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Reuters World News Summary

15 Sep 2020 / 21:00 H.

    Following is a summary of current world news briefs.

    After UAE and Bahrain deals, is Saudi Arabia softening its stance on Israel?

    When one of Saudi Arabia's leading clerics called this month for Muslims to avoid "passionate emotions and fiery enthusiasm" towards Jews, it was a marked change in tone for someone who has shed tears preaching about Palestine in the past. The sermon by Abdulrahman al-Sudais, imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, broadcast on Saudi state television on Sept. 5, came three weeks after the United Arab Emirates agreed a historic deal to normalise relations with Israel and days before the Gulf state of Bahrain, a close Saudi ally, followed suit.

    At historic White House event, UAE and Bahrain to move toward normal ties with Israel

    The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain on Tuesday will become the latest Arab states to break a longstanding taboo when they sign agreements toward normalizing relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of Middle Eastern countries against Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump will host the White House ceremony at noon EDT (1600 GMT), capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel's decades-old dispute with the Palestinians.

    Netherlands hits new high for daily coronavirus cases: newspaper

    The Netherlands recorded a daily record number of new coronavirus infections, an increase of 1,379 in 24 hours, the Volkskrant newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing national health authorities. The previous record was 1,335 from early April. The new rise took the increase over the past week to 9,194, 85% more than in the first week of September, the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said.

    West urges Saudi Arabia to release women activists, prosecute Khashoggi killers

    Dozens of Western countries voiced concern on Tuesday at Saudi Arabia's continued detention of women activists and called for those behind the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi to be brought to justice. At least a dozen prominent women's rights activists were arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2018 as it lifted a ban on women driving cars, a step that many of the detainees had long campaigned for. The women were rounded up as part of a broader crackdown on dissent.

    Former UK Conservative lawmaker jailed for sex crimes

    A former lawmaker from Britain's governing Conservative Party was sentenced to two years in jail after being found guilty of sexually assaulting two women. Charlie Elphicke, 49, whose wife Natalie succeeded him last year as the Member of Parliament for Dover in southern England, was convicted in July of assaulting his first victim, his children's nanny, in 2007 and the second, a researcher, in 2016.

    India says it has doubled budget for roads and bridges on China border

    India has doubled the budget for vital roads and bridges along the undemarcated border with China in recent years in response to Beijing's rapid infrastructure development on its side, the Indian defense minister said on Tuesday. Troops of the two countries are locked in their most serious face-offs for years along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) or informal border in the western Himalayas, raising fears of a broader conflict.

    Putin opponent Navalny posts photo from hospital, plans to return to Russia

    Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny shared a photograph from a Berlin hospital on Tuesday, sitting up in bed and surrounded by his family, and said he could now breathe independently following his poisoning last month. The photo - the strongest evidence yet of Navalny's advancing recovery since he fell violently sick in Siberia on Aug. 20 - was swiftly followed by confirmation from his press spokeswoman that he planned to return to Russia.

    As Arab Gulf starts opening to Israel, Palestinians face a reckoning

    Israel's rapprochement with Gulf Arab states has left the Palestinians feeling abandoned by traditional allies and clutching an old playbook in a rapidly changing Middle East, analysts and critics say. As the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain prepare to sign normalization accords with Israel at a White House ceremony on Tuesday, Palestinian leaders face calls to overhaul their strategy to avoid becoming marginalized in a region where Israel and most Sunni Arab regimes share a fear of Iran.

    'There's nothing we can do,' striking South African undertakers tell bereaved

    Grieving South African families are being left searching for someone to collect the bodies of deceased relatives after funeral parlors like Hloni Swarts' went on strike in a country with one of the world's highest coronavirus rates. Swarts, owner of Hloni Funerals, told Reuters he had to tell distressed families, "there's nothing we can do", as the three-day strike entered its second day. He tried to help them arrange for a stretched government service to collect bodies instead, but they still complained.

    Greek police arrest five over Lesbos fire, migrants resist new camp

    Greek police have detained five people over a fire that razed the Moria refugee camp to the ground, a senior police official said on Tuesday, as thousands of stranded migrants refused to move to a new facility and demanded to leave Lesbos island. Authorities were searching for one more person, Citizen Protection Minister Michalis Chrisohoidis said, without providing further details.

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