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Abbas Dismisses Palestinian Government

Via a spokesman for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, it has been announced that the president has dismissed the Hamas-led government and declared a 'state of emergency.' Abbas' move comes after Hamas militants have captured the majority of remaining Fatah strongholds in the Gaza Strip.

AFP reports that Abbas' statement included the following:

"I have issued the following decree: the sacking of Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Second, the proclamation of the state of emergency in all the Palestinian territories because of the criminal war in the Gaza Strip, the taking over of the security services of the Palestinian Authority, the military coup and the armed rebellion by outlaws."

The US, EU, Japan and others are expected to support Abbas and the Fatah party against Hamas. Japan has previously agreed to provide aid directly to Abbas rather than to the government led by Hamas.

UNSC Support for MNF-Iraq and Post al-Askariya

Following last years extension of the UN's support for US-led multinational forces remaining in Iraq, a one-year extension, the UNSC has again agreed that the troop presence is needed. Per last years agreement, the UNSC review, slated for June 15th, has reviewed the situation and agreed with Iraq's request that the forces remain.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the council members "today, and for the foreseeable months at least, the presence of troops is vitally necessary not only for Iraq but also to safeguard regional security and stability."

The UNSC also condemned the bombing of the al-Askariya Mosque.

Following the attack on the two minarets of the al-Askariya Mosque, and despite calls for no reprisals, some Sunni mosque have been the target of attacks. Additionally, the Green Zone was the target of a mortar attack, though no reports of injuries or damage are known.

The attacks on Sunni mosques included four in Basra where four people are reported to have been killed. These attacked mosques included the Kawaz, Othman, al-Abayshi and Basra Grand mosques. The Hateen mosque in Iskandariyah was reported to have been destroyed by an attack early on Thursday morning. Additionally, Baghdad police reported finding 25 bodies of suspected victims of reprisal attacks.

It has also been reported that MNF-I forces captured 25 suspected al-Qaeda members including an associate of Omar al-Baghdadi.

Zimbabwe Remains Troubled

With a government focused on its own survival rather than the security and prosperity of its citizens, Zimbabwe continues to be hit hard by inflation and an oppressive legal system. Zimbabwe's inflation rate of 3,714% is the highest in the world. The BBC reports that aid workers are concerned that the state will collapse within the next six months. While this should be considered skeptically, it is clear that the situation has worsened.

Additionally, it is being reported that Zimbabwe's lower-house has passed legislation permitting the bugging of Internet based services, traffic, etc. Though it has not yet passed the Senate it is expected to do so. The government defends the legislation as a anti-terror, anti-crime and anti-corruption measure. Opposition leaders view the legislation as further evidence of Mugabe's attempts to eliminate opposition to his rule.

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