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Israel PM Netanyahu indicted for fraud, bribery

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Jerusalem, Dec 3 :Netanyahu Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has been indicted for fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases.

Israeli Attorney General Avihai Mendelblit publicly released an official indictment on Monday, allowing a period of 30 days during which the long-time leader may request the parliament to grant him immunity from standing trial, Xinhua reported.

The 77-page indictment charges Netanyahu with bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate corruption scandals.

According to the indictment, the trial will be held at the Jerusalem District Court. The date of the trial has not yet been published.

The document contains a list of 333 witnesses the prosecution may call to testify against Netanyahu, including Sheldon Adelson, an American Jewish business magnate and one of US President Donald Trump’s major donors, and Arnon Milchan, an Israeli billionaire and Hollywood producer, and other businessmen and politicians.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, saying the indictment is part of “an orchestrated witch hunt”.

He is the first Israeli Prime Minister, who has been served with an indictment while being in office.

Disaster

Israel reports 16,757 COVID-19 cases, 281 deaths

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

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Jerusalem, May 26 : The Israeli health ministry has reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number in the country to 16,757.

After four consecutive days without death cases, the ministry on Monday reported two new fatalities, bringing the death toll from the COVID-19 to 281, Xinhua reported.

The number of patients in serious condition decreased from 44 to 41, out of 115 patients currently hospitalized, the lowest number of hospitalized patients since March 12.

The number of recoveries increased by 154 to 14,457, while the active cases decreased to 2,019.

Earlier in the day, the Israeli transport ministry announced the full resumption of the state’s railway system on June 8.

China and Israel have cooperated on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. On February 11, the Tel Aviv Municipality Hall, a landmark in the Israeli city, was illuminated with the colours of China’s national flag, showing solidarity with China in the fight against the novel coronavirus.

On March 19 and April 1, two video conferences were held between Chinese doctors and Israeli counterparts to share experience in containing the virus’ spread and treatment of the infected patients.

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Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s family ‘forgives’ his killers

In December 2019, a court sentenced five unnamed men to death for their role in his killing after a secretive trial in Riyadh.

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Riyadh, May 22 : The family of murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on Friday released a statement forgiving his killers.

The statement was posted to the Twitter account of Salah Khashoggi, one of the late journalist’s sons, on Friday, the BBC reported.

“In this blessed night of the blessed month (of Ramzan) we remember God’s saying: If a person forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is due from Allah,” Salah, who lives in the Saudi city of Jeddah, wrote.

“Therefore we the sons of the Martyr Jamal Khashoggi announce pardoning those who killed our father, seeking reward God almighty.”

The journalist, who had gone into self-imposed exile in the US in 2017, went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2n 2018 seeking documents to get married to fiance Hatice Cengiz.

Investigators believe that he was murdered and dismembered while she waited outside, but his remains have never been recovered.

Saudi officials initially claimed he had left the building alive and their account of events changed several times in the weeks after his disappearance.

After offering changing accounts of his disappearance, Saudi authorities eventually submitted he was killed in a botched operation by a team tasked with getting him to return to the country, reports the BBC.

In December 2019, a court sentenced five unnamed men to death for their role in his killing after a secretive trial in Riyadh.

Salah has previously issued statements expressing his confidence in, and support of, the Saudi investigation.

He has also previously criticised “opponents and enemies” of Saudi Arabia who he said had tried to exploit his father’s death to undermine the country’s leadership.

Last year, the Washington Post said in a report that Khashoggi’s children had received homes and monthly payments as compensation for the killing of their father.

But Salah, Khashoggi’s eldest son, was the only sibling who intended to carry on living in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper said.

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New Israeli govt sworn in after 508 days of impasse

Netanyahu was sworn in as Prime Minister and will head the government for the fifth term of his political career.

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Netanyahu and Gantz

Jerusalem, May 18 : Israels 35th government was sworn in at the Knesset (Parliament), bringing an end to a 508-day political impasse.

On Sunday night, the Knesset voted 73-46 in favour of the new coalition government agreed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his former rival, Benny Gantz, reports The Times of Israel.

Netanyahu was sworn in as Prime Minister and will head the government for the fifth term of his political career.

Gantz, also the Chairman of the Blue and White Party, was sworn in as “alternate Prime Minister and future Prime Minister” as well as Defence Minister.

Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader who was first elected as Prime Minister in 1996 and has served three consecutive terms since 2009, promised to hand over the premiership to Gantz on November 17, 2021.

“We established the precise terms under which our agreement will be fulfilled and will not be fulfilled,” Netanyahu said later in a Channel 12 interview, amid widespread scepticism that he will honour the deal.

“I will fulfil exactly, but exactly, what is written in the agreement. It is my intention and my goal to do so. And there is no reason for me to say anything to you but, yes, that’s what we will do.”

In addition to Netanyahu and Gantz, 32 ministers were sworn in, including the first female ultra-Orthodox Minister, Omer Yankelevich (Diaspora affairs), and the first Ethiopia-born Minister, Pnina Tamano-Shata (immigration and absorption), in Israel’s history, said The Times of Israel report.

Totaling 73 lawmakers, the coalition will include 35 MKs from the Likud party, 16 from the Blue and White party, nine from the Shas party, seven from the United Torah Judaism party, two from the Labor party, two from the Derech Eretz party, one from the Jewish Home party and one from the Gesher party.

Speaking at the cabinet’s first meeting, which took place immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, Netanyahu told the new Ministers that the COVID-19 pandemic topped the government’s agenda.

The second mission would be to pass a state budget and revive the economy, while the third item would be to combat Iran, he said.

The fourth was fighting the war crimes probe in the International Criminal Court and the fifth was the diplomatic issue of West Bank annexation.

Gantz spoke after Netanyahu, saying Israel was ending the “worst political crisis in its history” and calling for an end to “the era of incitement” and the start of an “era of reconciliation”.

He said he would do everything so that all Israeli citizens — Jewish or Arab, heterosexual or LGBT — would “feel at home”.

Meanwhile, the new government’s swearing-in comes just a week before Netanyahu’s criminal trial over his suspected corruption.

His trial on charges of bribery, breach of trust and fraud will start on May 27, but he denies any wrong-doing, slamming the allegations as part of “a witch hunt”.

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