Six dead in worst Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed for years

Six people were killed in the bloodiest spate of Israeli-Palestinian violence for years, prompted by new security Israeli measures at Jerusalem’s holiest site.

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Three Israelis were stabbed to death in a Jewish settlement in the Israeli-controlled West Bank, hours after three Palestinians were killed in violence prompted by Israel’s installation of metal detectors at entry points to the Noble Sanctuary-Temple Mount compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the suspension of all official contact with Israel until it removed the metal detectors. He gave no details, but current contacts are largely limited to security cooperation.

“I declare the suspension of all contacts with the Israeli side on all levels until it cancels its measures at al Aqsa mosque and preserves the status quo,” Abbas said in a brief televised speech.

The three Israelis stabbed to death and a fourth who was wounded, were from the fenced-in West Bank settlement of Neve Tsuf. Israeli media said the three dead were all members of the same family, two men aged 60 and 40 and a woman of 40.

The wounded woman, 68, was hospitalised with stab wounds to her back, Israeli media said.

A still photo carried by Israeli television showed a kitchen floor completely red with blood. The family had sat down to a traditional Friday evening meal when the attack occurred, according to Israel Radio.

The Israeli army and media said the assailant slipped into the settlement under cover of darkness to carry out his attack. 

Israel Radio identified him as a 19-year-old Palestinian from the West Bank village of Khobar near Ramallah. It said he was shot, but his condition was not initially known.

0:00 Israel reopens sensitive holy site, but Muslims refuse to enter Share Israel reopens sensitive holy site, but Muslims refuse to enter

Earlier, Palestinian worshippers clashed with Israeli security forces. Tensions had mounted for days as Palestinians hurled rocks and Israeli police used stun grenades after the detectors were placed outside the sacred venue, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said Mohammed Sharaf, 17, and Mohammad Hassan Abu Ghannam, age unknown, died of gunshot wounds in two neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem somewhat away from the epicentre of tension in the walled Old City. It reported a third Palestinian fatality, Mohammed Lafi, 18, later.

It was not immediately clear who fired the shots, with unconfirmed media reports that an Israeli settler was responsible in Sharaf’s death.

Israel decided to install the metal detectors at the entry point to the shrine in Jerusalem’s walled Old City on Sunday, after the killing of two Israeli policemen on July 14.

The shrine includes the al Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam, and the golden Dome of the Rock. It was also the site of an ancient Jewish temple, the holiest place in Judaism.

Despite international pressure to remove the metal detectors, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet decided in Friday’s early hours to keep them in place, saying they were needed to prevent arms being smuggled into the shrine.

In protest, thousands of worshippers gathered for Friday prayers at various entrances to the sacred compound, which sits on a marble and stone plateau in the Old City. They refused to enter, preferring to pray outside, in some cases filling the narrow alleyways of the Old City’s Muslim quarter.

“We reject Israeli restrictions at the Aqsa Mosque,” said Jerusalem’s senior Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Mohammad Hussein.

Muslim leaders and Palestinian political factions had urged the faithful to gather for a “day of rage” on Friday against the new security policies, which they see as changing delicate agreements that have governed the holy site for decades.

0:00 Three Israelis stabbed to death in West Bank Share Three Israelis stabbed to death in West Bank

Israeli police mobilised extra units and erected barriers to carry out checks at entrances to the Old City. Access to the shrine for Muslims was limited to men over 50 but open to women of all ages. Roadblocks were in place on approach roads to Jerusalem to stop buses carrying Muslims to the site.

At one location near the Old City, stone throwers did try to break through a police line, and police used stun grenades to drive them back.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said four officers were injured in the sporadic clashes and the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance service said at least 377 protesters had been hurt, some suffering from tear gas inhalation.

The hilltop compound has long been a source of religious friction. Since Israel captured and annexed the Old City, including the compound, in the 1967 Middle East war, it has also become a symbol of Palestinian nationalism. “This is our place of prayer, we have sovereignty here,” Salaam said.

On Thursday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to press for the removal of the metal detectors. Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East, appealed for calm and the White House called for a resolution. Jordan, the custodian of the holy site, has also been involved in mediation efforts.

