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Please confine all news pertaining to Palestine-Israel to this thread exclusively. Any links shared outside of this thread will be subject to removal.

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Poland is investing about $2.5 billion to step up security and deterrence on its border with Russia and its ally Belarus, the prime minister said Saturday.

Donald Tusk said work on the Shield-East project which includes building proper military fortifications has already begun. Poland is on the eastern flank of NATO and of the European Union and Tusk stressed it bears additional responsibility for Europe’s security. 

“We have taken the decision to invest into our safety and first of all, into a safe eastern border, some 10 billion zlotys ($2.5 billion),” Tusk said.

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Taiwan's newly inaugurated president William Lai has called on China to stop threatening the island and accept the existence of its democracy.

He urged Beijing to replace confrontation with dialogue, shortly after being sworn in on Monday. 

He also said Taiwan would never back down in the face of intimidation from China, which has long claimed the island as its own. 

China responded by saying, "Taiwan independence is a dead end". 

"Regardless of the pretext or the banner under which it is pursued, the push for Taiwan independence is destined to fail," China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at the daily press briefing on Monday afternoon.

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The terror group's affiliate in Afghanistan is a major rival of the country's Taliban government, and earlier claimed responsibility for an attack on Chinese citizens in Kabul in 2022.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility after three Spanish tourists were killed when gunmen opened fire in Afghanistan's central Bamiyan province.

An Afghan person was also killed, and a further four foreign nationals and three Afghans were injured in the attack in the mountainous region, the Taliban's interior ministry has said.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on its Telegram channel.

The Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that three of its nationals died in the attack and that at least one more had been injured.

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The UK's public spending watchdog said government expenditures on implementing new rules for post-Brexit imports would total some $6 billion. The report criticized "uncertainty" surrounding government plans.

Britain will spend at least 4.7 billion pounds ($6 billion, €5.5 billion) on implementing a new approach to import goods after exiting the EU customs market in 2020, the UK government's public spending watchdog said on Monday.

The UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016 but remained in the bloc's single market and customs union until 2021.

In 2021, the UK withdrew from the EU customs union and a new EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement (TCA) went into effect.

The European Parliament said in a report that the trading of goods between the parties had become "burdensome" since Brexit and trade volumes had shrunk.

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The International Criminal Court prosecutor said Monday that he has requested arrest warrants for the leaders of Hamas and for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel.

In a statement, the prosecutor, Karim Khan, said he would seek warrants for Yahya Sinwar, Muhammad Deif and Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. He also said he was requesting warrants for Mr. Netanyahu and for Israel’s defense minister, Yoav Gallant.

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Almost 970 million Indians are voting in general elections amid sweltering heat and unpredictable weather extremes exacerbated by human-caused climate change, leading to loss of livelihood, forced migration and increasingly difficult living conditions for millions across the country.

Voters are looking for politicians who promise relief, stability and resilience to the wide-ranging and damaging effects of a warming climate. In their election manifestos, India’s top political parties, including the governing Bharatiya Janata Party and the main opposition, the Congress party, have made multiple promises to act on climate damage and reduce emissions of planet-heating gases.

But there has been little talk about climate change on the campaign trail. 

“Climate change is still not among the headlines during these elections despite its obvious impact on millions of Indian lives,” said Anjal Prakash, author of multiple United Nations climate reports.

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Keir Starmer wants to sign a new agreement with the EU — one which would smooth disruption to trade, solve the Northern Ireland border issue, and make life simpler for farmers, all in one go.

But there’s a catch.

EU officials have told POLITICO that Brussels would be interested in such a deal — known as a sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) agreement — only if London was willing to accept European Court of Justice (ECJ) oversight.

“There is no doubt in our mind” that ECJ oversight would be a “prerequisite” for such an agreement, said a senior EU official, who was granted anonymity to discuss the matter.

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“Julian has been indicted for receiving, possessing and communicating information to the public of evidence of war crimes committed by the U.S. government,” his wife, Stella Assange, said. “Reporting a crime is never a crime.”

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Khalil, a shy 21-year-old whose name has been changed, was arrested in a pre-dawn raid last October for his allegiance to Hamas. But when Israeli forces smashed through the door of his family home, they didn’t tell him why they were detaining him. He was imprisoned for six months without charge, in conditions he described as “unbelievable”.

