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Israel has said it will join the US in pulling out of the UN's cultural organisation Unesco, after US officials cited "anti-Israel bias". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the US decision as "brave and moral", a statement said. The agency is known for designating world heritage sites such as Syria's Palmyra and the US Grand Canyon. Unesco head Irina Bokova earlier called the US withdrawal a matter of "profound regret".

The US withdrawal will become effective at the end...

Hundreds of women stood in the river, held at gunpoint, ordered not to move. A pack of soldiers stepped toward a petite young woman with light brown eyes and delicate cheekbones. Her name was Rajuma, and she was standing chest-high in the water, clutching her baby son, while her village in Myanmar burned down behind her. “You,” the soldiers said, pointing at her. She froze. “You!” She squeezed her baby tighter. In the next violent blur of moments, the soldiers clubbed Rajuma in the face,...

The United States has formally notified the UN’s world heritage body Unesco that it is withdrawing its membership of the organisation, citing “continuing anti-Israel bias” and “mounting arrears”. The US would seek to “remain engaged ... as a non-member observer state in order to contribute US views, perspectives and expertise”, a state department statement added.

Unesco’s director general Irina Bokova said she had received formal notification of withdrawal from the US secretary of...

Belgian authorities are investigating allegations that dozens of local police officers used private citizens’ personal information to register online gambling accounts. On Saturday, Belgian news outlet Het Nieuwsblad reported that dozens of officers at the Antwerp Police Service were under investigation for using private citizens’ data to open online gambling accounts, thereby allowing the officers to bypass rules prohibiting police from engaging in such activities. The chicanery was...

A leading Iranian chess player, barred from her country’s team after refusing to wear a headscarf, will now compete for the United States. Dorsa Derakhshani, 19, who was born in Tehran, was forbidden from playing by the Iranian chess federation following the Gibraltar chess festival in January, said US Chess, the national governing body for competitions and player rankings. She did not wear a hijab during the event.

Derakhshani has since moved to the United States where she attends St...

A Turkish motion at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to hold an emergency session on the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar was rejected on Monday. Acting president Roger Gale said in an opening session in Strasbourg that the Turkish delegation’s offer was turned down by the Bureau of the Assembly. Turkey wanted to discuss the Myanmar government's brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. Instead, PACE agreed to hold meetings on the Catalonia referendum and a new education law...

Canada will pay up to C$750m ($598m) in compensation to thousands of aboriginals who were forcibly removed as children from their families decades ago, promising to end “a terrible legacy”. The move is the latest attempt by the Liberal government of the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, to repair ties with Canada’s often-marginalised indigenous population, which says it has been the victim of systemic racism for centuries.

In the so-called “Sixties Scoop”, welfare authorities took about...

Syria's grand mufti has sided with India over the Myanmar Rohingya crisis in a TV interview last week. In an attempt to justify attempts to deport up to 40,000 Muslim Rohingya refugees, the Indian government told the country’s top court last week that the Rohingya who have fled Myanmar are a "serious security threat," linking the Rohingya people to militant groups. Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, the highest Islamic authority in Syria, claimed in an interview with the Indian World is One...

Israeli authorities have sealed off the occupied West Bank and the already besieged Gaza Strip for 11 days, as Jewish celebrations for the Sukkot holiday commence. At midnight on Tuesday, all crossings to the West Bank and Gaza Strip were closed off to some four million Palestinians in the territories. Many of those affected by the move hold Israeli work permits and cross over to go to their jobs daily. Banned from entering Israel, they now stand to lose their livelihood for the next 10 days...

Spain’s foreign minister has argued police violence during Catalonia’s independence vote was “not extraordinary” and claimed “fake photos” of brutality have been circulating on social media. Violent scenes erupted across Catalonia on Sunday as riot police beat protesters and stormed polling stations in an eleventh-hour attempt to prevent the vote on independence from Spain going ahead. Catalan officials said at least 844 people and 33 police were hurt.

Foreign minister Alfonso Dastis...

The United Nations has said a planned visit to the site of alleged ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims, has been postponed by the Burmese authorities because of bad weather. UN officials and other diplomats were scheduled to fly to western Rakhine state, from where up to 500,000 Rohingya have fled in recent weeks to neighouring Bangladesh, to escape torture and atrocities carried out by the Burmese military.

The Burmese authorities, whose de facto leader is Aung San Suu Kyi, have...

A Palestinian runner who has completed nine marathons in the last two years has been denied entry to the United States to run the Chicago marathon. Mohammad Alqadi, 27, is a Palestinian refugee from Jenin in the West Bank who now lives in France. He came to prominence after running numerous marathons while holding the Palestinian flag.

His application to visit the US was rejected on the grounds that he failed to meet requirements that he will "return to a foreign country after a...

A police officer has walked free from court despite admitting child sex offences committed over the course of six years. Jonathan Fulcher, 34, pleaded guilty to making indecent images of a child between June 2010 and October 2016 - and has now lost his job as a serving officer. He also pleaded guilty to possession of ammunition without a firearm certificate. But Fulcher walked free from Exeter Crown Court where he was handed an eight months prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was...

A website's ad campaign telling young women they could fund their studies by dating a sugar daddy has provoked a wave of anger at Belgian universities. Vans have been driven around universities displaying messages such as "Hey students! Improve your lifestyle" and "Zero euro student loan? Date a sugar daddy". Politicians and universities are taking legal action to stop the campaign. The website involved is already under fire for an ad campaign in Norway. Sugar daddy apps in the UK say they...

Barely 3% of Britain’s most powerful and influential people are from black and minority ethnic groups, according to a broad new analysis that highlights startling inequality despite decades of legislation to address discrimination. From a list of just over 1,000 of the UK’s top political, financial, judicial, cultural and security figures drawn up by the Guardian in partnership with Operation Black Vote and in consultation with academics, only 36 (3.4%) were from ethnic minorities (BAME)....