But Netanyahu’s 11-member security cabinet opted in a late-night meeting to retain the metal detectors to ensure no weapons were smuggled in, a week after three Arab-Israeli gunmen shot dead two Israeli policemen in the vicinity of the complex.

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White House spokesman Spicer out as Trump seeks to fix image

While not a surprise, Spicer’s departure was abrupt and accompanied other changes in Trump’s media and legal teams, as an investigation of possible ties between his campaign and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election widened.

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After six months in power and still without a major legislative win, Trump shuffled some of his closest staff, parting ways with Spicer after naming Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director. Spicer had been communications director as well as press secretary following the resignation of Mike Dubke as director early last month.

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A Republican close to the White House told Reuters that Trump settled on Scaramucci, 53, a political supporter and former Goldman Sachs banker, for the head media job on Thursday and met with him on Friday morning to formally offer it to him.

A White House official briefed on what happened next said Spicer was told of Scaramucci’s hiring and Trump urged Spicer to stay on. But Spicer, 45, said he did not want to stay on under the terms and conditions described to him and quit.

0:00 White House announces new press secretary Share White House announces new press secretary

A source close to the White House said: “Basically Donald Trump likes Scaramucci on TV and saw the communications director job as a way to … make him a top TV surrogate.”

The source said Trump wanted Spicer to be press secretary and do much of the communications director’s work as well, “with Scaramucci holding the ceremonial title with no responsibility. And that was the real challenge.”

At an early afternoon briefing, Scaramucci, in his debut before the White House press corps, named Sarah Sanders as the new press secretary. She had been Spicer’s deputy.

Known by insiders as “Mooch,” the new communications director is a Harvard Law School-educated Long Islander who founded a hedge fund after leaving Goldman, and sold it to join the Trump administration.

Spicer, a veteran Washington staffer, was parodied memorably by actress Melissa McCarthy on the “Saturday Night Live” TV comedy show for his combative encounters with reporters.

“I am grateful for Sean’s work on behalf of my administration and the American people,” Trump said in a statement. “I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings.”

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Spicer will stay on the job through August.

From the start, Spicer invited controversy, attacking the media in his first appearance as press secretary for reporting what he called inaccurate crowd numbers at Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration.

“This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe,” he said, an assertion that quickly drew scorn.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Spicer wrote, “It’s been an honor & privilege to serve @POTUS @realDonaldTrump & this amazing country. I will continue my service through August.”

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Before Trump tapped him for the job of press secretary, Spicer was the Republican National Committee’s spokesman. He had previously worked in the administration of former President George W. Bush. During that time, he dressed up in an Easter Bunny costume for the annual White House Easter Egg Roll.

Spicer and other Trump aides shook up White House dealings with the media, including cutting back daily televised news briefings and replacing them with audio briefings only.

Scaramucci told reporters, “I love the president. … It’s an honor to be here.” Asked how he was going to right the White House ship, Scaramucci said there was nothing to fix.

“The ship is going in the right direction. I like the team. Let me rephrase that: I love the team,” he said.

Trump turmoil

Separately, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating the possible Trump-Russia ties, has asked White House officials to preserve any records of a meeting last year between the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and a Russian lawyer, a source with knowledge of the request said on Friday.

The spokesman for Trump’s outside legal team, Mark Corallo, resigned. His departure came amid media reports that the role of Marc Kasowitz, who had been leading the team, was being reduced.

On Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions brushed off sharp criticism from Trump, saying he loved his job and planned to stay in it. Trump took a broad swipe at his administration’s top law officers this week in a New York Times interview, saying he would not have appointed Sessions as attorney general if he had known he would recuse himself.

White House unrest was not limited to communications and legal staff, said two officials familiar with the situation.

Trump has ignored the recommendations of national security adviser H.R. McMaster and his senior director for Russia, Fiona Hill, on dealing with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

They said McMaster is frustrated by continuing debate about sending more U.S. forces to Afghanistan. One official said tension persists between McMaster and chief White House strategist Steve Bannon and chief speechwriter Stephen Miller.