“The Israelis are trying to restrain and terrorise us using these methods,” he said. “People are afraid. There is no freedom of speech … I’m scared to travel to any of the cities in the West Bank in case I get detained. Still, it feels like they could raid my house at any minute.”

But as Israeli forces continue to pummel Gaza, claiming to be targeting the remaining Hamas brigades, they have also swept up thousands of Palestinians in raids in the West Bank. The majority, according to the Palestinian prisoners’ commission, are not aligned to Hamas. Even so, the raids and an increasing number of settler attacks have succeeded in creating a climate of fear that is undermining Hamas’s rivals Fatah, who operate the ruling Palestinian Authority, highlighting its inability to protect Palestinians and quietly fuelling Hamas’s popularity.

“These raids are generating distrust towards the Palestinian Authority but also fear of attack by them – they can’t protect us but at the same time they could attack us too,” said Khalil, pointing to the authority’s history of detaining members of Hamas in the West Bank.

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Guardrails to prevent artificial intelligence models behind chatbots from issuing illegal, toxic or explicit responses can be bypassed with simple techniques, UK government researchers have found.

The UK’s AI Safety Institute (AISI) said systems it had tested were “highly vulnerable” to jailbreaks, a term for text prompts designed to elicit a response that a model is supposedly trained to avoid issuing.

The AISI said it had tested five unnamed large language models (LLM) – the technology that underpins chatbots – and circumvented their safeguards with relative ease, even without concerted attempts to beat their guardrails.

“All tested LLMs remain highly vulnerable to basic jailbreaks, and some will provide harmful outputs even without dedicated attempts to circumvent their safeguards,” wrote AISI researchers in an update on their testing regime.

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Lai Ching-te has been sworn in as Taiwan’s new president, urging China to “cease their political and military intimidation against Taiwan” and to keep the world free from the fear of more war.

Lai was inaugurated on Monday morning at the Japanese-colonial-era presidential office in central Taipei, taking over from Tsai Ing-wen, whose eight years in power saw a sharp deterioration in relations with Beijing.

China claims democratic Taiwan as a province, and has called Lai, 64, a “dangerous separatist” who will bring “war and decline” to the island. The Chinese Communist party has never ruled over Taiwan, but Xi Jinping has declared that what he terms “reunification” is “inevitable”.

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"We can see the wreckage and the situation does not look good," the head of lran's Red Crescent, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV.

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  • Ukrainian drones hit Novorossiysk port, causing a fire and power outages, reports say.
  • The attack follows heightened defenses at the port after previous Ukrainian strikes on Crimea.
  • Novorossiysk is vital for Russia's oil exports and naval operations in the Black Sea.

The Russian port of Novorossiysk, which has become an important base for the Black Sea Fleet after repeated attacks on its traditional base in Crimea, has been targeted by Ukrainian drones.

This attacks follows previous reports by the UK Ministry of Defence indicating that Russia has been bolstering defenses at the Novorossiysk port to protect its Black Sea Fleet from potential Ukrainian attacks.

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DUBAI, May 19 (Reuters) - A helicopter carrying Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister crashed on Sunday as it was crossing mountain terrain in heavy fog, an Iranian official told Reuters, and rescuers were struggling to reach the site of the incident.

The official said the lives of Raisi and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian were "at risk following the helicopter crash", which happened on the way back from a visit to the border with Azerbaijan in Iran's northwest.

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi — often seen as a potential successor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei— is missing after his helicopter went down in the northwest of the country on Sunday, officials said.

Iran’s Vice President Mohsen Mansouri said contact has been made with one of the helicopter passengers and one of the flight crew, although the connection had frequently been interrupted.

A report by official Iranian news agency IRNA says that it seems the incident was not serious, but does not provide an update on Raisi’s wellbeing or that of any other passengers. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was also reportedly on board the aircraft.

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Update (NYT):

~~The head of Iran’s Red Crescent Society, Pirhossein Kolivand, told state TV that search and rescue teams have not located the site of the helicopter crash after more than 10 hours of looking, and have made no contact with anyone on board. Any rumors to the contrary were false, he said. Kolivand said rescuers were using their best guesses to set the search area and had no confirmation of the exact location of the missing helicopter.~~

NYT Archive

Update 2 (BBC)

President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and several others are confirmed to have been killed in Sunday's helicopter crash in north-western Iran, state TV says.

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