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Palestinians protest as Trump prepares to unveil Middle East peace plan ‘favouring Israel’ | World News

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The Israeli military is reinforcing parts of the West Bank with extra infantry as Donald Trump prepares to reveal his long-awaited peace plan for the region.

Palestinians are protesting in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ahead of the US president’s announcement, which is expected to strongly favour Israel.

Demonstrators in Gaza City burned pictures of Mr Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and raised a banner reading “Palestine is not for sale”.

Palestinians protest as tires burn ahead of the announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump of his long-delayed Mideast peace plan, in Gaza City January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
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Thousands of Palestinians are protesting in Gaza City
A Palestinian demonstrator burns a picture depicting U.S. President Donald Trump during a protest ahead of the announcement by Trump of his long-delayed Mideast peace plan, in Gaza City January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem
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A Palestinian demonstrator burns a picture depicting Donald Trump in Gaza City

In a statement, the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said it had decided to reinforce the Jordan Valley area of the West Bank with infantry troops following an “ongoing situation assessment”.

The Jordan Valley constitutes a strip of land in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and is home to both Palestinians and Israeli settlers.

The status of the Jordan Valley is likely to form one central part of Mr Trump’s so-called “deal of the century”, a peace proposal for the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The details of the plan will be released on Tuesday night at a White House meeting between Mr Trump and Mr Netanyahu, who was formally indicted in court earlier on corruption charges.

Israeli soldiers patrol past closed-down Palestinian shops along the Israeli-controlled Shuhada street in the flashpoint city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on January 28, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)
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Israeli soldiers on patrol in Hebron in the West Bank

The plan is the consequence of three years of work by a small White House team led by Mr Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Palestinian academics and analysts have been consulted through the process but no Palestinian Authority officials are in Washington for the unveiling.

U.S. President Donald Trump and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner leave the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 22, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner led the US team behind the peace plan

Leaks from the American plan to the Israeli media have suggested that it will be heavily weighted towards Israel.

In the leaks, it is suggested that the plan will propose that all Israeli settlements in the West Bank would become sovereign Israeli territory.

Israeli sovereignty would also be given to the whole of Jerusalem with the city being officially recognised as the Israeli capital.

Palestinians would be granted statehood but only on condition that they recognise Jerusalem as being the capital of the Jewish State of Israel and subject to Gaza being demilitarised with Hamas giving up its weapons.

A Palestinian woman stands in a veranda, covered with metal meshing, as she stands next to a protest sign reading in English "Arabs are prohibited, this is Apartheid St.", from her house overlooking the Israeli-controlled Shuhada street (whose main entrance is blocked) in the flashpoint city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank on January 28, 2020. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP) (Photo by HAZEM BADER/AFP via Getty Images)
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A Palestinian woman stands next to a protest sign in Hebron in occupied West Bank

The Palestinian leadership has rejected the plan outright.

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), said: “President Trump is trying to make peace between Netanyahu and [opposition leader Benny] Gantz, in order for the three of them to dictate an apartheid regime on the Palestinian people.

“They know what is the best for the Palestinian people more than the Palestinians. This is the hoax and fraud of the century.”



Israel's separation barrier







Bethlehem’s struggle for peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called for a meeting of Palestinian officials at his headquarters in Ramallah for 7pm.

The Palestinian Authority have refused to talk to the Americans since the Trump administration moved the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, giving legitimacy to the Israeli claim that Jerusalem is the capital of their Jewish state.

In a highly unusual move, leaders of the Hamas movement, who govern Gaza, have also been invited to the Ramallah meeting.

Hamas and Fatah, who govern the West Bank, are themselves bitterly divided.

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Ghost ship brought ashore in Ireland by Storm Dennis | World News

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After more than a year adrift at sea, a ghost ship has washed ashore in Ireland thanks to the power of Storm Dennis.

The Alta cargo vessel, originally from Tanzania, had floated for thousands of miles since its small ten-man crew was rescued by the US Coast Guard back in October 2018.

On Sunday – as the UK, Ireland and parts of mainland Europe felt the force of Storm Dennis – the boat finally hit dry land when it ran aground near Ballycotton in County Cork.

