JERUSALEM – Hundreds of Israelis and African migrants marched down Tel Aviv’s main boulevard Friday to protest a government plan to build a detention facility to hold those who enter the country illegally.
The government estimates that more than 30,000 Africans, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, have entered Israel through the porous southern border with Egypt since 2005.
The Africans say they are fleeing conflict and poverty in their countries in hopes of finding relief and jobs in Israel. But many in Israel think the migrants are overwhelming the small state and threatening the country’s Jewish character.
In poor neighborhoods of Tel Aviv where they are concentrated, Jewish neighbors say crime rates have gone up as the Africans cram into tiny apartments or sleep on cardboard boxes on the ground inside the vegetable markets.
Still, many Israelis say the government should not turn away people fleeing repression, noting the country’s own role in sheltering Holocaust survivors after World War II.
Thermos scrutiny just thinking ahead
A top military official says new warnings about insulated beverage containers are an example of federal officials trying to anticipate terror tactics.
Adm. James Winnefeld told The Associated Press on Friday that the Transportation Security Administration is “always trying to think ahead.”
Winnefeld is the head of the U.S. Northern Command, which is charged with protecting the homeland.
TSA officials had said Thursday that in coming days, passengers flying within and to the U.S. may notice additional security measures related to insulated beverage containers such as thermoses.
Church gets German Nativity, eventually
A northwest Pennsylvania church has finally received a German Nativity scene after a wait that lasted nearly a century.
The last of the hand-carved, gold-leaf pieces arrived earlier this month at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Erie. The Rev. Larry Richards tells The Erie Times-News the church had ordered a scene from Germany in the early 1900s, but it never arrived after World War I broke out.
Richards discovered a reference to the missing Nativity in a 1917 book written for the church’s 50th anniversary. So he decided to look for one during a trip to Germany over the summer.
The set’s 51 pieces range in cost from $300 to $2,900, but members of the parish needed just two weeks to come up with the money.
Belarus president declared winner
The authoritarian leader of Belarus was declared Friday the winner of an election condemned by international monitors and his challengers, as police rounded up carol-singing protesters near the prison where most of the challengers are held.
The Central Election Commission said President Alexander Lukashenko won 79.6 percent of Sunday’s vote. His nearest challenger, Andrei Sannikov, got 2.4 percent – and was beaten and jailed after the vote along with six other presidential hopefuls and hundreds of protesters.
Club-wielding riot police in Minsk dispersed and beat 10,000 demonstrators protesting voting fraud Sunday.
Representatives of the opposition candidates rejected the official results. Sannikov’s representative, Yuri Khadyko, urged the election agency to void the vote because of fraud and call a new one, but the commission ignored the demand.
Lawyer: Assange’s accusers no pawns
The two Swedish women accusing Julian Assange of sex crimes are supporters of WikiLeaks, not pawns of the CIA, and simply seek justice for a violation of their “sexual integrity,” their lawyer says.
Claes Borgstrom, a self-professed feminist who used to be Sweden’s ombudsman for gender equality, told The Associated Press he finds it “very upsetting” that Assange, his lawyers and some supporters suggest the case is a smear campaign against WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling website Assange founded.
Assange denies the pair’s allegations of sexual misconduct. He has not been charged.