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US, Israel sign $38 bn military aid deal

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Washington: The US and Israel has signed an unprecedented new military aid deal that will give the Israeli military $38 billion from fiscal year 2019 to 2028.

The new 10-year deal, which constitutes the single largest pledge of military assistance in US history, includes $33 billion in Foreign Military Financing funds and an unprecedented $5 billion commitment in missile defense assistance.

The new deal, known as a Memorandum of Understanding, will succeed the current $30 billion deal signed in 2007, which expires at the end of fiscal year 2018.

The deal was signed at the US State Department by Israel’ s acting national security advisor Jacob Nagel and Thomas Shannon, US Under Secretary of State. US President Barack Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice was also present at the ceremony.

The new deal is “just the most recent reflection of my steadfast commitment to the security of the State of Israel,” Obama said in a statement on Wednesday.

“This commitment to Israel’ s security has been unwavering and is based on a genuine and abiding concern for the welfare of the Israeli people and the future of the State of Israel,” Obama added.

The US President also called for more efforts to advance a two-state solution to the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, despite the “deeply troubling trends on the ground that undermine this goal.”

“The only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine,” he said.

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the US aid package to his country as a “historic deal”.

“This agreement will ensure an unprecedented security assistance to Israel over the next decade,” Netanyahu said in a Hebrew video address about an hour before the signing ceremony in Washington.

The new deal came after months of negotiations between the United States and Israel, which have been at odds over the Iran nuclear deal.

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Pakistani man arrested for attacking Sikh shrine in England

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New Delhi/London, 25 May : A Pakistani man, who was trying to mobilise Sikhs against India over Kashmir in England, attacked the Guru Arjan Dev shrine in Derby on Monday morning. He was later identified and arrested.

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Italy registers 63,927 COVID-19 cases, toll touches 6,077

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Rome, March 24 : A total of 63,927 coronavirus cases have been assessed in Italy since the pandemic broke out in its northern regions on February 21, the Civil Protection Department managing the COVID-19 emergency has said, adding that 601 fatalities were also registered on Monday, with the death toll reaching 6,077.

The number of total infections grew by 4,789, or 8 per cent from 59,138 cases recorded on Sunday. The daily fatality figure dropped from Sunday’s 651 and Saturday’s 793, the department said, Xinhua reported.

Although still upward, the figures showed the daily rise in both the number of people testing positive and the number of deaths has been less marked for the second day in a row, Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli told a press conference late Monday afternoon.

Health authorities, however, warned that it was still too early to confirm a decreasing trend in the ongoing pandemic.

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Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed sent to jail for five years

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New Delhi/Islamabad, 12 Feb : Just ahead of the FATF review, founder and patron of the banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, was convicted in terror funding cases and sent to jail for five-and-a-half years by a Pakistani court on Wednesday.

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