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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Israel Shoots Down ‘Lebanese’ Drone

Israel says it has shot down a drone off its coast near the northern city of Haifa after it entered Israeli airspace flying in from Lebanon. “An unmanned aircraft (UAV) was identified approaching the coast of Israel and was successfully intercepted by IAF aircraft five nautical miles off the coast of Haifa at approximately 14:00 (1300 GMT) today”, said a statement published by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The remains of the aircraft fell into the sea and Israel Navy ships were sent to search for its remains. While some Israeli sources blamed Hezbollah for the incursion, IDF spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner said that he didn’t know “where the aircraft was coming from and where it was actually going”. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted to the news by saying that he viewed it with “great gravity” and that his administration would “continue to do what is necessary to defend the security of Israel’s citizens”.

Spanish Unemployment Surpasses 6 Million

The number of people unemployed in Spain has surpassed six million for the first time in the country since its transition to democracy in 1978. The unemployment figure hit a record figure of 27.2 percent of the Spanish workforce. The country’s National Statistics Institute also revealed that almost 240,000 people lost their jobs in the first three months of 2013, with almost two million out of the total 17.4 million Spanish households without one single family member in full employment. The news could put further pressure on European policy makers still wary of abandoning their austerity measures. The conservative government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is expected to unveil another package of reforms on Friday, although analysts are not sure they will be effective in spurring the economy. This follows a call by the International Monetary Fund for more measures to boost economic growth and job creation. “The risk of stagnation is not remote in the face of weak growth, fragmented markets, impaired balance sheets and half-completed reforms”, said David Lipton, Deputy Managing Director of the IMF.

PKK Militants to Begin Withdrawing From Turkish Territory

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a movement that has fought a 30-year battle for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in the southeast of Turkey, has announced it will begin withdrawing its forces from Turkey in early May. The move follows a ceasefire called by jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as part of a negotiation with the Turkish government. “The withdrawal is planned in phases and will be completed as soon as possible, but it will be stopped immediately if there is any attack, operation or bombing of our guerrilla forces, and our forces will use their right to reciprocate”, said Murat Karayılan, the military leader of the group during a press conference in northern Iraq. Karayılan did not specify if the guerrillas would be withdrawing without weapons, a condition insisted upon by Turkish President Abdullan Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Defeated Candidate Issues Ultimatum in Venezuela

Defeated Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles has said his opposition movement will take action if the country’s National Electoral Comission did not release details of the audit into the presidential elections of April 14. Capriles lost the election to Nicolás Maduro, who was anointed as the chosen successor by former president Hugo Chávez shortly before his death of cancer in March. “We will not accept a joke audit. It’s time to get serious. The truth – and it is as big as our country is wide – is that you stole the election. That is the truth. You stole the electoral process, and you have to explain that to this country and to the world”, said Capriles. The government has accused the opposition of fomenting protests and enough civil unrest to bring about a coup. Nine people have died in protests since the elections.

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