Advertisements


Gazans await ‘life and death’ aid, Israel readies invasion

Thousands of tonnes of "life and death" aid for Gaza should be delivered soon, the United Nations said Friday, to relieve a "beyond catastrophic" situation after unrelenting Israeli bombing in response to an unprecedented Hamas attack. Some 175 lorries stuffed with vital medicines, food, and water stretched into the distance at the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which has removed concrete roadblocks and is scrambling to repair the route into besieged Gaza -- the only one not controlled by Israel. Overseeing operations personally, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters: "These trucks are not just trucks, they are a lifeline, they are the difference between life and death for so many people in Gaza." Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after the Islamist militant group launched a shock raid from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians shot, mutilated or burned to death, according to Israeli officials. Hamas gunmen also kidnapped some 200 hostages including foreigners from around two dozen countries. The Islamist group said Friday that its armed wing had released two Americans among the captives, a mother and her daughter, the first fruit of mediation efforts by the Gulf state of Qatar. The Islamist group did not detail how or when the hostages were released. The Israeli military said earlier Friday that most of those abducted to Gaza were still alive. It said more than 20 were minors. In response to the Hamas attack, Israeli bombers have levelled entire city blocks in Gaza in preparation for a ground invasion they say is coming soon. The Hamas-run health ministry said 4,137 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the onslaught. Israeli jets pounded more than 100 Hamas targets in Gaza overnight, the army said, with AFP reporters hearing loud explosions and witnessing plumes of smoke billowing from the northern Gaza Strip. Embracing front-line soldiers and clad in body armour, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged them to "fight like lions" and "win with full force". Fists clenched and voice raised, Netanyahu told cheering troops: "We will deal harsh blows to our enemies in order to achieve victory." Defence Minister Yoav Gallant told some of the tens of thousands of personnel preparing the ground invasion that "the order will come soon". 'Beyond catastrophic'  US President Joe Biden said Friday he expected the first aid for Gaza to pass through the Rafah crossing from Egypt within the next two days, under a deal he clinched to allow in 20 trucks of supplies for civilians. Medicine, water purifiers and blankets were being unloaded at El Arish airport near Gaza, an AFP reporter saw, with Ahmed Ali, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent, saying he was getting "two to three planes of aid a day". But World Health Organization emergencies director Michael Ryan said Biden's 20-truck deal was "a drop in the ocean of need" and that 2,000 trucks were required. The UN says more than one million of Gaza's 2.4 million people are displaced, with the humanitarian situation "beyond catastrophic" and deteriorating daily. Refugees from northern Gaza told harrowing tales of bombs, profiteering and extreme temperatures as whole families trekked on foot to flee the violence. Mother of seven Fadwa Al-Najjar walked for 10 hours with her family from northern Gaza to reach a UN camp in the southern city of Khan Yunis, saying she saw cars hit by a strike just in front of them. "We saw bodies and limbs torn off and we just started praying, thinking we were going to die," she said. 'It's unimaginable'  On the other side of the conflict, the full horror of what Israel suffered on October 7 and following days was still emerging, as traumatised residents recounted their stories. Shachar Butler, a security chief at the Nir Oz kibbutz, where Hamas militants killed or kidnapped a quarter of the 400 residents, recalls more than a dozen gunmen spraying bullets indiscriminately and lobbing grenades at homes. "It's unimaginable," the 40-year-old told AFP as part of a trip organised by the Israeli military. "Anytime someone tried to touch my window, I shot him," he said. "The people who came out got kidnapped, killed, executed, slaughtered." Butler estimated as many as 200 militants attacked the kibbutz, entering from three sides before going house-to-house. Homes there were still charred with burnt personal belongings strewn everywhere. Israel says around 1,500 Hamas fighters were killed in clashes before its army regained control. 'No safe place'  Biden requested a massive $105 billion security package Friday, including $14 billion for Israel, but paralysis in the still speakerless Congress means it will hit an immediate wall. Fresh from a whirlwind trip to Israel this week, Biden is hoping to staunch the possibility of a wider Middle East war. The United States has moved two aircraft carriers into the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran or Lebanon's Hezbollah, both Hamas allies, from getting involved. After days of clashes with Hezbollah fighters along the Lebanese border, Israeli authorities announced the evacuation of Kiryat Shmona, a nearby town which is home to some 25,000 residents, many of whom have already left. The conflict has inflamed passions across the region, with protests held in several countries. Thousands flooded into Egypt's iconic Tahrir Square in support of Gaza, an AFP correspondent said. Protests were also held outside the French and US embassies in Tunis. Following a strike at a church compound late Thursday, the Hamas-controlled interior ministry said several people sheltering at the church were killed and wounded, blaming an Israeli strike. The Israeli army acknowledged a church wall had been damaged in one of its air strikes targeting a "command and control centre belonging to a Hamas terrorist". "This place is dedicated for praying, a place of love and peace," said witness Abu Khalil Jahshan. "There is no safe place here in Gaza." The post Gazans await ‘life and death’ aid, Israel readies invasion appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnOct 20th, 2023

On the edge of Gaza, Israeli soldiers brace for battle

After 16 days of mobilising and massing near the Gaza Strip, an eerie calm lingers among Israeli troops as they await the highly anticipated invasion of the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory. The parched desert floor is now filled with hundreds of armoured vehicles along with columns of tanks primed for the expected onslaught. The mechanised steel is adorned with the blue and white Israeli flags, while soldiers labour away with the everyday maintenance of their vehicles. This entire first line is protected by an immense trench, about two kilometres (more than a mile) long, that was dug by engineering units outfitted with heavy machinery. Like most ground offensives, the combat engineering corps will lead the armoured formations when they enter Gaza -- breaching defences and clearing mines and booby traps to pave the way for ground troops. "Military engineering is essential. Without us, no one enters Gaza," explained a soldier serving with unit 601 of the military engineering corps, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There are a lot of obstacles. The enemy is spraying rockets and other things that I cannot detail to prevent us from progressing," he added. Jammed Israel's general staff said their troops are "ready" for a ground incursion, after more than two weeks of heavy bombardment of Gaza by Israeli warplanes and artillery that the Hamas-run health ministry says has killed more than 5,700 people. The campaign follows the bloodiest day in Israel's 75-year history, when hundreds of Hamas fighters rampaged through communities across southern Israel, killing around 1,400 people and taking more than 200 others hostage, according to Israeli officials. The decision to launch a ground invasion is now in the hands of the Israeli government, even as pressure builds from its allies over the shape and parameters of the operation. As its forces wait to strike, Israel has jammed signals near the Gaza border, rendering navigation applications like Google Maps and Waze useless throughout the militarised zone that has been sealed off from civilian use. AFP journalists on the ground noted that the attempts to pin their locations with the apps resulted in errant positions, including the airport near Tel Aviv or the Egyptian capital of Cairo. To reach the sprawling Tze'elim base some 20 kilometres from Gaza, a steady traffic jam leads to the entrance of the largest military facility in the country's southern desert. For kilometres (miles), tourist buses, family cars, tanks and army jeeps form an seemingly endless convoy en route to the base. Tze'elim has long been renowned as one of the premier training grounds for urban combat, which includes life-size replicas of Gaza neighbourhoods, including a mosque and minarets. The forces that have spent years honing their skills at the base will likely be instrumental in the expected ground campaign. Israeli forces last entered Gaza on foot in 2014, allowing Hamas ample time since then to fortify and expand their defences, including a maze of tunnels snaking under the city. In Tze'elim, "tens of thousands" are believed to be on hand in addition to the 169,500 Israeli soldiers already serving in active duty, while an estimated 360,000 reserves have been mobilised to assist in the fight. "Many are already on the ground," explains a senior officer on condition of anonymity referring to the Gaza border. The families of conscripts flock to the base to deliver meals or join their relatives on brief stints of leave, as they lounge on camping chairs lining the road to the base. 'We have to face this' At the entrance to the facility, Omer, a 23-year-old artillery reservist, searches through the masses of troops hoping to find a friend who is taking him on 24-hour leave. "I have been cut off from everything for 14 days -- two weeks in the field, shooting day and night," explained the artilleryman, with a dirt-smeared face and an Indian necklace hanging from his neck. Before the war, the gunner was a yoga teacher and had been studying in northern India when he received his marching orders. Since then, Omer has been manning his battery during "impossible" nights filled with the repeated concussion of heavy artillery and clouds of dust kicked up by passing armoured vehicles. "The worst thing is being in this shit and not even having time to grieve. I have two friends from Nova killed and a friend of a friend kidnapped," said the Israeli soldier, referring to the desert rave where around 270 people were gunned down by Hamas. "When all this is over, we will also have to face this," he added. "But right now, we don't have time." The post On the edge of Gaza, Israeli soldiers brace for battle appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

