EU to pledge $556 million in Palestinian aid
The European Union's executive office said on Friday it would pledge euro436 million ($556 million) at an international donors' conference for Palestinians, including support for rebuilding Gaza.
The pledge will be presented formally on Monday in Egypt at the donors' meeting, which is to focus on gathering international aid to rebuild the Gaza Strip. Israel's three-week offensive there, which ended last month, caused widespread damage.
The executive's pledge is just part of the EU's total pledge to the Palestinians. The 27-member bloc's individual nations were expected to announce their own pledges at the conference. The EU as a whole is the largest donor to the Palestinians. It now gives some euro1 billion a year in aid.
EU officials said just over half the commission's pledge will go toward reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in Gaza. Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations commissioner, said the priority of donors including the EU was to "adequately respond to the disastrous humanitarian situation in Gaza." Aid will be targeted to what she called early recovery projects such as removal of rubble and unexploded bombs left after Israel's offensive in the Hamas-controlled territory.
The funding will also focus on a cash-for-work program and providing special care for children traumatized by the fighting, the commissioner said.
She added that the EU hoped the extra aid would lead to Israel agreeing to open more crossings into Gaza regularly and predictably, for the flow of humanitarian and commercial goods as well as people. Remaining funds will also help back the Palestinian Authority under President Mahmoud Abbas.
The European Commission gave euro440 million to support Abbas in 2008. Gaza is run by Abbas' rivals from the Islamic militant group Hamas.
The aid will be channeled through the United Nations and a special fund overseen by the World Bank to ensure reconstruction money does not end up in the hands of the Hamas.
The fund bypasses Hamas, which is listed as a terror group by the 27-nation EU and the United States and is boycotted by major international aid donors.
Abbas is to request a total of $2.8 billion for Gaza at the donors' conference.
Video taken at the Battle Creek Executive Airport by apparent air show attendees and posted on social media showed the truck losing control, bursting into flames and crashing, flipping over multiple times as horrified spectators looked on.
The Royal House said on its website late on Sunday that an event in southern Denmark to commemorate the end of the first three stages of the Tour de France cycling race, hosted by the Danish Crown Prince and with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in attendance, had been cancelled.
The Friday night ruling stopped a three-day-old order by a Houston judge who said clinics could resume abortions up to six weeks into pregnancy. The following day, the American Civil Liberties Union said it doubted that any abortions were now being provided in a state of nearly 30 million people.
"If our systems identify that someone has visited one of these places, we will delete these entries from Location History soon after they visit," Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president at Google, wrote in a blog post. "This change will take effect in the coming weeks."
Two Indo-Canadian academics, working on research to advance the betterment of mankind, have been honoured with one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Order of Canada. Their names were in the list published by the office of the governor-general of Canada Mary Simon. Both have been invested (as the bestowal of the awards is described) into the Order as a Member. They are professors Ajay Agrawal and Parminder Raina.