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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Washington, ahead of his controversial speech to the congress, where he is expected to warn against a possible nuclear deal with Iran.

The United States and Israel showed signs of seeking to defuse tensions on Sunday, but policy differences between the two allies over the negotiations with Iran remained firm, as Netanyahu arrived in the United States for his speech, which has imperiled ties between the two allies. Israel fears that U.S. President Barack Obama's Iran diplomacy, with an end-of-march deadline for a framework accord, will allow its arch foe to develop atomic weapons, something Tehran denies seeking. By accepting an invitation from the republican party to address congress on March 3, the Israeli leader infuriated the Obama administration, which said it was not told of the speech before plans were made public in an apparent breach of protocol. A senior Israeli official told reporters on Netanyahu's flight that congress could be "the last brake" for stopping a nuclear deal with Iran.

 

US secretary of state john Kerry says the us hopes the Ukraine ceasefire deal will be implemented within "hours".

But John Kerry said he had warned Russia's foreign minister that his country faced "further consequences" if conditions were not met. Speaking after their meeting, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the un there had been "tangible progress" with the truce. Russia's Foreign Minister says there has been tangible progress in implementing the truce aimed at ending the fighting in Ukraine. Speaking at the UN after meeting his us counterpart, Sergei Lavrov said weapons were being withdrawn from front lines. US secretary of State John Kerry called on the United Nations to examine rights violations. The talks - the first since Kerry accused Russia of lying about its role in Ukraine's war - coincided with the release of a UN human rights report. The report states that the conflict has claimed at least 6,000 lives, with hundreds killed in the past few weeks alone, although it says that the real number of fatalities could be considerably higher. Speaking after the meeting in Geneva, Lavrov called on the Ukrainian government to distance itself from "extremists" and urged Kiev to promote economic recovery of rebel-held areas.

 

The estimated number of people killed in eastern Ukraine since the start of the conflict in April 2014 has surpassed 6,000.

According to the United Nations rights office, the escalation in fighting since the start of 2015 has resulted in heavy casualties with the civilian population trapped in areas controlled by armed groups, suffering the most. The report said, weeks of heavy fighting, particularly around Donetsk airport and the Debaltseve area cost hundreds of lives with vulnerable groups including women, children and the elderly particularly affected.

 

Rescue operations are underway in Afghanistan's province - Panjshir - which was struck by a massive avalanche early last week, killing some 200 people.

The disaster was triggered by a continued snowstorm starting last Tuesday, killing 286 people across the country, injuring 143, and devastating 1,248 houses. The Afghan military has cleared parts of the roads leading to the most-affected parts of Panjshir, and is using helicopters to drop supplies including food, blankets and medicine to the people trapped by snow. Meanwhile, an engineer battalion and an infantry battalion are still clearing the snow that has trapped 45,000 villagers in the area.

 

French President Francois Hollande condemned the barbaric destruction by Islamic State militants of priceless ancient artifacts in Iraqi city of Mosul.

Hollande was on a two day trip to the Philippines where he told reporters what terrorists want to do is to destroy humanity. He also said barbarism affects people, history, memories and culture.

 
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