First relief convoy enters Gaza devastated by ‘nightmare’ war

The first aid trucks arrived in war-torn Gaza from Egypt on Saturday, bringing urgent humanitarian relief to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian enclave suffering what the UN chief labelled a "godawful nightmare". Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after the Islamist militant group carried out the deadliest attack in the country's history on October 7. Hamas militants killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death, and took more than 200 hostages, according to Israeli officials. Israel has retaliated with a relentless bombing campaign on Gaza that has killed more than 4,300 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. An Israeli siege has cut food, water, electricity and fuel supplies to the densely populated and long-blockaded territory of 2.4 million people, sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe. AFP journalists on Saturday saw 20 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is responsible for delivering aid from various UN agencies, pass through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza. The crossing -- the only one into Gaza not controlled by Israel -- closed again after the trucks passed. The lorries had been waiting for days on the Egyptian side after Israel agreed to a request from its main ally the United States to allow aid to enter. UN chief Antonio Guterres warned Friday that the relief supplies were "the difference between life and death" for many Gazans, more than one million of whom have been displaced. "Much more" aid needs to be sent, he told a peace summit in Egypt on Saturday. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken welcomed the aid and urged "all parties" to keep the Rafah crossing open. But a Hamas spokesman said "even dozens" of such convoys could not meet Gaza's needs, especially as no fuel was being allowed in to help distribute the supplies to those in need. 'Reeling in pain'  Tens of thousands of Israeli troops have deployed to the Gaza border ahead of an expected ground offensive that officials have pledged will begin "soon". As international tensions soar, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was hosting a peace summit in Cairo on Saturday attended by regional and some Western leaders. "The time has come for action to end this godawful nightmare," Guterres told the summit, calling for a "humanitarian ceasefire". The region "is reeling in pain and one step from the precipice", he said. Guterres said "the grievances of the Palestinian people are legitimate and long" after "56 years of occupation with no end in sight". But he stressed that "nothing can justify the reprehensible assault by Hamas that terrorised Israeli civilians". "Those abhorrent attacks can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people," he added. Egypt, historically a key mediator between Hamas and Israel, has urged "restraint" and the relaunch of the long-frozen peace process. But diplomatic efforts to end the violence have made little headway, without the participation of Israel and its enemy Iran, a supporter of Hamas and other armed groups. 'Sliver of hope'  A full-blown Israeli ground offensive carries many risks, including to the hostages Hamas took and whose fate is shrouded in uncertainty. So the release of two Americans among the hostages -- mother and daughter Judith and Natalie Raanan -- offered a rare "sliver of hope", said Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross. US President Joe Biden thanked Qatar, which hosts Hamas's political bureau, for its mediation in securing the release. He said he was working "around the clock" to win the return of other Americans being held. Natalie Raanan's half-brother Ben told the BBC he felt an "overwhelming sense of joy" at the release after "the most horrible of ordeals". Hamas said Egypt and Qatar had negotiated the release and that it was "working with all mediators to implement the movement's decision to close the civilian (hostage) file if appropriate security conditions allow". Traumatised families with loved ones missing in Gaza demanded more action. "We ask humanity to interfere and bring back all those young boys, young girls, mothers, babies," Assaf Shem Tov, whose nephew was abducted from a music festival where Hamas killed hundreds, said Friday. Devastation  Almost half of Gaza's residents have been displaced, and at least 30 percent of all housing in the territory has been destroyed or damaged, the United Nations says. Thousands have taken refuge in a camp set up in the city of Khan Yunis in southern Gaza. Fadwa al-Najjar said she and her seven children walked for 10 hours to reach the camp, at some points breaking into a run as missiles struck around them. "We saw bodies and limbs torn off and we just started praying, thinking we were going to die," she told AFP. In Al-Zahra in central Gaza, Rami Abu Wazna was struggling to take in the destruction wreaked by Israeli missile strikes. "Even in my worst nightmares, I never thought this could be possible," he said. Israel's operation will take not "a day, nor a week, nor a month" and will result in "the end of Israel's responsibilities in the Gaza Strip", Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned on Friday. Regional tensions flare  In Gaza, retired general Omar Ashour said the destruction was "part of a clear plan for people to have no place left to live". "This will cause a second Nakba," he added, referring to the 760,000 Palestinians who were expelled from or fled their homes when Israel was created in 1948. The United States has moved two aircraft carriers into the eastern Mediterranean to deter Iran or Lebanon's Hezbollah, both Hamas allies, amid fears of a wider conflagration. Fire across Israel's border with Lebanon continued overnight, with one Israeli soldier killed, Israeli public radio said. The military said it hit Hezbollah targets after rocket and missile fire. Violence has also flared in the West Bank, where 84 Palestinians have been killed since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The post First relief convoy enters Gaza devastated by ‘nightmare’ war appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

Death of Last Surviving Alaskan Taken in WWII Rekindles Memories

Anchorage, Alaska - Gregory Golodoff spent most of his years on a quiet Alaska island, living an ordinary life, managing a co-op store, fishing for crab and serving as the village council president. But Golodoff's recent death at the age of 84 has reopened a chapter of American history and stirred up memories of a long-forgotten Japanese invasion that prompted the only World War II battle on North American soil......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 11th, 2023

Death of Last Surviving Alaskan Taken in WWII Rekindles Memories

Anchorage, Alaska - Gregory Golodoff spent most of his years on a quiet Alaska island, living an ordinary life, managing a co-op store, fishing for crab and serving as the village council president. But Golodoff's recent death at the age of 84 has reopened a chapter of American history and stirred up memories of a long-forgotten Japanese invasion that prompted the only World War II battle on North American soil......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsDec 11th, 2023

