Saturday, October 18, 2014


* Abbas: 'Settlers' have no right to 'desecrate' Temple Mount Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Friday that Israeli "settlers" had no right to "desecrate" the Temple Mount and should be prevented from accessing the site.

* Hamas protesters in Gaza call to 'defend' Temple Mount Hamas organized a demonstration in Gaza City on Friday to call for the defense of the al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and the alleged "threats" posed to the site by Israel.

* Russia to bolster military presence in former Soviet states The head of the Russian air force has announced Moscow's plans to establish an airbase for fighter jets in eastern Belarus in 2016, according to state media.

* Lebanon dragged into war with Islamic State With all eyes on the Islamic State group's onslaught in Iraq and Syria, a less conspicuous but potentially just as explosive front line with the extremists is emerging in Lebanon.

* Islamic State 'training pilots to fly fighter jets' Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State are training its members in Syria to fly three captured fighter jets, according to a UK-based activist group that monitors the conflict.

* Beyond the lines: New opponents, new challenges in the Middle East Hezbollah is under pressure as the consequences of its ongoing intervention in Syria have come back to bite the terrorist organization.

* Iraq crisis: MPs complete unity government Iraqi MPs have approved new defence and interior ministers, completing a unity government that is battling the spread of Islamic State militants.

* Ukraine crisis: 'No breakthrough' in Putin-EU talks The presidents of Russia and Ukraine have held talks with the EU, but there has been no apparent breakthrough on how to end the crisis in Ukraine.

* Ebola Cover-up? African Dies Vomiting on Plane to New York Congressman Peter King (R-NY) is outraged after Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials dismissed Ebola after a "cursory" exam of an African man, who died on a plane to JFK Airport Thursday in a fit of vomiting.

* Religious Venues to be Used for Converting Civil Partnerships to Gay Marriages The government has altered plans to allow gay couples to convert their civil partnerships to marriages, by allowing the conversion ceremony to take place at a range of venues including churches, synagogues, meeting houses, hotels and other registered venues.