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Jerusalem tense over evictions and holidays

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Author of the article: JERUSALEM — East Jerusalem has seen nightly clashes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with Palestinians pitted against Israeli police and settlers. The issues and the scale of the protests have varied, covering religion, land and politics, but running through them all is the core conflict between Israelis and Palestinians…

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JERUSALEM — East Jerusalem has seen nightly clashes during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, with Palestinians pitted against Israeli police and settlers.

The issues and the scale of the protests have varied, covering religion, land and politics, but running through them all is the core conflict between Israelis and Palestinians over the city that has sites sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Here are some of the factors that have brought Jerusalem to near boiling point:

When did the protests start?

From the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April, Palestinians clashed nightly with Israeli police who put up barriers to stop evening gatherings at the walled Old City’s Damascus Gate after iftar, the breaking of the daytime fast.

Palestinians saw the barriers as a restriction on their freedom to assemble. Police said they were there to maintain order.

Why did the violence flare up again?

An Israeli Supreme Court hearing was due on May 10 in a long-running legal case about whether several Palestinian families would be evicted and their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood near Damascus Gate, given to Israeli settlers.

Some settlers have already moved into the street affected – living next door to the Palestinians facing possible removal.

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As the court hearing neared, Palestinians and left-wing Israelis began holding larger demonstrations, saying more evictions could cause a domino effect throughout the overwhelmingly Palestinian neighborhood.

Sheik Jarrah also contains a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest, Simon the Just, leading to frequent tensions between Palestinian living there and religious Jews visiting it.

The case, in which a lower court ruled that the land in question belonged to Jews in East Jerusalem before the 1948 War, has gathered domestic and international attention, amid criticism of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

What next?

On Sunday the Supreme Court hearing on the evictions was postponed, pushing at least one flashpoint past the end of Ramadan and allowing more time for a resolution. A new session will be scheduled within 30 days.

Monday is Jerusalem Day, Israel’s annual commemoration of its capture of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war. The event usually sees a march through the walled Old City by Jewish pilgrims, including ultra-nationalists, which could be another flashpoint.

Why is Jerusalem so sensitive?

Politics, history and religion.

At the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City is the hill known to Jews across the world as Temple Mount – the holiest site in Judaism – and to Muslims internationally as The Noble Sanctuary. It was home to the Jewish temples of antiquity. Two Muslim holy places now stand there, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest place in Islam.

Christians also revere the city as the place where they believe that Jesus preached, died and was resurrected.

Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern section as a capital of a future state. Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is unrecognized internationally.

(Reporting by Maayan Lubell Editing by Stephen Farrell and Raissa Kasolowsky)

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Soybeans fall 1%, Chinese demand limits losses

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Author of the article: CANBERRA — U.S. soybean futures fell 1% on Monday as the dollar strengthened, although strong Chinese demand limited the losses. FUNDAMENTALS * The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 1.1% to $13.80-1/4 a bushel by 0131 GMT, having firmed 5% percent on Friday. * Corn futures…

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CANBERRA — U.S. soybean futures fell 1% on Monday as the dollar strengthened, although strong Chinese demand limited the losses.

FUNDAMENTALS

* The most-active soybean futures on the Chicago Board Of Trade were down 1.1% to $13.80-1/4 a bushel by 0131 GMT, having firmed 5% percent on Friday.

* Corn futures fell 1.3% to $6.46-3/4 a bushel, having gained 3.5% in the previous session.

* Wheat futures slid 0.9% to $6.57 a bushel, having closed up 3.7% on Friday.

* Chinese state-owned importers bought at least eight cargo shipments of U.S. soybeans on Friday, the country’s largest U.S. soybean purchases in 4-1/2 months, two U.S. traders familiar with the deals said.

* About 41% of Iowa, the nation’s top corn producer and No. 2 soybean state, was under severe drought last week, according to the weekly U.S. drought monitor published last week.

MARKET NEWS

* The dollar held near multi-month peaks against other major currencies, after the U.S. Federal Reserve surprised markets last week by signaling it would raise interest rates and end emergency bond-buying sooner than expected.

