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An assailant has been shot by armed police outside the Houses of Parliament in Britain's capital, London, after he stabbed a police officer and several other people in the vicinity of the parliament building.

British news agency, Press Association, reported citing a junior doctor at a central London hospital that a woman had died as the result of the incident while other people were being treated for "catastrophic" injuries.

According to Reuters, the UK parliament building has been shut down after the attack with dozens of armed police carrying shields entering the building. MPs have been advised to remain inside the building.

David Lidington, the leader of parliament's lower House of Commons told MPs: "What I am able to say to the house is there has been a serious incident,” AFP reported.

"It seems that a police officer has been stabbed, that the alleged assailant was shot by armed police,” he noted, adding, "There are also reports of further violent incidents in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster."

According to Lidington, an air ambulance was at the scene to take away casualties.

Following the incident, traffic was halted on the nearby Westminster Bridge with emergency vehicles swarming the area and police completely shutting off the bridge to traffic.

According to AFP, Westminster station on the London Underground train network, which is opposite the Houses of Parliament, was also closed,

At least a dozen people were reportedly injured on a nearby bridge. A Reuters reporter says he has seen at least four people injured outside the parliament, some bleeding heavily and apparently unconscious.

A Bahraini court has postponed until May 17 the trial of prominent human rights activist Nabeel Rajab, who has been behind bars for criticizing the Al Khalifah regime’s involvement in the Saudi-led military campaign against Yemen.

Bahrain's Supreme Criminal Court, presided over by Judge Ibrahim al-Zayed, took the decision against Rajab, the founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, on Wednesday.

The 53-year-old human rights activist, who is accused of “spreading false news and insulting a foreign state and the Bahraini Ministry of Interior,” could be jailed for 15 years if found guilty.

Bahraini regime forces arrested Rajab on June 13 last year over Twitter posts deemed "insulting" to the Manama regime and its main regional ally, Saudi Arabia.

On November 24, the rights campaigner was taken to hospital from prison due to heart problems after being held in solitary confinement for three months. Reports suggest that he has been subjected to harassment in jail.

Human Rights Watchdog has called for Rajab's immediate release, saying the charges against him "inherently violate the right to free expression."

Anti-regime protesters have held demonstrations in Bahrain on an almost daily basis ever since a popular uprising began in the kingdom on February 14, 2011.

They are demanding that the Al Khalifah dynasty relinquish power and a just system representing all Bahrainis be established.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist Manama in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.

Scores of people have lost their lives and hundreds of others have sustained injuries or been arrested.

US will honor Iran nuclear deal: Trump’s advisor

Published in Rest of World
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 15:18

US President Donald Trump’s nuclear advisor says Washington will honor the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six major world powers, including the United States.

Christopher Ford, the White House National Security Council's senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counter-proliferation, made the remarks during a conference in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

Ford told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace that the Trump administration will stick to the Iran nuclear pact unless otherwise is decided.

"Until otherwise decided, the United States will adhere to the Iran nuclear deal and ensure that Iran also does," he said.

However, the Trump aide also said that the White House is reviewing the Iran deal along with all other nuclear pacts that Washington has negotiated under previous administrations.

Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the United States, France, Britain, Russia and China -- plus Germany started implementing the JCPOA on January 16, 2016.

The deal limited parts of Iran's peaceful nuclear program in exchange for the complete removal of all sanctions against the country.

Since then, Washington has on a number of occasions violated the agreement by imposing anti-Iran sanctions despite the United Nations’ confirmation that Tehran has abided by the terms of the accord.

A so-called monitoring group says nearly three dozen civilians have lost their lives when the US-led coalition purportedly fighting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group carried out an aerial attack against a school used as a center for displaced people in Syria's troubled and militant-held northern province of Raqqah.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said that the airstrike targeted south of the Daesh-held Mansurah town, located about 30 kilometers west of the provincial capital city of Raqqah, in the early hours of Tuesday.

“We can now confirm that 33 people were killed, and they were displaced civilians from Raqqah, Aleppo and Homs,” SOHR head Rami Abdel Rahman said on Wednesday.

He added, “They're still pulling bodies out of the rubble until now. Only two people were pulled out alive,” he added.

“Raqqah is Being Slaughtered Silently,” an activist group that publishes news from the Daesh-controlled Syrian city, said the targeted school hosted nearly 50 displaced families.