Netanyahu says Israel ‘preparing’ Gaza ground war

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that Israel is readying a ground war in Gaza, pressing ahead with plans that have troubled allies and threaten to worsen an already cascading humanitarian crisis.  Facing ever-louder international calls to temper Israel's ferocious 19-day bombing campaign in the Hamas-controlled territory, Netanyahu delivered a nationally televised address.  He told fellow Israelis still grieving and angry after Hamas's bloody attacks: "We are in the midst of a campaign for our existence," while insisting Israel will decide how the war is prosecuted. On 7 October, throngs of Hamas gunmen poured from Gaza into Israel, killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping 222 more, according to official tallies. US President Joe Biden is among the foreign leaders stepping up public calls for Israel to "protect innocent civilians" and to follow the "laws of war" as it pursues Hamas targets. Thousands of Gazans are already believed to have died in Israel's aerial assault, with the toll expected to rise substantially if tens of thousands of Israeli troops massed around Gaza move in.  Biden on Wednesday said he had privately suggested Israel should get hostages out if possible before any ground invasion.  "It's their decision, but I did not demand it", Biden said, as he called on Congress to allocate more money for Israeli defense. Speaking in Cairo, French President Emmanuel Macron warned: "A massive intervention that would put civilian lives at risk would be an error." But boasting of "raining down hellfire on Hamas" and killing "thousands of terrorists", Netanyahu said his war cabinet and the military would determine the timing of a "ground offensive" to "eliminate Hamas" and "bring our captives home." "I will not detail when, how, or how many," he said. 'It's a massacre' Gaza's Hamas-controlled health ministry puts the number of Palestinian deaths at 6,500, including many children and 700 people killed in a single 24-hour window this week.  AFP could not independently verify the ministry's claims, and US President Biden has stated he has "no confidence" in the Hamas ministry figures. While the exact toll from the war in Gaza is unclear, the depth of the suffering is not in question. Entire neighborhoods have been razed, overflowing hospitals carry out procedures without anesthetic, and residents have been forced to use ice cream trucks as makeshift morgues. "They're not waging war on Hamas, they're waging war on children," raged Abu Ali Zaarab, after his family home was bombed in the southern town of Rafah. "It's a massacre."  About 1.4 million people -- more than half the population -- have been displaced, according to the United Nations. The UN says 12 of the territory's 35 hospitals have closed due to damage or insufficient fuel, and a key UN aid agency serving almost 600,000 Palestinians "began to significantly reduce its operations." Israel has cut off Gaza's normal supply corridors for water, food, and other necessities, and fewer than 70 relief trucks have entered the impoverished territory since the war began. None contained fuel, which Israel fears Hamas will use for rockets and explosives. Aid agencies have warned that more people will die if medical equipment, water desalination plants, and ambulances stop operating because of a lack of fuel.  Once the generators stop, hospitals will "turn into morgues", the Red Cross has warned. Hospitals are also struggling with a shortage of medicines and equipment. "There's not enough anesthetic," said Ahmad Abdul Hadi, an orthopedic surgeon working at Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis. "The wounded are in severe pain but we can't wait for the procedure, so we're forced to do the operation. We performed a number of surgeries without anesthetic. It's tough and painful, but with the lack of resources, what can we do?" A regional 'explosion' The war has sparked fears of a regional conflagration if it draws in more of Israel's enemies. Since October 7, Israel has launched thousands of reprisal strikes in Gaza, but it has also hit targets in Lebanon and Syria. Late Wednesday, Lebanon-based Hezbollah fired what Israel said was a surface-to-air missile at an Israeli drone. Israel's military said it had intercepted the missile and "struck the source of the launch" in retaliation. Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria's government are backed by Iran, which denies Israel's right to exist. Tehran's top diplomat on Wednesday accused Israel of carrying out "genocide" in Gaza. Jordan's King Abdullah became the latest leader to warn that ongoing violence could "lead to an explosion" in the region. His wife Queen Rania accused Western leaders of a "glaring double standard" for not condemning Israel's killing of Palestinian civilians in its bombardment of Gaza. Violence has also risen sharply in the occupied West Bank, where health officials said more than 100 Palestinians had been killed, mostly in raids by Israeli troops or in clashes with Israeli settlers. The post Netanyahu says Israel ‘preparing’ Gaza ground war appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 26th, 2023

Israel aims to crush Hamas but vague on Gaza’s post-war future

Israel is determined to crush Hamas but has said little about what would replace its rule in Gaza after the war, with observers expecting Washington will play a decisive role. "One thing is clear: the Gaza Strip will not be ruled by Hamas once this war is over," Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy told AFP as Israel's military steps up strikes in preparation for a widely-expected ground offensive. In the wake of the 7 October attacks, when militants from the Palestinian Islamist movement began a deadly cross-border assault that has killed 1,400 people, Israel has laid out just one objective: "Destroying Hamas". Since then, it has embarked on a brutal retaliatory bombing campaign, which Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry says has now killed more than 5,000 people. Despite four previous wars with Gaza's Hamas rulers -- in 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2021 -- Israel has never before threatened to completely overthrow the movement which rules this tiny territory of 2.4 million people. The territory, which has been languishing under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas took control in 2007, has since October 7 suffered a spiraling humanitarian crisis, largely deprived of water, food and other basic supplies and more than a million people displaced. Although Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005, ending an occupation that began in 1967, the international community considers it responsible for the tiny territory's primary needs -- energy, food and medicine. 'Handing over the keys'  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called it a "do or die" war. And his government is hoping to end all responsibility for Gaza as part of a "new regional reality" it hopes will emerge after the war. After the current air strikes and action inside Gaza, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said a "third phase" would involve "the removal of Israel’s responsibility for life in the Gaza Strip, and the establishment of a new security reality for the citizens of Israel". But no minister talks about Gaza's future government. And nobody has raised the possibility of a new Israeli occupation of the enclave, the military and financial burden of such an eventuality being too high to bear. "We are discussing possibilities with our partners," said government spokesman Levy. Israel wants to "hand over the keys" to a third party, a foreign ministry source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. According to Eitan Shamir, a former Israeli government security specialist and now director of Jerusalem's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Washington will have a decisive say in Gaza's future. The US, he said, already has an "overview" role in Israel's action against Hamas. "The favourite option of the Americans and Israelis would be an international structure with Palestinian Authority, with Saudi funding, for example," Shamir told AFP, saying it could include US and European administrative help. Regional players silent  US President Joe Biden has given Netanyahu strong support, visiting Israel last week and warning other regional players not to get involved while lining up almost $15 billion in military aid, even if he has warned Israel against letting its "rage" go too far. But Washington has also not been clear about how it sees Gaza's future. "Something needs to be found that ensures Hamas can't do this again but also doesn't reverse to an Israeli governance of Gaza which they do not want," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS television on Sunday. "There are different ideas out there about what could follow and all of that needs to be worked, even as Israel is dealing with the current threat." The Israeli foreign ministry source raised Egypt as a possible saviour, although Cairo has resisted decades of pressure to take a greater role. Egypt and Jordan are deeply concerned about the war unleashing a new flood of Palestinian refugees. No Arab or Muslim state has so far proposed an intervention. One option supported by Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid is for Mahmud Abbas' Palestinian Authority to take control. The authority already cooperates with Israel in running parts of the occupied West Bank, but the ageing Palestinian leader has faced growing criticism since the war began. But a report by the International Crisis Group said there was "little hope that the already deeply unpopular PA could return to Gaza on the back of an Israeli invasion and not be treated as an enemy. "Moreover, it is not clear that Israel would want the West Bank and Gaza under a single authority," the think tank said. The post Israel aims to crush Hamas but vague on Gaza’s post-war future appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Scores killed in Gaza strikes as new aid convoy arrives

