Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday telephoned the father of an east Jerusalem teenager who was kidnapped and killed last week in a suspected revenge attack by Jewish extremists. The brutal murder of Mohammed Abu Khder, 16, on Wednesday has sparked days of clashes between angry protesters and riot police which began in annexed east Jerusalem and have since spread to Arab towns in Israel. In a statement, Netanyahu's office said he had spoken with the teenager's father, Hussein Abu Khder, to offer his condolences and express his outrage over the "abhorrent" murder a day after the security forces confirmed arresting six Jewish extremists on suspicion of involvement.
By Megan Twohey NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. Senate subcommittee will hear testimony Tuesday about how the federal government can stop parents from transferring custody of their adopted children to strangers met on the Internet. State laws that restrict the advertising and custody transfers of children rarely prescribe criminal sanctions and are frequently ignored. Lawmakers in those states noted that the absence of government safeguards can result in children ending up in the care of abusers. The focus will be on how the federal government can help state and local officials identify and prevent cases of re-homing, as well as child trafficking. Some child advocates say that congressional action is needed to restrict re-homing.
A Kuwaiti court freed prominent opposition leader Mussallam al-Barrak on Monday after police fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse a fifth straight night of demonstrations demanding his release. Judge Ahmad al-Athari said he was releasing Barrak on a bail of 5,000 dinars ($17,800), triggering jubilation among supporters of the former MP in the small, jampacked courtroom. The public prosecutor had ordered Barrak be detained for 10 days on Wednesday on charges of insulting the supreme judicial council and slandering its chairman Faisal al-Marshed in a speech he delivered at a public rally last month. Barrak's lawyer Thamer al-Jadaei told AFP his client would be freed from the central jail within hours.
Zimbabwe's former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Monday that long-ruling President Robert Mugabe had "run out of ideas" to fix the economy amidst massive unemployment and a brewing financial crisis. "Mr Mugabe remains marooned from the reality of the national situation, oblivious to the daily predicament facing Zimbabweans as they struggle to survive," the opposition leader said. Tsvangirai, who was premier from 2009-2013 as part of a power-sharing deal with Mugabe, said that corruption and state profligacy were exacerbating economic woes as the country is saddled with a $10 billion debt. "Systemic corruption and unbridled avarice (greed) have become an albatross of this economy," he said.
China and Germany signed a series of trade and investment deals on Monday during a visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel, including agreements on two new Volkswagen factories and the sale of 123 Airbus helicopters. The two countries are both exporting giants -- with Germany the EU's biggest economy and China the world's second-largest -- and Merkel was looking to strengthen their economic relationship on her three-day visit, her seventh since coming into power in 2005. She was accompanied by executives from Siemens, Airbus, Lufthansa and Deutsche Bank among other companies, according to German media. Merkel and Premier Li Keqiang oversaw the signing of a series of agreements on Monday.
Russia's economy minister said Monday that output expanded by 1.2 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, a preliminary figure that is "slightly better" than expected despite the Ukraine crisis. "The results are slightly better than we predicted, with the emphasis on 'slightly'," economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev said. He added that the "refined" official figure by Russia's statistics agency will be released later. The IMF said last month that Russia is already in recession, while the central bank said growth in 2014 is likely to slow to just 0.4 percent.
Iraqi forces struggled to regain ground lost last month to jihadist-led militants and politicians remained divided Monday despite mounting pressure to unite and agree on a new leadership. Nearly a month after militants led by the group now calling itself the Islamic State (IS) swept through northern Iraq, plunging the country into one of its worst crises in years, the prospect of either a military or a political solution still looked distant. Iraqi forces have regrouped after the debacle that saw some soldiers abandon their positions, weapons and uniforms as militants conquered Iraq's second city of Mosul and advanced to within about 80 kilometres (50 miles) of the capital Baghdad. The government has received fighter jets from Russia and Iran, intelligence from Washington and enlisted the help of Shiite militias it once shunned or fought to strike back at the loose alliance of IS fighters, other jihadist groups and former Saddam Hussein loyalists who now control swathes of territory.
Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned the independence of Iraq's Kurdish region would be "catastrophic" and cause the Middle East to splinter along ethnic and religious lines, newspapers reported Monday. A Sunni militant offensive that drove soldiers out of northern Iraq last month has emboldened leaders of the country's three-province Kurdish region to push for an independence referendum. "The referendum currently demanded by Kurds is nothing... but the catastrophic beginning of the division of Iraq into small rival states, starting with a Kurdish state that will grow to include lands in Syria on which Kurds are living," Sisi told Egyptian newspapers.