At least 10 civilians were killed and several others injured on March 12, when US-led military aircraft bombarded the town of Maskanah, located 100 kilometers southeast of the northwestern city of Aleppo.

Palestinians write to UN over ESCWA report deletion

Published in Palestine
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 14:55

Leaders from various Palestinian political factions have written a letter to the United Nations in protest against the removal of a report criticizing Israel for imposing an "apartheid regime" of racial discrimination on the Palestinian people.

The senior Palestinian political figures handed in the letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, to the world body’s office in Gaza City on Tuesday, bemoaning the deletion of the damming report championed by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA).

“Our letter asks the UN secretary-general, in case he doesn’t believe in the media, to visit Israel to see the realities: the apartheid and injustice done against Palestinians by the Israeli Occupation. Our second message is for Rima Khalaf. We in the blockaded Gaza Strip thank such a heroine for publishing the report,” Sami Naem of the Palestinian Arab Front said.
“We are here today to reject and protest the UN secretary-general’s policy. The removal of the report only offers Israel an opportunity to continue its apartheid and racist policies. Today the secretary general proved the death of the United Nations’ consciousness by covering up Israeli crimes. We also thank brave Mrs. Khalaf for her report and decision,” Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh stated.

Last Friday, Guterres had asked that the anti-Israel report be removed from the ESCWA’s website, a UN official said on condition of anonymity.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the Daesh terrorist group has executed possibly hundreds of detainees in Iraq’s northern city of Mosul and buried them in a mass grave that could be the largest one discovered in the country so far.

Witnesses told the New York-based rights organization that the victims, including several members of Iraqi security forces, were executed between June 2014 and May or June 2015, with their bodies dumped in a sinkhole at a site in western Mosul.

Terrorists had also laid landmines and booby-traps in the mass grave in an attempt to “maximize harm to Iraqis,” according to Lama Fakih, HRW deputy Middle East director. She described the mass grave as “a grotesque symbol of ISIS’s (Daesh) cruel and depraved conduct – a crime of a monumental scale.”

“If exhumation is possible, the process should be carried out under international standards,” the HRW said.

Iraqi forces took control of the site in mid-February 2017. Human Rights Watch visited the site on March 7, but was unable to inspect the grave due to the landmines.

The United Nations estimated last month that removing all mines, explosive devices and booby traps left by Daesh in and around Mosul will cost as much as 50 million dollars.

This is only one of dozens of Daesh mass graves found in Iraq and Syria, but, according to the report, it could be the largest. It was not possible to determine the exact number of the victims.

he Yemeni army and popular committees hit the Saudi-led forces' positions with a domestically-manufactured missile in the kingdom’s southwestern and border region of Asir, killing and injuring a number of Saudi mercenaries.

The Yemeni forces targeted enemy positions with a homegrown missile dubbed “Zelzal-1” (Earthquake-1) in the Alab border crossing in Asir region in retaliation for the continued attacks on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition in the Arabian Peninsula country, the Arabic-language al-Masirah television network reported on Tuesday.

An unnamed military source said following the missile attack, a number of mercenaries of the Saudi army were killed and injured, according to the report.

Separately, the Yemeni army shelled two Saudi military bases in the kingdom’s southwestern border region of Najran, leaving large groups of Saudi soldiers dead and injured.

The Yemeni forces had previously targeted Saudi positions with ballistic missiles named “Qaher-1”, which has a range of 500 kilometers.

Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

At least 11,000 Yemenis, including women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

Multiple blasts at camps for people who have fled Boko Haram Takfiri militants killed four and injured 18 in the northeastern Nigeria city of Maiduguri, the state police commissioner said on Wednesday.

The attacks were the latest in a series in the past week. In a video circulated on Friday, a man claiming to be Boko Haram's leader claimed responsibility for bombings in Maiduguri and a raid in a nearby town last week. Bombings near the city killed four on Sunday.

Borno Police Commissioner Damian Chukwu said the latest blasts happened at around 04:30 a.m.

"Three bomb explosions occurred this morning at three different locations near Muna Garage, Maiduguri. Four people were killed and 18 people injured," he said, according to Reuters.

Chukwu said two of the blasts happened at camps for people displaced by Boko Haram. The frequency of attacks has increased since the end of the rainy season in late 2016.

Boko Haram's attacks have killed about 15,000 people and forced more than 2 million to flee their homes.

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