's ethnicity.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the assailant shouted "death to Arabs" as he attacked the man on Monday.

The Arab man was wounded lightly in the shoulder and required medical treatment.

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Israel Agrees To Transfer Tax Cash to Palestinians

Palestinian authorityIsrael said on Saturday it would transfer $470 million of withheld tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority following talks between a senior Israeli military officer and Palestinian officials.

In December, Israel began withholding around $130 million per month of taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinians after the Palestinian Authority announced it was joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Israel had condemned the Palestinian move to join the ICC, saying it was a unilateral step that undermined prospects for a negotiated peace settlement.

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Parting the brown sea: Sewage threatens Gaza's access to water

Gaza water hazardUntil very recently, Salameh Abu Kash earned his living as farmer. Abu Kash, a heavyset man with thick eyebrows and a clipped beard, lives in Wadi Gaza, a valley in the central Gaza Strip. The wetland here was known for its biodiversity, but after construction of a sewage treatment plant was delayed in 2011, excrement from nearby refugee camps and towns began to be diverted through the valley en route to the Mediterranean Sea.

“They brought sewage for us and for our children, and we can’t sleep anymore,” said Abu Kash in Arabic the following year. “Farming is ruined. The plants are diseased. There are flies, worms, and it is spreading.” Animals and birds were soon replaced by swamps of sewage, swarming flies and thriving bacteria. Residents began to suffer from an increase in allergies, inflammation, fevers and weakened immunity, Abu Kash said. Disease-ridden mosquitoes feasted on the community at night. The stench was overpowering.

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Afghan suicide bombing blamed on Islamic State kills 35

Afghan bombsA motorcycle-riding suicide bomber attacked a bank branch Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 35 people in a deadly attack the country's president said was claimed by the Islamic State group.

The attack marks a major escalation in the country's fight against an affiliate of the extremist group that now holds a third of Iraq and Syria in its self-declared caliphate. It also comes as Afghan security forces fight against the Taliban after U.S. and NATO forces ended their combat mission in the country at the start of the year, yet another challenge for the war-ravaged nation.

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Amid growing migrant crisis, 20 burn victims rescued at sea

Migrants rescuedThe unabated flow of migrants fleeing instability in Libya brought a new horror on Friday: The discovery of 20 migrants adrift at sea who had suffered grave burn injuries in a cooking gas explosion before departing Libya, and then were forced onto a smuggler's boat without treatment.

Italian ships have picked up 10,000 people, many of them refugees of war and persecution, over the past week, an unprecedented number in such a short period. The influx is putting pressure on Italy's shelter system and raising calls for a better response to the emergency.

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After Decades of Struggle, Salvadoran Communities Declare Territory Free of Mining

el Salvador free of miningThe population of Nueva Trinidad voiced its resounding opposition to mining in an official municipal consultation process on March 29. In seven community voting centers, 99.25 percent of participating registered voters cast their ballots against metallic mining in Nueva Trinidad.

The third consultation of its kind in the country, the local exercise in participatory democracy is the latest manifestation of the thriving national movement against mining in the small Central American nation.

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