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Almost 100 Jewish graves desecrated hours before French march against 'unprecedented' anti-Semitism surge

Almost 100 Jewish graves desecrated hours before French march against 'unprecedented' anti-Semitism surgePresident Emmanuel Macron has promised to punish vandals who daubed swastikas on almost 100 graves at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France just hours before nationwide rallies to denounce an “unprecedented” wave of anti-Semitic acts. "We shall act, we shall pass laws, we shall punish," Mr Macron told Jewish leaders while inspecting the 96 tombstones daubed with blue and yellow swastikas in the village of Quatzenheim, near the Alsatian city of Strasbourg. His words came before almost all of France’s political leaders were due to convene at a march in Paris against a recent surge in anti-Semitic acts, which rose 74 per cent last year.   "Those who did this are not worthy of the Republic," said Mr Macron, later placing a white rose on a tombstone commemorating Jews deported to Germany during the Second World War. Another grave bore the words "Elsassisches Schwarzen Wolfe" ("Black Alsatian Wolves), a separatist group with links to neo-Nazis in the 1970s. This is the second such cemetery in the area to be vandalised since December, along with a nearby monument to Holocaust victims. Marches took place on Tuesday night across France Credit: BORIS HORVAT/AFP/Getty Images Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded a Europe-wide response to anti-Semitism and his government's immigration minister later issued a call for French Jews to 'come home'.  Mr Macron was also due to pay his respects at the Paris Holocaust memorial on Tuesday ahead of the anti-racism marches, attended in Paris by the prime minister and leaders of all parties bar the far-Right National Rally, which will hold its own ceremony. France has been appalled by a series of anti-Semitic acts in recent days, culminating last weekend in a violent barrage of insults against a prominent French writer at a yellow vest protest. In the filmed incident, a man can be seen branding the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut a "dirty Zionist" and telling him "France belongs to us”. Police intervened to protect philosopher and writer Alain Finkielkraut after he was targeted by on the fringe of a yellow vest protest in central Paris on February 16, 2019 Credit: ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP While several high-profile yellow vests were due to attend the anti-hate marches, a recent Ifop poll of self-professed “gilets jaunes” found that nearly half those questioned believed in a worldwide "Zionist plot" and other conspiracy theories. "The yellow vests aren't an anti-Semitic movement," said Jean-Yves Camus of the Political Radicalisation Observatory in Paris. "But it's a leaderless, horizontal movement… and extremist elements have been able to drown out the voices of its high-profile figures in the media," he told AFP. Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, called for a “sacred union” against anti-Semitism, saying it had “very deep roots in French society”.  At more than half a million, France is home to Europe’s biggest Jewish community but anti-Semitic attacks remain common. A rabbi and three children were killed at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012 by an Islamist gunman, and in 2015 four Jews at a kosher supermarket in Paris were among 17 people killed by Islamist militants. In 2006, 23-year-old Ilan Halimi was kidnapped, tortured and murdered by an anti-Semitic gang. A tree in his memory was hacked down this month. France is reeling from a string of anti-Semitic acts Credit: BENOIT TESSIER/REUTERS In recent days, artwork on two Paris post boxes showing the image of Simone Veil, a Holocaust survivor and former magistrate, was defaced with swastikas, while a bagel shop was sprayed with the word "Juden", German for Jews, in yellow letters. National Assembly president Richard Ferrand on Tuesday denounced “an unprecedented wave of anti-Semitic acts”. Responding to the grave desecration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “I call on all French and European leaders to take a strong stand against anti-Semitism.” His immigration minister, Yoav Galant, sent a tweet calling on French Jews to quit France and "come home" to Israel, where around 200,000 French Jews already live. France's parliament on Tuesday debated whether anti-Zionism should be classified as a form of anti-Semitism, a stance Mr Macron said he opposes.