* Oil prices nudged up, underpinned by strong demand during the summer driving season and a pause in talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal that could indicate a delay in resumption of supplies from the OPEC producer. (Reporting by Colin Packham; editing by Uttaresh.V)

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Boral sells U.S. products business after rejecting Seven bid

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Author of the article: Australia’s Boral Ltd said it would sell its North American building products business to a unit of NYSE-listed Westlake Chemical Corp for $2.15 billion, throwing a spanner in the works of a takeover bid by Seven Group. Boral’s shares rose as much as 4% to A$7.06, their highest since October 2018,…

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Australia’s Boral Ltd said it would sell its North American building products business to a unit of NYSE-listed Westlake Chemical Corp for $2.15 billion, throwing a spanner in the works of a takeover bid by Seven Group.

Boral’s shares rose as much as 4% to A$7.06, their highest since October 2018, after the building and construction materials supplier revealed its deal to sell the U.S.-based business in a disclosure responding to Seven’s bid.

Boral had already asked shareholders to reject an off-market zero premium bid by Seven Group, a conglomerate controlled by Australian media owner Kerry Stokes, saying it undervalued the company.

Seven owns 23.18% of Boral, and made the offer in May after failing to raise its stake to 30% due to regulatory setbacks.

Seven Group said the business had been sold for a loss in a rushed response to their offer.

“Our view is that Boral should have secured more. This business has been outperforming while the Australian business is under-performing,” a Seven spokesperson said in an email.

One analyst said the U.S. deal would not have a great impact on Seven’s takeover attempt.

“Seven Group made a bid that was expected to get turned down to clear the way for them to keep buying more,” said Mathan Somasundaram, CEO at Deep Data Analytics.

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“Seven Group’s historical trend in these scenarios suggests that they will get as much as they are allowed and stay there as a blocking stake. When the cycle turns weak, they will move in and take control gradually,” he said.

Boral’s shares have surged more than 30% this year, as monetary and fiscal stimulus helped Australia’s property market rebound from last year’s pandemic lows.

Boral CEO Zlatko Todorcevski said the company expected significant surplus to be returned to shareholders from the sale, with its net debt target falling from A$1.5 billion to A$1.3 billion.

($1 = 1.3330 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta and Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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Gold prices claw back as U.S. Treasury yields retreat

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Author of the article: Gold prices firmed on Monday, after posting a 6% drop last week, as a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields boosted the allure of the non-yielding metal. FUNDAMENTALS * Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,772.34 per ounce, as of 1004 GMT. Last week, bullion prices posted their worst week since March…

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Gold prices firmed on Monday, after posting a 6% drop last week, as a retreat in U.S. Treasury yields boosted the allure of the non-yielding metal.

FUNDAMENTALS

* Spot gold was up 0.5% at $1,772.34 per ounce, as of 1004 GMT. Last week, bullion prices posted their worst week since March 2020 on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s hawkish outlook.

* U.S. gold futures edged 0.2% higher to $1,772 per ounce.

* The benchmark U.S. Treasury yields fell to their lowest since March 3, reducing the opportunity cost of holding bullion, which pays no return.

* The U.S. dollar held near multi-month peaks against other major currencies on Monday, after the Fed surprised markets last week by signaling it would raise interest rates and end emergency bond-buying sooner than expected.

* Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said on Friday he wants to keep the U.S. central bank’s benchmark short-term interest rate near zero at least through the end of 2023 to allow the labor market to return to its pre-pandemic strength.

* SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded fund, said its holdings rose 1.1% to 1,053.06 tonnes on Friday from 1,041.99 tonnes on Thursday.

* Gold purchases in India ticked up last week after a decline in local rates, although dealers cautioned that demand is unlikely to return to normal levels soon.

* Russia’s gold reserves stood at 73.7 million troy ounces, as of the beginning of June, the central bank said on Friday.

* Silver was up 0.6% at $25.95 per ounce, palladium climbed 1% to $2,490.93, while platinum rose 0.4% to $1,037.89. (Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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