Israel, U.S. agree on nature of Gaza flotilla probe

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June 11, 2010

 

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Israel and the United States agreed Thursday on the nature of the Israeli investigative committee that will look into the events surrounding the takeover of the Gaza-bound aid flotilla nearly two weeks ago.

An official announcement on the committee is due to be made Friday, though the declaration could be deferred to Saturday night. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to make the announcement; he will also say who will be on the committee and discuss its powers.

Channel 2 reported last night that the committee will be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice. It appears that the Prime Minister’s Office has approached former Justice Yaakov Tirkel to fill the position.

Contacts with the United States on forming the panel have been handled by the prime minister himself and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Their main contact has been U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. It was the Americans who proposed the nature of the committee – similar to the one that investigated the sinking of a South Korean ship by the North Koreans.

The forum of seven senior ministers has met to discuss the matter, but the final decision was held up until a formula was reached that was acceptable to the Americans. There have been four days of discussions with the Americans on the subject following their dissatisfaction over the nature of the committee as initially proposed and its composition.

It appears that it was the Americans who insisted that the committee be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice to give the panel greater credibility.

The panel will be a government-appointed committee but will not be considered an official government inquiry convened in accordance with the Basic Law on the Government. Nor will it be a state commission of inquiry.

In addition to the judge heading the panel, members will include jurists specializing in international law as well as two observers – one American and the other European.

The committee will have a mandate to examine whether the blockade of the Gaza Strip is in accordance with international law, whether the Israel Navy’s takeover of the aid flotilla in international waters was legal and whether the use of force by Israeli troops and other aspects of the operation were legal. Netanyahu, Barak and Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi are all expected to testify before the committee.

A team of military experts appointed by Ashkenzi and headed by Maj. Gen. (res. ) Giora Eiland began its own examination of the flotilla incident on Wednesday.

PM David Cameron has recorded a video message wishing the England football team good luck

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June 12, 2010

Prime Minister David Cameron has recorded a video message wishing the England football team good luck as they begin their World Cup campaign against the United States of America.

Mr Cameron also became the 150,000th member of the virtual squad on the England Facebook page and gave his support to the FA’s England Football Day, which is being held today.

The PM said it was a great way to encourage people to take part in the “beautiful game”, whether by watching, playing or coaching.

The PM said:

I want to wish the England team and Fabio Capello every piece of good luck for the whole of the World Cup – that’s starting with tonight’s vital game against the United States of America.

I keep saying: “We’re all in this together.”

And that’s particularly true when it comes to cheering on the England team.

I’m also delighted to be the 150,000th member of the online England squad.

And I want to support England Football Day.

I think it’s a great way of encouraging people to get out there and play, or watch, or coach and take part in the beautiful game.

So, come on England!

Photostream : World Cup Day One Photos

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Performers attend the 2010 World Cup opening ceremony before the first match between South Africa and Mexico in Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.

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(From L) FIFA President Sepp Blatter and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma shake hands prior the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match South Africa and Mexico on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg.

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FIFA President Sepp Blatter and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma are seen before the first 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico played in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup

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The Mexican, right, and South African teams line up behind FIFA president Sepp Blatter, center left, and South African President Jacob Zuma, center right, prior to the kick-off of the World Cup group A soccer match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, June 11, 2010.

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(From L) Mexican President Felipe Calderon, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma and FIFA 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee’s chairman Irvin Khoza listen to national anthems prior to the kick-off of the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match South Africa vs. Mexico on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu celebrates in front of President Jacob Zuma (L) and Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon after South Africa’s first goal during the 2010 World Cup opening match at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg June 11, 2010.

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Katlego Mphela of South Africa tries to block the cross by Ricardo Osorio of Mexico during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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South Africa’s midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala celebrates after scoring a goal against Mexico during their 2010 World Cup group A first round football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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South Africa’s midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala celebrates after scoring the opening goal of their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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South Africa’s striker Katlego Mphela (L) and midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi (R) celebrate after midfielder teammate Siphiwe Tshabalala (C) scored the opening goal during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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Mexico’s players celebrate after defender Rafael Marquez scored a goal during their 2010 World Cup group A first round football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. The match ended in a 1-1 draw.

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Mexico’s goalkeeper Oscar Perez fails to catch a shot by South Africa’s midfielder Siphiwe Tshabalala (unseen) during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa leads 1-0.

