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Palestinians fleeing their homes adjacent to the border with Israel walk while others ride a horse cart as they make their way to stay at a United
Nations-run school, in the northern Gaza Strip.
Civilians flee Israeli fire
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau
has claimed responsibility for two
explosions on June 25 at a fuel depot in
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, in a
video seen overnight, which if true would
be the militants’ first recorded attack on
“A bomb went off in Lagos. I ordered
(the bomber) who went and detonated
it,” Shekau said.
The two blasts minutes apart last
month in the main port of Apapa were
almost certainly caused by bombs, three
senior security sources and the manager
of a major container company said. One
was most likely the work of a female
suicide bomber, they said.
Authorities said the blasts on Creek
Road were an accident caused by a gas
canister, but the security sources said that
was a cover-up meant to prevent panic in
the city of 21 million people. At least two
people were killed.
Shekau also claimed a bomb in a
shopping mall in Abuja’s upmarket Wuse
II district that killed 24 people, the third
in the capital since April and among a
growing body of evidence that its attacks
are spreading southwards.
A military spokesman declined to
comment, saying that it was a police
A spokesman for police headquarters
said that only Lagos police could
comment. A spokeswoman for Lagos
police division, however, did not respond
to a request for comment.
“ You said it was an ordinary fire, but it
was me in that fire. Well, you can hide it
from people but you can’t hide it from
Allah,” Shekau says in the video, which
shows him next to gunmen in front of
two armoured personnel carriers and two
A confirmed attack by Boko Haram
would be a cause for concern. Lagos is
both an international business hub and
a usually peaceful but at times uneasy
melting pot of ethnicities from the
mostly Christian south and Muslim
north that have fought street battles in
The target of the Lagos bombs was a
fuel depot. Had it gone up, it could have
caused a massive chain explosion and
disrupted Nigeria’s mostly imported fuel
Security sources say it may have
been the work of a group or individual
inspired by Boko Haram, and point out
that its failure to hit its target makes it
unlikely this was an expertly-trained
Shekau has been known to claim
attacks suspected to be the work of
another Islamist group or a criminal
Shekau gets the name of the governor
of Lagos State wrong in the video,
mocking Adams Oshiomole, who is in
fact the governor of the southern Edo
education — Boko Haram means
Western education is forbidden —
along with “the ideologies of America,
England, France, China and the whole
world”. — Reuters
Germany and the United States
remain “great friends” despite
a new spying scandal that saw
the Central Intelligence Agency
station chief in Berlin expelled,
American Secretary of State
John Kerry says.
The intelligence chief was kicked
out on Thursday following the
revelation of two alleged spying
cases within days of each other,
re-igniting simmering German
anger at American snooping on
one of its key European allies.
relationship between the United
States and Germany is a strategic
one. We have enormous political
co-operation and we are great
friends. And we will continue
to work together,” Kerry said
in a joint news conference with
German Foreign Minister Frank-
Walter Steinmeier in Vienna.
The two men were in the city for
nuclear talks with Iran, but the
espionage scandal has become an
The two foreign ministers,
along with their counterparts
from France and Britain, were
also to discuss the crisis in Gaza.
The spying row brought back
uncomfortable memories of
another dispute last year when
it emerged that Washington was
monitoring Chancellor Angela
In the latest case, the home
and office of a German defence
ministry employee accused of
passing secrets to the US were
raided by police.
A week earlier, a 31-year-
old German BND foreign
intelligence ser vice operative was
arrested on suspicion of having
sold over 200 documents to the
CIA. — AFP
Germany, US ‘great
friends’ despite spying
The death toll after three
buildings collapsed in Morocco’s
largest city and commercial
capital Casablanca has risen to 16,
Seven more bodies were
recovered from the rubble during
the day, including two children
and Moroccan actress Amal
Maarouf and her mother, officials
told the MAP news agency.
A 16th body was later pulled
from the debris, an official told
AFP, on condition of anonymity.
A provisional toll yesterday
spoke of eight dead.
News website Yibiladi said the
actress had continued to respond
to calls on her cellphone for
several hours after the calamity
but did not elaborate.
Medics said overnight that 17
people were still being treated in
hospital, while authorities warned
of more buried bodies.
