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US comedy icon Jerry Lewis dies at 91

US comedy icon Jerry Lewis dies at 91

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Veteran American entertainer Jerry Lewis, whose goofy brand of physical comedy won him international acclaim over a career spanning five decades, has died aged 91.  "Famed comedian, actor and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side," a statement from the Lewis family said on Sunday. One of the most popular comic actors of the 1950s and 1960s, Lewis perfected the role of the quirky clown in slapstick comedies like "The Nutty Professor" but also won acclaim as a writer, actor and philanthropist. READ MORE: Dick Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, dies Honoured with accolades at home and abroad, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977, Lewis became known as much for hi
India’s Bihar state reels under unprecedented flooding

India’s Bihar state reels under unprecedented flooding

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Residents in the Indian state of Bihar are struggling to recover from the devastation caused by floods and landslides that have killed more than 250 people, destroyed crops and swept away houses and roads. The eastern state, which was hit this month by heavy downpours that also wreaked havoc in other parts of South Asia, is facing its worst deluge since 2008, affecting nearly 13 million people spread across 20 of its 38 districts. Ashish Ranjan, a resident of Araria district in the eastern part of the state, said the impact of the flood was massive. "Thousands of people are living on the highway for more than a week now," Ranjan told Al Jazeera from Araria, where 57 people have died - the highest death toll in the state. "It has totally destroyed Araria. People here say they had never seen...
Iraq launches offensive to retake Tal Afar from ISIL

Iraq launches offensive to retake Tal Afar from ISIL

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Iraqi forces have launched a ground offensive to retake a key ISIL-held area in the northern part of the country, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said. "You either surrender, or die", Abadi said in a televised speech announcing the operation early on Sunday.  He was addressing Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) fighters, who have been in control of the city since 2014.  Tal Afar and the surrounding area are among the last pockets of ISIL-held territory in Iraq, after victory was declared in Mosul, the country's second-largest city. Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Erbil, said that while the ground offensive has just been announced, "the operation has really been underway for the last few weeks".  US-led coalition air strikes have been started target
Boston crowd of anti-racists dwarfs ‘free-speech’ rally

Boston crowd of anti-racists dwarfs ‘free-speech’ rally

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More than 10,000 demonstrators chanting anti-Nazi slogans forced a small group of conservatives to cut short a "free-speech rally" in Boston, in a repudiation of racism a week after deadly white supremacist violence in Charlottesville. About 25 conservative rally-goers gathered on Saturday at Boston Common park, but abruptly left about 90 minutes after the event started. Al Jazeera's Shihab Rattansi, reporting from Boston, said thousands jeered as the group was "escorted out" the park by police officers.  OPINION: Charlottesville is America everywhere According to reports, an estimated 15,000 people showed up at the counterprotest. They chanted anti-Nazi and anti-fascism slogans, and waved signs that said: "Love your neighbor", ''Resist fascism" and "Hate never made US great". Others carri
Thousands flee ahead of Tal Afar ground invasion

Thousands flee ahead of Tal Afar ground invasion

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Thousands of Iraqis continued to stream into the country's Kurdish region, as government forces prepare for a ground offensive in a northern area controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The Norwegian Refuguee Council said on Saturday that refugees near the northern city of Tal Afar were faced with harsh conditions, and were stopped by authorities in east of Mosul and Kurdish areas as they tried to flee the fighting. "It's very hard for them to move through," Melany Markham, a spokesman of the humanitarian group, told Al Jazeera, adding that one transit site was already at full capacity, and could not take more refugees.   She said that temperatures in the height of summer of between 45 and 50 degrees Celcius make journeys even more challenging. IN PICTURES: The final push t
‘Maarik al-Tawaiha was no murderer’ family say

‘Maarik al-Tawaiha was no murderer’ family say

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Relatives of a Jordanian soldier convicted of killing three American military trainers last year are vouching for his innocence, demanding that his murder conviction be overturned. Members of the Huwaitat tribe accuse the Jordanian government of "covering up the truth" and say officials are hiding details that should exonerate Maarik al-Tawaiha. The 39-year-old was convicted in June of killing of three American Special Forces officers - Matthew C Lewellen, 27, Kevin J McEnroe, 30, and James F Moriarty, 27. The three were part of a CIA programme training members of Syrian opposition groups in Jordan when they were killed at King Faisal Airbase at al-Jafr, in southern Jordan, on November 4. Sayel Abu Tayeh, a leader of the Huwaitat tribe and a royal court adviser on tribal affairs, said in a
Offensives target ISIL on Lebanon-Syria border

