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YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Protesters demanding the resignation of Armenia’s prime minister on Monday blocked main streets in the capital city and other parts of the country, sporadically clashing with police. 

Police said 196 people have been detained in Yerevan. Protests have roiled the country for weeks, sparked by the government’s return of four border villages to Azerbaijan.

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Spain will provide Ukraine with €1bn in military aid this year after the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, and Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, met in Madrid to sign an “enormously important”, decade-long defence and security deal.

. . .

The bilateral deal was agreed two days after Russia’s onslaught in the north-eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv killed 18 people, and as EU leaders grow increasingly exasperated with Hungary’s efforts to block aid to Ukraine.

“[This deal] will allow Ukraine to boost its capabilities, including its essential air defence systems to protect its civilians, cities and infrastructure, which are still suffering indiscriminate attacks as seen this weekend in Kharkiv,” Sánchez told a press conference after the signing.

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TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that a “tragic mistake” was made in an Israeli strike in the southern Gaza city of Rafah that set fire to a camp housing displaced Palestinians and, according to local officials, killed at least 45 people.

The strike only added to the surging international criticism Israel has faced over its war with Hamas, with even its closest allies expressing outrage at civilian deaths. Israel insists it adheres to international law even as it faces scrutiny in the world’s top courts, one of which last week demanded that it halt the offensive in Rafah.

“Despite our utmost efforts not to harm innocent civilians, last night there was a tragic mistake,” Netanyahu said Monday in an address to Israel’s parliament. “We are investigating the incident and will obtain a conclusion because this is our policy.”

Mohammed Abuassa, who rushed to the scene in the northwestern neighborhood of Tel al-Sultan, said rescuers “pulled out people who were in an unbearable state.”

“We pulled out children who were in pieces. We pulled out young and elderly people. The fire in the camp was unreal,” he said.

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Azerbaijan’s ethnic cleansing Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh has left over 100,000 people displaced, struggling as refugees in Armenia and facing upheaval, homelessness, and unemployment

https://www.mercatornet.com/ethnic_cleansing_of_armenians_continues_in_the_caucasus_is_anyone_paying_attention

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Even in an urbanized economy, many Black voters care deeply about the government’s unfulfilled promises when it comes to land redistribution.

For the first time since the end of apartheid in South Africa, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party is poised to lose its governing majority. While corruption and poverty are often cited for the setback the ANC is expected to face in elections later this month, its electoral fate is also closely tied to its performance on land issues.

Despite the fact that the country has urbanized and its economy no longer revolves around land, delivering land to Black South Africans remains a yardstick against which ANC performance is measured. Land has deep symbolic meaning as an acute material loss before and during the apartheid era and as hope for a more inclusive and just future. As Nelson Mandela put it in 1995, “With freedom and democracy, came restoration of the right to land. And with it the opportunity to address the effects of centuries of dispossession and denial.”

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Western diplomats warned Monday that European countries may strictly interpret the International Court of Justice's decision on the Israel Defense Forces' operation in Rafah following the deadly incident in which dozens of civilians died as a result of an Israeli attack on the city overnight into Monday.

According to him, however, the death of many Palestinian civilians following a fire that broke out after the IDF attacked Rafah may change the picture.

"It's hard to ignore the awful timing of this incident," one diplomat told Haaretz. "Two days after the ICJ said to Israel, 'you can operate in Rafah but don't cause mass civilian casualties,' an airstrike causes mass civilian casualties. This will turn up the pressure for a complete halt of the offensive, in Rafah and of the war in general."

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is highly critical of Israel, accused the country of violating the ICJ's orders. Germany's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the photos coming out of Rafah were "unbearable" and called on Israel to immediately investigate the circumstances of the incident and better protect the civilian population there.

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A top Mexican cartel member known as ‘El Nini,’ who was one of America’s most-wanted criminals for his alleged role in the fentanyl trade, has been extradited to the United States.

In a speech celebrating US-Mexico cooperation on the case, US President Joe Biden on Saturday hailed the extradition of El Nini – also known as Néstor Isidro Pérez Salas – as “a good day for justice.”

“El Nini played a prominent role in the notorious Sinaloa cartel, one of the deadliest drug trafficking enterprises in the world. The United States has charged him for his role in illicit fentanyl trafficking and for murdering, torturing, and kidnapping numerous rivals, witnesses, and others,” Biden said, thanking Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

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  • Mexico City could run out of drinking water by June 26, an event locals call "Day Zero."
  • Three years of low rainfall and high temperatures have worsened the city's water crisis.
  • The Cutzamala water system, which provides water to millions, operates now at 28% capacity.
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Traditional food is painted as backward and dirty—except for tourists.

Instruction began early on a November 2018 morning. This lesson was not taught in a classroom, but in a makeshift kitchen as part of Xinjiang’s “household school” program. There, a teacher stood before her class of adult women and asked: “What do you like to eat for breakfast?”

The students responded in unison, “nan and milk” or “nan and tea.”

“You don’t eat a bowl of hot congee?” the teacher interjected. This question sparked additional discussion and “even more curiosity” among the women in attendance.

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Taiwan's customs officials have issued a fine of NT$200,000 ($9,369) to a traveller for attempting to bring a lunch box containing pork into the country.

