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Mohd Noor Hashim
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U.N. okays Palestine joining ICC, U.S. objects

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon confirmed Wednesday that the Palestinians would officially become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on April 1, in a move the United States voiced objection to.

The official announcement of the date of the Palestinian accession to the ICC, in the form of a letter from Ban, was posted on a U.N. website, Reuters news agency reported.

The United Nations is the official depositary of the Rome Statute and many other treaties.

Under ICC rules, Palestinian membership would allow the court, based in The Hague, to exercise jurisdiction over war crimes committed by anyone on Palestinian territory, without a referral from the U.N. Security Council.

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UNSC rejects resolution on Palestinian state

Bid to end Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by 2017 garners eight votes, one short of total needed to pass.

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French parliament votes for Palestine state

rench legislators on Tuesday approved a resolution asking the government to recognize the Palestinian state, in the hope that speeds up peace efforts after decades of conflict.

The vote approved with 339 votes to 151, is non-binding. But it is a symbolic boost for the Palestinians, amid growing support in Europe for two states.

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Don't bite the hand that feeds you . You may need that hand one day. #ISRAEL #ICC4Israel #FreePalestine

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Half a million Saudis under 35 are illiterate, statistics show

A total of 524,435 Saudis aged 15-34 have not received any education, according to the kingdom’s Central Department of Statistics.

In a report published by Makkah daily on Monday, the department said the citizens in this group were made up of 270,972 males and 253,463 females.

They account for about 5 percent of the 10 million citizens in this age group.

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Spanish MPs urge govt to recognize Palestine

Spanish lawmakers adopted a motion Tuesday calling on the government to recognize a Palestinian state, Agence France-Presse reported. 

The motion submitted by the opposition Socialists asks the conservative government to recognize Palestine in coordination with any similar move by the European Union.

The symbolic motion, which echoes similar votes last month in Britain and Ireland, was backed by all the political groupings in the lower house after the ruling People’s Party (PP) watered down the wording hours after an attack in Jerusalem.

The vote Tuesday night was 319 in favor with two opposed and one abstention, the Associated Press reported. 

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Israeli settlers blamed for burning mosque 
Attack near illegal settlement in West Bank comes amid Muslim fears of Jewish encroachment at Jerusalem's al-Aqsa site. 

Palestinian officials say Israeli settlers have torched a mosque in the occupied West Bank, amid growing religious tensions and violence.

The attack just before dawn on Wednesday, near the Jewish settlement of Shilo, came after separate knife attacks blamed on Palestinians killed a settler in the southern West Bank and an Israeli soldier in Tel Aviv on Monday.

All Jewish settlements built on occupied Palestinian territory are illegal under international law.

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Punishing Saleh and the Houthis

Evidence shows that last February, Saleh did not only support the Houthis but was also behind the violent acts of some southern separatists and some acts perpetrated by the al-Qaeda organization! This is how rampant Saleh has become; he is willing to sabotage the country and harm its unity to serve his own personal interests.

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Sweden recognizes Palestinian state

Sweden officially recognized the Palestinian state on Thursday becoming the first major European country to do so, the Foreign Ministry announced Thursday, according to Agence France-Presse.

Palestinians seek statehood in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as their capital. They have sought to sidestep stalled peace talks by lobbying foreign powers to recognize their sovereignty claim.

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Will Egypt mediate for Assad?

Assad is cornered
Many reasons make it impossible for Saudi Arabia to accept a deal with Assad regardless of what the deal is and who the mediators are. Among these reasons is that a quarter of a million have been killed by the Assad regime and this is unforgivable regardless of Assad's repentance. Another reason is that the struggle has expanded beyond being a mere dispute with Assad. I don't rule out the besieged Assad resorting to Egypt, seeking its help to save himself but it's totally unlikely for Saudi Arabia to consider his wishes.
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