Six In The Morning Sunday 14 January 2024

100 days since Hamas attacked Israel, triggering war in Gaza

By Wyre Davies

BBC Middle East correspondent

One hundred days ago, the previously unthinkable happened in Israel. A state, born out of adversity and war only 75 years ago, woke up to what some have since described as a threat to its very existence.

On Saturday night, in Tel Aviv, the events of 7 October were commemorated by thousands of people. Uppermost on the minds of everyone were the around 130 hostages abducted by Hamas and still being held in Gaza, although some of them may not still be alive.

Just after dawn 100 days ago, thousands of heavily armed Hamas fighters stormed through and over the Gaza border fence in several different places.

Scientist cited in push to oust Harvard’s Claudine Gay has links to eugenicists

Christopher Rufo, credited with helping oust school’s first Black president, touted critic associated with ‘scientific racists’

A data scientist promoted by the rightwing activist Christopher Rufo, the Manhattan Institute thinktank, and other conservatives as an expert critic of the former Harvard president Claudine Gay has co-authored several papers in collaboration with a network of scholars who have been broadly criticized as eugenicists, or scientific racists.

Rufo described Jonatan Pallesen as “a Danish data scientist who has raised new questions about Claudine Gay’s use – and potential misuse – of data in her PhD thesis” in an interview published in his newsletter and on the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal website last Friday.

He did not tell readers that a paper featuring Pallesen’s own statistical work in collaboration with the eugenicist researchers has been subject to scathing expert criticism for its faulty methods, and characterized as white nationalism by another academic critic.

The Trouble with AçaíA History of Child Labor Behind the Trendy Superfood

Açaí berries from Brazil are considered to be extremely healthy and ecologically sustainable. But there is a dark side to the business that producers prefer to keep quiet: child labor.
By Marian Blasberg in Pará, Brazil

The sun has just risen as Mailson Oliva, 11, trudges through a muddy section of rainforest looking skyward in the search for açaí berries in the canopy above. When he spots a bunch of ripe fruit, he jumps onto the tree trunk, grasping it with his feet, and slithers up with his knife – all the way up to the berries, seen as a superfood in many wealthy countries. He then slides back down the trunk, throws the bunch onto a pile and moves on to the next tree.

At one point, Mailson pauses briefly. Three or four meters up in the air, he wipes the sweat from his face and says his legs hurt. “No time for that, keep going,” his father calls over from the neighboring palm, his mouth broadening in a toothless grin.

Taiwan tells China to ‘face reality’ and respect election results

Taiwan on Sunday told China to “face reality” and respect its election result, after voters defied Beijing’s warnings and chose pro-sovereignty candidate Lai Ching-te as president.

Voters spurned Beijing’s repeated calls not to vote for Lai, delivering a comfortable victory for a man China‘s ruling Communist Party sees as a dangerous separatist.

Beijing, which claims Taiwan as its territory and has never renounced force to bring it under its control, responded to Lai’s victory saying it would not change the “inevitable trend of China’s reunification”.

Lai, of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), vowed to defend the island from China’s “intimidation” and on Sunday the island’s foreign ministry told Beijing to accept the result.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls on the Beijing authorities to respect the election results, face reality and give up suppressing Taiwan in order for positive cross-strait interactions to return to the right track,” it said in a statement.

Why Germany has gone into protest mode

Striking train drivers, angry farmers, a government losing support and a far-right party soaring in the popularity ratings. What is happening in Germany?

The former German chancellor Angela Merkel had a reputation as being a steady hand at the wheel. In her 16 years in office, she was famous for sitting things out rather than taking action. Her pledge to voters was that their lives would continue in peace and affluence and that they had nothing to worry about.

That has turned out to be a fallacy, but past expectations live on.

When it came to power in December 2021, the current center-left government of Social Democrats (SPD)Greens and the neoliberal Free Democrats (FDP) promised progress without the need for any belt-tightening. Nobody was prepared for the war in Ukraine and its knock-on effects.

Elderly woman fights eviction to stay in cherished childhood home


January 14, 2024 at 07:00 JST

A court here has allowed an 86-year-old woman to remain in the aging wooden “nagaya” (row house) she has lived in most of her life, although she is the last remaining tenant.

The owner, who is seeking to demolish the building, filed an eviction notice, and the court recommended that the two parties negotiate a settlement.

However, the woman refused to leave the home she has lived in since childhood, saying, “I will stay here until I die.”

The owner argued that the row house was too dilapidated and offered the woman an apartment nearby to live in.

But the elderly resident insisted on staying in her home, to which she is deeply attached.