Scores of Palestinians were killed in central Gaza on Sunday after Israel stepped up its strikes on the war-torn enclave and another convoy of 17 aid trucks arrived as the Hamas-run territory faces "catastrophic" shortages. With the violence raging unchecked, Iran said the region could spiral "out of control". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a stark warning to Lebanon's Hezbollah, saying getting involved would be "the mistake of its life". Washington warned any actors looking to inflame the conflict that it would not hesitate to act in the event of any "escalation". Hamas militants in Gaza stormed across the border into Israel on 7 October, launching a raid that killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated, or burnt to death on the first day, according to Israeli officials. They also seized more than 200 hostages in the worst-ever attack in Israel's history. Israel has hit back with a relentless bombing campaign that has so far killed more than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, according to Gaza's health ministry. Officials said the central town of Deir al-Balah had been particularly badly hit overnight from Saturday to Sunday. The ministry said at least 80 people had been killed in the overnight raids on central Gaza, which destroyed more than 30 homes. At the hospital morgue, an AFP journalist saw the bodies of many children on the bloodied floor, where distraught families wept as they identified the victims. Among them was a man clutching his dead toddler and a young boy who pulled back a blanket over his little sister's body. "My cousin was sleeping in his house with his daughter in his arms. He was a man with no record, nothing to do with the resistance," said Wael Wafi, gazing at the body of his cousin, his arm still wrapped around his three-year-old daughter Misk. Also Sunday, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that 29 of its staff had been killed since the start of the war in a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying half of them were teachers. On Saturday it had given a toll of 17. The scale of the bombing has left basic systems unable to function. The UN said dozens of unidentified bodies had been buried in a mass grave in Gaza City because cold storage had run out. Meanwhile, an Israeli soldier was killed near the Gaza border by an anti-tank missile fired by militants inside the enclave, the army said. 'Accident' as Israel hits Egypt post Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant warned the war with Hamas could take months. "It will take one month, two months, three months, and at the end, there will be no more Hamas," Gallant said. A second convoy of 17 trucks of aid entered Gaza from Egypt on Sunday following an initial delivery of 20 trucks on Saturday after intensive negotiations and US pressure. Separately, an AFP journalist saw six trucks leaving Rafah after filling up from dwindling fuel stocks held at the crossing as the enclave faces catastrophic shortages after Israel cut off supplies of food, water, fuel, and electricity. It later resumed water supplies to the south on 15 October. Although Egyptian media said another 40 trucks would enter Gaza on Monday, the UN says the enclave needs 100 trucks per day to meet the needs of Gaza's 2.4 million residents. And so far, there have been no deliveries of fuel, with UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini warning Sunday that supplies would run out "in three days". "Without fuel, there will be no water, no functioning hospitals, and... aid will not reach many civilians in desperate need," he said. The Hamas government said 165,000 housing units -- half of those in the entire Gaza Strip -- had been destroyed in the raids. With fears growing that the conflict could spread, Israel on Sunday admitted accidentally hitting an Egyptian border post, apologizing for the incident which Cairo said had left an unspecified number of border guards with "minor injuries". Risk of regional escalation There were fresh exchanges of fire over Israel's northern border with Lebanon as fears grew that Hezbollah, a close ally of Hamas and Iran, could enter the conflict, prompting Israel's Netanyahu to warn it would be "the mistake of its life". "We will strike it with a force it cannot even imagine, and the significance for it and the state of Lebanon will be devastating," he said. Iran also warned about the conflict spreading on Sunday, with top diplomat Hossein Amir-Abdollahian cautioning that if Washington and Israel did not "immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza.. the region will go out of control". But Washington said it wouldn't hesitate to act in the event of any "escalation", just hours after the Pentagon moved to step up military readiness in the region. "If any group or any country is looking to widen this conflict and take advantage of this very unfortunate situation that we see, our advice is: don't," US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said on ABC News. On Sunday, Pope Francis used his weekly Angelus prayer in Rome to plead for an end to the bloodshed. "War is always a defeat, it is a destruction of human fraternity. Brothers, stop!" he said. He later held a 20-minute conversation with US President Joe Biden about "conflict situations in the world and the need to identify paths to peace", the Vatican said. Biden later discussed with war with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy, the White House said. The US president also held talks with Netanyahu, said the White House, adding: "The leaders affirmed that there will now be continued flow of this critical assistance into Gaza." In Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron's office announced he would be traveling to Israel on Tuesday for talks with Netanyahu. Protesters marched in several European capitals on Sunday. At least 10,000 people rallied in support of Israel in Berlin as Chancellor Olaf Scholz vowed to stamp out a resurgence of anti-Semitic incidents linked to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Thousands gathered in Paris to demand an end to Israel's operation in Gaza, the first pro-Palestinian rally in the French capital that wasn't banned on security grounds. The post Scores killed in Gaza strikes as new aid convoy arrives appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Rally outside UN calls for Hamas to release hostages

Hundreds of demonstrators rallied outside the United Nations on Sunday demanding the release of hostages seized by Hamas during the Islamist group's bloody attack on Israel. The protest on the square outside the UN's Palais des Nations headquarters in Geneva was organized by the Voice for Freedom coalition, bringing together several Christian Zionist organizing committees. The gathering therefore had a religious tone, with chants and slogans intermingled with prayers and psalms. The demonstration was the culmination of a visit to Geneva by the families of several of those missing since the Hamas attack. They met with Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and UN human rights chief Volker Turk. Many demonstrators waved Israeli flags or wore them around their shoulders, or held posters featuring pictures of missing Israelis, including children. Some wore T-shirts that said "Set them free", and held placards reading: "Never again is NOW", "Innocent life is non-negotiable" and "Children aren't bargaining chips". Leon Meijer, president of Christians for Israel International, urged the UN Human Rights Council to "work for the release of the hostages", saying: "Save the lives of those who can still be saved". Multiple demonstrations Hamas militants stormed into Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7 and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burnt to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials. It was the worst attack on civilians in Israel's history. Israel says more than 200 hostages were abducted by the militants. More than 4,600 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed across the Gaza Strip in relentless Israeli bombardments in retaliation for the attacks by the Palestinian Islamist militant group, according to the latest toll from the Hamas health ministry in Gaza. Several demonstrations have been held in Switzerland, some pro-Palestinian and others in solidarity with Israel. Three days after the Hamas attack, Zurich's Jewish community organized a demonstration in support of Israel, bringing together several hundred people. A demonstration in Lausanne brought together 4,500 to 5,000 people to demand an immediate end to Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip, while around 6,000 pro-Palestinian protesters rallied in Geneva last Saturday. Zurich has since decided to ban any gatherings relating to the Middle East, while Basel decided to ban all gatherings this weekend. The UN human rights office said Friday that blanket bans on peaceful assemblies were disproportionate. States "must not unduly restrict participation and debate, or critical commentary about the conflict, of expressions of solidarity with Israelis or Palestinians", spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told a media briefing in Geneva. "Any restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly must be based on law, and necessary for and proportionate to the risks, such as national security, public safety or public order," she said. The post Rally outside UN calls for Hamas to release hostages appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2023

US welcomes aid to Gaza, urges parties to keep Rafah crossing open

The United States on Saturday welcomed the arrival of aid trucks from Egypt in the war-torn Gaza Strip, and urged all parties to keep the Rafah crossing open. "The opening of this essential supply route was the result of days of diplomatic engagement at the highest levels," President Joe Biden said in a statement. "I made it clear from the outset of this crisis -- in both my public statements and private conversations -- that humanitarian assistance was a critical and urgent need that had to get moving," he said. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier urged "all parties to keep the Rafah crossing open to enable the continued movement of aid that is imperative to the welfare of the people of Gaza." AFP journalists on Saturday saw 20 trucks from the Egyptian Red Crescent, which is responsible for delivering aid from various UN agencies, pass through the Rafah border crossing from Egypt into Gaza. "We have been clear: Hamas must not interfere with the provision of this life-saving assistance," Blinken said. "Palestinian civilians are not responsible for Hamas's horrific terrorism, and they should not be made to suffer for its depraved acts." The opening of the supply route came after days of intense negotiations and an agreement reached by Biden with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi during Biden's visit to Israel earlier this week. Saturday's was the first such delivery since the war broke out two weeks ago between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist militant movement which rules the Palestinian enclave of 2.4 million people. On October 7, Hamas militants stormed into Israel from Gaza and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burned to death on the first day of the raid, according to Israeli officials. Since then, more than 4,300 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have been killed in relentless Israeli bombardments, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry. Biden said Washington would "continue working to protect civilians, consistent with obligations under international humanitarian law." He added that US diplomatic efforts were continuing to allow for Americans and their immediate families in Gaza to safely leave the territory. The post US welcomes aid to Gaza, urges parties to keep Rafah crossing open appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

Global stocks weak as ME fears persist

Global stock markets slid Friday on worries that an expected ground invasion of Gaza by Israel would spark a wider conflict in the Middle East. Wall Street stocks declined Friday, as investors looked to lower their risk going into the weekend. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.9 percent, while the S&P and Nasdaq indexes fell over one percent. The yield on the 10-year US Treasury, which briefly rose this week to levels not seen since 2007 amid concerns the Fed is entering a long period of high-interest rates, slipped slightly. Regina Capital Development Corp. managing director Luis Limlingan added the Federal Reserve has been raising its benchmark lending rate to cool demand and bring down stubborn inflation, with some success. Nevertheless, rates remain stuck above their long-term target of two percent. Local shares ended the week in the red as investors turned more cautious following Fitch Group’s statement that inflation will likely stay elevated for an extended period, Limlingan added. Additionally, the recent statement by Fed Chairperson Jerome Powell “weighed on the local and global markets,” the RCDC executive said. He quoted Powell as saying inflation remains too high and lower economic growth will likely be needed to bring it down. Powell also said he doesn’t think rates are too high now. At the same time, markets are warily eyeing ongoing conflict in the Middle East, for signs it could spread to other countries. “Going into the weekend there is a downward trend as short-term investors try to square positions,” Jack Ablin, Cresset Capital’s chief investment officer, said. “There is an unwillingness from certain investors (to) hold risk positions over the weekend,” he added. Major stock markets in Europe closed down more than one percent, while those in Asia also saw declines.   Double geopolitical whammy The US Federal Reserve warned that the recent attack on Israel and the ongoing Ukraine conflict could cause harm to the world economy and boost global inflation. Hamas carried out a deadly attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on 7 October and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated, or burned to death, according to Israeli officials. “The attack on Israel, in conjunction with Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, has ratcheted up geopolitical tensions,” the Fed said in its semi-annual report on financial stability. with AFP The post Global stocks weak as ME fears persist appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 21st, 2023

