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British woman stabbed while travelling in tram in Jerusalem

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Jerusalem, April 15: In a shocking murder, a British woman was brutally stabbed to death by a Palestinian man on a tram in Jerusalem on Friday. She has been named as 21-year-old University of Birmingham student Hannah Bladon.

Bladon was stabbed several times in the chest when she was on a tram in Tzahal Square and who succumbed to death in hospital.

Israel Palestinians

Emergency services and police are seen at the scene of an stabbing attack in Jerusalem Friday, April 14, 2017. A Palestinian stabbed a young British tourist to death in Jerusalem Friday near the Old City that was packed with Christians celebrating Good Friday and Jews celebrating Passover, police and hospital officials said Friday. Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center said the woman died soon after she was rushed there following the attack on Friday despite efforts to save her. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Meanwhile, a 57-year-old Palestinian man was detained at the scene, BBC reported.

She commenced her studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in January 2017 as part of a student exchange programme. She was about to complete the programme in September.

The Hebrew University offered its condolences to Bladon’s family, saying in an official statement that “the university condemns such acts of terror and murder that hurt innocents who have come to Jerusalem to enrich their knowledge.”

Emergency services evacuate an injured person from the scene of an stabbing attack in Jerusalem Friday, April 14, 2017. A Palestinian stabbed a young British tourist to death in Jerusalem Friday near the Old City that was packed with Christians celebrating Good Friday and Jews celebrating Passover, police and hospital officials said Friday. Jerusalem’s Hadassah Medical Center said the woman died soon after she was rushed there following the attack on Friday despite efforts to save her. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Bladon had been taking classes in bible studies, archaeology and Hebrew at the Rothberg International School, part of The Hebrew University.

The school said: “Her friends described her as an inquisitive and adventurous student who made the most of her opportunity to learn and experience life in Israel.”

Police spokeswoman Luba Samri informed that the attacker, who holds an Israeli ID, was released from a psychiatric hospital in northern Israel shortly before the incident. He was on going to his home in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Ras al-Amud in East Jerusalem.

An off-duty policeman travelling on the tram is said to have pulled an emergency brake and then overpowered the attacker with the help of another passenger.

 

However, a statement released by Israel Security Agency Shin Bet called the suspect a “terrorist,” saying he might have carried out the attack in an attempt to get killed by the police.

“He recently tried to commit suicide, in a hospital in northern Israel, by swallowing a razor blade,” Xinhua news agency quoted the agency as saying in the statement.

“In 2011, he was convicted of sexually abusing his daughter,” it added.

A man and a pregnant woman, who apparently sustained injuries when the rail went into an emergency brake, also needed hospital care, according to a spokesman for the MDA, an Israeli emergency medical service company.

The rail service in the city was temporarily suspended, said a statement by Citipass, the company that operates the rail.

Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin expressed grief over the killing and said that his thoughts and prayers were with the family of the victim.

The attack came amid the Jewish holiday of Passover.

The police in the city have been on high alert as tens of thousands of Jews arrive for prayers in the Western Wall inside East Jerusalem’s Old City, and some even go to visit the flashpoint al-Aqsa compound, a hilltop site above the Western Wall regarded as sacred by both Muslims and Jews.

The incident comes amid a spate of violence that broke out in September 2015.

As the unrest spread, Palestinians have killed 41 Israelis and two US nationals, while Israeli forces and civilians killed at least 241 Palestinians, a Jordanian and two African asylum seekers, most of them alleged attackers, according to Israel.

Wefornews Bureau

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Australian Dy PM resigns amid sexual harassment claim

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Barnaby Joyce

Canberra, Feb 23: Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced his resignation on Friday following an allegation of sexual harassment.

Joyce tweeted: “On Monday (February 26) morning I will step down as the Leader of @The_Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. I would like to thank everyone for offering their support to me, especially the people of New England,” reports Efe news.

Joyce’s move follows a complaint against him of sexual harassment by an unnamed woman, leading some MPs of his National Party to withdraw their support.

Nationals federal MP Andrew Gee said on Friday that “until I have clarification regarding some of the issues about Barnaby, I won’t be able to back him”, adding that “all bets are off”.

The most recent claim of sexual harassment follows a weeks-long scandal implicating Joyce in an affair with his former media adviser Vikki Campion, with whom Joyce is expecting a baby.

On Tuesday, Mia Davies, leader of the National Party in Western Australia, said in a statement that her wing of the party no longer supported Joyce as federal leader and urged him to “consider his position” in relation to the best interests of the party.

On February 15, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull publicly criticized Joyce’s actions and announced a ban on sexual relations between ministers and staffers.

Joyce began his political career when he was elected as a senator for Queensland in 2004, and went to become a minister of several portfolios before becoming leader of the conservative National Party in 2016 and Deputy Prime Minister in 2017.

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Maldives president did reject UN mediation for now: Guterres’ spokesman

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Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guteress, UN Secretary General (File Photo)

United Nations, Feb 23: Maldives President Abdulla Yameen did “convey that mediation was not wanted at this stage” when UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to him last week, Guterres’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujrric has confirmed.

The conversation between the two leaders took place on February 16, Dujarric said.

The government of Yameen extended by 30 days on Wednesday the state of emergency that was declared on February 6 when Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, another judge and several politicians and activists were arrested.

“Obviously, we are all following the situation in Maldives with concern,” Dujarric said.

In an apparent response to a statement from the UN on Wednesday that Yameen had turned down the Secretary-General’s offer to mediate between him and the opposition, Maldives Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Mohamed Shainee tweeted on Thursday that the President had not rejected a UN role in “All Party Talks”.

Asked about Shainee’s claim, Dujarric reiterated that “the Secretary-General, in a conversation with the President, offered UN mediation, but the President conveyed that mediation was not wanted at this stage”.

“I can only speak for half of the phone call, and I can only speak for our half,” Dujarric added.

Asked about contacts with the opposition, which had written to Guterres asking for UN participation in talks with the government, Dujarric said: “I’m not aware that the Secretary-General has spoken to anyone in the opposition.”

In his tweet, Shainee claimed that Yameen had himself requested UN participation in talks and that the opposition was blocking the government’s attempts to have an initial engagement with them, which he said the UN required.

Earlier, the Joint Opposition led by former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Maldivian Democratic Party wrote to Guterres asking him to mediate between them and the government and to oversee any talks held.

The Maldives crisis began on February 1 when the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the terrorism conviction of former President Nasheed, as well as the convictions of eight other politicians on several charges.

After the arrest of the Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and the other judge, the other three judges remaining on the Supreme Court overturned the court’s unanimous ruling ordering the release of the nine politicians.

Meanwhile, Maldives mission to the UN has set up a modest photo exhibition showing both the nature wonders of the archipelago as well as everyday scenes from the country.

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Suicide attack near US embassy in Montenegro

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US Embassy
Image: Reuters

Podgorcia, Feb 22: An unidentified man on Thursday threw a hand grenade near U.S. embassy compound in Montenegro before blowing himself up.

“In front of the USEmbassy MNE building in Podgorica, Montenegro an unknown person committed suicide with an explosive device. Immediately before, that person threw an explosive device,” the Montenegrin government tweeted, adding that the device was “most probably” a hand grenade.

As of now, no casualties or loss of property has been reported.

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