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Palestinian civil defence crews have uncovered a mass grave inside the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza’s Khan Younis, with 180 bodies recovered so far, Al Jazeera has learned, as Israel has continued bombardment of the devastated coastal enclave for more than six months.

“In the hospital courtyard, civil defence members and paramedics have retrieved 180 bodies buried in this mass grave by the Israeli military. The bodies include elderly women, children and young men,” Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reporting from Khan Younis said on Sunday.

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The joint drills include simulations of US and Filipino troops recapturing islands as Manila and Beijing contest maritime territory in the South China Sea.

Some 16,700 Filipino and US troops began annual joint military exercises in the Philippines on Monday, amid tensions with China over  Beijing's growing assertiveness in the region.

The exercises, dubbed Balikatan, or "shoulder to shoulder,"  include testing weaponry and equipment.

This year, the drills also include the mock retaking of "occupied" islands in the South China Sea.

In recent months, China and the Philippines have been at odds over territorial disputes in the South China Sea, with Chinese coast guard vessels frequently harassing Philippine boats with water cannons.

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A $61bn package of military aid for Ukraine could be signed off within days. So what weapons might it receive and what difference could they make in trying to stem Russian advances?

Air defence systems, mid to long-range missiles and artillery shells remain the most pressing weaponry needed by Ukraine. 

Here is where the US aid could go in these three areas.

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The global defense budget saw its largest yearly increase in 14 years in 2023, according to the think tank SIPRI. Russia's war in Ukraine, the China-Taiwan crisis and other global conflicts played a significant role.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has updated its Military Expenditure Database for 2023, with top spenders such as the United States, China and Russia ratcheting up their military budgets.

Military spending is up in Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Oceania and North and South America. It's the first time since 2009 that annual spending has increased in all geographical regions examined by SIPRI at once.

With a budget increase of 105%, the Democratic Republic of the Congo stood out as the country with the single largest increase in military spending in 2023 by percentage. Researchers attributed this boost to the protracted conflict between the government and non-state armed groups.

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German industrial production is expected to fall further behind this year, after a dip in 2023. The usually strong manufacturing sector had already taken a hit because of higher energy prices.

Industrial output from Europe's largest economy is expected to fall further this year, the leader of the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) said on Monday at the Hanover Messe — one of the world's largest trade fairs.

Roughly two decades of outstanding economic success have been rooted in cheap Russian energy that became unavailable since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. The head of the BDI, a major lobby for German manufacturers, recently accused German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of underestimating the seriousness of the situation after an already depressed output for 2023.

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A German politician has been filmed taking large sums of cash from a Kremlin-supporting broadcaster, Czech intelligence has claimed.

Petr Bystron, who is standing for Alternative for Germany (AfD) at European parliamentary elections in June, allegedly received €20,000 (£17,000) in cash from the manager of a Russian propaganda network while sitting in a parked car, recordings indicate.

Mr Bystron, who also sits on the Bundestag’s foreign affairs committee, has previously denied allegations of taking Russian money as a “defamation campaign”.

The Security Information Service (BIS), the Czech Republic’s domestic intelligence agency, now says Mr Bystron met with Artem Marchevsky, who allegedly managed a Kremlin-backed propaganda front called Voice of Europe, at least three times in the past six months.

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The 6.8% increase between 2022 and 2023 was the steepest since 2009, pushing spending to the highest recorded by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri) in its 60-year history

For the first time, analysts at the thinktank recorded a rise in military outlay in all five geographical regions: Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Oceania and the Americas.

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A Canadian humanitarian organization says its key water-aid truck was bombed in Gaza this week, and the federal government now says it has contacted the Israeli government for "more information" on the incident.

The response comes after the aid agency called on Ottawa to mount a full investigation into what it believes was a "targeted" incident. The IDRF, a registered non-profit based in Toronto, told CBC News that the incident is believed to be the first bombing of a Canadian aid truck during the current war in Gaza.

The truck was bombed in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the relief agency said. It was parked outside the Tuffah district in the northern part of Gaza at the time, and was clearly marked with the organization's name and a maple leaf, it added.

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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to within days announce sanctions against the Israel Defense Forces "Netzah Yehuda" battalion for human rights violations in the occupied West Bank, three U.S. sources with knowledge of the issue told Axios.

Why it matters: It would be the first time the U.S. imposed sanctions on an Israeli military unit.

A U.S. official said Blinken's determination about the Netzah Yehuda unit is based on incidents that occurred before the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and all took place in the West Bank.

