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Israel is removing controversial metal detectors from entrances to the sensitive compound that houses the al-Aqsa mosque.

The move was announced late on Monday night by the office of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and is designed to end the crisis over the holy site. Days of violent confrontations have claimed seven lives.

The removal of the detectors on Tuesday appeared to be part of a deal that saw the repatriation of Israeli diplomats from Jordan, including an embassy security guard who had been involved in a fatal shooting of two Jordanians on Sunday night.

The brief statement said the Israeli security cabinet – which met on Monday evening – had “accepted the recommendation of all of the security bodies to incorporate security measures based on advanced technologies (‘smart checks’) and other measures instead of metal detectors in order to ensure the security of visitors and worshippers in the Old City and on the Temple Mount”.

The statement added that under the plan Israeli police would “reinforce” their presence around the holy site.
Israel installed new security cameras Sunday at the entrance to a sensitive Jerusalem holy site, as officials began indicating it was considering “alternatives” to the metal detectors at the contested shrine that set off a weekend of violence and raised tensions in the region.

Israel set up the new security measures last week after Arab gunmen opened fire from the shrine, killing two Israeli policemen.

It said they were a necessary measure to prevent more attacks and were deployed routinely at holy sites around the world. But Muslims alleged Israel was trying to expand its control at the Muslim-administered site and have launched mass prayer protests.

Three Palestinians were killed in street clashes Friday in some of the worst street violence in years, and later a Palestinian stabbed to death three members of an Israeli family.

Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, who heads the Israeli defense body for Palestinian civilian affairs, said Israel was open to alternatives to lower the tensions.
Thousands of Muslim worshipers held prayer services at noon Friday outside the gates of Jerusalem’s Old City after being denied entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque, or refusing to enter in protest, as tensions mounted after the Israeli government decided to keep in place controversial security arrangements at the entrance to the sensitive holy site.

Israeli police units were deployed in the area keeping a watchful eye on the growing crowds, and military units were on standby for any violence after the prayers.

Police restricted entry to the site to women and men over 50 for the first time in three years. 

The heightened security measures were put in place Sunday after an attack last Friday in which two Israeli police officers were fatally shot by three Palestinian Israeli gunmen.

The gunmen, who police say came from inside the holy complex, were killed in a shootout with police.
The study, taking place at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland has gathered dozens of religious leaders to investigate the effect of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, on spiritual experience.

Over 20 leaders from numerous faiths and traditions will receive a strong dose of psilocybin on two occasions in “living room-like setting” day-long contemplative sessions.

A series of follow-up sessions and questionnaires will then be used to see whether their psychedelic experience altered their spiritual thinking and whether this changes the way they perceive their life and work as a religious leader.

Previous scientific studies have looked into spirituality and magic mushrooms, however, this is the first one to involve individuals of different religious faiths.

Over the past few years, there have been increasingly more clinical trials investigating the effects of this drug, including a study last year that tested whether psilocybin could be used to treat depression.

Although it’s still relatively early days for the scientific research, it’s already been suggested as a possible treatment for a range of anxiety disorders and even cluster headaches.
A Muslim student union leader has claimed she would like to ‘oppress white people’ and has suggested there would be an Islamic takeover if more people read the Koran.

Zamzam Ibrahim, who was elected President of Salford University’s Student Union in March, also suggested friendship between men and women is un-Islamic and is opposed to the government’s anti-radicalisation strategy.

The Swedish-Somali student officer also described the government’s Prevent strategy as ‘disastrous’ and ‘racist’.

‘The Prevent agenda, as part of the Government’s “anti-extremism” work has been used to create an expansive surveillance architecture to spy on the public and to police dissent, systematically targeting Black people and Muslims.’

Ms Ibrahim has deleted a large number of messages form her social media accounts.
Victoria's Deputy Police Commissioner, Shane Patton, confirmed in a brief press conference on Thursday morning that Cardinal Pell had been issued with multiple charges relating to historical sexual abuse allegations.

Cardinal Pell is the third most senior Catholic at the Vatican, where he is responsible for the church's finances.

He has repeatedly and emphatically denied all allegations, but said he would continue to co-operate with the police investigation.

All was quiet at Cardinal Pell's Roman residence as the news broke.

As Australia has no extradition treaty with the Vatican, Cardinal Pell may avoid prosecution should he choose not to return to Victoria, but he is expected to come back to fight the charges.

When it comes to historical sex abuse prosecutions, the charge an alleged offender faces, and the applicable maximum penalty, is determined by when the alleged offence occurred.
Pope Francis welcomed President Trump to the cradle of Roman Catholicism on Wednesday, delivering a message of peace even as the pontiff emphasized his standing as the world’s moral counterpoint to the president’s nationalist agenda.

The two men met in the pope’s private study for nearly half an hour, joined only by an interpreter.

The pontiff, in white papal dress and a pectoral cross on a chain around his neck, sat behind a small desk while Trump, in a dark suit and navy striped tie, took the single chair across from him as if interviewing for a job.

After some initial awkwardness — Trump looked somewhat uneasy as he was kept waiting for a few seconds in the Saint Ambrose room before shaking hands with Francis, who was stone-faced at first — the atmosphere soon warmed.

The pair seemed to set aside their differences from last year’s campaign, with Trump appearing both presidential and deferential, while the pope, smiling slightly, seemed to be visually appraising him.
An historic church west of Calgary, nearly as old as Canada, was destroyed in a Monday morning fire.

The McDougall Memorial Church, built in 1875 by Rev. George McDougall and situated off Highway 1A about two kilometres east of Morley, was left a smoking ruin as firefighters and RCMP contained the site. 

McDougall Stoney Mission Society curator Ann McDougall, fearing the blaze was the work of arsonists, said it’s a devastating loss.

“I can’t believe who (someone) would do such a thing, but I really am too upset to make any statement at this time,” said the direct descendant of the George McDougall.

Sarah Harvey, a volunteer and secretary of the board of directors with the church, echoed McDougall’s fear the cause was arson. She’s aware of at least one attempted arson a few years ago.

“Someone stuffed newspapers between the doors and tried to light it on fire,” she said. “But someone across the highway saw the smoke and alerted the fire department.”