Offensives target ISIL on Lebanon-Syria border

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The Lebanese army has launched an offensive against an ISIL enclave straddling the northeast border with Syria. Simultaneously, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group, and the Syrian army have announced on Saturday an assault from the Syria side of the border in the western Qalamoun mountain range. The Lebanese army is targeting positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group, near the town of Ras Baalbek, with rockets, artillery and helicopters, a Lebanese security source. READ MORE: Arsal - Hezbollah, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham agree on ceasefire It is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under ISIL control. "In the name of Lebanon, in the name of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers, in the name of martyrs of the army, I announce that [this] operation ... has sta...
Offensives target ISIL on Lebanon-Syria border

Offensives target ISIL on Lebanon-Syria border

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The Lebanese army has launched an offensive against an ISIL enclave straddling the northeast border with Syria. Simultaneously, Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia group, and the Syrian army have announced on Saturday an assault from the Syria side of the border in the western Qalamoun mountain range. The Lebanese army is targeting positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group, near the town of Ras Baalbek, with rockets, artillery and helicopters, a Lebanese security source. READ MORE: Arsal - Hezbollah, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham agree on ceasefire It is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under ISIL control. "In the name of Lebanon, in the name of kidnapped Lebanese soldiers, in the name of martyrs of the army, I announce that [this] operation ... has sta...
Campuses, cities reject far right after Charlottesville

Campuses, cities reject far right after Charlottesville

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Public outrage in the wake of a white supremacist rally turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia, has left far-right groups facing a wave of cancellations across the United States as they plan their next moves. Backlash grows against Trump's comments on Charlottesville violence Security concerns have prompted at several universities to block alt-right events, while cities across the country are reconsidering rally permits.  With students, faculty and community members organising for protests and marches, the University of Florida (UF) and Texas A&M University both blocked speaking events for Richard Spencer, a leader in the alt-right movement, a loose coalition of neo-Nazi, far-right and white supremacist groups.  Most recently, Louisiana State University president F King Alexa
Scrapping of Lebanon rape law ‘is one small step’

Scrapping of Lebanon rape law ‘is one small step’

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The Lebanese parliament voted this week to abolish an article in the penal code exempting rapists from punishment if they marry their victims, but women's rights activists say this does not go far enough. "For sure, what happened on Wednesday was a positive step, but people in Lebanon wanted to abolish the law and its effect on other articles as well - specifically articles 505 and 518," said Manar Zaiter, a lawyer with the Lebanese Women Democratic Gathering NGO. Articles 505 and 518 stipulate that the rape clause would still apply when sexual assault is committed against a girl between 15 and 18, and there is consent or a prior promise of marriage. "I'm not applauding the efforts of the Lebanese parliament. These are rights, and they were supposed to be granted years ago," Zaiter told Al...
More than 400 killed in Sierra Leone floods

More than 400 killed in Sierra Leone floods

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The death toll from devastating floods in Sierra Leone has climed to more than 400 people with hundreds still missing in the stricken capital. Burials and recovery efforts continued on Friday amid the threat of further disaster. The Red Cross put the death toll at 409 after flooding and mudslides shook Freetown on Monday morning. "Today we are counting more than 400 people dead," Elhadj As Sy, secretary-general of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent societies, told reporters in Geneva. Jens Laerke, spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva, said the toll "may rise", noting the number of people still missing. The UN humanitarian agency said it still hopes to find survivors "but the chances are getting smaller every day". READ M
What comes after Abbas and Netanyahu?

What comes after Abbas and Netanyahu?

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With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing corruption charges and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat dealing with health issues, analysts say that a political upheaval is on the docket in the coming few months in Israel/Palestine. Although there is an increasingly narrow difference between the way Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) treat Palestinians in the occupied territories, Israel remains the occupying power under international law, continuing to deny Palestinians their rights on both sides of the Green Line and as refugees.   The current ubiquitous question appears to be: "Who will become the next prime minister/president of Israel/Palestine?" WATCH: Israeli PM Netanyahu under investigation for bribery A leadership vacuum is l
Police kill ‘terrorists’ in Cambrils, near Barcelona

Police kill ‘terrorists’ in Cambrils, near Barcelona

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Spanish police early on Friday said they had killed alleged perpetrators of a suspected "terrorist attack" in the town of Cambrils, south of Barcelona. Six civilians and one police officer were hurt when a car drove into people in the Spanish seaside resort of Cambrils early on Friday, the regional government said, just hours after a similar deadly attack in nearby Barcelona. Two of the people injured were in a serious condition, emergency services in Catalonia said. Police shot four of the attackers dead and injured another one in Cambrils - 120 kilometres south of Barcelona - saying they were "working on the hypothesis that the terrorists shot dead in Cambrils could be linked to what happened in Barcelona". WATCH: What's behind ISIL attacks? The news came hours after police launched a ma...
ISIL claims responsibility for van attack in Barcelona

ISIL claims responsibility for van attack in Barcelona

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LAS RAMBLAS ATTACK ISIL claims responsibility for deadly van-ramming assault 13 killed, at least 100 injured Two people arrested but driver is on the run. Witnesses describe scenes of carnage World leaders condemn 'terror' attack The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has claimed responsibility for a deadly van-ramming attack in one of Barcelona's busiest tourist areas. At least 13 people were killed and 100 injured after a suspect ploughed a white van into a crowd at around 5pm local time (15:00 GMT) on Thursday in the bustling Las Ramblas area, a 1.2-kilometre stretch of shops and restaurants usually heaving with tourists. Spanish police said the suspected driver was still on the run and that they had arrested two other people in connection with the attack. Police cordons had been se...
Sierra Leone mudslide: What, where and why?

