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Wednesday, Jan 28th

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Israel police reveal huge political corruption investigation

Gershon MesikaIsrael’s police have said they are investigating dozens of public figures and politicians in a major corruption case that could affect upcoming elections.

The politicians involved were not named in Wednesday’s announcement, but after a year-long covert operation, police said they are investigating 30 suspects including a deputy minister, a former minister, mayors and others.

In a statement, police said officials are suspected of nepotism, and illegal transferring of funds.

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Two women referred to ‘terror’ court for driving in Saudi Arabia

Two women referred to terror court for driving in Saudi ArabiaTwo Saudi women detained for nearly a month for defying a ban on females driving were referred to a court established to try terrorism cases on Thursday, according to friends of the defendants.

Activists said it was the first time female drivers have been referred to the specialised criminal court in Riyadh, and that their detention is the longest of female drivers in Saudi history.

Four people close to Loujain al-Hathloul, 25, and Maysa al-Amoudi, 33, said they are not being charged for defying the driving ban but for voicing opinions online. They declined to elaborate on the specific charges because of the sensitivity of the case and anonymously for fear of government reprisal.

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Israel, Gaza exchange fire at border, two killed

Border killings in GazaAn Israeli soldier and a Hamas commander were killed during a firefight on the Gaza-Israel border Wednesday, officials said.

The Israeli Defense Force said a patrol came under fire from shooting within southern Gaza. Jets and ground forces targeted Hamas military positions in Gaza and returned fire. A similar, but lesser, conflict erupted on the border Friday.

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Grisly finds in Iraqi Yazidi village wrested from militants

ISIS leaves mass gravesAfter he fled from this tiny northern Iraqi hamlet four months ago, Hayder Khalef got panicked phone calls from his relatives who had remained behind. They were at that moment being led by Islamic State group gunmen toward a checkpoint on the edge of town.

"If you don't hear from us, you'll find our bodies near the checkpoint," Khalef said they told him in the calls.

He is back in his hometown for the first time since, after Iraqi Kurdish fighters last week drove out the extremists holding the village. Khalef and a few other residents who escaped followed the Kurds in, hoping to discover what happened to hundreds of their relatives and neighbors who vanished after the jihadis overran Hardan in early August.

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IS shoots down warplane in Syria, captures Jordanian pilot

ISIS shoots down Jordanian planeThe Islamic State group captured a Jordanian pilot after shooting down his warplane over Syria, Jordan said Wednesday, in the extremists' first successful downing of an aircraft from the international coalition waging an air campaign against the extremists.

The show of the extremists' capabilities underscored the risks for the United States and the multiple Arab and European countries whose warplanes are participating in bombing campaign aimed at pushing back the jihadis' control across much of Syria and Iraq. It also posed Jordan with a nightmare scenario — its pilot was the first foreign soldier to fall into the extremists' hands.

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Iraq: Suicide attack kills 24 people near Baghdad

Iraq bombingA suicide bomber detonated his payload among a group of pro-government Sunni militiamen near the Iraqi capital Baghdad on Wednesday, killing at least 24 people.

The attacker mingled with the militiamen as they gathered at a military base in the town of Madain, about 20 kilometers (14 miles) south of Baghdad, to receive their monthly paychecks, two police officers said. At least 15 of the dead were Sunni militiamen and the rest were soldiers, while 55 others were wounded, they said.

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Orangutan Declared To Have Basic Legal Rights In Argentina

orangutan has legal rightsIn what may be a first, an appeals court in Argentina has recognized a nonhuman as having basic legal rights. A Buenos Aires judge ruled in favor of advocates who are calling for more freedom for a 28-year-old orangutan who was born in a zoo.

The advocacy group filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on the orangutan's behalf, which would require proof of a justified detention.

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