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Kosovo’s President Resigns To Face War Crimes Charges In The Hague

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Kosovo president Hashim Thaci, who was a leader during the country’s war for independence, has resigned in order to face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity at a special court based in The Hague.

Thaci announced his resignation at a news conference on Thursday and said he was quitting to protect the integrity of the presidency of Kosovo.

Thaci commanded fighters in the Kosovo liberation army during the 1998-1999 war.

Thaci and nine others have been accused of committing “nearly 100 murders” and other atrocities against “hundreds of known victims of Kosovo, Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities” and political opponents.

Thaci was questioned over his role in the 1990s conflict by prosecutors in The Hague for the first time in July at the specialist chamber set up in The Hague in 2015 to handle cases of alleged crimes by KLA fighters during the war that eventually led to Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

The Hague-based court is governed by Kosovo law but is staffed by international judges and prosecutors.

The war, which came to an end after NATO-led air raids, left more than 10,000 dead.  Authorities are still unable to account for more than sixteen hundred persons.

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Boeing 737 MAX Resumes Operations After 20-Month Safety Ban

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Boeing aircraft company has returned the 737 MAX planes into operation and has completed its first flight with passengers on board on Wednesday.  The 737 MAX was banned from flight operations 20 months ago for safety reasons.

American airlines conducted the 45-minute test flight on Wednesday in which 90 passengers, including senior executives of American Airlines, reporters, flight attendants and crew of the company were on board.  American Airlines is expected to conduct the first commercial flight of Boeing 737 at the end of the month.

Industry insiders say Europe’s largest low-cost airline, Ryanair, is likely to order additional seventy-five Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

In October 2018 and march 2019, Indonesia’s Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines were involved in Boeing 737 MAX air crashes that killed three hundred forty-six persons.

After a series of review procedures, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, F.A.A., announced the lifting of the safety ban for Boeing 737 MAX aircraft in the middle of last month.

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UK Deploys 300 Troops To Mali

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The UK’s defence ministry says the first batch of 300 British troops have arrived in Mali to bolster the united peacekeeping mission there.  The rest will follow within a week.

The force will join 14,000 peacekeepers from 50 nations to protect Mali’s population from growing Islamist violence.

The mission to Africa’s Sahel region has been described as the world’s most dangerous peacekeeping deployment.  More than 5,000 French troops have underpinned the operation, but president Emmanuel macron is under pressure to reduce his forces.

Meanwhile, Mali’s interim government announced, on Thursday, the composition of a new legislative body for the country’s transition to civilian rule, with the military retaining a key role.

Young army officers in Mali toppled president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in august after weeks of anti-government protests.

Military junta handed power to an interim government, between September and October under the threat of international sanctions.  The interim government is meant to rule for 18 months before elections.

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Israeli Legislators Pass Proposal To Dissolve Parliament

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With support from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli legislators have passed a proposal on Wednesday to dissolve the country’s parliament. This means Israel will be forced into having its fourth national election in under two years.

This happens just seven months after the coalition took office in a declaration of national unity to confront the coronavirus crisis.

But since then, the alliance between Netanyahu’s Likud Party and defence minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White has been locked in battles.

The legislation is heading to a committee before coming before parliament for final approval as early as next week.

Prime minister Netanyahu is on trial for a series of corruption charges. Gantz accuses the prime minister of hindering key governmental work, including the passage of a national budget.

Political observers say lack of a budget has caused severe hardships and cutbacks for Israelis at a time when unemployment is estimated at more than 20 percent.

If a budget for 2020 is not passed by December the 23rd, Israeli law stipulates an automatic dissolution of parliament and new elections.

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