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14 people sentenced to life in jail by Turkish Court.

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Source: Reuters

A Turkish court on Friday sentenced fourteen people to life in jail without parole for involvement in twin bombings in Istanbul that killed dozens in December of 2016, state-owned Anadolu news agency said.

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The bombing was one of a series of attacks nationwide that began in mid-2015, at the start of around 1-1/2 years of heightened security threats from the Islamic State militant group and the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

Following a professional soccer game on Dec. 10, 2016, two bombs – one planted in a car and another strapped to a suicide bomber – detonated outside the stadium of Besiktas, one of Turkey’s biggest clubs. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), an offshoot of the PKK, claimed the attack.

Out of the 27 defendants, four were sentenced to one count of life without parole for disrupting the unity of the state and 46 counts for premeditated murder by bombing, Anadolu said.

It said the four were also handed 4,890 years in prison for attempted premeditated murder, keeping hazardous substances and damaging public property, Anadolu said.

Ten others were also sentenced to life in prison without parole for disrupting the unity of the state, in addition to 3,380 years in jail for other crimes, it said. Four of the defendants were sentenced up to 15 years for membership of a terrorist organization.

The court ruled to separate the case against nine of the defendants, one of whom is still at large, Anadolu said.

The PKK is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. More than 40,000 people have died in conflict since the militant group launched its insurgency in 1984.


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24 Hours Across Africa

Israel election: Netanyahu, Gantz battle too close

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Israel’s election was too close to call on Wednesday, with a partial vote tally showing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tied with his main rival, former military chief Benny Gantz.

An official result was still hours, perhaps days off. But with more than 63 percent of votes counted, theis  Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc was, as expected, more or less even with Gantz’s center-left.

With no single-party majority in the 120-seat Knesset, or parliament, there will likely be weeks of coalition talks before a new government is formed.

The ballot’s wildcard, former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, emerged as a likely kingmaker as head of the secular-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

Lieberman has been pushing for a unity government comprised of the biggest parties. He declined to back Netanyahu’s bid to form a narrow right-wing and religious coalition after an April election, bringing about Tuesday’s unprecedented repeat vote.

Addressing Likud party faithful, Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving premier, sipped water frequently and spoke hoarsely. He made no claim of victory or concession of defeat, saying he would await final results.

His dead-of-night appearance was a far cry from his triumphant – and in the end premature – declaration five months ago that he had won a close election.

Gantz was more upbeat, telling a rally of his Blue and White party that it appeared “we fulfilled our mission”, and he pledged to work toward forming of a unity government.

Reuters

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24 Hours Across Africa

Inflation rate falls to 1.7%

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 The office for National statistics says the consumer price index is 1.7%-down from 2.1% – in August

Head of inflation at ONS Mike Hardie said: “The inflation rate has fallen noticeably into August, to its lowest since late 2016. This was mainly driven by a decrease in computer game prices, plus clothing prices rising by less than year after the end of the summer sales.

“Annual growth in house prices slowed to its lowest rate since September 2012, with four of the nine English regions now seeing prices falling over the year”.

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