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US Says Israeli Settlements Are No Longer Illegal

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US Says Israeli Settlements Are No Longer Illegal

President Donald Trump says the U.S. will no longer consider Israeli settlements to be illegal under international law.   This move formalizes trump administration’s treatment of the west bank and shifts decades of U.S. Policy.

US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo says Israelis and Palestinians should negotiate the status of the west bank.

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This means president Donald Trump will no longer abide by a 1978 state department legal opinion that the settlements were “inconsistent with international law.”

Settlements are communities established by Israel on land it occupied in the 1967 middle east war. They have long been a source of dispute among Israel, Palestinians and the international community.

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A spokesman for Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas says the U.S. move is in total contradiction with international law.

Abbas says Washington is not qualified or authorized to cancel the resolutions of international law, and has no right to grant legality to any Israeli settlement.

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Meanwhile, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, says the U.S. announcement “rights a historical wrong.”

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Rockets ‘Hit US Embassy’ In Iraq Capital Amid Anti-Gov’t Protests

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Rockets 'Hit Us Embassy' In Iraq Capital Amid Anti-Gov't Protests

Three persons have been injured after five rockets crashed into a riverbank near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad over the weekend

Security sources say three of the projectiles hit the diplomatic installation, with one striking the embassy’s cafeteria

The incident came amid anti-government protests in the capital, Baghdad, over corruption, foreign interference in Iraqi affairs, and the presence of U.S. troops in the country.

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One protester was shot by Iraqi security forces,

Prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has condemned the rocket attack that targeted the U.S. embassy on the same day a U.S. State department spokesperson had called on “the government of Iraq, to fulfill its obligations to protect American diplomatic facilities.

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It was the third such attack this month.

Pro-Iranian demonstrators had attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in December to condemn U.S. Air strikes two days earlier that killed at least 25 members of an Iran-backed militant group.

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Aircraft Crashes In Central Afghan Province 

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Aircraft Crashes In Central Afghan Province 

Senior Afghan officials say a plane has crashed in eastern Ghazni province, but details are still sketchy as authorities sought to locate the aircraft’s wreckage in the mountainous province.

Three government officials said the plane was operated by Afghanistan’s state-owned carrier, Ariana Afghan Airlines.  Acting CEO of the airlines, Mirwais Mirzakwal, had denied those reports on Monday.

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A senior presidency official in Kabul says a plane had crashed near Ghazni province and authorities were still seeking details.

Provincial sources said the plane was en route to Ghazni from Herat when it crashed in a territory under Taliban control

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Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said they were investigating the crash claims but were unable to comment further.

Afghanistan civil aviation authority also denied reports that the plane was a commercial flight.

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The mountainous Ghazni province sits in the foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains and is bitterly cold in the winter.

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Democrats Call For Bolton To Testify In Impeachment Trial

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Democrats Call For Bolton To Testify In Impeachment Trial

Democrats are calling for former national security adviser John Bolton to testify at president Donald Trump’s impeachment trial after an explosive report in his unpublished book alleges Trump personally tied Ukraine aid to an investigation of the Bidens.

In the Sunday report, the contents of Bolton’s manuscript were described as a rough account of how the former Trump official would testify, should he be called as a witness in the senate impeachment trial.

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The New York Times reports that in the manuscript, Bolton revealed that nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine would not be released until it offered assistance with investigations of democratic targets, including former vice president Joe Biden and his son, hunter.

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Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer says it is up to four senate republicans to ensure that John Bolton, Trump’s acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, and the others with direct knowledge of president Trump’s actions testify in the senate trial.

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