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‘Thousands of Indonesians have taken to the streets of Jakarta to protest racial and religious intolerance. The peaceful rally came in response to a government investigation into a Chinese-Christian governor who is alleged to have insulted Islam.

Saturday’s event in downtown Jakarta saw people dressed in red and white – Indonesia’s national colors. The crowd included people from all walks of life – religious clerics, members of human rights groups, lawmakers, and concerned citizens – as they held up posters and chanted for unity among their country’s diverse peoples.

Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known by his Chinese nickname Ahok, has been crucified for insulting Islam by some members of the public, as well as opposition politicians, since he accused his rivals of “lying” about the meaning of a Koranic verse. Apologies haven’t helped, nor did the revelation that his comments had been inaccurately subtitled.’

Read more: Thousands rally for tolerance in Indonesia amid blasphemy probe of Christian governor

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‘Saudi Arabia’s warplanes have conducted fresh airstrikes against Yemen, violating a 48-hour ceasefire which the kingdom announced earlier.

Yemen’s al-Masirah television said Saudi jets bombarded a district in the southwestern province of Ta’izz several times.

Similar attacks were carried out in the Salif district of Hudaydah Province, the Maran neighborhood of Sa’ada Province and the Bani Hushaysh district of Sana’a Province, the report said.’

Read more: Fresh Saudi bombardment violates Yemen truce

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‘In an unannounced phone call with NATO’s secretary general, Donald Trump acknowledged that the military alliance still has “enduring importance.” While the comment may come as a relieve to some European leaders, it runs contrary to his previous remarks.

A brief NATO statement released on Friday announced that US President-elect Donald Trump and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had both underlined the military alliance’s “enduring importance and discussed how NATO is adapting to the new security environment, including to counter the threat of terrorism” in what appears to have been an impromptu telephone conversation.

The statement added that “progress has been made on fairer burden-sharing,” while acknowledging that the United States spends far more on defense than its European allies. In addition, it said that the bloc’s leaders are looking forward to meeting with Trump during the NATO Summit in Brussels next year.’

Read more: Trump reassures NATO chief of alliance’s ‘enduring importance,’ contradicting campaign rhetoric

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‘Just two days after his stunning election victory, President-elect Donald Trump delivered a message to Israel, describing his personal affection for the Jewish state and hopes that his administration will be able to strengthen ties strained by eight years of tense relations between Israel and the Obama administration.

Calling Israel a “ray of hope,” Trump released the statement to the Israel HaYom newspaper, which is owned by prominent Jewish Republican donor, Sheldon Adelson. Adelson backed Trump in this year’s election towards the end of the race, giving tens of millions of dollars to the Trump campaign and pro-Trump political action committees.

“I love and respect Israel and its citizens,” wrote Trump. “Israel and the US share so many common values, like free speech, freedom of worship, and the special emphasis on creating opportunities for all citizens to fulfill their dreams.”’

Read more: Trump: Israel is a ray of hope to the world

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‘The Unites States says it was one of three countries to vote against a United Nations rights resolution that denounces the glorification of Nazism and other racially-charged trends around the world.

Ukraine and the Micronesian archipelago of Palau were the other two countries that voted against the Russian-drafted resolution on Thursday.

Washington said it decision was based on freedom of speech issues and concerns that Moscow was using it to carry out political attacks against its neighbors.

The resolution was passed by the UN human rights committee on Friday with 131 votes in favor, 3 against and 48 abstentions.’

Read more: US votes against UN resolution condemning Nazism

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‘At least 17 people were killed by heavy gunfire and about a dozen more were rounded up and executed after hundreds of civilians trying to leave eastern Aleppo protested against the rebel blockade of exit routes, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Some 500 civilians took part in several protests in the rebel-occupied eastern part of Aleppo on Thursday, and at least 200 of them were trying to reach the Syrian government-controlled area at the time they were violently dispersed with live fire, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

“The militants dispersed the demonstration, shooting at the protesters from a heavy machine gun and then mined all the approaches to the checkpoint and placed snipers on the roofs of nearby houses,” Konashenkov said, as quoted by Sputnik news agency.’

Read more: At least 17 killed and dozens injured in East Aleppo as US/UK backed rebels disperse protesters with machine gun fire

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‘Turkey’s ruling government has brought a motion to Parliament that would allow rapists to go free if they marry their victims, as a way to alleviate the legal complications associated with child marriage.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) supported a motion, which was brought to the floor of the General Assembly on Thursday night, that would allow the immediate release of more than 4,000 convicted rapists from Turkish prisons if they marry their victim, reports Turkish Minute.

The AKP has defended the motion by saying it is needed to protect couples who had consensual sex and were too young to legally marry.’

Read more: Turkish government supports bill that sets child rapists free if they marry victim

 

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‘Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s aides have dismissed claims he is angling for a job with US President-elect Donald Trump, calling the prospect “complete nonsense.”

Blair was spotted dining with Jared Kushner, the incoming president’s son-in-law and trusted confidant, in New York this week. The encounter fueled speculation – denied by Blair – that he could be taking on an advisory role in the Trump team.’

Read more: Tony Blair dismisses claims he wants job as Trump adviser

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The Supreme Court’s most senior judge has been urged to stand down from a crucial legal hearing on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union after it emerged his wife had posted a series of anti-Brexit tweets.

Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, the president of the Supreme Court, was accused by pro-Brexit Conservative MPs of being compromised by his wife’s views.

Read more: Supreme Court’s most senior judge urged to stand down from Article 50 legal hearing over wife’s anti-Brexit Twitter posts

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