Mon September 15, 2014

The Streets Are Empty As The Shells Keep Falling In Eastern Ukraine

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 12:48 pm

Smoke rises near Donetsk's airport on Sunday amid increased shelling. Pro-Russian forces are trying to dislodge Ukrainian troops. The renewed fighting is testing a fragile cease-fire.
Philippe Desmazes AFP/Getty Images

We ride through the empty streets of Donetsk, closely following a van of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the multinational organization making sure the peace in eastern Ukraine is being adhered to by both sides.

Leading our convoy is a local police car from the Donetsk People's Republic, the unofficial name given to this area by the rebels aspiring to separate from Ukraine.

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Sun September 14, 2014

Italy's 'Little Jerusalem' Opens The Doors To Jewish History

Originally published on Sun September 14, 2014 9:56 am

The medieval town of Pitigliano is perched atop a massive volcanic rock, looking out over vineyards and olive groves. It was once home to a vibrant Jewish community, treated with civility or cruelty depending on who was in charge of the city; now, the town works to preserve and share the cultural history of Italian Jews.
Michela Simoncini Flickr

Twenty-seven European countries are marking the European Day of Jewish Culture on Sunday — an initiative aimed at opening the doors of Jewish communities, heritage sites and culture to the non-Jewish world, as well as deepening Jews' own knowledge of their history in Europe.

One of the most enthusiastic participants is Italy, where some 70 towns and cities are holding festivals, exhibits and concerts linked to Jewish traditions.

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Sat September 13, 2014

Israeli, Palestinian Parents Share Their Painful Stories Of Loss

Originally published on Sat September 13, 2014 10:47 am

Robi Damelin, left, is an Israeli whose son was fatally shot by a Palestinian in 2002. Bassam Aramin is a Palestinian whose daughter was shot dead by Israeli police in 2007. They belong to the Parents Circle, a group of mothers and fathers who have lost children and seek an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Ryan Kellman NPR

Israel and the Palestinian territories are small places where there's endless fighting. Almost everyone has been touched by the bloodshed at some point and it often leads to bitterness, calls for revenge ... and more fighting.

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Fri September 12, 2014
Middle East

Israel Says It Is Investigating Dozens Of Gaza Shootings

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 9:13 am

Mai Hamada, 30, was injured by an Israeli airstrike on a home for the disabled in July in the Gaza Strip. Hamada has cerebral palsy and can't walk. Israel is investigating cases of possible illegal action by its military and may look into the attack on the group home.
Emily Harris/NPR

The Israeli military says that it has investigated more than 40 potentially illegal actions by its forces during the war in the Gaza Strip this summer and announced this week that it has opened criminal investigations into five cases.

In Gaza, Jamila Eleywa, the director of a home for disabled people that was hit in July, killing two residents, hopes she'll learn why her building was hit.

"Why?" she said at Gaza City's al-Shifa Hospital, where the injured residents were taken. "Why they did that?"

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Fri September 12, 2014

Islamic State Rule: Municipal Services And Public Beheadings

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 7:25 pm

This image, posted on a militant website, shows an Islamic State fighter waving a flag from a captured government fighter jet in Raqqa, Syria. The Islamic State captured the city in northeastern Syria last year and it has effectively served as its capital.
Uncredited AP

In just a year, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has set up an efficient government in Raqqa, a provincial capital in Syria's northeast, part of the farm belt a few hours drive from the Turkish border.

Officials from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, provide services and have taken control of schools and impose taxes. The group has staffed a police force and even directs traffic.

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