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Hamas, Fatah sign deal on Palestinian reconciliation

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Rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement yesterday on ending a decade-long split following talks mediated by Egypt in Cairo, with president Mahmud Abbas calling it a “final” accord. Hurriyet Under the agreement, the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority is to resume full control of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by Dec. 1, according to a statement from Egypt’s intelligence agency, which oversaw the talks. Abbas welcomed the deal in comments to Agence France-Presse and said he considered it a ... Read More »

UK scientists told: in no-deal Brexit scenario they will have to leave EU research projects

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The Commission has for the first time made clear the position of UK grantees after Brexit, in a sign the EU is laying the ground for the UK to leave without a deal Éanna Kelly Science|Business  The EU Commission has for the first time laid out how it will handle its scientific relationships with the UK after the country leaves in 2019, in a sign that Brussels has begun thinking about emergency steps should Brexit negotiations fail. In a notice ... Read More »

Rohingya Recount Atrocities: ‘They Threw My Baby Into a Fire’

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COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — Hundreds of women stood in the river, held at gunpoint, ordered not to move. Jeffrey Gettleman A pack of soldiers stepped toward a petite young woman with light brown eyes and delicate cheekbones. The New York Times  Her name was Rajuma, and she was standing chest-high in the water, clutching her baby son, while her village in Myanmar burned down behind her. “You,” the soldiers said, pointing at her. She froze. “You!” She squeezed her baby ... Read More »

Police gun data shows extent of private arsenals in suburban Australia

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Private gun owners are stockpiling arsenals of more than 300 firearms in suburban homes in some parts of the country, according to new data obtained by the Greens. Exclusive by the National Reporting Team’s Lorna Knowles and Alison Branley ABC The trend is thought to be driving an overall increase in gun ownership nationally. Gun-control advocates say the private caches are “honeypots for criminals”, and also pose a public safety risk if their owners become mentally unstable. The most comprehensive ... Read More »

Energy independence: is Lithuania getting away with state aid?

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The EU says Lithuania can levy funds from gas consumers to finance its own energy companies. Achema, Lithuania’s largest consumer, disagrees. Ramunas Miliauskas, chief executive officer, Achema Politico The European Commission and the European Court of Justice are currently considering state aid complaints against Lithuania. The outcome could have repercussions for every gas consumer in the country and massive ramifications for one company in particular. Achema is the largest fertilizer producer in the Baltic states, and part of a group ... Read More »

Mexico warns that abandoning Nafta could end broader cooperation with US

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Mexico’s foreign minister has warned that terminating Nafta could bring relations with the US to a breaking point, raising the prospect that bilateral cooperation against drug trafficking and illegal migration could be adversely affected by Donald Trump’s bellicose trade rhetoric. David Agren in Mexico City The Guardian The threat from the foreign minister, Luis Videgaray, came as Donald Trump once again threatened to tear up the three-country trade treaty between the US, Canada and Mexico ahead of a fourth round ... Read More »

Steve Bullock and the Lost Art of Political Persuasion

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He’s one of the most popular governors in the country. Some Democrats think he’d make a great presidential candidate There’s just one problem: Few outside of Montana have heard of the guy. GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI Politico BOZEMAN, Mont. —A small collection of the older women of Bozeman, Montana, are deep into their water aerobics class at the Holiday Inn’s indoor pool on a recent cold and gusty Wednesday when the governor strolls by. About 10 feet from the pool area, Steve ... Read More »

The Infantilization of the President

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Aides have doubted prior presidents’ wisdom, health, or sobriety, but never have so many insiders treated the commander in chief like a child. David A. Graham The Atlantic  As every toddler knows, bigger is better, whether that’s two scoops of ice cream (versus one for everyone else), a border wall, or a nuclear arsenal.And that was President Trump’s reaction during a July meeting with military and national-security leaders about the nuclear arsenal, too, according to NBC News. In total, he ... Read More »

Discord in Yemen’s North Could Be a Chance for Peace

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Since August, a public rift has surfaced between the two main partners on the northern front of Yemen’s war – the forces loyal to the Huthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh. ICG Rather than fostering its rivals’ discord, key powerbroker Saudi Arabia should seize this rare chance to resolve the two-and-a-half year war by championing a new regional initiative. 1. Overview A public rift between Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress party (GPC) and the Huthis (aka Ansar Allah) may change ... Read More »

Global data shows 2017 is shaping as the best year ever

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Amid mass shootings, super storms and talk of nuclear conflict, here’s some good news. Matt Wade Barring a global catastrophe, 2017 is shaping as best year ever for the world’s average person. The Sydney Morning Herald That doesn’t mean everyone is better off, of course, but the positive trend in international wellbeing data since 2000 is striking. Global life expectancy at birth sums it up pretty well. It rose by 5 years between 2000 and 2015 to 71.4 years, the ... Read More »

Mr. Trump Nails Shut the Coffin on Climate Relief

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The Trump administration formally proposed on Tuesday to roll back yet another of President Barack Obama’s efforts to position the United States as a global leader in the fight against climate change The Editorial Board The New York Times  The move, though widely anticipated, was deeply disheartening. In March Mr. Trump ordered Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which was aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants. Mr. ... Read More »

IMF raises growth forecast for all advanced economies except UK

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The pound has made gains despite a flurry of gloomy economic reports, while advances among bank stocks helped the wider market push higher Holly Williams The Scotsman Official figures showing disappointing trade data, but a stronger-than-expected performance from the manufacturing sector, saw the pound make strong gains against the US dollar and hold firm against the euro. Sterling lifted 0.6% to 1.32 US dollars and was flat at 1.12 euros. The FTSE 100 Index closed the session 30.4 points higher ... Read More »

Explainer: how our understanding of risk is changing

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Under the traditional notion of risk, people react predictably based on how risk-tolerant they are. Here, risk is calculated by combining the probability of something occurring (such as rolling a six with a pair of dice) with the value of the outcome (how much you have wagered). Robert Hoffmann  Adrian R. Camilleri  But our understanding of risk is changing. The Conversation We now know that a whole host of factors, from your personal history to your mood and age, all ... Read More »

The Domestic Challenge to Kyrgyzstan’s Milestone Election

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While Kyrgyzstan’s 15 October elections are a rare milestone for Central Asian democracy, the campaign is exposing dangerous fault lines. Deirdre Tynan  In the largest city of Osh, the new president will have to face down robust local power brokers, defuse Uzbek-Kyrgyz tensions and re-introduce the rule of law. ICG Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming presidential elections on 15 October are a milestone for Central Asia: for the first time, a president from the region will voluntarily stand down at the end of ... Read More »