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United States will not recognize outcome of Russian Crimea elections

US will not recognize Crimean election The United States announced that it will not honor the results of the Russian parliamentary elections planned in Crimea.

U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby condemned the elections planned for Sunday, which will be the first time Crimea will elect members of the lower house of parliament since it was annexed by Russia in 2014, according to Al Masdar News.

"The United States does not recognize the legitimacy, and will not recognize the outcome, of the Russian Duma elections planned for Russian-occupied Crimea on September 18th," he said. "Our position on Crimea is clear: the peninsula remains an integral part of Ukraine. Crimea-related sanctions against Russia will remain until Russia returns control of Crimea to Ukraine."



One in three Saudi air raids on Yemen hit civilian sites, data shows

Saudis killed many civilians in YemenMore than one-third of all Saudi-led air raids on Yemen have hit civilian sites, such as school buildings, hospitals, markets, mosques and economic infrastructure, according to the most comprehensive survey of the conflict.

The findings, revealed by the Guardian on Friday, contrast with claims by the Saudi government, backed by its US and British allies, that Riyadh is seeking to minimise civilian casualties.


Pakistan mosque bombing kills dozens; Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claims credit for attack

Pakistan mosque bombingA suicide bombing killed more than two dozen people at a mosque during Friday prayers in Pakistan's Mohmand tribal area near the Afghan border, officials said.

More than 30 others were injured in the attack.

The Taliban splinter group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar claimed credit for the attack. The group claimed that the attack targeted members of a resistant tribal militia. It warned members of such militias to "stop opposing Islam and jihad," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The Mohmand area, near the Afghanistan border, is known to have bases for the Taliban and other militant groups.



Canadian jailed in China over spying allegations freed

Kevin GarrattA Canadian citizen who was detained in China for two years over accusations of spying has been freed and has returned to Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday he's delighted Kevin Garratt is back in Canada with his family. His return comes just over a week after Trudeau visited China in a bid to improve relations.

Garratt had been indicted by prosecutors in Dandong, a city on the North Korean border where he and his wife ran a popular coffee shop and conducted Christian aid work for North Koreans. He and his wife Julia were arrested in August 2014 by the state security bureau.


Truce extended but aid fails to reach besieged Syrians

Syrians get no reliefThe US and Russia have said that a cessation of hostilities in Syria is largely holding and it should be extended by 48 hours, as the UN urged all sides to guarantee the security of an aid convoy, currently held-up along the Turkish border, into Aleppo.

"There was agreement as a whole, despite sporadic reports of violence, the arrangement is holding and violence is significantly lower," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said at a press briefing on Wednesday.


US and Israel to sign record military aid deal

Israel to get 38b in arms aidThe United States has agreed a record multi-billion-dollar deal to provide Israel with military assistance for 10 years from 2019, according to US officials.

Following 10 months of frequently tense negotiations, the State Department said on Tuesday that the two allies had reached an agreement, with a signing ceremony planned for Wednesday.


Syria ceasefire comes into effect under US-Russia deal

Syria cease fireA nationwide ceasefire in Syria brokered by the United States and Russia began at sundown on Monday, coinciding with the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, but there are concerns about whether it will hold.

Several hours into the ceasefire, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said major conflict zones across the country were quiet.

"Calm is prevailing," said SOHR director Rami Abdulrahman, adding, however, that there had been light shelling by both rebel groups and government forces in the country's southwest.


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