Australian Christian Aid to Hamas Remains Suspended After Investigation


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government said Thursday it had found no evidence that any of its donations to the Christian charity World Vision had been siphoned to Islamic militant group Hamas. But Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said its World Vision funding in Gaza would remain suspended while Israeli charges against the global aid agency’s Gaza manager Mohammed el-Halabi remain unresolved. “DFAT has reviewed the management of its funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories. The review uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government funds.” the department said in a statement. “Australia’s funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories remains suspended until we have considered the outcomes of the court case against Mr. el-Halabi and reviews being undertaken by World Vision Australia and World Vision International into this issue,” it added. Australian is the biggest single donor to World Vision’s humanitarian work in Gaza, providing more than $2 million in the past three years. Australia and Germany suspended funding in August after Israeli authorities charged el-Halabi with diverting around $50 million to Hamas to help build tunnels and purchase weapons. Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet alleged el-Halabi created fictitious humanitarian projects to
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Australian Christian Aid to Hamas Remains Suspended After Investigation


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian government said Thursday it had found no evidence that any of its donations to the Christian charity World Vision had been siphoned to Islamic militant group Hamas. But Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said its World Vision funding in Gaza would remain suspended while Israeli charges against the global aid agency’s Gaza manager Mohammed el-Halabi remain unresolved. “DFAT has reviewed the management of its funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories. The review uncovered nothing to suggest any diversion of government funds.” the department said in a statement. “Australia’s funding to World Vision in the Palestinian Territories remains suspended until we have considered the outcomes of the court case against Mr. el-Halabi and reviews being undertaken by World Vision Australia and World Vision International into this issue,” it added. Australian is the biggest single donor to World Vision’s humanitarian work in Gaza, providing more than $2 million in the past three years. Australia and Germany suspended funding in August after Israeli authorities charged el-Halabi with diverting around $50 million to Hamas to help build tunnels and purchase weapons. Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet alleged el-Halabi created fictitious humanitarian projects to
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Original Lithuanian Declaration of Independence Discovered in Berlin Archive


VILNIUS (AFP) – A Lithuanian historian on Wednesday claimed to have found a rare original copy of the country’s 1918 act of independence, which reestablished the Baltic state after more than a century of Russian rule. Lithuanian officials responded with cautious applause, while a photo of the document shared by Professor Liudas Mazylis, who unearthed the act inside the German foreign ministry’s archives in Berlin, immediately went viral on social media. “A Lithuanian-language resolution with all the 20 clearly original signatures was attached next to the German version,” Mazylis, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University, told AFP by phone from Berlin. Lithuania once made up one of medieval Europe’s largest military empires but by the late 18th century the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were gradually partitioned between neighbouring empires, including Russia. Lithuania’s Independence Act, declared on February 16, 1918, came as a result of World War One and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said it is “likely” that the discovered document is one of the few original copies. The whereabouts of the others have been unknown since World War Two. “This is extremely joyful news as we look forward to the centenary of
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Original Lithuanian Declaration of Independence Discovered in Berlin Archive


VILNIUS (AFP) – A Lithuanian historian on Wednesday claimed to have found a rare original copy of the country’s 1918 act of independence, which reestablished the Baltic state after more than a century of Russian rule. Lithuanian officials responded with cautious applause, while a photo of the document shared by Professor Liudas Mazylis, who unearthed the act inside the German foreign ministry’s archives in Berlin, immediately went viral on social media. “A Lithuanian-language resolution with all the 20 clearly original signatures was attached next to the German version,” Mazylis, a professor at Vytautas Magnus University, told AFP by phone from Berlin. Lithuania once made up one of medieval Europe’s largest military empires but by the late 18th century the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were gradually partitioned between neighbouring empires, including Russia. Lithuania’s Independence Act, declared on February 16, 1918, came as a result of World War One and the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said it is “likely” that the discovered document is one of the few original copies. The whereabouts of the others have been unknown since World War Two. “This is extremely joyful news as we look forward to the centenary of
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Greece Close to Deal With Creditors as Single Currency Crisis Rumbles On

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ATHENS (AFP) – Greece is close to a long-delayed deal with its creditors after months of tough talks, a senior official has said. “We are close to an agreement in coming days,” Greek parliament chief Nikos Voutsis told a European Left meeting late on Wednesday. “All indications show that a deal is imminent,” he added, according to the state Athens News Agency. Negotiations between Athens and its eurozone and International Monetary Fund creditors have dragged for months owing to disagreements over debt relief and budget targets for the austerity-hit country. Among the measures reportedly demanded by the creditors are new pension cuts and more restrictive rules to limit union strikes. They are also pushing for the breakup of the state Public Power Corporation, Greece’s largest electricity provider. The impasse has held up the latest installment of Greece’s 86-billion-euro ($91 billion) bailout, agreed in 2015, which it needs for debt repayments in July. The last such deadlock over Greece, which followed the election of leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in early 2015, nearly saw Athens expelled from the euro.
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