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Mexico’s goalkeeper Oscar Perez (C) saves the ball with as Mexico’s defender Rafael Marquez (3rd R), South Africa’s striker Katlego Mphela (2nd R), and Mexico’s defender Francisco Rodriguez (R) look on during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Soccer City stadium in Soweto, suburban Johannesburg. South Africa and Mexico play in the opening match of the 2010

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JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Katlego Mphela of South Africa shoots under the challenge of Francisco Rodriguez of Mexico past goalkeeper Oscar Perez, but the shot hits the post during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between South Africa and Mexico at Soccer City Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: World Cup mascot Zakumi arrives to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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(Top Row L to R) France’s defender Eric Abidal, France’s goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, France’s midfielder Abou Diaby, France’s defender William Gallas and France’s striker Nicolas Anelka and (bottom row, L to R) France’s striker Sidney Govou, France’s striker Franck Ribery, France’s defender Bakary Sagna, France’s defender Patrice Evra, France’s midfielder Yoann Gourcuff and France’s midfielder Jeremy Toulalan pose before their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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(From L, top) Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, striker Diego Forlan , defender Diego Lugano, defender Mauricio Victorino, defender Diego Godin, (bottom row) midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez, defender Maximiliano Pereira, striker Luis Suarez, midfielder Alvaro Pereira, midfielder Diego Perez and midfielder Egidio Arevalo pose prior the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

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Uruguayan Interior Minister Eduardo Bonomi (R) and French Ambassador Jean Christophe Potton exchange national football team jerseys before watching the Uruguay vs France FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010 football match on the television at the Uruguayan French School in Montevideo on June 11, 2010.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Thierry Henry of France takes a shot on goal which is blocked by Mauricio Victorino of Uruguay during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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France’s striker Nicolas Anelka (2ndL) salutes France’s striker Thierry Henry as he leaves the pitch during the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs. France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – JUNE 11: Thierry Henry and Franck Ribery of France stand over the ball during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group A match between Uruguay and France at Green Point Stadium on June 11, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.

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(From L) France’s defender Bakary Sagna, striker Nicolas Anelka and midfielder Abou Diaby pose prior the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town. The match ended in a 0-0 draw.

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Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura (L) holds up a red card for Uruguay’s midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro (unseen) as France’s striker Sidney Govou (R) adjusts his sock during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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Uruguay’s defender Diego Lugano (L) reacts as Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura (R) gives a yellow card to his teammate during their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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Uruguay’s Diego Lugano, center, and France’s Jeremy Toulalan, second from right, argue as referee Yuichi Nishimura of Japan, second from left, and France’s Sidney Govou, right, intervene during the World Cup group A soccer match between Uruguay and France in Cape Town, South Africa, on Friday, June 11, 2010.

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A fan of France’s national team cheers ahead of the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match between France and Uruguay at Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010.

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Fans of the French (top) and South African national teams cheer ahead of the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match between France and Uruguay at Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010.

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Spouses of France’s national soccer team players attend the 2010 World Cup Group A soccer match between France and Uruguay at Green Point stadium in Capetown June 11, 2010.

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Uruguay’s midfielder Alvaro Pereira (front) gestures during the Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match Uruguay vs. France on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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Uruguay’s goalkeeper Fernando Muslera (R) and Uruguay’s defender Diego Lugano (2nd R) lead the team off the field after their Group A first round 2010 World Cup football match on June 11, 2010 at Green Point stadium in Cape Town.

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A security guard stands guard outside of a fast food restaurant next to an image of Honduran national football team captain David Suazo in Tegucigalpa on June 11, 2010. Honduras will face Chile on June 16 in their opening 2010 FIFA World Cup South AFrica football match.

Pope begs forgiveness from victims over abuse

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June 12, 2010


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POPE BENEDICT begged forgiveness from God and victims of child sexual abuse by priests and promised that the Catholic Church would do everything in its power to ensure that it never happens again.

Pope Benedict made his comments, some of his clearest ever about the scandal that has swept the Church around the world, during a homily in St Peter’s Square to conclude the Roman Catholic Church’s Year of the Priest celebrations.

Speaking to some 15,000 priests, he said the year that was to have celebrated the priesthood had been marred because “the sins of priests came to light, particularly the abuse of the little ones”.

He added: “We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again.”

The Church has been rocked by fresh revelations of past sexual abuse by priests in a number of places, particularly in the United States and Europe.

The Pope himself has come under scrutiny over a case in which a paedophile priest who was to have undergone therapy was instead allowed to resume duties when the pope was archbishop of Munich in his native Germany more than 30 years ago.

The Church said a subordinate was responsible for the decision.

In his sermon, the 83-year-old Pope, who met abuse victims in the United States, Australia and Malta and has decried “sin within the Church,” also promised that the Church would enact stronger controls on choosing men who enter the priesthood.

“In admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey, so that the Lord will protect them and watch over them in troubled situations and amid life’s dangers,” he said.

He said the worldwide community of Catholic priests, numbering more than 400,000, should see the sexual abuse scandal and its repercussions as “a summons to purification” for themselves and for the entire Church.

Five bishops in Europe have already resigned.

One has admitted sexual abuse, another is under investigation and three have stepped down over their handling of abuse cases.

As well as Ireland the abuse scandal has hit Catholic communities in the United States, Belgium and Germany particularly hard.

A poll two months ago in Germany showed that a majority of people had lost confidence in the Church and about a quarter of the country’s Catholics are considering quitting.

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