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Global stocks surge on hopeful signs from US-China trade talks

Global stocks surge on hopeful signs from US-China trade talksNew York (AFP) – European and US stock markets leapt on Friday as positive signs emerged from US-China trade talks aimed at averting an escalation of a tariff war between the world's top two economies.



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Global stocks surge on China-US trade breakthrough hopes

Global stocks surge on China-US trade breakthrough hopesStock markets across the globe powered higher Friday, buoyed by hopes of a breakthrough in efforts to defuse a US-China trade war.



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Oil prices surge as OPEC agrees joint 1.2 mn bpd cut with partners

Oil prices surge as OPEC agrees joint 1.2 mn bpd cut with partnersOPEC members and 10 other oil producing nations, including Russia, agreed Friday to cut output by 1.2 million barrels a day in a bid to reverse falls in prices in recent months. Energy ministers reached the deal — which takes effect from January 1 but has already sent prices surging on oil markets — after two days of talks at OPEC headquarters in Vienna. “OPEC group countries are contributing 800,000 barrels per day as a cut, and the non-OPEC (countries) will be contributing 400,000 barrels per day,” Emirati Oil Minister Suhail Mohamed al-Mazrouei said at a news conference.



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Oil prices surge on output cut pledge, US-China deal

Oil prices surge on output cut pledge, US-China dealOil prices soared on Monday after Russia and Saudi Arabia renewed a pact to cap output, while the US agreed to halt raising tariffs on Chinese imports, stalling a trade row that many feared could hit demand for the commodity. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday he and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “have agreed to extend our agreement” to limit production as prices slump on global markets. An existing deal committing OPEC and non-members to cuts expires this year.



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Markets Right Now: US stock indexes surge a day after a rout

Markets Right Now: US stock indexes surge a day after a routNEW YORK (AP) — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):



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'Catastrophic' storm surge from Florence prompts hundreds of water rescues in New Bern, North Carolina

'Catastrophic' storm surge from Florence prompts hundreds of water rescues in New Bern, North CarolinaEmergency responders have reported an influx of calls from residents pleading to be rescued from the rapidly rising floodwaters.



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US farm belt tries to head off another surge in suicides

US farm belt tries to head off another surge in suicidesResponding to signs of rising despair in rural America over a farming downturn exacerbated by the current trade war fears, agricultural leaders are mobilizing to try to prevent another suicide crisis. Two high profile deaths in the past week, of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade, have shined a spotlight on the issue of depression and suicide in the United States, where the latest data show rates are rising, especially in rural states. Farm industry officials are bolstering outreach and counseling programs throughout the American farm belt and calling for more action from Washington.



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Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption: 69 dead and hundreds injured as lava surge sweeps through villages

Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption: 69 dead and hundreds injured as lava surge sweeps through villagesJosé Antonio Rivera counted to nine on the fingers of his grey ash-encased hands as he tallied relatives who had vanished in the torrent of mud and fire. "My children are gone. There is just me, my wife, and one son left,” he told local television amid apocalyptic scenes in the shadow of Guatemala's El Fuego volcano. The massive eruption blasted smoke more than four miles into the sky and set off a pyroclastic surge of the kind that destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii in AD 79. Such a surge – a mixture of ash, sand, and gas – can reach temperatures of 700C and travel far faster than lava, over 100km per hour. Guatemalan villagers were caught completely off guard. Hilda Lopez described how it swept into her village of San Miguel Los Lotes during a party. She said: "We were at a party, celebrating the birth of a baby, when one of the neighbours shouted at us to come out and see the lava that was coming. Aerial view of the aftermath of a volcano eruption in Escuintla Credit: Reuters "We didn't believe it, and when we went out the hot mud was already coming down the street. My mother was stuck there, she couldn't get out." One group of villagers gathered on a bridge to watch what they thought would be a slow lava flow, only fleeing at the last minute as the bridge was suddenly overwhelmed. Death toll rising On Monday night, the official death toll was 69 and expected to rise as rescue workers combed the worst affected area about 30 miles southwest of the capital Guatemala City. The village of El Rodeo was "buried," the rescuers said. They described finding bodies so cased in ash they looked like statues. Volcano Fuego eruption in Guatemala Some rescuers had to return to their bases after their shoes melted. Others managed to dig 10 survivors out. "We are looking for people who are missing, but we don’t know how many there are,” Mario Cruz, spokesman for the fire brigade, told the Telegraph. He said six children, and their pregnant mother, had just been rescued from their home and taken to a local hospital where survivors were being treated for burns and breathing difficulties. A soldier takes a rescued child covered with ash to a hospital after the eruption  Credit:  REUTERS Volcan El Fuego – the "Volcano of Fire" – began erupting at 1pm on Sunday and that was immediately followed by a billowing grey cloud that filled the horizon. Ash rained down on towns and cities across a far wider area, including the tourist city of Antigua and Guatemala City, where the airport was temporarily closed by debris on the runway. More than 3,000 people had been evacuated to shelters. At a makeshift morgue in the city of Escuintla, about 18.6 miles from the explosion, distraught family members came to search for their relatives among the dead. Guatemala's Fuego volcano eruption, in pictures Francisco Quiche, a 46-year-old welder, gave a blood sample to try to identify his son's body, though he already knew his son's fate. After evacuating the town of El Rodeo with his family, he returned to search for his son and daughter-in-law. Peering through a hole in the wall of his son's home, Quiche saw the boy's body. He fears his daughter-in-law is dead as well. "We had time to leave, thank God, but I am very sorry for the loss of my son and my daughter in law," he said through tears. "My son was just 22 years old, the same as my daughter-in-law, who was expecting a baby." Mourning period President Jimmy Morales declared three days of mourning but his government was already facing criticism for not acting sooner to start forced evacuations. The slow reaction may have been related to the fact that Guatemalans are used to seeing El Fuego, one of Central America's most active volcanoes, spit burning material into the sky. A small industry exists of trips for tourists who trek up an adjacent volcano and camp to watch the spectacle. “We ran a tour on Saturday,” tour guide Camilo Toledo told the Telegraph. “It looked like it was a bit more active than normal but what happened on Sunday was a massive surprise.” Eddy Sanchez, the director of the country’s seismology and volcanology institute, said that El Fuego has an average of between 10 and 16 “explosions” a day. Neighbours stand outside a temporary morgue near the volcano in Alotenango Credit: Luis Soto/ AP He said last year the volcano erupted 12 times. The biggest one, in February this year, sent ash a mile into the sky. Unexpected tragedy Sunday’s eruption, however, was on a completely different scale. He told The Telegraph it was still much smaller than the last really major eruption in 1974, although that one did not cause any deaths. Police officers carry a wounded man after the eruption in El Rodeo village Credit: NOE PEREZ/ AFP He blamed the greater destruction on the fact rivers were already overflowing and filled with mud, which meant that the pyroclastic flow became far more dangerous. "The rain made it far more deadly," he said. "It also meant that the evacuation effort was much more difficult." The task of retrieving bodies on Monday was hindered by another eruption and an apparent landslide on the southern slopes of Fuego triggered fresh evacuations.  CONRED shared a photo showing the flows of gas and mud sweeping down a mountainside and across a broad valley, engulfing a small village. "The landscape on the volcano is totally changed, everything is totally destroyed," government volcanologist Gustavo Chigna said on local radio. David Rothery, a volcanologist with The Open University, said: "Pyroclastic flows may be hot enough to glow like molten lava. They can travel further, as well as much faster, than lava flows. "This is the phenomenon that claimed many lives during the famous AD 79 eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii. "Given the (previous) activity it might have been wise to declare an evacuation zone around the volcano."



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Surge of women candidates running for office in 2018

Surge of women candidates running for office in 2018In 2018, 420 women in 47 states are planning to run for the House. Only 48 women currently serve.



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