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Israeli air strike destroys residential tower block in Gaza City

A Palestinian man searches for his belongings amid the ruins of his house, which witnesses said was destroyed in an Israeli air strike, in Gaza City August 23, 2014

An Israeli air strike destroyed a 13-storey residential tower block in the centre of Gaza City on Saturday and initial reports said 17 people were wounded, the Israeli army and Gaza health officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the building, which collapsed completely, had been used as a command centre by Hamas militants. Local residents said the building housed 44 families.

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Chelsea beat Leicester to complete win double over new boys

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - Chelsea v Leicester City - Stamford Bridge

By Mike Collett

Chelsea scored a second successive win over a newly-promoted side when they beat Leicester City 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday thanks to second-half goals from Diego Costa and Eden Hazard.

Chelsea started the season with a 3-1 win at last season’s Championship (second division) runners-up Burnley on Monday and Saturday’s win over winners Leicester gave Jose Mourinho’s men six points after a much improved second-half performance against the resilient visitors.

Swansea City also have six points...

Perennial Mozart favourite for Paphos festival


By Bejay Browne

PAPHOS is gearing up for the Pafos Aphrodite festival 2014 with the highly acclaimed operatic production of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte which will get underway next month.
The three performances will take place on September 5, 6 and 7 at the specially constructed open air amphitheatre at Paphos harbour, with the added attraction of the medieval fort as a backdrop.
“We are celebrating the 16th festival this year and are pleased to welcome the Opera...

Call for participants in pole dance championship


THE second pole dancing championship, ‘PoleArt 2014’ is being held in October and the organisers, MooN dance studio, are inviting participants to enter and claim the $30,000 prize, ‘the largest amount given in pole dance history’.
The organisers promise a spectacular show with more than 100 participants from all over the world and with a performance of the world renowned Cirque du Soleil on the final day of the event.
The best of the participants will also have...

Rosberg beats Hamilton to pole in Belgium

Belgium Formula One Grand Prix

By Alan Baldwin

Formula One leader Nico Rosberg swept to pole position at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday with Mercedes team mate and title rival Lewis Hamilton alongside on the front row after a wet qualifying session.

Red Bull’s four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel, last year’s winner at the circuit in the Ardennes forests, qualified in third place and was joined on the second row by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

Rosberg leads 2008 world champion Hamilton by 11 points after...

Bombs kill at least 35 across Iraq a day after mosque shooting (updated)

Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite volunteers patrol at Imam Wais village in Diyala province

Bombings across Iraq killed at least 35 people in attacks that appeared to be revenge for an assault on a Sunni mosque that has deepened sectarian conflict.

A bomb also exploded in the northern city of Arbil on Saturday, a rare attack unsettling the relative stability the capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdish region has enjoyed.

Local television footage showed firefighters dousing the charred remains of a car in Arbil. A Reuters journalist earlier saw a cloud of smoke, but the...

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire as fighting rages


By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Yasmine Saleh

Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt fire and resume peace talks, but violence continued unabated with Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip and Hamas militants firing rockets at the Jewish state.

A senior Egyptian diplomat said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had informed Sisi that Hamas was prepared to come to Cairo for further talks, but Hamas did not immediately confirm the report. Israel also had no immediate comment.


Merkel says tightening Ukraine-Russian border is key to peace deal

Germany's Chancellor Merkel gestures during a news conference with Ukraine's President Poroshenko in Kiev

By Natalia Zinets and Richard Balmforth

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday the standoff over Ukraine could be solved but only if control was tightened over the Ukraine-Russia border across which, the West alleges, Russia has been funnelling arms to help a separatist rebellion.

Merkel was visiting Kiev as a prelude to a meeting next week between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders that diplomats say is the best chance in months of a peace deal in eastern Ukraine, where...

Former Norwegian FM appointed UNSG Special Adviser on Cyprus


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Espen Barth Eide of Norway as his new Special Adviser on Cyprus.
Eide will assume the position, formerly held by Alexander Downer of Australia, who stepped down as his Special Adviser in April.
“The Secretary-General expresses his gratitude to Lisa Buttenheim of the United States, his Special Representative and Head of Mission, United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), for serving as Acting Special Adviser since Downer’s departure,” a press release...

All Blacks retain Bledisloe Cup with crushing win

New Zealand All Blacks' Read is tackled by Ashley-Cooper of Australia Wallabies during their second Bledisloe Cup rugby championship match at Eden Park in Auckland

By Greg Stutchbury

New Zealand’s forwards responded to criticism of their performance in their opening Rugby Championship clash to set the foundation for a 51-20 victory over Australia at Eden Park on Saturday that also ensured the retention of the Bledisloe Cup.

All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who was sinbinned early in the game, scored two tries while Kieran Read, Julian Savea and Steven Luatua also crossed, with their pack awarded a penalty try as part of a record score...

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