Flashback: The Netzah Yehuda battalion was formed as a special unit for ultra-orthodox soldiers. All of its members are men.

  • Over the years, the unit stationed in the West Bank became a destination for many "Hilltop Youth" — young radical right wing settlers who weren't accepted into any other combat unit in the IDF.

  • The U.S. State Department started investigating the Netzah Yehuda battalion in late 2022 after its soldiers were involved in several incidents of violence against Palestinian civilians, Haaretz reported at the time.

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Hafez would seem like an unlikely target for a smear campaign. A well-respected academic researcher in Austria, his work focused on documenting and combating anti-Muslim racism in Europe. He was a co-author of the European Islamophobia Report, a scholarly annual analysis of anti-Muslim discrimination on the continent, and was affiliated with a Islamophobia research center based out of Georgetown University.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a political movement mostly based in the Arab states, which has often clashed with the conservative monarchies in the region. The movement has been suppressed in countries like Egypt but remains a bogeyman for local leaders as well as right-wing groups in Western countries who have frequently accused Muslim political opponents of association with the group.

Hafez felt himself gradually becoming the target of these attacks. The accusations were often put forward vaguely in public where individuals or organizations were accused of “affiliations” with the Muslim Brotherhood rather than holding any concrete roles or membership. The allegations were amorphous enough that they were impossible to refute, or even challenge, mostly disseminated as they were through whisper campaigns spread through the Austrian government and security establishment.

“In a way, what Vidino was enabling was the criminalization of critical scholarship about Islam and anti-Muslim racism in Europe,” Hafez said. “But when I first started looking into him, I was focused on his ideological ties to the far-right in the United States. I assumed that he was an ideologically inspired person. I had no clue whatsoever that the UAE was behind his work, and maybe even the main driver.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other European leaders have applauded the US for passing a vital €89 billion aid bill which has been struggling to make it through the House of Representatives for months.

The House swiftly approved roughly €89 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other US allies in a rare Saturday session as Democrats and Republicans banded together after months of hard-right resistance over renewed American support for repelling Russia’s invasion.

With an overwhelming vote, €57 billion in aid for Ukraine passed in a matter of minutes, a strong showing as American lawmakers race to deliver a fresh round of US support to the war-torn ally. Many Democrats cheered on the House floor and waved blue-and-yellow flags of Ukraine.

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  • Russia is recruiting female convicts to boost its military forces, a Ukrainian intelligence spokesperson said.
  • Moscow wants to recruit the convicts to auxiliary and combat roles, the Kyiv Post reported.
  • More than 100,000 convicts from Russian penal colonies have reportedly been conscripted to fight in Ukraine.
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A sex offender convicted of making more than 1,000 indecent images of children has been banned from using any “AI creating tools” for the next five years in the first known case of its kind.

Anthony Dover, 48, was ordered by a UK court “not to use, visit or access” artificial intelligence generation tools without the prior permission of police as a condition of a sexual harm prevention order imposed in February.

The ban prohibits him from using tools such as text-to-image generators, which can make lifelike pictures based on a written command, and “nudifying” websites used to make explicit “deepfakes”.

Dover, who was given a community order and £200 fine, has also been explicitly ordered not to use Stable Diffusion software, which has reportedly been exploited by paedophiles to create hyper-realistic child sexual abuse material, according to records from a sentencing hearing at Poole magistrates court.

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Devices containing private images can become a sexist weapon in this Middle Eastern country. When a phone breaks, the user can go years without fixing it, for fear of suffering blackmail

On one summer’s day in 2022, Warda Seif roamed the streets of Yemen’s city of Aden under the blaring sun for two hours looking for a mobile phone repair shop to fix a software glitch in her device. She knew the problem could be sorted out within an hour, but when the male technicians asked her to share her password and leave the device for a day or two, she refused, and moved on to the next store.

Her refusal may seem peculiar, but the risks she dreads are grave: Yemen’s conservative society is one of the world’s worst performing countries on the Gender Inequality  Index, ranking 155 out of 156 countries in 2021. Deeply-ingrained patriarchal norms and gender roles dictate women’s choices and actions, and place women as bearers of their families’ honor, making them easy targets of extortions and blackmails.

And mobile phones store a lot  of that honor in the form of personal images and confidential information, even if these images are neither explicit nor revealing.

“Widespread IT illiteracy amongst women and their reliance on strangers to set up their emails or fix their devices makes them prone to extortionists,” said activist Mokhtar Abdel Al-Moez, founder of Sanad, a nonprofit organization with around 400 volunteer digital experts offering support to cybercrime victims since March 2020.

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