Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Army: Rockets fired from Syria hit Israeli-held Golan <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>At least two rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday prompting Israeli forces to return fire, the army said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Israeli side.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But the army said it had evacuated visitors from the Mount Hermon ski resort near the armistice line and security sources said that farmers were told to leave their fields and go into bomb shelters.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Police said they had set up roadblocks to stop civilians entering the area.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tensions on the Golan have been running high since a 18 January Israeli air strike killed six fighters of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and an Iranian general on the Syrian-controlled side of the strategic plateau.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In August, five rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied sector and in July Israel shelled Syrian army positions in response to a rocket.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Israel seized 1,200 square kilometres (460 square miles) of the Golan from Syria in the Six-Day War of 1967 and annexed it in 1981 in a move never recognised by the international community.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Syria and Israel are still officially in a state of war.</div> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:23:00 +0000 AFP 2443287 at sites/default/files/photo/2013/12/02/484151/6d1c036e60069012294116833f1a79a84e359ddc.jpg UN agency says runs out of money to repair Gaza war-damaged homes <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The main UN aid agency in the Gaza Strip said on Tuesday a lack of international funding had forced it to suspend payments to tens of thousands of Palestinians for repairs to homes damaged in last summer&#39;s war.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;People are literally sleeping amongst the rubble, children have died of hypothermia,&quot; Robert Turner, Gaza director of operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said in a statement.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He said UNRWA received only $135 million of the $720 million pledged by donors to its cash assistance program for 96,000 refugee families whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the 50-day conflict between the Hamas Islamist movement andIsrael.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It is unclear why this funding has not been forthcoming,&quot; Turner said, without identifying where the shortfall was coming from. &quot;While some funds remain available to begin the reconstruction of totally destroyed homes, the agency has exhausted all funding to support repairs and rental subsidies.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>So far, he said, UNRWA has provided more than $77 million to 66,000 families to repair their homes or find temporary alternatives, but now due to a lack of funds the agency &quot;has been forced to suspend its cash assistance program&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Little of the total $5.4 billion pledged for Gaza&#39;s reconstruction at a Cairo conference of international donors last October has reached the territory, and thousands of Palestinians have been sheltering in tents near destroyed homes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Thousands more have been living in damaged buildings, using plastic sheeting to try to keep out the rain. Around 20,000 displaced are still being housed in UN-run schools.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Hamas and other factions have warned that fighting with Israel could resume unless rebuilding was stepped up.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;People are desperate and the international community cannot even provide the bare minimum &ndash; for example a repaired home in winter &ndash; let alone a lifting of the blockade, access to markets or freedom of movement,&quot; Turner said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He said UNRWA urgently required $100 million in the first quarter of 20015 to repair minor damage to homes and for rental subsidies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt and Israel maintain a Gaza blockade, with both countries citing security concerns for the restrictions.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Israel tightly monitors import of construction materials into the enclave, saying Hamas could use the supplies to rebuild cross-border tunnels through which militants attacked.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Internal political fighting between Hamas and the Western-backed Palestinian Authority, which was to have overseen such shipments has also been a major factor in reconstruction delays.</div> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 12:08:00 +0000 Reuters 2443279 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/10/21/484151/palestinians_downbeat.jpg UK economy grows by 2.6% in 2014, 0.5% in Q4 <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Britain&#39;s economy grew by 2.6 percent last year in the fastest annual pace since 2007, but slowed more sharply than expected in the fourth quarter, official data showed Tuesday.</p><p>Gross domestic product expanded by 0.5 percent in the October-December period compared with the previous three months, after stronger growth of 0.7 percent in the third quarter, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.</p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:26:00 +0000 AFP 2443272 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/01/24/495070/david_cameron.jpg Kiev military: Nine Ukrainian soldiers killed in 'tense' eastern conflict <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Nine Ukrainian servicemen have been killed in fighting&nbsp;<a href="" title="Full coverage of Russia">Russia</a>n-backed separatists in the past 24 hours, the Kiev military said on Tuesday, as rebels fought to encircle a key town straddling transport routes between their two strongholds.</p><p>Violence in eastern Ukraine is at by far its worst since a ceasefire was agreed last September and Ukraine and the West accuse Russia of openly supporting the latest rebel advance with money, arms and troops on the ground.</p><p>Military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said 29 servicemen had been wounded in addition to those killed, adding that fighting was the most intense near the strategic town of Debaltseve, north-east of rebel-held Donetsk.</p><p>&quot;The situation remains tense. In the past 24 hours illegal armed groups carried out 120 attacks on government positions,&quot; he said in a televised briefing.</p><p>In Kiev, parliament was due to meet for an emergency session to vote on a statement that would call Russia an aggressor-state, lawmakers said. It was not immediately clear what implications such a declaration would have beyond its symbolism.</p><p>U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said on Monday deadly attacks on the port city of Mariupol on the weekend show that Moscow&#39;s objective is to increase the Ukrainian territory it controls.</p><p>Separatist Donetsk and Luhansk regions, known as the Donbass, together account for around 9 percent of Ukrainian territory, excluding the peninsula of Crimea, seized by Russia from Kiev last March.</p><p>Rebels control less than half of this area, but have made its two largest cities the capitals of their self-styled &#39;People&#39;s Republics.&#39;</p><p>After months during which the truce was punctured by small-scale skirmishes on the front line, rebels said last week they were left with no choice but to launch an advance. Their main aim, they say, is to push back government forces that had been shelling rebel-held cities.</p><p>The Kiev government sees the rebel advance as a repudiation of the ceasefire, restarting a war in which 5,000 people have died. Kiev and NATO believe thousands of Russian troops are in eastern Ukraine fighting for the rebels with advanced weapons, despite Moscow&#39;s denials.</p><p>The rebels have vowed to encircle Debaltseve, a town with a pre-conflict population of around 46,000 that straddles key transport routes between the two separatist strongholds.</p><p>So long as it is under the control of Kiev troops, it weakens the separatists&#39; frontline as it forms a &quot;tongue&quot;, extending into rebel-controlled territory, separatist deputy commander Eduard Basurin told Reuters. (<a href=""></a>)</p> Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:23:00 +0000 Reuters 2443269 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/27/499612/ukrainian_soldiers_killed.jpg