MIDDLE EAST
Segregated highway opens in West Bank

Israel inaugurated a new highway in the occupied West Bank on Thursday that features a large concrete wall segregating Israeli and Palestinian traffic.

One side of Route 4370 — northeast of Jerusalem — will be open to Israeli vehicles only, while the other half will be open only to Palestinian traffic. Critics have branded it an “apartheid” highway, saying it is part of a segregated road system that benefits Jewish settlers.

Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called the highway “an example of the ability to create coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians while guarding [against] the existing security challenges.”

The Palestinian Authority said the “apartheid” road “poses a challenge to the credibility of the international community.”

In a separate development Thursday, an Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man to 18 years in prison for fatally stabbing a British student in Jerusalem.

The court accepted a plea bargain in sentencing Jamil Tamimi, 60. He killed Hannah Bladon, 20, on the Jerusalem light rail in April 2017. His defense said he suffered from mental illness.

— Associated Press

IRAN
Tehran says it will send two satellites into orbit

Iran will put two satellites into orbit in the coming weeks using domestically made missiles, President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday, a week after Washington warned it not to pursue three planned space rocket launches.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned Tehran against launches that he said would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution because they use ballistic missile technology. The United States is concerned that the long-range ballistic technology used to put satellites into orbit can also be used to launch warheads.

Iran has said its space vehicle launches and missile tests were not violations and would continue.

“In the coming weeks, we will put two satellites into space using our Iran-made missiles,” Rouhani said, state TV reported.

Under the Security Council resolution enshrining Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers — which Washington pulled out of in May — the country is “called upon” to refrain from work for up to eight years on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons.

Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads since the U.S. pullout, followed by President Trump reimposing sanctions.

— Reuters

CONGO
Healthy baby born to Ebola survivor

A 4-day-old baby is a surprise bright spot in Congo’s deadly Ebola outbreak, with the Health Ministry on Thursday calling her the first child in this outbreak born to a mother who has recovered from the virus.

“Baby Sylvana” is healthy and does not have Ebola, the ministry said. It tweeted a photo.

Baby Sylvana was born Sunday at an Ebola treatment center in Beni, a city where rebel attacks have threatened health workers’ attempts to contain the outbreak.

The outbreak has become the second deadliest in history, with 628 cases, 580 confirmed. There have been 335 confirmed deaths.

— Associated Press

21 bodies found in Mexico: Authorities said 21 bodies, some burned, have been found in the northern Mexican border state of Tamaulipas after what appears to have been a clash between drug gangs. The bodies were found near seven burned-out vehicles near the border town of Miguel Aleman. Tamaulipas has been a major conduit for drug shipments and the scene of some of the worst massacres in Mexico's drug war.

Powder-filled letters sent to universities in Greece: At least nine people received medical attention after about a dozen letters containing a white powder described as consisting of "industrial irritants" were sent to 11 university and college offices in Greece, officials said. None of the people displayed any symptoms caused by poisonous chemicals, officials said, but several reported mild breathing problems. Several of the letters appeared to have been sent from India, officials said. Police did not comment on reports by state-run television that printed material found in the letters included "Islamic content."

— From news services