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Sunday, Jun 25th

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UN: Up to 245 missing after 2 Mediterranean shipwrecks

Shipwrecks leaves hundreds missingTwo wrecks of migrant ships in the Mediterranean have claimed as many as 245 lives, including those of at least five children, according to survivor accounts given to U.N. agencies and authorities in Sicily, where dozens of rescued migrants were taken.

Survivors of one wreck, some of them hospitalized in Pozzallo, Sicily, where they were being treated for hypothermia and exhaustion, told authorities who interviewed them that their traffickers had crammed some 130-140 people, apparently all from central African countries, into a motorized rubber dinghy designed to hold at most 20 people.

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Palestinian relatives of arson victims sue Israel

Palestinian family of arson victims ssue IsraelRelatives of a Palestinian family burned alive have filed a lawsuit against Israel demanding it be held responsible and pay damages over the 2015 attack blamed on Jewish groups in the occupied West Bank.

Eighteen-month-old Ali Dawabsheh died along with his parents when their house was firebombed in July 2015.

His brother Ahmed, now six, was the sole survivor but was left with severe burns.

"Today we filed a complaint with the Nazareth district court demanding the state of Israel be held responsible for the burning of the Dawabsheh family in the village of Duma in the West Bank," Hassan al-Khatib, a lawyer who represents the family, said.

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Netanyahu's cabinet seeks to downgrade status of Arabic

Netanyahu seeks to downplay Arabic languageIsraeli ministers have approved a controversial bill that will downgrade Arabic as an official language and define the country as the "national home of the Jewish people".

The Haaretz newspaper reported on Sunday that if the bill were to become law, Arabic would no longer be an official language and would instead be defined as having special status.

In the bill, Hebrew is defined as the "national language", which would become part of the country's so-called basic law, which is similar to a constitution, it said. The legislation still has to go through further drafting by the justice ministry and pass several votes in parliament.

TVNL Comment: Israeli Arabs make up 20% of the population.  Arabic has always been an official language....until now.  Democracy?  Yeah, right.

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Macron wins French presidency by decisive margin over Le Pen

Macron winsThe pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidency with a decisive victory over the far-right Marine Le Pen that his supporters hailed as holding back the tide of populism.

Macron, 39, a former economy minister who ran as a “neither left nor right” independent promising to shake up the French political system, took 65.1% to Le Pen’s 34.9%, according to initial projections from early counts.

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North Korea seizes another American citizen as crisis heats up

North Korea arrests another AmericanNorth Korea announced Sunday it detained another American over the weekend, raising to four the number of U.S. citizens being held by the communist nation's authoritarian regime.

Kim Hak-song had worked at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, the same school where American Tony Kim had worked prior to being arrested at Pyongyang International Airport two weeks ago, North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency said Sunday.

Few details on Kim Hak-song or his arrest were immediately available. KCNA said he was detained Saturday on suspicion of committing “hostile acts."

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82 freed Chibok schoolgirls arrive in Nigeria's capital

 82 Chibok girls returnedFive Boko Haram commanders have been released in exchange for the freedom of 82 Chibok schoolgirls, says a Nigerian government official.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to reporters on the matter. The confirmation of the prisoner swap Sunday comes a day after the young women were liberated after more than three years in captivity by the Islamic militants.

There was no immediate comment about the exchange from the Nigerian presidency or Boko Haram, the extremists linked to the Islamic State group. President Muhammadu Buhari said Saturday that some Boko Haram prisoners had been released for the freedom of the schoolgirls, but he did not give any details.

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French candidate Macron claims massive hack as emails leaked

Macron hackedLeading French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's campaign said on Friday it had been the target of a "massive" computer hack that dumped its campaign emails online 1-1/2 days before voters choose between the centrist and his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen.

Macron, who is seen as the frontrunner in an election billed as the most important in France in decades, extended his lead over Le Pen in polls on Friday.

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