Other officials warned that the
toll could rise further because
more people were feared trapped
in the rubble.
Rescue operations were
temporarily suspended late
yesterday as emergency teams
sought more sophisticated
equipment, sparking anger from
relatives of the missing.
By late evening the site had been
cordoned off and the media barred,
drawing criticism in the media.
“Search for bodies suspended,
equipment deficient. Three days
to notice it,” the Economist
newspaper scoffed in a post on its
It was still not known why the
three apartment blocks in El-
Hank district collapsed.
Residents said the accident
probably resulted from
“ haphazard works” on the lower
floors of the buildings, as well as a
general lack of maintenance.
An official inquiry has begun,
and the residents of three
adjoining buildings have been
evacuated as a precaution.
Firemen managed to rescue
at least 55 people, including six
children, after the apartment
blocks crumpled. — AFP
Death toll 16 in Casablanca building collapse
Firefighters search for victims under the rubble after buildings collapsed in downtown Casablanca.
Thousands fled their homes in a Gaza
Strip town overnight after Israel warned
them to leave before it attacked rocket-
launching sites, on the sixth day of an
offensive that Palestinian officials said
has killed at least 166 people.
Militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza kept up
rocket salvoes deep into the Jewish State
as the worst bout of Israel-Palestinian
bloodshed in two years showed no signs
of abating, and western foreign ministers
said a ceasefire was an urgent priority.
Israel dropped leaflets into the town
of Beit Lahiya near Gaza’s northern
border. They read: “Those who fail to
comply with the instructions to leave
immediately will endanger their lives
and the lives of their families. Beware. ”
The Israeli military told the residents of
three of Beit Lahiya’s 10 neighbourhoods
to get out of the town of 70,000 by
midday (local time). United Nations
officials said some 10,000 people had
fled south to eight schools run by the
world body in Gaza City.
A senior military officer, in a telephone
briefing with foreign reporters, said
Israel would “strike with might” in the
Beit Lahiya area from the late evening
He did not say if this would include an
expansion of an air and naval offensive
into a ground operation in the north
of the narrow, densely populated
“The enemy has built rocket
infrastructure in-between the houses
(in Beit Lahiya),” the Israeli officer said.
“ He wants to trap me into an attack and
into hurting civilians.”
The Gaza Health Ministry said at least
166 Palestinians — among them about
135 civilians, including 30 children —
have died during six days of warfare, and
more than 1000 hurt.
At schools run by the UN Relief
and Works Agency in Gaza City, Beit
Lahiya residents arrived in donkey
carts filled with children, luggage and
mattresses, while others came by car or
taxi. One man, still in pyjamas, said some
inhabitants had received phone calls
telling them to leave.
“What could wedo?Wehad to run in
order to save the lives of our children,”
Salem Abu Halima, 25, a father of two,
Gaza’s Interior Ministry, in a statement
on Hamas radio, dismissed Israel’s
warnings as “psychological warfare”. It
told those who left their homes to return
and others to stay put.
The leaflets marked the first time
Israel had warned Palestinians to vacate
dwellings in such a wide area. Previous
warnings, by phone or so-called “knock-
on-the-door” missiles without explosive
warheads, had been directed at individual
homes slated for attack.
A Palestinian woman and a girl aged
three were killed in Israeli air strikes
early yesterday, the Health Ministry said.
Hostilities along the Israel-Gaza
frontier first intensified last month
after Israeli forces arrested hundreds of
Hamas activists in the Israeli-occupied
West Bank following the abduction there
of three Jewish seminary students who
were later found killed. A Palestinian
youth was then killed in Jerusalem in a
suspected revenge attack by Israelis.
Despite intensified Israeli military
action — which included a commando
raid overnight — Palestinians continued
to launch rockets across the border.
A long-range burst triggered air raid
sirens and sent people running for shelter
at Tel Aviv ’s Ben-Gurion Airport, which
has not been struck in the hostilities
and where flights have been operating
normally, and some city suburbs.
No one has been killed by the more
than 800 rockets Israel says have been
fired since the offensive began. Lacking
guidance systems, many of the rockets
have fallen wide. Others have been shot
down by Israel’s Iron Dome interceptors.