Hollywood actors call for Middle East ceasefire

A-list Hollywood celebrities including Cate Blanchett, Joaquin Phoenix, Ramy Youssef and Andrew Garfield penned a letter to US President Joe Biden on Friday, urging him to call for a ceasefire in Israel's war with Hamas. Dozens of top-flight names from the world of entertainment asked Biden to work to achieve an "immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost." "We urge your administration, and all world leaders, to honor all of the lives in the Holy Land and call for and facilitate a ceasefire without delay -- an end to the bombing of Gaza, and the safe release of hostages," said the letter, released by artists4ceasefire.org. "Saving lives is a moral imperative." Israel has vowed to destroy Hamas after the Islamist group launched a shock raid from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli officials. In response to the Hamas attack, Israeli bombers have leveled entire city blocks in Gaza in preparation for a ground invasion they say is coming soon. The Hamas-run health ministry said more than 4,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died in the onslaught. Friday's letter, which was also signed by Jon Stewart, singer Dua Lipa, Susan Sarandon and Channing Tatum, comes a week after hundreds of Hollywood figures signed an open letter condemning the "barbaric acts" committed by Hamas fighters. hg/amz/sst © Agence France-Presse The post Hollywood actors call for Middle East ceasefire appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2023

Stocks retreat, oil prices advance on Middle East fears

Stock markets slid and oil prices jumped Friday on worries that an expected ground invasion of Gaza by Israel would spark a wider conflict in the crude-rich Middle East. Risk aversion was compounded by US Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell, who signalled a pause in interest rates at the bank's next meeting but left open the prospect of a later hike. Wall Street moved lower from the opening bell while Europe's main stock markets closed down more than one percent. Brent North Sea crude, the international benchmark, was up one percent at more than $93 per barrel. Gold, a go-to haven asset in times of uncertainty, hit close to $2,000 an ounce. "It has been a tumultuous and eventful week for the global financial markets," said Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at City Index and Forex.com. "The ongoing situation in the Middle East has triggered a surge of volatility in the oil and stock markets, compelling investors to re-evaluate their strategies and shift their focus from riskier assets to 'safer' investments," he wrote in a note. That has in particular led to a rush into gold. "Gold's safe-haven status has been questioned on a number of occasions over recent years, but times like this highlight that in times of significant uncertainty, traders look for assets with a track record," said market analyst Craig Erlam at OANDA. Hamas carried out a deadly attack on Israel from the Gaza Strip on October 7, and killed at least 1,400 people, mostly civilians who were shot, mutilated or burned to death, according to Israeli officials. In response, Israel launched a relentless bombing campaign on Gaza. More than 4,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, according to the latest toll from the Hamas-run health ministry. Traders are also wrestling with the prospect that US interest rates will remain elevated for some time as the Fed battles to contain inflation. On Thursday, Powell suggested decision-makers would not hike rates at their next meeting at the end of October but left the door open to more tightening down the line. News that weekly jobless claims in the United States came in lower than expected, suggesting the labour market was tighter than many predicted, dealt a blow to traders' confidence. "Inflation is still too high, and a few months of good data are only the beginning of what it will take to build confidence that inflation is moving down sustainably toward our goal," Powell told a conference in New York. Additional evidence of "persistently above-trend growth" or fresh signs of tightness in the labour market "could warrant further tightening of monetary policy". Investors have also tracked the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note, seen as a proxy for US interest rates, which stood just below five percent on Friday after briefly hitting that level for the first time since 2007 a day earlier. In Britain, the yield on 30-year government bonds rose to their highest since 1998 at 5.16 percent. In currency markets, the dollar was close to topping 150 yen after surpassing the psychological level at the start of October for the first time in a year. The post Stocks retreat, oil prices advance on Middle East fears appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 20th, 2023

Hamas masterminds top Israel’s ‘dead man walking’ hit list

Israel has threatened that every Hamas member faces death when it invades Gaza but two accused masterminds of the October 7 attacks are at the top of its hit list. Military strategist Mohammed Deif and political leader Yahya Sinwar have already spent time in Israeli or Palestinian jails and been the targets of multiple attempts to kill them. The hunt for the two most senior Hamas leaders in the besieged Gaza Strip will be fierce this time. In the war of words leading up to the impending ground offensive, Israel has said that Sinwar is "a dead man walking" after Hamas fighters killed about 1,400 people and abducted more than 200 in the worst attacks suffered by Israel since its creation 75 years ago. Israel has responded with a withering bombardment of Gaza that has killed more than 3,700 people, according to the Hamas-run health ministry, and with a volley of deadly warnings. "Hamas terrorists have two options: Be killed or surrender unconditionally. There is no third option," Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said. Hamas spokesmen have responded that the Palestinian Islamist group is "not scared". Security sources outside Gaza say Deif and Sinwar are now embedded in a network of tunnels built to resist the bombing campaign launched after the brutal attacks on communities and military bases near the border shook Israel to its core. But the pair have spent years operating in the shadows. Israel has singled out the 61-year-old Sinwar, who was elected Hamas leader in Gaza in 2017 after Ismail Haniyeh became the movement's supreme leader. Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht called Sinwar the "face of evil" and declared him a "dead man walking". Sinwar was a founding member of Hamas in 1987 during the first Palestinian intifada or uprising and rose through the ranks as a fierce advocate of armed struggle. A graduate of the Islamic University in Gaza, he learned Hebrew during 23 years in Israeli jails. Sinwar was serving four life terms for the killing of two Israeli soldiers when in 2011 he became the most senior of 1,100 Palestinians released in exchange for French-Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. In the shadows  Sinwar and Deif were both born in the Khan Yunis refugee camp in Gaza and added to the United States' list of most wanted "international terrorists" in 2015. Hamas is blacklisted as a "terrorist organisation" by the European Union as well as the United States. Much less is known about Deif, Israel's number one public enemy for the past two decades during which he has been accused of organising suicide attacks, kidnappings and other raids. There is only one known full-face photo of the commander of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's military wing. It is at least 20 years old. The others show him either in a mask or standing in the shadows to avoid identification. An audio message from Deif was transmitted by Hamas media on the morning of the attacks dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. "The rage of our people and our nation is exploding," he said. Deif was born Mohammed Diab al-Masri in 1965. His assumed name means "Guest" in Arabic and he reportedly never spends more than one night in the same place. Enemies have dubbed him the "cat with nine lives" as he has survived at least six attempts to kill him. Deif's wife and at least one child were killed in an Israeli air strike during the 2014 Gaza war. Deif has reportedly lost one eye and been left disabled by the attempts on his life but it has not weakened his influence. He has been involved with Hamas since the 1980s and was arrested at the start of the second intifada but escaped, or was released, from a Palestinian Authority prison in 2000. He became head of the Hamas military wing in 2002 and has been Israel's bete noire ever since. Israel has sent repeated warnings to the Hamas leadership since October 7. "Every member of Hamas is a dead man," said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But experts say that eliminating Sinwar and Deif would severely weaken but not crush Hamas, which is Israel's declared aim. "Sinwar and Deif are clearly first priority leadership, the loss of which would damage Hamas, but one presumes that the group has contingencies about their loss," said H.A. Hellyer, an international security specialist at the Royal United Services Institute in London. The post Hamas masterminds top Israel’s ‘dead man walking’ hit list appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 19th, 2023