Poland’s senate approves controversial court reform

The legislation, which was pushed through by parliament Wednesday, was approved by 55 senators, with 23 opposed and two abstentions.

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During the 15-hour debate thousands of demonstrators took to the streets nationwide to protest the law, which reinforces political control over the Supreme Court.

After the vote, protesters gathered in front of parliament shouting “Shame!” “Traitors!” and “Democracy!”.

The reform of the Supreme Court, which supervises lower courts, still needs to be signed by President Andrzej Duda, himself from the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party, to become law.

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The head of state has 21 days to sign the document, veto it, or, if in doubt, submit it to the constitutional court.

The opposition and protesters are all calling on Duda to veto the reform, as well as two other measures recently adopted which they say increase the control of the executive branch of government over the judiciary.

The opposition argues the measures amount to a “coup d’etat” but the PiS says the reforms are essential to rationalise the judicial system and fight corruption.

The PiS, which began making judiciary changes after coming to power in late 2015, has argued resistance to the initiatives is a case of the elite defending their privileges.

Under the current system, candidates for the Supreme Court are selected by an independent body consisting mainly of judges but also included a few politicians.

The European Commission has warned against the changes, threatening to halt Poland’s voting rights in the 28-nation bloc further down the line — a so-called “nuclear option” that the EU had never invoked.

The EU first warned Poland in early 2016 over reforms of the constitutional court, whose main role is to check that laws comply with the constitution.

Those changes resulted in tilting the makeup of the court in the conservatives’ favour and installing a PiS ally as the chief justice.

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While noting that Poland was a close ally of Washington, the US State Department said America was concerned by the legislation, according to a statement.

Last week, both houses of parliament adopted two other contested pieces of judicial legislation, including a bill stating that the justice minister will name the chief justices of Poland’s common courts.

The second bill stipulates that from now on the parliament, instead of an independent body, will choose the members of the National Council of the Judiciary, which is meant to protect the independence of the courts.

Slater, Smith injured in Storm’s NRL win

Melbourne’s NRL premiership hopes have suffered a major blow with Cameron Smith facing a stint on the sidelines and Billy Slater suffering a severe head knock in the Storm’s 20-14 victory over Canberra.

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Medical staff fear Smith could miss four to six weeks after aggravating a pectoral strain. This forced him to miss most of the second half of Saturday’s clash at GIO Stadium.

But the Storm skipper was more optimistic about the injury, saying scans on Sunday would determine its severity.

“The decision was to come off because there’s still a long way to go in the season,” Smith said.

“It wasn’t worth the risk, to be honest.”

It was the first time since 2009 the ultra-durable Smith had featured in less than 50 minutes of a match for Melbourne.

Slater was taken from the field on a medicab 10 minutes into the second half, after being knocked out by a high shot from Sia Soliola who was lucky not to have been sent off.

The Raiders’ forward was placed on report and apologised to Slater who had regained consciousness by the time he left the ground.

“He’s talking, but he’s not feeling too good, so we’ll just have to see how it goes throughout the week,” Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

“For him to get knocked out like that, it’s pretty severe.

“If it’s not a sending off, then I don’t know what is a sending off.”

Cameron Munster extended the Storm’s lead to 14-6 with a penalty goal after the Slater hit but, without their superstar fullback and hooker, the Raiders sensed their chance.

Young gun Nick Cotric scored a try with less than 15 minutes remaining to reduce the deficit to four points.

But the Storm showed grit to stem the tide with Dale Finucane scoring his second try, diving on a grubber which trickled under the posts.

Munster was sent to the sin bin for a professional foul in the final minute and, moments later, Raiders halfback Aidan Sezer completed his own try-scoring double.

But it was too late to avoid another close loss.

The defeat keeps Canberra two wins out of the top eight, but that could be extended to three on Sunday if St George Illawarra beat Manly.

Raiders coach Ricky Stuart was furious with the refereeing after the match, calling for officials to be made accountable.

“Those poor bastards in there – my players – they’re accountable every week,” Stuart said.

“They busted themselves tonight; that’s was one of the best games they played all year tonight.”

