Six In The Morning Thursday 23 November 2023

Qatar says 13 hostages to be released from Gaza on Friday

What we’ve learned about the Hamas and Israel hostage deal

Here’s a quick recap of what we’ve just learned about the hostage release agreement announced by Qatari foreign ministry spokesman Majid al-Ansari:

  • A pause in fighting will begin at 7am local time on Friday, both north and south of the Gaza Strip
  • 13 hostages will be released at approximately 4pm
  • All those to be released are women and children
  • They will be handed to the Red Cross, but no details have been given of their route out of Gaza
  • Qatar says it expects Palestinian prisoners to be freed “as a result of the release of hostages”, but gave no numbers
  • Israel has confirmed it has received a list of those who will be released first, and is contacting their families
  • Hamas has confirmed the four-day pause will begin at 7am, and says four fuel trucks and 200 aid trucks will be allowed to enter Gaza on each of the four days
  • Qatari foreign office spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said he believed the details of the plan were “sound and robust”. He added: “I don’t know if I should say confident, but we are very hopeful, and the commitment we have seen from both sides leads us to be very positive.”

WHO requests details about respiratory illness clusters in parts of China

Epidemiologists say wave in north, particularly among children, may be partly caused by ‘immunity debt’

The World Health Organization has asked China for details about a rise in respiratory illnesses that has been reported in northern parts of the country, particularly among children.

Epidemiologists have warned that as China heads into its first winter since the lifting of zero-Covid restrictions, natural levels of immunity to respiratory viruses may be lower than normal, leading to an increase in infections.

Several countries, including the US and the UK, experienced large waves of respiratory viral infections in the first winter after Covid restrictions were lifted as people had lower natural levels of immunity. For young children, lockdowns delayed the age at which they were first exposed to common bugs.

Australia: Spring wildfire destroys homes in Perth

Perth is undergoing a rare spring heat wave, with temperatures forecast to peak at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit), forcing dozens of people to evacuate and leaving hundreds without power.

Dozens of people have been evacuated due to a wildfire in Australia’s western coastal city of Perth, authorities said on Thursday.

Perth is the capital of the state of Western Australia. It is undergoing a rare spring heat wave, with temperatures forecast to peak at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday.

What do we know about the wildfire in Western Australia?

No deaths from the blaze were reported. Ten homes were destroyed by the wildfire, and around 130 people spent Wednesday night in an evacuation center, according to the state’s Deputy Premier Rita Saffioti.

Dutch far-right firebrand Wilders courts rivals after shock victory in legislative elections

Far-right firebrand Geert Wilders faced an uphill struggle Thursday to woo rivals for a coalition government after a “monster victory” in Dutch elections that shook the Netherlands and Europe.

China calls for independent monitoring of treated Fukushima water


China called for independent monitoring of the ongoing discharge of treated radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant into the sea during a meeting between its top diplomat and the chief of the junior partner in Japan’s ruling coalition on Thursday in Beijing.

Komeito party head Natsuo Yamaguchi introduced Wang Yi’s remarks to reporters following their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in the capital. The two Asian neighbors have been at loggerheads over the Fukushima plant water release that began in late August and prompted China to ban seafood imports from Japan.

At the outset of the talks, Wang hailed a summit held last week in San Francisco between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, saying it indicated a direction toward “resolving a deadlock” in frayed bilateral ties and “realizing the healthy and stable development” of the relationship.


‘An agenda to control you’: How climate solutions got sucked into a fevered culture war

It began with a law about heat pumps. It ended with stones being thrown at politicians and a surge in popularity for the far right
For an example of how climate change is increasingly becoming a flashpoint in the culture wars, Germany is a good place to start.
A proposed law — championed by the Green Party, part of the coalition government — aimed to ban almost all new heating systems that run on oil and gas in favor of more energy-friendly heat pumps.