“ We will continue to act with patience,
responsibility and aggression to achieve
the goal of the campaign — restoring
calm for a long period by dealing a
significant blow to Hamas and other
terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip,”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
said in broadcast after his cabinet met.
International pressure on both sides
for a return to calm has increased, with
the UN Security Council calling for
a cessation of hostilities and western
foreign ministers meeting to weigh
French Foreign Minister Laurent
Fabius spoke of “a dangerous escalation”
and told reporters before talks in Vienna
with his United States, German and
British counterparts that securing a
ceasefire was “an absolute priority”.
German Foreign Minister Frank-
Walter Steinmeier will travel to the
Middle East tonight and tomorrow
for meetings with Netanyahu and US-
backed Palestinian President Mahmoud
Abbas, who agreed a power-sharing deal
with his Hamas rivals in April.
Germany mediated a prisoner swap in
2011 in which an Israeli soldier held by
Hamas was freed in exchange for more
than 1000 Palestinians jailed by Israel.
US Secretary of State John Kerry,
whose bid to broker Israeli-Palestinian
peace fell apart when Netanyahu called
off negotiations over the Abbas-Hamas
pact, reasserted Washington’s support
for Israel’s right to self-defence.
But a senior State Department official
said that Kerry, speaking to Netanyahu
by phone, also “highlighted the US
concern about escalating tensions (and)
readiness to facilitate a cessation of
hostilities, including a return to the
November 2012 ceasefire agreement ”.
That referred to an Egyptian-mediated
truce that ended the last major Gaza
flare-up. Cairo is now again seeking
calm and Israeli media said Turkey and
Qatar have also offered to intercede with
Hamas, which is formally shunned by
Israel, the United States and European
Union as a terrorist group.
Israel has been publicly cool to truce
proposals, saying its current assault on
Hamas is the best guarantee of long-
term quiet. Israel says an invasion
of Gaza remains an option and has
mobilised more than 30,000 reser vists,
but most attacks have so far been from
the air, hitting some 1200 targets.
A sur vey by Israel’s Channel 10
television found that 90% of the
country’s Jewish majority supported the
air offensive. Asked if Israel should send
in ground forces, 47% said yes, 32% said
no, and 21% were undecided.
The Archbishop of Canterbury
said he was hopeful that the Church
of England’s governing body would
approve women bishops when it votes
on the issue this week.
Justin Welby, spiritual leader of the
world’s 80 million Anglicans, said the
general public would find it “almost
incomprehensible” should the General
Synod fail to support the move tonight.
The long-running debate pits
reformers, keen to project a more modern
and egalitarian image of the Church as
it struggles with falling congregations
in many increasingly secular countries,
against a minority of conser vatives who
see the change as contradicting the
Previous draft legislation on women
bishops was narrowly rejected by the
Synod in 2012, to the dismay of both
church leaders and politicians.
“Theologically, the Church has been
wrong not to ordain women as priests
and bishops over the centuries,” Welby
told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show in
an inter view broadcast overnight.
“The votes I think are there. I’m
hopeful it will pass,” he said, adding that
he believed the first female bishop could
be named early next year.
Local media have said Welby is
planning to push through the legislation
even if it is rejected by the General
But, asked if he could ignore the Synod
and impose women bishops on the
church anyway, Welby said: “Absolutely
“ What happens if we lose the vote is
a matter for the House of Bishops,” he
said, referring to one of three parts of
the General Synod. “I can’t dictate it.”
The issue of female clergy has divided
Anglicanism globally. Women ser ve as
bishops in the United States, Australia,
Canada and New Zealand but Anglican
churches in many developing countries
do not even ordain them as priests.
The Church approved the ordination
of women priests in 1992, but delayed
making them bishops because of
opposition within its previously all-male
After the draft legislation was rejected
in 2012, the church set up a committee
to find common ground.
Its proposals, which would create an
independent official who can inter vene
when traditionalist parishes complain
about women bishops’ authority, as
well as guidelines for parishes whose
congregations reject women’s ministry,
won widespread acceptance in the
Synod in November last year.
“ We’ve gone from a rule-based
approach to a principles-based
approach, which says that we accept
there’s difference,” Welby said.
