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Israel passes Jewish-only 'national self-determination' law despite outcry

The Israeli Knesset has approved the 'nation-state bill' that promotes Jewish-only settlements, downgrades Arab language status and limits the right to self-determination to Jews. Arab MPs chided the law as racist.
The bill, which has the status of a basic law (approximately the same as a constitutional law in countries with a written constitution), was passed overnight to Thursday with 62 votes in favor and 55 against after hours of fierce argument and debate. 
It will now come into force as soon as it's published in the Knesset's Official Gazette.
The law, which had been in the works since 2011, has sparked a wave of protests, which spilled over the Israeli border and angered the influential Jewish diaspora in the US.
The bill formally defines the main principles that should stand at the core of the Israeli state and its symbols, such as the flag, the anthem, its capital and language. 
In a clause that set Arab lawmakers off, the bill explicitly states that "the righ…
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Facebook should stick to German laws on Holocaust denial, Berlin says after Zuckerberg’s comments

Facebook must comply with Germany’s laws banning Holocaust denial regardless of its own internal polices, authorities gave a warning to the company CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, who said Holocaust deniers' comments should not be removed.
“There should be no place for anti-Semitism anywhere!” German Justice Minister Katarina Barley said in a Twitter post in response to Zuckerberg’s recent comments he made in an interview to the Recode technology news website. 
She went on to say that anti-Semitism includes “verbal and physical attacks on Jews as well as the denial of Holocaust” and is “punishable by us and will be strictly prosecuted” in Germany.
Her angry outburst was provoked by the Facebook’s CEO comments, in which he said that Holocaust deniers’ comments should not be deleted from the social network platform just because they “get something wrong.”
“There is a set of people who deny that the Holocaust happened,” he told Recode on Wednesday, adding that, even though he personally finds such…

Toronto residents smoke nearly 142mn joints a year – survey

Canadians are preparing for the day when they can smoke cannabis without breaking the law, but some of them have not been shying away from it as it is: Torontonians already light the equivalent of 141.7 million joints a year.
While the recreational use of cannabis will become legal all over Canada only on October 17, it's not stopping residents of Toronto, Canada's most populous city, from smoking it like there's no tomorrow.
A survey published by Environics Analytics on Thursday pointed out that, supposing all the weed consumed by the respondents came in joints, Torontonians smoke the equivalent of a mind-boggling 141.7 million per year. 
If the figure is too colossal to embrace, the researches give a more tangible equivalent – stacked up, they'd be as tall as 2,050 CN Towers, assuming an average roll is 8mm thick.
The CN Tower, a staple of Toronto's skyline, is 1,815 feet (533.33m) tall and is the world's third-tallest freestanding tower.
As recreational use is st…

Russian Foreign Ministry expresses support for citizen jailed in US, and suddenly 'it's war'

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s Twitter account has launched a campaign in support of a Russian gun activist jailed in the US for 'acting as an unregistered agent' , opening a floodgate of crude and abusive comments.
Butina, 29, is currently awaiting trial in Washington DC, arrested last week on charges of conspiracy to act, and acting as, an agent of a foreign government without proper notice. 
Her lawyer says the trial is being politicized and Russian embassy staff were only allowed to visit her in jail on Thursday. 
Now, the Foreign Ministry is trying to raise awareness of the case, by launching the hashtag #FreeMariaButina and changing its profile picture to Maria's photo on Twitter.
What resulted was a deluge of crude smears and bizarre hyperbole from a diverse squad of anti-Russian, anti-Republican and pro-establishment figures.
Apparently, the ministry trying to support a citizen of its country locked up (unlawfully, as it believes) abroad with little proper consular acce…

‘She was different’: Body of a ‘witch’ found at ancient burial site

History is littered with executions of women suspected of dabbling in black magic. 
Now archaeologists believe they have found the ancient remains of a so-called witch, buried with her hands propped behind her back.
It’s unknown how the woman – who was from a third-to-fourth century Chernyakhov settlement in modern day Ukraine – came to meet her death.
However, experts at the National Historical Museum of Ukraine suspect the person was “different” among her peers as she was buried on her own, face-down. 
Discovered in countryside near the village of Legezino, the remains of the mysterious woman are thought to date back more than 1,600 years.
Pictures published by the excavation team reveal that funeral equipment such as pots and dishes normally found in Chernyakhov culture were absent from the grave site, leading to suggestions that she may have been an outcast from her community or even considered to be a witch.
Also found at the dig site were the remnants of two dwellings believed to have…

Israel & Hamas agree to ceasefire in Gaza – Hamas spokesman

Israel and the Palestinian authority Hamas have agreed to restore calm after a day of armed confrontation, which saw one Israeli soldier killed and dozens of airstrikes launched by Israel, killing four Palestinians.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum has attributed the armistice to the mediation of Egypt and the UN. "With Egyptian and United Nations efforts it has been agreed to return to the era of calm between (Israel) and Palestinian factions," he said, as cited by Reuters.
Israel has given no official confirmation of agreeing to any ceasefire so far.
Earlier on Friday, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldier died in violent clashes at the border with Gaza, the first to die on active duty on the Gaza front since 2014. 
The IDF jets launched "wide-scale" airstrikes at targets in the Gaza strip, killing a total of four Palestinians – one protester and three Hamas fighters – and injuring at least 120. Israeli tanks, meanwhile, hit 68 targets and destroyed about 60 "buil…

‘Planet X & the ‘rogue star’: Can new astronomy theory explain world beyond Solar System?

A mysterious star hurtling past the Solar System may have sparked chaos throughout great expanse, sending objects deep into corners of space that are now captivating scientists searching for distant exoplanets.
The celestial theory is the product of researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Radio Astronomy in Germany and could provide information to settle the debate on ‘Planet X,’ a hypothetical world speculated by some to exist beyond the Solar System in deep space.
Also known as ‘Planet Nine,’ talk of a potentially far off world such as ‘Planet X’ arose following mathematical research by astronomers at the California Institute of Technology in 2015. 
The planet was not observed, explained NASA, but the study stated that it was possible for a large unknown alien world to be running through an unusual and elongated orbit outside the Solar System.
Scientists based in Germany have now pondered whether a rogue star hurtling past our galaxy could have mixed up a space cyclone of sorts, send…