Sierra Leone mudslide: What, where and why?

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Story highlights On August 14, a mudslide killed more than 400 people in the mountain town of Regent on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital Freetown, sweeping away homes and leaving residents desperate for news of missing family members. Here is what we know about it so far: What happened and when? A hillside collapsed on Monday at 6am local time (06:00 GMT), causing a mudslide on the outskirts of Sierra Leone's capital of Freetown. The mudslide occurred after three days of torrential rain. The mudslide and rain overwhelmed Freetown's drainage system, creating waterways that churned down steep streets across the capital. Mudslides overran several houses killing hundreds of residents, many of whom were trapped inside their homes. Military personnel have been deployed to help
Sierra Leone mudslide survivors describe shock, anger

Sierra Leone mudslide survivors describe shock, anger

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Three days after flooding and a mudslide that killed at least 400 people in Sierra Leone, survivors are full of shock and anger as they take on the daunting task of identifying and burying their loved ones. Hundreds queued on Wednesday after the government summoned families to the morgue in the capital Freetown and said all unidentified bodies would be buried on Thursday and Friday amid fears of disease outbreaks from the corpses that have laid open in the heat.  The first mass burial is expected to begin at 3pm local time (15:00 GMT) on Thursday in the nearby town of Waterloo.  More than 100 of those who died are children as devastating mudslides struck before dawn on Monday after heavy rain. On Wednesday, the Red Cross estimated that at least 600 others remained missing following the sto
Mass burials after devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

Mass burials after devastating Sierra Leone mudslide

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Facing the threat of disease, people in Sierra Leone on Wednesday began burying hundreds of victims of a mudslide that swept away homes on the edge of the capital, Freetown, in one of Africa's worst flood disasters in living memory. Hundreds of Freetown residents queued to identify relatives crushed by the mud on Monday in a valley on the outskirts of Freetown. Aid workers said there was a high risk of disease outbreaks such as cholera, as corpses are lying in the open in the heat. The government summoned families to the morgue and said all unidentified corpses would be buried on Thursday and Friday. In a statement on Wednesday, President Ernest Bai Koroma's office asked relatives to come to the city's overwhelmed mortuary. All unidentified corpses will be given a "dignified burial" in the...
US government seeks data on visitors to anti-Trump site

US government seeks data on visitors to anti-Trump site

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Activists and rights groups have criticised the US federal government's attempt to obtain information on the operators and visitors to a website that organised rallies against the inauguration of President Donald Trump earlier this year. The web hosting company DreamHost has announced that the US Department of Justice (DoJ) served it with a search warrant on July 17 for information about the operators of the website, www.disruptJ20.org, and an estimated 1.3 million visitors. Critics have dubbed the move an "intimidation tactic" to silence anti-fascist groups, with some calling it a disregard of the freedoms guaranteed under the First Amendment. A hearing is slated to take place in Washington, DC's Superior Court on August 18. READ MORE: Free speech group sues Trump for blocking Twitter use
China tells US, North Korea to ‘hit breaks’ on threats

China tells US, North Korea to ‘hit breaks’ on threats

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China has warned the US and North Korea to "hit the brakes" on threats and actions, and work towards a peaceful resolution of their dispute. Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Tuesday, said the two countries should work together and contain tensions. Russia and China should not permit any party to "stir up an incident on their doorstep", he said. The warnings come after the North angered the international community by testing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) late in July, a move which saw Pyongyang slapped with new UN sanctions. Meanwhile, China and Russia called for the US to suspend planned large-scale military exercises in exchange for North Korea suspending its missile and nuclear test as a first step toward direc...
Floods kill more than 300, fears rise for 600 missing

Floods kill more than 300, fears rise for 600 missing

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Sierra Leone entered a week-long mourning period for the victims of flooding that killed more than 300 people, with fears rising for at least 600 missing people. Three days of torrential rain triggered mudslides on Monday in the Regent area of the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, and massive flooding elsewhere in the city, one of the world's wettest urban areas. The exact death toll was unclear. Rescue workers recovered almost 400 bodies, Reuters reported, citing Freetown's chief coroner. A Red Cross official told the AFP news agency that the death toll was around 300 people on Tuesday evening. Freetown's drainage system was quickly overwhelmed, leaving stagnant water pooling in some areas while creating dangerous waterways that churned down steep streets. The United Nations said on Tuesd