“ Women will be bishops like all other
bishops with no distinction at all, but we
will seek for the groups who disagree
with the ordination of women as bishops
on theological grounds to continue to
flourish within the Church.” — Reuters
Anglican Church leader hopes for women bishops
Clashes have erupted in Paris as
thousands of people protested against
Israel and in support of residents in the
Gaza Strip, where a six-day conflict has
left 166 Palestinians dead.
Several thousand demonstrators
walked calmly through the streets of
Paris behind a large banner that read
“ Total Support for the Struggle of the
But clashes erupted at the end of the
march on Bastille Square, with people
throwing projectiles on to a cordon of
police who responded with teargas.
In the northern city of Lille, meanwhile,
between 2300 and 6000 people protested
peacefully, according to differing figures
provided by the police and organisers.
The descent into violence in the Gaza
Strip began on June 12 when three
Israeli teenagers were kidnapped and
later murdered, triggering a major
military crackdown on Hamas in the
West Bank and an escalation of rocket
fire from Gaza.
The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s
punishing air campaign has hit 166.
So far, no Israelis have been killed,
although militants in Gaza have
pounded the country with nearly 700
rockets since the fighting began and a
further 150 have been intercepted by
the Jewish state’s Iron Dome defence
“I came to say no to this massacre,”
Amid Hamadouch, 30, said at the Paris
protest while it was still peaceful, with
a sticker reading “Boycott Israel, Racist
State” on his jacket.
“They are bombing innocent people.
There are missiles being launched by
Hamas, but the Israeli response is
disproportionate. They are attacking
the civilian population and not Hamas
officials.” — AFP
Thousands march in
Paris against Israel
2% of clerics sex
abusers — Pope
About 2% of Roman
sexual abusers, an Italian
newspaper quoted Pope
Francis as saying, adding
that the pontiff considered
the crime “a leprosy in our
But the Vatican issued
a statement saying some
parts of a long article in the
left-leaning La Repubblica
accurate, including one that quoted the
Pope as saying that there were cardinals
among the abusers.
The article was a reconstruction of
an hour-long conversation between
the Pope and the newspaper’s founder,
Eugenio Scalfari, an atheist who has
written about several past encounters
with the Pope.
“Many of my collaborators who fight
with me (against paedophilia) reassure
me with reliable statistics that say that
the level of paedophilia in the Church
is about 2%,” Pope Francis was quoted
“This data should hearten me but I
have to tell you that it does not hearten
me at all. In fact, I think that it is very
grave,” he was quoted as saying.
The Pope was quoted as saying that,
while most paedophilia took place in
family situations, “even we have this
leprosy in our house”.
According to Church
statistics for 2012, the latest
available, there are about
414,000 Roman Catholic
priests in the world.
The Vatican issued a
statement noting Scalfari’s
tradition of having long
conversations with public
figures without taking
notes or taping them, and
then reconstructing them
from memory. Scalfari, 90,
is one of Italy’s best-known
While acknowledging that the
conversation had taken place, Vatican
spokesman Father Federico Lombardi
issued a statement saying that not all
the phrases could be attributed “with
certainty” to the Pope.
Lombardi said that, in particular, a
quote attributed to the Pope saying
cardinals were among the sex abusers
was not accurate and accused the paper
of trying to “manipulate naive readers”.
Last week, the Argentinian Pope held
his first meeting with victims of sexual
abuse by priests.
He told them the Church should
“ weep and make reparation” for crimes
that he said had taken on the dimensions
of a sacrilegious cult. He vowed zero
tolerance for abusers and said bishops
would be held accountable if they
covered up crimes by priests in their
diocese. — Reuters
Prince George’s first birthday on July
22 will be marked with a commemorative
Prince William and Kate’s son is the
first member of the royal family to have
his first birthday honoured with a new
William and Kate, along with George’s
great-grandmother the Queen and
Chancellor George Osborne approved
the design of the sterling silver piece,
which bears the heraldic royal arms and
the year 2014.
Shane Bissett, director of commemora-
tive coin and bullion at the Royal Mint
has confirmed the occasion would be
marked by the coin. There will be a
limited mintage of 7500 of the birthday
coins, which will cost £80 ($155) each.
The £5 birthday coin will be available via
www.royalmint.com . — PA
Commemorative coin for George’s birthday
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