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02nd-Dec-2017       
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UN appeals for record $22.5 b in global aid for 2018
AFP, Geneva
The United Nations appealed Friday for a record $22.5 billion (18.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2018 to soaring numbers of people slammed by conflicts and disasters around the world.
The global appeal by UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations aims to raise funds to help the some 91 million most vulnerable of the nearly 136 million people expected to need aid across 26 countries next year.
The number of people in need of international assistance worldwide has thus risen more than five percent from last year's estimate.

Ex-US Marine gets life for murder, rape
AP, Tokyo
A Japanese court on Friday convicted a U.S. military contractor of murder and rape charges in the death of an Okinawa woman and sentenced him to life in prison.
The Naha District Court also found Kenneth Shinzato, a former Marine, guilty of abandoning the victim's body, court officials said. The 20-year-old woman was found in the forest in May, three weeks after she disappeared while taking a walk.

Palestinian shot dead by Israeli settler
AFP, Nablus
An Israeli settler shot dead a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank on Thursday after a group of Israelis was targeted by Palestinian stone-throwers, officials said. The Palestinian health ministry confirmed the Palestinian was killed after being shot by an Israeli settler. It named him as Mohammed Zaal, 45, from the village of Qusra near where the shooting took place. The Israeli army said the settler opened fire after the group was targeted with stones near Qusra in the northern West Bank.

Quake hits southeast Iran, destroys homes
Reuters, Ankara
A strong earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck southeastern Iran on Friday, injuring at least 42 people and destroying several homes in an area where most people live in villages of mud-walled homes. State media said no deaths had been reported.
Rescue workers, special teams with sniffer dogs and units of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Basij militia forces were sent to the quake-hit areas in Kerman province, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency said.

10 killed in fire in north China port city
AP, Beijing
Ten people died and five were injured in a fire early Friday in a northern Chinese port city where scores were killed in an explosion two years ago.
The fire department in Tianjin said the blaze broke out at 4 a.m. in a mixed residential-office building and was extinguished in less than three hours. It said the cause was unknown but that one individual is being held as part of the investigation. The official Xinhua News Agency said materials used for interior decoration are believed to have contributed to the blaze.

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