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Wednesday, Dec 17th

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West Bank mosque attacked; mayor blames settlers

West Bank mosque attackedAn attack against a mosque in a West Bank village early on Wednesday ignited a fire that destroyed its first floor, the village's mayor said, blaming Jewish settlers for the attack.

The fire broke out before dawn in the village of Mughayer, north of Ramallah, said Mayor Faraj al-Naasan. He said efforts of residents and Palestinian fire services to quell the blaze succeeded only in saving the building's second floor.

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US-China climate deal aims to prod others to act

Obama and Xi JinpingA groundbreaking agreement struck Wednesday by the United States and China puts the world's two worst polluters on a faster track to curbing the heat-trapping gases blamed for global warming. With the clock ticking on a worldwide climate treaty, the two countries sought to move beyond their troubled history as environmental adversaries and spur other nations.

The U.S., a chief proponent of the prospective treaty, is setting an ambitious new goal to stop pumping as much carbon dioxide into the air. China, whose appetite for cheap energy has grown along with its burgeoning economy, agreed for the first time to a self-imposed deadline of 2030 for when its emissions will top out.

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U.S., China reach deal on tariffs

US -China trade pactA tariff agreement between the United States and China, reached Tuesday, is being hailed as a breakthrough that could affect $1 trillion in international trade.

The surprise announcement of the deal, which will eliminate tariffs on a variety of high-tech products, came at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Beijing. It paves the way, officials said, for another tariff-cutting agreement when the World Trade Organization meets in Switzerland next month; the final deal would eliminate tariffs on $1 trillion in annual sales of information and communications technology.

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Israel reportedly set to take 3,000 acres of Palestinian village land near Jerusalem

Israel takin 3,000 acres in E jerusalemIDF soldiers gave out orders Saturday informing Palestinians of Israel’s plans to confiscate 3,176 acres (12,852 dunams) around the West Bank village of Beit Iksa for military purposes, Palestinian media reported.

Beit Iksa residents said to Ma’an news agency that soldiers at a checkpoint distributed the orders, signed by head of the IDF Central Command Gen. Nitzan Alon.

The orders gave the residents until the end of 2017 to leave the land in question. They also said that soldiers informed the Beit Iksa residents that an IDF liaison would come on Monday to explain which parcels of land would be confiscated.

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Dozens slain in suicide attack on Nigerian school

Nigeria school attackA suicide bomber dressed as a student killed at least 48 people and injured 79 others at a school assembly in northeastern Nigeria on Monday, a hospital official said.

The blast took place at a boys’ science and technical school in Potiskum, Yobe state. Eyewitnesses said the bomber dressed as a student for the attack.

No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. But suspicion immediately fell on Boko Haram, the feared armed group responsible for a brutal wave of violence in the country, most of it directed against civilians. Members of Boko Haram have targeted educational establishments before, abducting and killing hundreds of students.

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A city undivided: the fall of the Berlin Wall commemorated 25 years on

Berlin wall commemorationAs the long row of helium-filled white balloons lifted off one by one into the night sky over Berlin, Tina Krone managed to gulp down a tear and lit a sparkler. “I haven’t seen that many people on the streets for 25 years,” she said, surveying the crowds at Bernauer Strasse.

On 9 November 1989, when she and thousands of other East Berliners streamed across the border into the west shortly before midnight, only those old enough to remember the building of the wall had cried.

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Israeli ministers approve applying Israel law to West Bank settlers

west Bank to be under israeli lawA ministerial committee approved a proposed bill on Sunday that would ensure the wholesale application of Israeli law to Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, a move sponsored by legislators who want Israel to annex part of the territory.

But Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator in peace talks with the Palestinians that collapsed in April, said she would appeal the decision, effectively putting parliamentary ratification on indefinite hold.

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