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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In brief: Sweden takes lead on Palestine state

From Wire Reports

Stockholm – Sweden will become the first major European nation to recognize Palestinian statehood, newly sworn-in Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced Friday.

In unveiling his Cabinet appointments and governing priorities to Parliament, Lofven said recognizing the state of Palestine would bolster the objective of defining two separate but peacefully coexisting states and ending decades of hostility between Israelis and Palestinians.

Lofven, whose Social Democrats have united with Greens to form a left-leaning government after elections last month, did not specify when Sweden would join more than 130 other countries that recognize Palestine as a state.

Sweden’s allies within the 28-nation European Union have mostly followed the U.S. lead in refraining from recognizing Palestine before its borders are defined through negotiations with Israel.

Police arrest 19 amid occupation

Hong Kong – Hong Kong police said today that they have arrested 19 people, some of whom are believed to have organized crime ties, after mobs tried to drive pro-democracy protesters from the streets where they have held a weeklong, largely peaceful demonstration.

At least 12 people and six officers were injured during the clashes, district commander Kwok Pak-chung said at a pre-dawn media briefing.

Protest leaders called off planned talks with the government on political reforms after the battles kicked off Friday afternoon in gritty, blue-collar Mong Kok, across Victoria Harbor from the activists’ main protest camp.

Police struggled for hours to control the battles as attackers pushed, shoved and jeered the protesters. Those arrested face charges of unlawful assembly, fighting in public and assault, Kwok said, adding that eight men are believed to have backgrounds involving triads, or organized crime gangs.

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