Greek holiday island Kos battles to recover from deadly quake

The 6.

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7-magnitude tremor also left hundreds more injured in the Turkish resort of Bodrum, just about 20 kilometres across the sea from Kos.

“Given the amount of people outside at the time, having only two victims is a miracle,” deputy Kos mayor David Yerasklis told Kathimerini daily.

The undersea quake struck at 1:31 am Friday (2231 GMT Thursday) between Kos and Bodrum.

At the time, tourists in both places were out enjoying the nightlife.

0:00 Kos earthquake: residents, tourists assess the damage Share Kos earthquake: residents, tourists assess the damage

On Kos, a wall collapsed on people in the yard of a nightclub, killing a 22-year-old Swede and a 39-year-old Turk.

Another 120 people were hurt, seven of them seriously, while some 360 people were injured in Bodrum — many after jumping out of windows. 

The badly injured on Kos were flown to hospitals in Athens and Crete, including two men from Sweden and Norway who are in critical condition.

The Swede lost his lower leg, and doctors are struggling to save his other leg. The Norwegian has serious head injuries.

Kos is one of Greece’s top travel destinations, and particularly popular with British and Scandinavian tourists.

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Government officials and expert divers on Saturday were inspecting the harbour, which was cracked asunder by the tremor and has been declared unsafe for use. 

But the rest of island’s infrastructure is mostly intact, they stress.

Ferries have been rerouted to the smaller port town of Kefalos in west Kos until repairs are made.

Some residents spent the night outdoors, setting up tents in parks and squares, but officials noted that the majority of hotels were unaffected by the quake.

At Kos airport, delays were noted for a second straight day with over 50 outgoing flights scheduled. Over a dozen flights had landed by mid-morning.

“There is no problem at the hotels, the tourists have dealt calmly with developments,” Constantina Svynou, head of the local hotelier association, told Ta Nea daily.

Some areas of the port town were still without water, however.

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No injuries were reported among the 800 migrants and refugees housed on the island, which is one of the main gateways into Europe for people fleeing war and poverty.

But asylum procedures have been curtailed until at least Monday as the quake damaged passport inspection facilities at the harbour.

Many archaeological and medieval monuments — including the medieval Knights of St John fortifications near where the deaths occurred — have also been closed until further notice.

Turkey and Greece sit on significant fault lines and have regularly been hit by earthquakes in recent years.

This year alone, Turkey’s western Aegean coast was hit by several significant earthquakes.

In June, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake gutted a village on the Greek island of Lesbos, killing a woman and leaving more than 15 injured. 

Abbott praises Turnbull for backing Liberal Party reform

Malcolm Turnbull has endorsed giving Liberal members a greater say in all of the party’s activities as not only crucial for winning elections but a “moral” issue.

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However, despite the prime minister’s stance, 1500 members of the party are still expected to have what NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian described as a “robust and at times heated debate” on Sunday.

Adding to the heat will be Tony Abbott’s insistence on the special convention passing his so-called “Warringah motions”, which would ensure sitting members can be challenged under the new system of grassroots member plebiscites to select candidates at a state and federal level.

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Mr Abbott also wants members to have been signed up for two years before they can vote in plebiscites, in a bid to cut down on branch-stacking.

The prime minister told the convention while there were differences in the “detail” of the reforms, it was essential the party hand more power to grassroots members.

“The fundamental principle that I am so proud our party is committed to today is that every member should have a say,” Mr Turnbull said.

“It is not just right politically but morally.”

Mr Turnbull’s moderate faction is working with members of the “soft right” on alternatives to Mr Abbott’s motions – including a longer time frame for members to wait and the protection of sitting members from the new rules – but it was unclear who would prevail.

Mr Abbott told reporters he was encouraged by the prime minister’s speech, which he believed represented “unequivocal support for one member one vote”.

But he warned the convention needed to reject those who were promoting “fake democracy” and embrace the “true democracy” demonstrated in the Warringah motions.

“Reform is coming and it’s obviously coming with the full support of the prime minister,” he said.

