Monday, July 21

UN/ISRAEL/GAZA STRIP – The United Nations Security Council will hold an emergency meeting late Sunday on the situation in Gaza, where the Palestinian death toll passed 100 in a single day. Diplomats said the meeting, open to the public and set for 9:30 pm (0130 GMT Monday), was requested by council member Jordan, following a call by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. As regional leaders met in Doha for urgent talks on a ceasefire, Abbas said that “what the occupation forces did today in Shejaiya is a crime against humanity,” referring to a blistering hours-long Israeli assault near Gaza City that has claimed 62 Palestinian lives and wounded another 250. (Al Arabiya)

BOSNIA HERZEGOVINA – The president of the mainly Serb entity of Bosnia Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, said on Monday his political program ”is strengthening the autonomy of the Republika Srpska until independence is reached, and I think events in Crimea, with the referendum, set a good example which could be followed”. He stressed the Balkan country could not survive the way it is. (ANSAmed)

LIBYA – Islamist militants attacked an army base in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Monday, triggering fierce clashes involving helicopters and jets that killed at least seven people and wounded 40 others after days of escalating violence. Benghazi’s clashes followed a week of fighting between rival militias for control of Tripoli International Airport in the capital that has prompted the North Africa country to appeal for international help to stop Libya becoming a failed state. (Reuters)

IRAN – Iran and the group known as the P5+1 have agreed to a four-month extension of negotiations toward a final comprehensive nuclear deal, two Western diplomats told CNN. The P5+1 includes Germany and the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council: the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain. Talks between world powers and Iran over that country’s nuclear program are “a historic opportunity for all of us to end a rather prolonged chapter,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in Vienna. (CNN)

 

Tuesday, July 22

PALESTINE – Leading Palestinian human rights activists have said the Israeli bombardment of Gaza’s Shujayea neighbourhood amounted to a war crime. Scenes of people forced to flee their homes under the heaviest bombardment of the 15-day Israeli assault on Gaza was, according to one Palestinian human rights activist “the largest exodus wave” since the Palestinian Nakba in 1948. (Al Jazeera)

IRAQ – At least 22 people were killed in a suicide-bomber attack at the scene of an earlier bombing in Baghdad, police officials and medical sources told CNN on Tuesday. There were also at least 45 people wounded by the twin bombings in the al-Kadumiya area. The explosions occurred as people were trying to drive into the city before a midnight curfew. (CNN)

TURKEY – Turkish authorities have arrested dozens of senior police officers on suspicion of illegally eavesdropping on top officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prosecutors have said. A total of 67 serving and former top police officers were arrested as part of two probes, prosecutors said in a statement on Tuesday. Most of the arrests were in the country’s largest city, Istanbul, but raids were also carried out in the capital, Ankara, and cities including Izmir and Diyarbakir. (Al Jazeera)

 

Wednesday, July 23

ITALY -Italy’s Costa Concordia will set sail on its final voyage, two and a half years after the luxury cruise ship crashed and sank in a night-time disaster off the island of Giglio that left 32 people dead. The rusting liner, which has been floated from its watery grave in the biggest salvage operation of a passenger ship performed so far, will be towed away on Wednesday to the port of Genoa in northwest Italy to be dismantled and scrapped. Surviving passengers who have returned to Tuscany’s Giglio island will gather with locals and holidaymakers to bid a final farewell to the once-magnificent cruise ship. (Al Jazeera)

UKRAINE/NETHERLANDS – Military aircraft prepare to fly the first bodies retrieved from Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to Eindhoven in the Netherlands. One hundred and ninety-three Dutch nationals were among the 298 people killed when the flight was shot down by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine. Wednesday is a day of national mourning in the country. (The Guardian)

IRAN – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday called for a referendum canvassing the Arabs and Jews that live in Israel in order to end the “Zionist state”, but said until such a vote could be held, armed resistance was necessary. Khamenei and his predecessor the Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini have called repeatedly over the years for an end to the Jewish state, including through a referendum in the region, where Palestinians are in the majority. (Reuters)

 

Thursday, July 24

TURKEY/GAZA STRIP – Turkey is pushing hard for an immediate cease-fire amid Israel’s continuous military onslaught in Gaza, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said as reported by Anadolu Agency. “Turkey will continue to raise its voice against these massacres no matter what others say,” Davutoglu said at the 30th meeting of the Reform Watch Group that observes the process of Turkey’s accession to the EU in the eastern province of Erzurum on Wednesday. (ANSAmed)

IRAQ – Iraqi MPs have elected Kurdish politician Fouad Massoum as president, succeeding Jalal Talabani. Mr Massoum, 76, is a founding member of Mr Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party. Since 2003 Iraq’s president has always been a Kurd, while the prime minister is a Shia and the parliamentary speaker drawn from the Sunni Arab bloc. (BBC)

VATICAN – Meriam Ibrahim and her family meet Pope Francis on Thursday at the Vatican. Ibrahim, a Christian Sudanese woman, was spared the death sentence for apostasy in Sudan earlier this year. Ibrahim is married to a Christian US citizen and was sentenced to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. (The Guardian)

 

Friday, July 25

RUSSIA/UKRAINE/USA – Russia is preparing the transfer of more powerful weaponry into Ukraine, and it could happen at any time, a Pentagon spokesman said Friday, citing the latest U.S. intelligence. The transfer could be “imminent,” the spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, told reporters. It’s believed the weaponry will be driven into Ukraine “potentially today,” he said, but it is not clear if Russian troops will be involved. (CNN)

FRANCE/ALGERIA – There are no survivors from the Air Algerie AH5017 passenger jet that crashed in Mali, says the French President, Francois Hollande. Mr Hollande said one flight data recorder had been recovered, after French troops reached the crash site near Mali’s border with Burkina Faso. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane early on Thursday after pilots reported severe storms. Almost half of the 116 people on board were French, including a family of 10. (BBC)

ISRAEL/PALESTINE – Israel’s security cabinet Friday unanimously rejected a proposed one-week humanitarian cease-fire, Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told CNN. The United States and Egypt were moving closer to an agreement with Israel and the Palestinians on one-week truce, starting Sunday, but Israel rejected it and asked for modifications. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting in Egypt with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri. (CNN)

SYRIA – Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) say they have overrun a large Syrian military base on the outskirts of the city of Raqqa. The Islamist fighters have released images of captured soldiers being beheaded after the battle for the base. The Syrian army did not confirm that the base had fallen, but said it was organising a counter-attack. Isis already controls much of Raqqa province, and recently seized a swathe of territory in neighbouring Iraq. (BBC)