September 16, 2020

This is VOA news. Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton.

U.S. President Donald Trump hosted a signing ceremony at the White House Tuesday for the normalization of relations between Israel and the Arab states of the United Arab Emirates and [baran] Bahrain.

In his remarks, President Trump said, "These visionary leaders will sign the first two peace deals between Israel and the Arab states in more than a quarter century."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Affairs Minister Abdullah bin Zayed and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al Zayani signed the so-called "Abraham Accords" on the South Lawn of the White House.

Mr. Netanyahu said, "This peace will eventually expand to include other Arab states, and ultimately can end the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all."

The Israel-UAE deal was initially reached on August 13 between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, with Bahrain announcing last Friday it will also formally recognize the Jewish state.

Gulf Arab countries had long conditioned full normalization of ties with Israel on progress on the two-state solution, envisioning an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad [shate..., shaye...] Shtayyeh, pardon me, condemned the Abraham Accords, calling it "a black day in the history of Arab [relations] nations."

The U.S. city of Louisville, Kentucky, has agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Breonna Taylor, a Black medical technician who was shot to death in her apartment in March during a "no-knock" police raid linked to a bungled drug investigation.

The payment in the civil suit came as federal and state investigators continue to probe the circumstances surrounding the death of the 26-year-old Taylor and whether three police involved in the incident should be criminally charged.

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny published a photo of himself in a Berlin hospital bed Tuesday as he recovers from a nerve agent poisoning last month in Siberia.

Surrounded by his family as he sat up in bed, Navalny said he was pleased to be able to breathe independently.

"I miss you all," Navalny wrote in the post on Instagram. "I can still hardly do anything, but yesterday I could breath all day on my own."

It is the first publicly shared image of Navalny since he was airlifted to Berlin's Charité Hospital two days after becoming sick during a flight in Russia on August 20.

Navalny's spokeswoman confirmed shortly after the photo's posting that the 44-year-old plans to return to Russia.

Germany, France and Sweden have concluded that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok nerve agent. That's a Soviet-era agent that Britain said was used on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury, England, two years ago.

Western countries have requested an explanation from Moscow, which says the accusations that it was involved in the poisoning are unfounded.

A Rwandan court is charging the man who inspired the film "Hotel Rwanda" with terrorism, complicity in murder and forming an armed rebel group. Prosecutors accuse Paul Rusesabagina of orchestrating crimes against unarmed, innocent Rwandan civilians in 2018.

Rusesabagina refused to plead to all 13 charges on Monday, including being linked to the murders, [con...] claiming some of the charges are baseless.

Rusesabagina, who has been detained since late last month, is asking to be released because of poor health. The court will hear his request for bail on Thursday.

The film "Hotel Rwanda" portrayed Rusesabagina, a former hotel manager, as a hero, who protected [Tutsis from the] Tutsis fleeing the 1994 genocide. He is credited with saving more than 1,000 lives.

Authorities in Panama are investigating a mass grave in the vicinity of another burial site found in January where investigators believe a religious sect laid to rest victims of violent exorcisms.

Forensic experts say they are still trying to determine how many remains are located at the newly found site, several hundred kilometers north of the capital, Panama City.

In January, authorities found a mass grave with at least seven victims, including a pregnant woman. The grave was linked to the "God's New Light" church.

Police raided the church, arresting 10 people and rescuing 15 others, who told the investigators the sect leader claimed he was fulfilling God's orders to, quote, "remove the demon" from the victims in a violent exorcism.

Authorities have, so far, not linked the latest grave site to the "God's New Light" church.

Via remote, I'm Marissa Melton. From Washington, this is VOA news.