IN PHOTOS: A week of war brings grief to Israelis, Palestinians

The carnage began with a violent cross-border attack by Hamas militants on Israeli civilians. Israel’s retaliatory response was swift, and by the middle of the week, the full destructive force of its military was bearing down on the Gaza Strip amid mounting threats of a ground invasion. The toll, whether caused by bullets or air strikes, has brought unimaginable grief for Israelis and Palestinians alike. In wrenching scene after wrenching scene, relatives weep over their dead, whose lives were suddenly and violently cut short in an erupting war that has shattered thousands of families. In the southern city of Sderot, an Israeli woman clings to a body lying in the road next to an overturned motorcycle. Now covered in a white sheet with a black boot poking out, the person was killed by Hamas militants the day they broke through the fortified border with Gaza. The woman cries in agony as she lays her head on the person’s chest. Miles away in Gaza City, two Palestinian women comfort one another in a crowd gathered to mourn those killed by an Israeli airstrike. One, looking weary and exhausted, gazes upward in sorrow. These images, taken by Associated Press photographers on the ground on both sides of the conflict, provide a window into the unbearable losses of this past week. RELATED STORIES Gaza braces for Israeli ground assault Israel troops start ground raids in Gaza A week into war, Gazans flee homes as Israeli ground offensive looms.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsOct 15th, 2023

Unite for peace

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a reminder of how autocracies care little about causing death and destruction. The war is a gross violation of human rights and the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes as codified in the United Nations Charter, which has helped maintain the rules-based international order and kept the world in relative peace since the end of the Cold War. [caption id="attachment_178304" align="aligncenter" width="1101"] Dr. Wu, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan) | illustration by Glen Tolo for the Daily Tribune[/caption] The war’s humanitarian and economic fallout has also shown that, in a globalized world, crises cannot be contained within national borders. It is, therefore, imperative to deter similar threats to global security from happening elsewhere. Taiwan—a democracy that is home to over 23 million people and that I proudly represent—continues to confront enormous challenges posed by China. Since the mid-20th century, the People’s Republic of China has vowed to take control of Taiwan and refused to renounce the use of force, despite never having ruled Taiwan. For decades, the people of Taiwan have remained calm in safeguarding the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. However, as China’s economic and military might has grown stronger, it becomes increasingly aggressive in flexing its military muscle to intimidate Taiwan, thereby threatening our democratic way of life. This includes sending warplanes and ships across the median line of the Taiwan Strait and encroaching into our air defense identification zones. It has also intensified gray-zone tactics, such as disinformation and economic coercion, in an attempt to wear down our will to fight. The PRC’s expansionism does not stop at Taiwan. China’s use of gray-zone activities in the East and South China Seas are designed to expand its power and substantiate its hawkish territorial claims. In addition to signing a security agreement with Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the PRC has been securing ports for future military use in the Indian Ocean. All of these maneuvers are causing grave concerns that peace is becoming more difficult to maintain. Ensuring peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is in everyone’s best interest. Half of the world’s commercial container traffic passes through the Taiwan Strait each day. Taiwan produces the majority of the world’s semiconductors and plays a key role in global supply chains. Any conflict in the area would have disastrous consequences for the global economy. In recent years, bilateral and multilateral forums have repeatedly emphasized that the peace and stability over the Taiwan Strait is indispensable to global security. While we can all agree that the war must be avoided, how to best do so requires inclusion, dialogue and, most of all, unity. The United Nations remains the best platform for global discourse. UN officials speak often of joint solutions, solidarity, and inclusion in tackling the pressing issues of our time. Taiwan is more than willing and able to take part in these efforts. However, Taiwan continues to be excluded from the UN due to China’s distortion of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. This resolution neither states that Taiwan is a part of the PRC nor gives the PRC the right to represent the people of Taiwan in the UN and its specialized agencies. In fact, the resolution only determines who represents the member-state China, a fact that the international community and China itself recognized following the relevant vote in 1971. The subsequent misrepresentation of Resolution 2758 contradicts the basic principles upheld by the UN Charter and must be rectified. The 78th session of the UN General Assembly, which will center on the theme “rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity,” is timely in light of a number of broad global challenges. For example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were designed as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity. Yet the most recent SDG progress report showed that just 12 percent of SDG targets were on track, while progress on 50 percent has remained insufficient. And on more than 30 percent, we have stalled or even regressed. While there are no easy answers, the first step is dialogue. As a truly global institution, the UN can serve as a champion of progress. We call on the UN to uphold its principle of leaving no one behind by allowing Taiwan to participate in the UN system, rather than excluding it from discussions on issues requiring global cooperation. A good first step would be to allow Taiwanese individuals and journalists to attend or cover relevant meetings, as well as ensure Taiwan’s meaningful participation in meetings and mechanisms regarding the SDGs. Ukraine’s incredible bravery and resilience have inspired countries around the globe. The war there has forged a new sense of togetherness in the world. Unity is crucial to pushing back against Russia’s aggression and to preserving universal values, such as human rights and global peace, more broadly. It is vital to make China and other authoritarian governments aware that they will be held accountable and to urge them to settle differences through peaceful means. Allowing Taiwan to meaningfully participate in the UN system would benefit the world’s efforts to address pressing global issues. This would also demonstrate the UN’s determination to unite for global peace at a critical juncture when the future of the world is at stake. We are stronger together. Now is the time to act on this fundamental principle by including Taiwan.   The post Unite for peace appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 1st, 2023

Unite for Peace in the World and Taiwan’s Inclusion in the UN

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a reminder of how autocracies care little about causing death and destruction. The war is a gross violation of human rights and the principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes as codified in the United Nations Charter, which has helped maintain the rules-based international order and kept the world in relative peace since the end of the Cold War. The war’s humanitarian and economic fallout has also shown that in a globalized world crises cannot be contained within national borders. It is therefore imperative to deter similar threats to global security from happening elsewhere. Taiwan—a democracy that is home to over 23 million people and that I proudly represent—continues to confront enormous challenges posed by China. Since the mid-20th century, the People’s Republic of China has vowed to take control of Taiwan and refused to renounce the use of force, despite never having ruled Taiwan. For decades, the people of Taiwan have remained calm in safeguarding the status quo of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. However, as China’s economic and military might has grown stronger, it has become increasingly aggressive in flexing its military muscle to intimidate Taiwan, thereby threatening our democratic way of life. This includes sending warplanes and ships across the median line of the Taiwan Strait and encroaching into our air defense identification zones. It has also intensified gray-zone tactics, such as disinformation and economic coercion, in an attempt to wear down our will to fight. The PRC’s expansionism does not stop at Taiwan. China’s use of gray-zone activities in the East and South China Seas are designed to expand its power and substantiate its hawkish territorial claims. In addition to signing a security agreement with Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, the PRC has been securing ports for future military use in the Indian Ocean. All of these maneuvers are causing grave concerns that peace is becoming more difficult to maintain. Ensuring peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is in everyone’s best interest. Half of the world’s commercial container traffic passes through the Taiwan Strait each day. Taiwan produces the majority of the world’s semiconductors and plays a key role in global supply chains. Any conflict in the area would have disastrous consequences for the global economy. In recent years, bilateral and multilateral forums have repeatedly emphasized that peace and stability over the Taiwan Strait are indispensable to global security. While we can all agree that the war must be avoided, how to best do so requires inclusion, dialogue, and, most of all, unity. The United Nations remains the best platform for global discourse. UN officials speak often of joint solutions, solidarity, and inclusion in tackling the pressing issues of our time. Taiwan is more than willing and able to take part in these efforts. However, Taiwan continues to be excluded from the UN due to China’s distortion of UN General Assembly Resolution 2758. This resolution neither states that Taiwan is a part of the PRC nor gives the PRC the right to represent the people of Taiwan in the UN and its specialized agencies. In fact, the resolution only determines who represents the member state China, a fact that the international community and China itself recognized following the relevant vote in 1971. The subsequent misrepresentation of Resolution 2758 contradicts the basic principles upheld by the UN Charter and must be rectified. The 78th session of the UN General Assembly, which will center on the theme “rebuilding trust and reigniting global solidarity,” is timely in light of a number of broad global challenges. For example, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals were designed as a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity. Yet the most recent SDG progress report showed that just 12 percent of SDG targets were on track, while progress on 50 percent has remained insufficient. And on more than 30 percent, we have stalled or even regressed. While there are no easy answers, the first step is dialogue. As a truly global institution, the UN can serve as a champion of progress. We call on the UN to uphold its principle of leaving no one behind by allowing Taiwan to participate in the UN system, rather than excluding it from discussions on issues requiring global cooperation. A good first step would be to allow Taiwanese individuals and journalists to attend or cover relevant meetings, as well as ensure Taiwan’s meaningful participation in meetings and mechanisms regarding the SDGs. Ukraine’s incredible bravery and resilience have inspired countries around the globe. The war there has forged a new sense of togetherness in the world. Unity is crucial to pushing back against Russia’s aggression and to preserving universal values, such as human rights and global peace, more broadly. It is vital to make China and other authoritarian governments aware that they will be held accountable and to urge them to settle differences through peaceful means. Allowing Taiwan to meaningfully participate in the UN system would benefit the world’s efforts to address pressing global issues. This would also demonstrate the UN’s determination to unite for global peace at a critical juncture when the future of the world is at stake. We are stronger together. Now is the time to act on this fundamental principle by including Taiwan. The post Unite for Peace in the World and Taiwan’s Inclusion in the UN appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 31st, 2023

