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Iran Hopes Oil Tanker Detained Off Gibraltar Will Be Released Soon

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The United Kingdom could free the Iranian oil tanker Grace 1 ‘soon’, after Tehran and London exchange some documents that could facilitate the captured vessel’s release, the deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation, Jalil Eslami, said as quoted by Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency.

“Britain is interested in releasing Iran’s oil tanker Grace 1 … following the exchange of some documents, we hope the release will take place soon”,  Eslami said. “The vessel was seized based on false allegations …it has not been freed yet.”

The United Kingdom has so far provided no comment on Iran’s statement about the document exchange. In the meantime, a spokesman for Gibraltar said that the territory will pursue de-escalation efforts in the wake of the ‘lawful detention’ of the supertanker Grace 1.

“We continue to seek to de-escalate issues arising since the lawful detention of Grace 1”, the spokesman said.

Additionally, Iran’s Fars news agency has quoted Gibraltar authorities as saying that the detained tanker Grace 1 will be released by Tuesday evening.

Grace 1, an Iranian supertanker transporting oil, was detained off Gibraltar on 4 July by the territory’s law enforcement, supported by UK marines. The authorities cited a violation of EU sanctions against Damascus as the reason for the seizure. Tehran denied the claims and stressed that Britain has endangered maritime safety by its actions in Gibraltar.

The tensions continue to brew after a British vessel was detained by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards on 19 July. Tehran said that the ship had breached maritime legislation by ignoring warnings from the military, switching off its positioning device and colliding with an Iranian fishing boat.

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French police suicides on the rise

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Three riot police officers, a police commander, a police academy teacher, are among eight French police officers who have taken their life killed themselves recently. That makes 64 so far this year, and the number keeps on climbing.

Deaths by suicide for French police now outnumber deaths in the line of duty. The protectors need protecting, say police unions, which are demanding more help to stop the problem.

Many of those who choose to end their lives are from everywhere in France and of all ages, many with young children. The latest death came Wednesday in the Ardeche region in southeast France. Why they step across what one police union calls the “thin blue line” remains a question that French authorities have so far been unable to answer.

A parliamentary inquiry made public in July lists a multitude of reasons for the stress and despair among French police, including overwork since a series of terrorist attacks that started in January 2015 and the weekly, often extremely violent, anti-government protests since November by the yellow vest movement seeking more economic and social justice. It does not single out any one reason.

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Another Bird Strike Causes Utair Flight to Return to Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport

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A Utair airliner headed from Moscow to Ufa, the capital of Russia’s Bashkortostan Region, returned to its departure airport on Friday after a bird hit its windshield, the air carrier’s press service informed TASS.

“The Moscow-Ufa flight returned to Vnukovo after suffering a bird strike shortly after takeoff. A bird hit its windshield. The aircraft landed safely. The airline is changing the plane,” the press service stated.

It noted that the flight to Ufa is scheduled to depart at 15:30 Moscow time.

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At Least 5 Killed, 11 Injured in Blast in Pakistan’s Balochistan

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At least five people were killed and 11 others injured on Friday in an explosion that occurred in Pakistan’s Balochistan province at an Islamic school or madrassa, the Pakistani media reported.

According to Pakistani news website Dawn, the nature of the blast could not immediately be ascertained. The injured in the explosion were transported to Quetta Civil Hospital.

A local police official told media that the IED blast occurred at around 1525 hrs local time and video showed that the explosion caused extensive damage to the madrassa.

Since June this year, the frequencies of attacks have increased. On 23 July, at least three people were killed, and 18 were injured in a bomb attack in the Eastern Bypass area. On 30 July, five people were killed, and 30 people were injured in an attack at a police station.

Earlier this year, Pakistan deployed an army division to protect interests in Sino-Pakistan development projects including those in the Balochistan region.

Pakistan has been facing an insurgency in Balochistan since 1947, with Baloch nationalist organisations struggling to create an independent state. The Balochi are also a dominant ethnic minority in Iran and Afghanistan.

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