“It’s going to be good for the unity of our party and it’s going to be good for the prospects of our party at the next election.”

He said the Liberal Party remained the “principle representative of the conservative side of politics” in Australia and he didn’t believe disgruntled members would leave if reform stalled.

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“My very strong message to anyone who has been disappointed by our party is stay and fight.”

He rejected suggestions the debate was about his leadership ambitions.

“This is a contest between factionalists who want to keep power and democrats who want to open up our party and I’m very pleased the prime minister and I are on the same side.”

Liberal president Nick Greiner told the convention it would be “unfortunate” if the party steered away from it being a “broad church”.

“I do notice … some lack of that civility, some lack of that mutual respect,” he said, taking aim at factional players.

“My plea to you … is advocate with passion, but to not do it in a tradition of civility and respect is very unfortunate.”

Liberal MP Alex Hawke, who is pushing an alternative to Mr Abbott’s motion, said it was important only “genuine members” were involved in party processes.

“Nobody wants to see people … try to get involved in parties they’re not actually in favour of, and we don’t want to see any of that.”

The final result of the convention on Sunday will go to the state director and president who will prepare the party’s modernisation plan to go before a future NSW state council meeting for endorsement later in the year.

NSW Liberals president Chris Downy promised the plan would be implemented “without fear or favour”.

Ms Berejiklian said she wanted reform to go further and party members to robustly debate it.

“I know that this issue … will be robust and at times heated, but that is a good thing, that is normal for a healthy thriving organisation.”

Timor-Leste election: Voters hope for action on corruption, economy

While Timor-Leste’s president has praised the peace and stability surrounding the parliamentary election, voters say it is time for the government to tackle corruption and daily needs in a country facing an uncertain economic future.

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In a country dogged by conflict and political upheaval, there was calm and good humour on Saturday morning as polling stations opened for 750,000 people to cast their vote on 21 parties vying for 65 parliamentary seats.

Francisco “Lu-Olo” Guterres and his wife, Cidalia Mouzinho Guterres, joined families and several other members of parliament at a polling station at Farol primary school in the capital, Dili, where he praised the “peace and stability” of the campaign.

Residents line up to cast their votes EPA

“I feel happy and proud that during the one-month campaign. These people are already showing the international community that in Timor Leste we hold (elections) in peace and stability,” he told reporters.

Mr Guterres is from the Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (FRETILIN), which along with the National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT) formed a de facto coalition in 2015 and ushered in a new era of unity.

But the country, where the median age is just under 19 years old, faces an uncertain future.

The government has faced heavy criticism for its reliance on oil and gas revenue to fund projects, salaries and services, with fears that unless the economy diversifies quickly, the country will run out of money within 10 to 15 years.

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While the government has been spending big on large infrastructure projects, the newly established People’s Liberation Party (PLP) – which is seeking to become a strong opposition voice in parliament – wants them to scrap life pensions for government members, tackle corruption and start focusing on basic needs such as health, sanitation and education.

Jacinta Mau, 37, who came to the polling station with her three children in tow, said this was what mattered for her this election.

“They need to provide roads, electricity, water and sanitation because these are the needs people are facing in their daily life,” she told AAP.

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Jobs and basic needs were also topping the list of 57-year-old government worker Aleixo da Costa Sarmento.

“What we need and what is essential to us is three things: electricity, water and roads,” he said.

“They must be create more jobs for the youth because so many are still unemployed.

“We must fight against the corruption. People cannot live and move forward because corruption only makes one or two people rich.”

Preliminary results will be known by Saturday evening, though official results will be announced early August.

US protesters confront Minneapolis mayor over Justine Damond’s death

Fallout intensified from the fatal police shooting of an unarmed Australian woman, as Minneapolis’s police chief resigned, an angry crowd shouted down the mayor, and protesters filled streets for the second day in a row.

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Police chief Janee Harteau resigned at the request of the Midwestern US city’s mayor, who herself faced calls to stepped down by an angry crowd that brought her Friday evening news conference to an abrupt end.

Meanwhile, protesters filled the streets of downtown Minneapolis, demanding – among other things – greater police accountability and reform. Some celebrated news of the police chief’s resignation.

