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Dutch Police Nab Man Who Plotted Murder of MP Wilders Over Cartoon Contest

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The head of the Netherlands’ opposition right-wing Party for Freedom, or PVV, Geert Wilders, is known throughout Europe for his promising to ban the Koran and close down mosques. The Netherlands’ counter-terrorism police (NCTb) have arrested a man suspected of threatening an attack on anti-Islam right-wing lawmaker Geert Wilders, the organizer of a Prophet Muhammad cartoon competition due to be held in November, according to the AP.

Police said in a statement that they detained the 26-year-old, who has yet to be identified, at the main railway station in The Hague after they spotted his video on Facebook in which the man talked about staging an attack on Wilders as well as the Dutch parliament.

“I was told by NCTb this morning that a man on Facebook had said that he had arrived in the Netherlands for the purpose of killing me. Fortunately, he has been arrested. It is madness that this is happening because of a drawing contest and that it is raining death threats,” Wilders wrote on his Twitter account.

The detention came while Wilders wad under round-the-clock security due to permanent death threats. In June, media reports said that Wilders plans to organize a Prophet Muhammad cartoon competition at the tightly-guarded office of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Parliament complex.

The PVV said at the time that the contest had been approved by the Netherlands’ counter-terrorism agency, with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte describing the competition as “disrespectful” and “provocative.” The country’s Foreign Minister Stef Blok, for his part, pointed out that the competition hadn’t been initiated by the government.

Commenting on the criticism, Wilders said that “freedom of speech is threatened, especially for Islam critics” and that “we should never accept that” because “freedom of speech is our most important freedom.” Muslims consider images of the Prophet Muhammad to be blasphemous, and even his positive depictions are banned in Islam. In 2016, Wilders was accused of inciting hatred and discrimination after asking supporters whether they wanted “fewer or more Moroccans” in the Netherlands. The crowd shouted “fewer!” and Wilders said, “then we’ll fix it.”

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Erdogan says he will not declare ceasefire in northern Syria

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made it clear to U.S. President Donald Trump that Turkey will never declare a ceasefire in northern Syria and will not negotiate with Kurdish forces it is fighting in its offensive into the region.

Turkey forged ahead with its offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria on Tuesday despite U.S. sanctions and calls for it to stop, while Syria’s Russia-backed army moved on the key city of Manbij that was abandoned by U.S. forces.

The YPG, the key component of the forces who fought Islamic State, is seen by Ankara as a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatist insurgents in Turkey.

On Monday, Trump announced sanctions on Turkey to punish it for the offensive. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said Washington would threaten more sanctions to persuade Turkey to reach a ceasefire and halt its offensive.

However, speaking to reporters on a flight back from Baku, Erdogan said the offensive would continue until it reaches its aims, and added that he was not worried about sanctions.

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Woman killed in Russian apartment building blast

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A woman died and other young woman sustained injuries when a five-story building partially collapsed following an explosion in Russian village of Novonezhino.

Around 17 apartments were damaged when the ceiling slab, wall and the stair case of the building collapsed, Emergency Department said.

“The people were evacuated, 17 apartments were damaged. Seven elders have been transferred to temporary accommodation center,” the authorities said.

Rescue crews were searching for people who are believed to be trapped under the rubble. Rescuers were assisting the residents save their pets and belongings from the damaged apartments.

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Greek Church recognizes autonomy of Orthodox Church of Ukraine

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The leading figures of the Church of Greece decided at a meeting this weekend to recognize the autocephalous Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), making it the first of the Eastern Orthodox churches to take such a step.

The Holy Synod of the Church of Greece recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in line with a request by the Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios

The Orthodox Times says the Greeks’ formal recognition will take place October 19 in Thessaloniki, with Archbishop Ieronymos and the OCU’s Metropolitan Epifaniy of Kyiv and All Ukraine present.

The Patriarchate of Constantinople, generally considered the spiritual headquarters for Orthodoxy, granted the Orthodox Church of Ukraine independence in January in a move that was adamantly resisted by Moscow and the Russian Orthodox Church. The new Orthodox Church of Ukraine installed its first metropolitan, Epifaniy, at a ceremony in Kyiv on February 3 in a process that further established the new church body’s independence

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