“Rescue 117 was tasked earlier today to a vessel aground near Ballycotton, Cork,” said the Irish Coast Guard.

“Thankfully there was nobody on board.

“Previously the US Coast Guard had rescued the 10 crew members from the vessel back on September 30 2018.

“The vessel has been drifting since and today came ashore on the Cork coastline.”

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Engineers will inspect the 80-metre long vessel while it remains aground in Ireland, Cork City Council has said.

Members of the public have been warned to stay away as the ship is stranded on a dangerous and stretch of coastline, with the waters still raging following the weekend’s extreme weather.

RTE reports that a pollution risk assessment will be carried out, but it is not believed to pose any immediate concern given the length of time the vessel – which dates back to 1976 – has been adrift.

Sunday’s surprise arrival was the first time the Alta had been seen since last September, when a Royal Navy ship tweeted that its crew had spotted it in the middle of the Atlantic.

“We closed the vessel to make contact and offer our assistance, but no one replied,” the HMS Protector said.

“Whilst investigations continue we’re unable to give you more detail on this strange event.”

The Alta crew abandoned ship after calling for help during a trip from Greece to Haiti, when it ran into trouble and was left drifting for nearly three weeks.

They were about 1,300 miles southeast of Bermuda when they were rescued by the US Coast Guard.



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Tesla ordered to stop clearing trees at German factory site | Business News

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Tesla has been ordered to stop cutting down trees at the site in Germany where it is planning to build its first car and battery factory in Europe – after environmentalists objected.

The electric car maker had announced in November that it planned to build the “gigafactory” at a site near Berlin.

It has not yet won planning permission to build the plant but was cleared by state authorities to cut down 92 hectares (227 acres) of forest.

Hundreds of demonstrators have protested over the threat they say the factory poses to local wildlife and water supplies.

On Sunday, a court issued an order to stop the tree-felling pending a ruling on a complaint brought by local environmentalist group Gruene Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg).

Without the court’s injunction, the work would have been completed in only three more days, the court said.

“It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of
succeeding,” the court added.

Pro-business German legislators have warned that the legal battle against the gigafactory would damage the country’s image as a place to do business.

Tesla currently has two gigafactories in the US and one in China. It had hoped to complete the factory in Germany by the middle of next year.

The company’s shares have rocketed by 340% since last June as more investors bet on boss Elon Musk’s growth ambitions.

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High school ring lost in US found 47 years later in Finnish forest | World News

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In 1973, a teenage Debra McKenna accidentally left her future husband’s ring in a department store in the US town of Brunswick Maine.

Fast forward 47 years and it has been found by a sheet metal worker – buried in a Finnish forest.

Ms McKenna, 63, lost the ring in Portland when she was a student at Morse High School, the Bangor Daily News reported.

Debra McKenna. Pic: WGME
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Ms McKenna cried when she received the ring in the mail. Pic: WGME

The ring, which had engravings identifying the school, belonged to Ms McKenna’s late husband Shawn, who she dated all throughout high school and college.

The couple was married for 40 years until Shawn died in 2017 after a six-year battle with cancer.

Shawn gave Ms McKenna the ring before he left for college, but she accidentally left it in a department store.

She said the ring was largely forgotten until the worker found it buried under eight inches of soil in Kaarina, a small town in southwest Finland.

Finnish media reports that Marko Saarinen was using a metal detector when he found the blue-stoned, silver ring.

“Usually my findings are bottle caps or other junk,” he said.

Mr Saarinen contacted the alumni association, who had no trouble identifying the ring’s owner as it bore the 1973 graduation date and the initials S.M.

Ms McKenna said she cried when the ring arrived in the mail at her Brunswick home last week.

“It’s very touching in this world of negativity, to have decent people step forward and make an effort,” she said.

“There are good people in the world, and we need more of them.”

Ms McKenna has no idea how the long-lost ring ended up in a Finnish forest.

She said Shawn spent some time working in Finland in the early 1990s – but nowhere near the city where the ring was found and he had not seen the ring in 20 years at that point.

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