Mayor Betsy Hodges promised to remain in her post, but said she understood the frustration of residents following the police shooting of Justine Damond last Saturday night, which has ignited an international outcry.

The 40-year-old Australian native had moved to the United States to marry her fiance. She called police to report a possible assault near her home and was shot to death by one of two responding officers as she walked up to their police car — reportedly still in her pajamas.

0:00 Australian Justine Damond didn’t have to die: US police chief Share Australian Justine Damond didn’t have to die: US police chief

‘Lost confidence’ in chief

The police chief faced criticism over her handling of the tragedy. She did not appear before TV cameras until Thursday, saying she had been on vacation at a remote mountain location.

“I’ve lost confidence in the chief’s ability to lead us further. And from the many conversations I’ve had with people around our city, especially this week, it is clear that she has lost the confidence of the people of Minneapolis as well,” Mayor Hodges said in a statement.

In announcing her resignation, Chief Harteau said she wanted to “let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done” to improve the police department.

Moments later the mayor announced her nomination of Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo as Harteau’s replacement. Arradondo has been the public face of the department during the crisis.

If the moves were meant to quell uproar in the city, they did not appear to work.

In an evening news conference the mayor held to speak further about the changes, an angry group of protesters interrupted her within minutes of taking the podium.

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Calls to resign

“We’re not buying this,” exclaimed one protester after the mayor left, having been shouted down by the crowd. “This is just a cosmetic change, and we want institutional change.”

The protesters were particularly angry about the lack of body camera footage of the shooting, and complained of a lack of police accountability.

“We don’t want you as the mayor of Minneapolis any more,” another protester said. “You’re ineffective as a leader.”

Mayor Hodges resumed the news conference after the protesters cleared the city hall room, and said she would not resign.

“It is understandable to me that people’s frustration is high. I share that frustration,” she said adding, “I am governing right now.”

0:00 Transcript details Justine Damond’s frantic calls minutes before being shot Share Transcript details Justine Damond’s frantic calls minutes before being shot

There were street protests for a second day in a row on Friday, this time in downtown Minneapolis, following a march Thursday night on the streets of Damond’s neighborhood to the south of downtown.

The earlier protest was joined by Valerie Castile, the mother of motorist Philando Castile who was shot by a police officer last year in a Minneapolis suburb. Officer Jeronimo Yanez was acquitted of manslaughter, but the Castile family received a $3 million settlement.

Members of Minnesota’s chapter of the NAACP, an African-American rights group, also joined the protests — highlighting the fraught relationship between police and the public they serve, which has also been exposed by other recent questionable police shootings.

In other cases around the country, those shot were often black and the police white. In Damond’s case, she was white and the police officer who shot her, Mohamed Noor, is a Somali-American from the state’s sizeable population of immigrants from the African country.

Investigators probing the shooting have said little about the case, but on Friday announced notable progress in their effort to piece together what happened without the benefit of video evidence.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Affairs (BCA), the agency handling the probe, said it located and interviewed a witness they had been seeking.

That witness had been bicycling near the scene of the shooting and had stopped to watch officers provide first aid, the BCA said. The agency did not disclose what the witness told investigators.

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Fears of more Israeli-Palestinian violence over holy site

The latest violence — a stabbing attack that killed three Israelis and clashes which left three Palestinians dead — was among the most severe in recent years.

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There were concerns over whether it would spark wider unrest as Israeli officials grappled with how to ease tensions over the Haram al-Sharif mosque compound, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The site in Jerusalem’s Old City that includes the revered Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock has been a rallying cry for Palestinians.

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In 2000, then Israeli opposition leader Ariel Sharon’s visit to the compound helped ignite the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, which lasted more than four years.

Tensions have risen throughout the past week because of new Israeli security measures at the compound following an attack nearby that killed two policemen on July 14.

The measures have included the installation of metal detectors at entrances to the site, which Palestinians reject since they view the move as Israel asserting further control over it.

Israeli authorities say the July 14 attackers smuggled guns into the holy site and emerged from it to shoot the policemen.

