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Tuesday, Jun 27th

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After London fire, 600 tower blocks thought to have similar cladding

600 London builidngs have same classingAn estimated 600 high-rise buildings in England contain cladding similar to that used on a London tower block which caught fire, killing at least 79 people, officials said on Thursday.

Flames spread rapidly up the 24-storey residential Grenfell Tower last week, trapping people inside, in what was Britain's worst blaze since World War Two. Exterior cladding added during a refurbishment may have played a part, residents have said.

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Deadly car bomb hits Afghanistan's Lashkar Gah

Car bomb hits Afghan bankAt least 29 people have been killed after a car bomb exploded outside a bank in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern Afghan province of Helmand, the provincial governor said.

At least 60 people were wounded in the attack outside the New Kabul Bank branch and most of the casualties were civilians, Hayaullah Hayat said.

The blast took place around 12 noon local time (08:00 GMT), according to the governor's spokesperson Omar Zwak, when civilians and members of the security forces waiting to collect their pay.

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Saudi King Deposes Crown Prince And Names 31-Year-Old Son As New Heir

New Heir to Saudi throne namedSaudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has changed his pick for a successor, naming his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince and deposing Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from the post. At 31, the country's new successor to the throne is 50 years younger than the current monarch.

Mohammed bin Nayef, 57, had served as crown prince since 2015, taking the post shortly after Salman, his uncle, was crowned. He also had been Saudi Arabia's interior minister — another job that will now be filled by Mohammed bin Salman.

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Israel begins work on first settlement in 25 years as Jared Kushner flies in

Israel starts to build new settlementIsrael’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has announced the beginning of building work on the first new Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank in 25 years, a day before a visit by Donald Trump’s son-in-law and envoy, Jared Kushner, aimed at reinvigorating the stalled peace process.

The new settlement, known as Amichai, is being built to house about 300 hardline residents of the illegal West Bank Jewish outpost of Amona who were evicted by police in February after a court ruled their houses were on privately owned Palestinian land.

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Brussels station 'blast': suspect 'wearing explosive belt' has been 'neutralised' by police

Brussels train station explosionBelgian police said an "incident involving an individual" at Brussels Central Station was under control on Tuesday as local media ran reports that a person wearing an explosive belt had been "neutralised".

Traffic was halted following what police described as a "small blast" at the station.

Images of the scene posted on social media showed what appeared to be a small explosion inside the station and a large number of police officers gathered outside.

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F-15 shoots down armed drone over Syria, CENTCOM reports

F-15 shoots down Syrian armed droneA U.S. Air Force F-15E on Tuesday shot down an armed drone over Syria that was advancing on allied forces, U.S. Central Command reported, in another sign of escalating tensions with the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"The armed pro-regime Shaheed-129 UAV was shot down by a U.S. F-15E Strike Eagle at approximately 12:30 a.m. after it displayed hostile intent and advanced on coalition forces," the command said in a statement.

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Tillerson's 'transition' remarks prompt protest in Iran

TillersonIran has summoned the Swiss ambassador to Tehran, who looks after US interests, over comments by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson backing "peaceful transition" in the Islamic republic.

Bahram Ghassemi, the ministry spokesman, informed Iranian media on Tuesday about the diplomatic protest and said Tillerson's comments were "contrary to international law and the UN charter".

Iran also sent a protest letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, according to the ISNA news agency.

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