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London hate crimes rise again in wake of Middle East conflict

There had been 408 antisemitic incidents recorded in the British capital so far this month

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Antisemitic and Islamaphobic incidents have almost doubled in just over a week in London, police data showed, in the wake of the attack by Hamas militants on southern Israel nearly three weeks ago and subsequent bombardment by Israel of Gaza.

There have been growing tensions in Britain and elsewhere since Hamas gunmen rampaged through Israeli towns and Israel besieged Gaza in response, with pro-Palestinian demonstrations and vigils held by Jewish groups in solidarity with hostages, some of whom are British, who were taken by the militants.

Commander Kyle Gordon said there had been 408 antisemitic incidents recorded in the British capital so far this month compared to 28 in the same period last year, while there had been 174 Islamophobic offences compared to 65.

In both cases the numbers were almost twice as high as those given a week ago.

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“My colleagues continue to ruthlessly deal with any acts of hate crime that they encounter,” Kyle told reporters. “Since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, we have made 75 arrests linked to the conflict.”

Last week, about 100,000 protesters took part in a march organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and in the aftermath police faced criticism from some lawmakers for not being tougher over slogans shouted by some involved.

London’s police chief Mark Rowley held a meeting with Home Secretary Suella Braverman on Monday after which he said laws would need to be changed if the government wanted firmer action.

Kyle said there would be some 2,000 officers on duty across the capital on Saturday when another pro-Palestinian march is set to take place.

“Our most experienced and knowledgeable officers are working on the policing of these events, making sure we’re utilising all of the legislation available to us to its fullest extent,” he said. “We will not tolerate hate crime in this city. We will take really robust action to all those who commit such crimes.”

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Meanwhile, Commander Dominic Murphy, from the London police’s Counter Terrorism Command, said his officers had launched just under 10 investigations into online material referred by the public to police.

Some officers had also been deployed to Israel to support foreign ministry staff and support any investigations which might result from the Hamas attack.

There has been an increase in reported threats against Jewish and Muslim communities in many countries, including the United States, since the Gaza war broke out.

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White-led DA party joins ANC in South African unity government

White-led DA party joins ANC in South African unity government

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White-led DA party joins ANC in South African unity government

 The African National Congress and its largest rival, the white-led, pro-business Democratic Alliance, agreed on Friday to work together in South Africa’s new government of national unity, a step change after 30 years of ANC majority rule.

Once unthinkable, the deal between two sharply antagonistic parties is the most momentous political shift in South Africa since Nelson Mandela led the ANC to victory in the 1994 elections that marked the end of apartheid.

“Today, South Africa is a better country than it was yesterday. For the first time since 1994, we’ve embarked on a peaceful and democratic transfer of power to a new government that will be different from the previous one,” DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a televised address.

“From today, the DA will co-govern the Republic of South Africa in a spirit of unity and collaboration,” he said, adding that multi-party government was the “new normal”.

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The ANC lost its majority for the first time in an election on May 29 and has spent two weeks locked in intensive behind-the-scenes talks with other parties, which came down to the wire on Friday morning as the new parliament was convening.

The DA’s entry into national government is a big moment for a country still processing the legacy of the racist colonial and apartheid regimes. The party has struggled to shake off its image as a defender of rich white people and convince a broad spectrum of South Africans that it reflects their aspirations.

Two smaller parties, the socially conservative Inkatha Freedom Party and the right-wing Patriotic Alliance, will also take part in the unity government, they said. 

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Hamas’ armed wing says Israeli airstrike killed two hostages in Rafah

Hamas’ armed wing says Israeli airstrike killed two hostages in Rafah

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Hamas' armed wing says Israeli airstrike killed two hostages in Rafah

Hamas’ armed wing al-Qassam Brigades said on Friday that two Israeli hostages held in Gaza were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Rafah a few days ago.

The group, in a video posted on its Telegram channel, did not release the names of those said to have been killed or provide any evidence.

The Israeli government “does not want your hostages to return, except in coffins,” the al-Qassam Brigades statement said.

Israel rescued four hostages held by Hamas in a hostage-freeing operation in central Gaza’s al-Nuseirat on June 8. The health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said more than 250 Palestinians were killed in the raid.

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The war in Gaza erupted when Hamas militants stormed southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. 

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US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

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US attack sub, Canada navy patrol ship arrive in Cuba on heels of Russian warships

A Canadian navy patrol ship sailed into Havana early on Friday, just hours after the United States announced a fast-attack submarine had docked at its Guantanamo naval base on Cuba, both vessels on the heels of Russian warships that arrived on the island earlier this week.

The confluence of Russian, Canadian and U.S. vessels in Cuba – a Communist-ruled island nation just 160 km (100 miles) from Florida – served up a reminder of old Cold War tensions and of current fraught ties between Russia and Western nations over the Ukraine war.

However, both the U.S. and Cuba have said the Russian warships pose no threat to the region. Russia has also characterized the arrival of its warships in allied Cuba as routine.

The Admiral Gorshkov frigate and the nuclear-powered submarine Kazan, half submerged with its crew on deck, sailed into Havana harbor on Wednesday after conducting “high-precision missile weapons” training in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Canada`s Margaret Brooke patrol vessel began maneuvers early on Friday to enter Havana harbor, part of what the Canadian Joint Operations Command called “a port visit…in recognition of the long-standing bilateral relationship between Canada and Cuba.”

A Canadian diplomat characterized the Margaret Brooke`s arrival as “routine and part of long-standing cooperation between our two countries”, adding it was “unrelated to the presence of the Russian ships.”

Russia and Cuba were close allies under the former Soviet Union and tensions with Washington over Communism in its “backyard” peaked with the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Moscow, which has maintained ties with Havana, has questioned the apparent nervousness of the West over the warships this week. 

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