Gaza open-air cinema a breath of fresh air for Palestinians

Gaza residents took their seats in front of a large projector screen set up on a sandy beach, a rare event in the Islamist-ruled blockaded enclave that has no operating cinemas. Over two weeks in summer, the "Cinema of the Sea" festival which ended Monday screened some 15 films, many of them with Palestinian actors or producers. Providing a respite from the heat, the waterfront "is the only outlet for the residents" in the impoverished territory, said Ali Muhanna, a theatre director involved in the initiative. Around 2.3 million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip, which has been under a crippling Israeli-led blockade since the Islamist group Hamas seized power in 2007. Sitting barefoot in a pink dress at the open-air cinema on Gaza City's beach, seven-year-old Salma Shamaleh was transfixed by the screen. "I have never seen a TV this size," she told AFP as she watched "Ferdinand", an animated blockbuster that tells the story of a giant but soft-hearted black bull. The first film screenings in Gaza date to the 1940s, with the opening of the Samer Cinema, whose building now houses a car dealership. Cinemas were forced to close in the late 1980s during the first Palestinian uprising, or intifada. They reopened following the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the 1990s but for years have largely been gathering dust. In 1996, Islamists set a Gaza cinema ablaze. While not explicitly banned, Hamas authorities fear cinemas may amplify what they view as foreign or Western beliefs that go against Islamic traditions. There have been some outdoor screenings in recent years, most notably amid the rubble of buildings destroyed in Israeli air strikes during wars fought with Gaza militants. Like across much of the eastern Mediterranean, Gazans have flocked to the seaside in recent weeks to escape soaring temperatures. Shamaleh was thrilled by the cinematic experience. "Our house is nearby, I'll ask my mum for us to come every day," she said. - 'Happy' - The festival's program featured "Farha", a Jordanian film which, through a young girl's perspective, depicts atrocities committed against Palestinians during the 1948 conflict that led to Israel's creation. The hard-hitting film resonated with Mona Hanafi, 50, who watched it with her daughter and dozens of other spectators. "The film is brilliant in addressing a realistic Palestinian story... The performance and directing are impressive," she said. "Seeing the children and people watching the open cinema in Gaza made me happy," added Hanafi. Another audience member, Hadeel Hajji, said she had "never seen anything like that in my life". "I was with my family when I saw the screen from far away, so I came to watch," she told AFP. "Cinema of the Sea" was organized by Al-Bahr Elna Cooperative Cafe in partnership with the culture ministry. The cooperative was established in 2020 by a group of artists, with start-up funding from Palestinian institutions. Since that initial cash dried up, the group has relied on donations. For Muhanna, the cafe's founder, the festival has been an opportunity to show films which demonstrate how "Palestinians contributed to producing (cinema) and conveying the values of society". Atef Askoul, head of the Hamas-appointed body responsible for approving public art events, said Gazans who suffer from miserable living conditions under the blockade have "the right to watch films and cinema". my-gb/rsc/jd/ami © Agence France-Presse   The post Gaza open-air cinema a breath of fresh air for Palestinians appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 3rd, 2023

Tony Bennett, last of classic American crooners, dead at 96

Tony Bennett, the last in a generation of classic American crooners whose ceaselessly cheery spirit bridged generations to make him a hitmaker across seven decades, died Friday in New York. He was 96. Raised in an era when big bands defined US pop music, Bennett achieved an improbable second act when he started winning over young audiences in the 1990s -- not by reinventing himself but by demonstrating his sheer joy in belting out the standards. And then at age 88, Bennett, in 2014 became the oldest person ever to reach number one on the US album sales chart through a collection of duets with Lady Gaga -- who became his friend and touring companion but only one of a long list of younger stars who rushed to work with the singing great. Bennett's publicist, Sylvia Weiner, announced his death. Likened since the start of his career to Frank Sinatra, Bennett first tried to distance himself but eventually followed much of the same path as other crooners of yore -- singing in nightclubs, on television, and for movies, although his attempts to act ended quickly. His gift proved to be his stage presence. With a welcoming smile and dapper suit, he sang with gusto and a smooth vibrato in a strong, clearly enunciated voice, which he kept in shape through training from the operatic Bel Canto tradition. Starting with his recording of the film song "Because of You" in 1951, Bennett sang dozens of hits including "Rags to Riches," "Stranger in Paradise" and, in what would become his signature tune, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," which landed him two of his career's 19 Grammy Awards. But the British Invasion led by The Beatles initially took a toll on the singer, whose music suddenly sounded quaint and antiquated. He nearly died of a cocaine overdose in 1979 before sobering up and eventually reviving his career. "When rap came along, or disco, whatever the new fashion was at the moment, I didn't try to find something that would fit whatever the style was of the whole music scene," Bennett told the British culture magazine Clash. "I just stayed myself and sang sincerely and tried to just stay honest with myself -- never compromising, just doing the best songs that I could think of for the public. "And luckily it just paid off." Singing as hardscrabble youth Tony Bennett -- his stage name came after advice from showbiz A-lister Bob Hope -- was born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in the Astoria neighborhood of New York's Queens borough. His father was a struggling grocer who immigrated from southern Italy's Calabria region, to which his mother also traced her ancestry. He showed early promise as an entertainer, singing at age nine next to legendary New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when he ceremonially opened the city's Triborough Bridge, now known as the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. But his father's death at age 10, at a time when the United States was still struggling to exit the Great Depression, led him to leave school and earn money through jobs including singing at Italian restaurants and caricature painting, which remained a lifelong side career. During World War II, Bennett was drafted into the 63rd Infantry Division and was sent to France and Germany. But he was demoted after cursing out an officer from the South who objected to Bennett dining with an African American friend in the then racially segregated army. As punishment, Bennett spent his tour of duty digging out bodies and shipping them. But after the Allied victory, Bennett found an unexpected break into music as he waited with fellow troops in Wiesbaden, Germany to return home. With the city's opera house still intact, a US Army band performed a weekly show to be broadcast on military radio across Germany. Taken on as the band's librarian, Bennett was quickly impressed with his voice and was made one of four vocalists. "During this period in the army, I enjoyed the most musical freedom I've ever had in my life," Bennett later wrote in his autobiography, "The Good Life." "I could sing whatever I wanted, and there was no one around to tell me any different," he wrote. Outspoken against racism and war When he returned to the United States, he took formal singing lessons through the GI Bill, which covered educational expenses for returning troops. His experiences made Bennett a lifelong liberal. He became especially enraged in the 1950s when he played in Miami with jazz pioneer Duke Ellington, who was not allowed to attend a press party due to segregation at the hotel. In a then risky move for a popular entertainer, he accepted an invitation from singer Harry Belafonte to join civil rights icon Martin Luther King in the 1965 march from Selma, Alabama in support of equal voting rights for African Americans. He later wrote in his memoir that the hostility of the white state troopers reminded him of Nazi Germany. He was also an outspoken opponent of war, at times raising controversy. "The first time I saw a dead German, that's when I became a pacifist," he told popular radio host Howard Stern days after the 11 September 2001 attacks. Late in life, still cool Bennett was married three times and had four children including Antonia Bennett, who has followed his path as a singer of pop and jazz standards. But his son Danny Bennett was most instrumental in his father's career, aggressively courting MTV and other players in the pop world as a manager for his father. By the early 1990s, Bennett -- his style and look little changed from the 1960s, except for more gray hair -- was appearing in music videos on MTV and singing warm-up at concerts by alternative rock giants such as Smashing Pumpkins and Porno for Pyros. Proof that Bennett was back came in 1993 when he presented a prize at the MTV Video Music Awards alongside the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who hailed his cool factor and playfully sang part of "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." His career only kept building and a decade later, he released three successful albums of duets. On one of them, "Body and Soul," he sang with Amy Winehouse in her last recording before she died in 2011 at age 27. He marked his 90th birthday with a star-studded concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall, which was turned into a television special and album. The title was taken from a song popularized by Bennett: "The Best Is Yet to Come." Bennett toured the United States and Europe into his final decade, playing his last public performance before the coronavirus pandemic halted touring in New Jersey on 11 March 2020. Soon after, he revealed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016. He had kept his condition quiet for years. Upon turning 95, Bennett played two more birthday concerts, again at Radio City Music Hall, with Lady Gaga -- shows billed as his farewell to New York. He then canceled the remainder of his 2021 tour dates on "doctors' orders." "And let the music play as long as there's a song to sing / And I will stay younger than spring," he crooned during the first of his farewell shows, in a rendition of his ballad "This Is All I Ask." "You've been a good audience," Bennett said prior to his encore. "I love this audience." The post Tony Bennett, last of classic American crooners, dead at 96 appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsJul 21st, 2023