The Indonesian national had arrived from Hong Kong on April 30 when a quarantine dog sniffed out the "roast chicken and pork combo", said the Taiwanese Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency. 

The traveller was reportedly unable to pay the fine and deported.

Taiwan introduced fines of NT$200,000 for bringing pork products to the island from countries affected by African swine fever (ASF) following an outbreak in China in 2018.

Fines increase to NT$1 million for subsequent breaches of quarantine.

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An Egyptian soldier was killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces at the Rafah crossing on Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip on Monday.

Kan public broadcast said no Israeli soldiers were hurt in the incident which left one Egyptian killed and others wounded.

The Israeli military said: "A few hours ago there was a shooting incident on the Egyptian border, the [incident] is under investigation, dialogue is taking place with the Egyptian side."

Egypt's military confirmed one person was killed and said it is investigating the shooting.

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What followed was a wave of shooting and arson attacks across 11 Palestinian villages in which a dozen homes and more than 100 cars were torched, thousands of animals were slaughtered, four people were shot dead and scores of others were seriously wounded.

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Vulnerable economies must be supported with finance and practical aid to find long term solutions, says Jorge Moreira da Silva of Unops

The world has a “moral responsibility” to support the fight for survival being faced by small island states, according to a leading UN agency chief.

Ahead of the fourth annual conference of small island developing states (Sids) being held in Antigua and Barbuda this week, Jorge Moreira da Silva, the executive director of the (Unops), called for recognition of the problems faced by what he called “some of the most vulnerable economies in the world” who contributed less than 1% to global carbon emissions.

“Because of their unique circumstances and vulnerabilities, Sids face higher levels of debt distress than other developing countries,” said da Silva. “Over 40% of Sids are now on the edge of, or are already grappling with, unsustainable levels of debt. And with every major disaster, private external debt in Sids tends to rise. Between 2016 and 2020, Sids have paid in debt service 18 times more than what they received as climate finance.

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Indian leader tells interviewer God ‘just keeps making me do things’ but that he ‘cannot dial him directly’

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has said he believes he has been chosen by God, as the multi-stage Indian electionnears its completion.

“I am convinced that ‘*Parmatma’ *(God) sent me for a purpose. Once the purpose is achieved, my work will be one done. This is why I have completely dedicated myself to God,” he told NDTV news channel on Sunday.

Modi, who is hoping to win a third term when the results of the general election are announced on 4 June, said that while God guided him to do a lot of his work, he did so without revealing a larger scheme.

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Defense officials in Poland have shared details on a plan to strengthen the country's eastern border. They say Poland is at constant risk of hostile actions by Russia and its ally, Belarus.

NATO member Poland on Monday elaborated on a plan to reinforce anti-drone surveillance and construct fortifications along some 700 kilometers (430 miles) of its border with Russian exclave Kaliningrad, and Russian ally Belarus.

The system, called Shield-East, is to be completed in 2028 and aims to protect Poland from hostile actions across the border, which up to now have included pushing migrants illegally into the country, an EU member.

The presentation of the plan comes as many countries from the former "Eastern Bloc" increasingly fear Russian aggression in view of Moscow's unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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  • China released a simulation video on Friday of how it could strike Taiwan with waves of missiles.
  • The clips are a hype montage of CGI and live footage from mock strikes carried out last weekend.
  • They showed off the ground-based launchers, jet fighters, and naval ships that China could fire from.

China's Eastern Theater Command on Friday released a simulation video of its missile forces carrying out a mass attack on Taiwan, boasting its land, sea, and air launch capabilities.

The 70-second hype video used a mix of computer-generated animation and live footage to depict warships, land-based rocket launchers, and jet fighters launching waves of missiles at the island.

"Destroy the pillar of Taiwanese independence! Strike the base camp of Taiwanese independence! Cut off the blood flow of Taiwanese independence!" the People's Liberation Army branch wrote in the video.

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Gaza officials say the death toll from Israeli air strikes on a camp housing displaced Palestinians near Rafah in southern part of the strip has risen to 40.

“The massacre committed by the Israeli occupation army in the refugee tents northwest of Rafah city in the southern Gaza Strip has left 40 martyrs and 65 wounded,” Mohammad al-Mughayyir, a senior official at the civil defence agency, told AFP news agency.

The attack led to a massive fire, which Palestinian Civil Defence teams managed to extinguish after about 45 minutes.

“The air strikes burnt the tents, the tents are melting and the people’s bodies are also melting,” one of the residents who arrived at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah was reported as saying by the Reuters news agency.

Doctors without Borders, known by its acronym MSF, said “dozens of wounded” as well as more than 15 of the dead had been brought to a facility that it supports.

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Spain's foreign minister condemned as "scandalous and execrable" a video posted by his Israeli counterpart suggesting Hamas would be grateful to Spain, in a growing spat between the two countries over the Gaza war.

Spain last week announced it would recognise Palestine as a state and in recent days two Spanish government ministers referred to a genocide in Gaza.

The video shows the Spanish flag then a couple dancing to flamenco music. Film of Hamas fighters is interspersed including people fleeing during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that triggered Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

"Its scandalous because all the world knows, including my colleague in Israel, that Spain condemned the actions of Hamas from the first moment. And execrable for the use of one of those symbols of Spanish culture."

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