Friday’s main weekly Muslim prayers — which typically draw thousands to Al-Aqsa — brought the situation to a boil.

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In anticipation of protests, Israel barred men under 50 from entering the Old City for prayers, stoking further Palestinian anger.

Clashes broke out between Israeli security forces and Palestinians around the Old City, in other parts of annexed east Jerusalem and in the West Bank.

Abbas freezes contacts

Three Palestinians between the ages of 17 and 20 were shot dead. The Palestinian Red Crescent reported 450 people wounded in Jerusalem and the West Bank, including 170 from live or rubber bullets.

In the evening, a Palestinian broke into a home in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank during a Sabbath dinner and stabbed four Israelis, killing three of them.

The 19-year-old Palestinian was shot by a neighbour, an off-duty soldier, and was taken to hospital.

The Israeli army said he had spoken of the Jerusalem holy site and of dying as a martyr in a Facebook post.

The Israelis killed in Neve Tsuf, north of Ramallah and also known as Halamish, were a grandfather and two of his children, an Israeli military official said. The grandmother was wounded.

Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian’s nearby village of Kobar overnight and arrested his brother, an army spokeswoman said.

Preparations were also being made to demolish the attacker’s home, a measure Israel regularly employs because it views it as a deterrent, although human rights groups say it amounts to collective punishment.

Amid mounting pressure to respond to the dispute over the mosque compound, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas announced late Friday he was freezing contacts with Israel.

There was no immediate public reaction from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

‘For all Muslims’

“Violence is likely to worsen absent a major policy shift,” said Ofer Zalzberg, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group.

“Netanyahu’s mistake was installing the metal detectors without a Muslim interlocutor. It is the coercive character more than the security measure itself that made this unacceptable for Palestinians.”

On Saturday, entrances to Jerusalem’s walled Old City were open, but heavy security was in place.

The metal detectors also remained at the entrance to the mosque compound.

“Al Aqsa –- that’s for the Muslims, not for the Jewish,” said Mohammad Haroub, a 42-year-old souvenir shop owner.

Like hundreds of others, he prayed outside on Friday instead of passing through the metal detectors.

He added that it was not only an Israeli-Palestinian issue.

“Al Aqsa is not for Palestinians. It is for all Muslims.”

Sharon Kopel, a 46-year-old Israeli tour guide leading a group in the Old City, said he felt the metal detectors were unnecessary and politically motivated, but also criticised Palestinians for “lies” about Israel trying to take over Al-Aqsa.

“I don’t think it’s really effective anyway,” he said of the new security measures. “But on the other hand… they brought guns into a holy place.”

The Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It lies in east Jerusalem, seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed in a move never recognised by the international community.

It is considered the third holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews.

Ex-Aussie tennis player Peter Doohan dies

Former Australian tennis player and coach Peter Doohan has died at the age of 56.

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Dubbed the ‘Becker Wrecker’ after famously defeating two-time defending champion Boris Becker in 1987 at Wimbledon, Peter reached a career-high world ranking of No.43.

In a tweet on Saturday evening, Becker said: “My heartfelt condolences to the family of #PeterDoohan! The tennis fraternity lost a great guy and wonderful player!”

In a statement issued earlier on Saturday, Tennis Australia said the tennis family was deeply saddened by the news.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

“Peter was unbeaten in Davis Cup representation. He won the South Australian Open singles title and reached No.15 in doubles, winning five titles during his distinguished career.

“Following his retirement, Peter coached in the United States, after first studying at the University of Arkansas, where he was all-American and a NCAA champion. He returned to live in Australia in 2009,” the statement said.

“The tennis community rallied around Peter during his battle with a particularly aggressive form of motor neurone disease which was diagnosed just nine weeks ago.

“A moving tribute to Peter, led by former Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald, along with a fundraising auction, were featured at the annual International Club Wimbledon Dinner at Kooyong last week.

“Peter is survived by his mother Thelma, his sons John (26) and Hunter (23), both based in the United States, and his sisters Cathie and Margaret.

“His funeral will take place in Newcastle with further details to follow.”