Peace is the best form of protection

War means hunger. Armed conflict is a key factor driving food insecurity around the world. Last year, more than 117 million people faced acute hunger primarily because of war and insecurity. This is an outrage. Damage to critical infrastructure hampers food production, blocks distribution and deprives people of safe water: Syria now has 40 percent less drinking water than at the start of the conflict. Fighters destroy crops and steal livestock. Explosives contaminate fertile land. Markets cannot function, and prices rocket. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to the rise in the price of food, energy and fertilizer globally, with terrible effects for the world’s poorest. And when conflict combines with the climate crisis, harvests shrink and people go hungry. I saw this for myself during my recent visit to Somalia. After years of war, Somalis have been going through their worst drought in decades. An estimated 43,000 people died as a result in 2022 alone, half of them children, and millions have been forced from their homes. The terrible truth is that the world is failing to live up to its commitments to protect civilians; commitments enshrined in international humanitarian law. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols are the cornerstone of that legal framework. We must never lose sight of the meaning and purpose of international humanitarian law: It is the difference between life and death; between restraint and anarchy; between losing ourselves in horror and retaining our humanity. But law overlooked is law undermined. We need action and accountability to ensure it is respected. That depends on political will. Peace is the best form of protection. We must intensify our efforts to prevent conflict, protect civilians, preserve peace and find political solutions to war. Where war continues, all countries must comply with international humanitarian law. Governments should incorporate international humanitarian law into national laws, and military rules and training. Humanitarians must be assured safe access. Attacks against them must cease. And their work must be facilitated, including by removing deadly bureaucratic barriers. It is unconscionable that vital aid languishes in ports and warehouses while people die. Governments with influence over warring parties should engage in political dialogue, and train forces on protecting civilians. And countries that export weapons should refuse to do business with any party that fails to comply with international humanitarian law. Those who commit war crimes must be held to account. States must investigate alleged war crimes, prosecute perpetrators and enhance other States’ capacity to do so. And we must do everything in our power to break the deadly cycle of armed conflict and hunger: Addressing the underlying causes of hunger by strengthening vulnerable countries’ economies; honoring commitments to support countries on the frontlines of the climate crisis; and increasing contributions to humanitarian operations, which are — shamefully — just 15 percent funded. Civilians have suffered the deadly effects of armed conflict for too long. It is time we live up to our promise to protect them. ***** Secretary-General’s remarks to the Security Council on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict, 23 May 2023. The post Peace is the best form of protection appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 4th, 2023

Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting

A ceasefire took effect in and around the Gaza Strip on Saturday after five days of cross-border exchanges that have killed at least 33 Palestinians in Gaza and two people in Israel. The truce was due to take effect at 1900 GMT, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said. But in the final 30 minutes running up to 1900 GMT, dozens of rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel, prompting renewed air strikes, AFP correspondents in the territory said. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defences. Egypt, a longtime mediator in Gaza, secured the agreement of both Israel and the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad to its latest ceasefire proposal, an Egyptian security official said. "Israel's National Security Adviser Tsahi Hanegbi... thanked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and expressed the State of Israel's appreciation for Egypt's vigorous efforts to bring about a ceasefire," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said. He said Israel's response to the Egyptian initiative means "quiet will be answered by quiet, and if Israel is attacked or be threatened it will continue to do everything it needs to do in order to defend itself". A Palestinian source confirmed Islamic Jihad's agreement. "We want to thank Egypt for its efforts," Islamic Jihad political department official Mohammad al-Hindi told AFP. He has been in Cairo since the fighting erupted on Tuesday. On Saturday, Israel had again pounded Gaza with air strikes targeting the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad following a new barrage of rocket fire into Israel to mark the funeral of its military commander Iyad al-Hassani, who was killed on Friday. 'What have we done?' For days, life in Gaza and in Israeli communities near the border has been a daily routine of air strikes and sirens warning of incoming rocket fire. Residents in the crowded Gaza Strip cowered indoors as the fighting raged, with streets empty and only a few shops and pharmacies open. "The whole Palestinian people are suffering," Muhammad Muhanna, 58, told AFP in the ruins of his home. "What have we done?" In Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, a dead donkey lay in the ruins of a row of buildings levelled in an Israeli strike. "No one is safe in their homes," said Imad Rayan, 64. A spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza said on the final day of its campaign the Israeli military had concentrated on "targeting civilians, residential and civilian buildings". There had been mounting calls for a ceasefire to be agreed, including from Israel's closest ally, the United States. US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, in a call to Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, "stressed the urgency of reaching a ceasefire agreement in order to prevent any further loss of civilian life", the State Department said. Egypt had kept up its mediation effort despite repeated setbacks. On Saturday, shrapnel from a rocket fired from Gaza hit a building site in Sdot Negev, just over the border into Israel, killing one man and wounding another. Both were day labourers from Gaza. Islamic Jihad said its fighters were pursuing "missile strikes on Israeli cities" in revenge for Israeli "assassinations" of their commanders and strikes on populated areas. The exchange of fire came after the Palestinian health ministry reported the death of two men aged 19 and 32 in an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Nablus. The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said the two men killed in the raid were members of its armed wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Deadliest fighting since August The current bout of violence erupted on Tuesday when Israeli strikes on Gaza killed three leading Islamic Jihad members. Three other senior figures from the Palestinian militant group were killed in later strikes. They are among at least 33 lives lost in the fighting inside Gaza, according to the territory's health ministry. There have been two deaths in Israel, one of them the Gazan day labourer. The army said nearly 1,100 rockets had been fired from Gaza towards Israel in the current fighting, including 300 intercepted by its air defences. Gaza, a coastal enclave that is home to 2.3 million Palestinians, has been plagued by poverty and unemployment since Israel imposed a blockade in 2007 when the Islamist movement Hamas took control. The territory has seen numerous wars between militant groups and Israel since the Hamas takeover. This week's fighting was the worst in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since an August flare-up that killed nearly 50 Palestinians. The conflict has escalated since veteran Israeli politician Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power late last year, heading a coalition with the extreme right and ultra-Orthodox parties. The post Gaza ceasefire takes effect after five days of deadly fighting appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsMay 13th, 2023