Western Wall stone crashes down in Jerusalem

A massive stone block from the Western Wall fell to the ground below, narrowly missing a worshipper. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 July 2018
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Western Wall stone crashes down in Jerusalem

  • Jerusalem authorities restricted access to one of Judaism's holiest sites on Monday after a massive stone block from the Western Wall fell
  • To Muslems it is the Haram al-Sharif compound, the third-holiest in Islam after Mecca and Medina, and home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock

JERUSALEM: Jerusalem authorities restricted access to one of Judaism's holiest sites on Monday after a massive stone block from the Western Wall fell to the ground below, narrowly missing a worshipper.
Mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement "the stone, weighing 100 kilogrammes (220 pounds), fell close to a woman who was praying... without hitting her".
He described the fact that nobody was harmed in the incident as "a great miracle".
The statement said that Barkat visited the scene with the city engineer and safety officials, who declared the spot dangerous and closed it to the public pending further inspection.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of Jewish worshippers thronged the main, gender-segregated Western Wall esplanade for annual prayers mourning the razing of the biblical-era temples.
Monday's incident occurred at a less-visited part of the wall, where men and women are permitted to pray together contrary to Orthodox Jewish practice.
The Western Wall, in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, is the holiest place at which Jews are allowed to pray.
They believe it is what remains of a supporting wall of their biblical second temple, destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.
Immediately above it is the flashpoint shrine known to Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest in Judaism, revered as the spot where the two biblical Jewish temples once stood.
To Muslems it is the Haram al-Sharif compound, the third-holiest in Islam after Mecca and Medina, and home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.


Iraq’s top court ratifies manual recount of May ballots

Updated 54 min 15 sec ago
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Iraq’s top court ratifies manual recount of May ballots

  • The court decision paves the way for president to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session
  • Political wrangling over who gets to be prime minister will likely delay the process

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s top court has ratified the results of the country’s May parliamentary elections following a manual ballot recount ordered by the outgoing chamber following charges of irregularities.
The Federal Court’s decision on Sunday paves the way for the president to summon lawmakers to an inaugural session of the new, 329-seat house. In theory, parliament should then proceed to elect a speaker, a president and a prime minister, who will in turn form a new government.
However, political wrangling over who gets to be prime minister will likely delay the process for weeks, maybe months.
A coalition led by maverick Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr won the largest number of seats, 54, followed by an alliance of government-sanctioned militias known as Hashed, with 47.