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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Israeli Air Strike Kills Palestinian Girl

A three-year-old Palestinian girl was killed during retaliatory Israeli air strikes after a Palestinian sniper shot an Israeli civilian near the Gaza border. The Israeli civilian, a technician, had been working on Israel’s security fence near the border while the girl was standing with other family members outside their home in a Hamas camp before being hit by shrapnel. “This is an extremely grave incident and we will not ignore it. Our policy has been to thwart attacks and to respond forcefully, and that is what we will do in this case”, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the air strikes were ordered. Officials from the Hamas militant group said that the Israeli warplanes bombed the group’s training camps in Khan Younis and al-Bureij, where the girl was killed.

Mass Graves Discovered in South Sudan

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Tuesday that mass graves had been discovered in South Sudan amidst the spreading ethnic violence in the world’s youngest country. “We have discovered a mass grave in Bentiu, in Unity State, and there are reportedly at least two other mass graves in Juba”, she said, adding that “there is a palpable fear among civilians of both Dinka and Nuer backgrounds that they will be killed on the basis of their ethnicity”. President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and ousted vice president Riek Machar, a Nuer, have said they are ready for peace talks, but Machar said any political detainees must first be freed. “We want a democratic nation. We want democratic free and fair elections. We want Salva Kiir to call it a day”, he added.

‘Mission’s Already Accomplished’, Says Snowden

Speaking in his first interview since arriving in Russia in June, US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden told the Washington Post that he had achieved the goals he desired after publishing his revelations regarding the world’s intelligence services. “For me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission’s already accomplished. I already won. As soon as the journalists were able to work, everything that I had been trying to do was validated. Because, remember, I didn’t want to change society. I wanted to give society a chance to determine if it should change itself”, he said. Snowden also revealed his fears regarding the reception his leaks would get. “When you weigh that against the alternative, which is not to act, you realize that some analysis is better than no analysis. Because even if your analysis proves to be wrong, the marketplace of ideas will bear that out. If you look at it from an engineering perspective, an iterative perspective, it’s clear that you have to try something rather than do nothing”, he concluded.

Winter Storms Kill Five in the UK

The winter storm that has battered the UK since Monday has already killed five people across the country, as well as disrupting holiday travel for millions. Four deaths were related to people being swept away by swollen rivers in Cumbria, in Devon, in West Mercia and in North Wales. The other death occurred when a woman died in a three-car crash in Shropshire. A power supply problem restricted flights landing and departing London’s Gatwick airport and much of the rail network in southern England was disrupted. Nearly 150,000 homes were left without power in the same region, with Kent, Surrey and Sussex the areas worst affected. The severe weather should ease into Christmas and Boxing days, but more winds and rain are forecast for Friday.

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