Six In The Morning Friday 19 January 2024

‘Our children won’t forget’: Grief and anger over Israeli raids on West Bank camps

Since the October 7 Hamas attacks, Israel has stepped up its raids in the occupied West Bank, storming refugee camps and arresting dozens of people. Human rights groups say at least 300 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the last three months. The Israeli military insists its soldiers are defending themselves from militants holed up in the camps. But residents of Palestinian camps who spoke to FRANCE 24 accuse Israel of terrorising the population.

North Korean teens get 12 years’ hard labour for watching South Korean videos

Footage shows two 16-year-olds being sentenced in front of hundreds of their peers in an amphitheatre

Video footage released by an organisation that works with North Korean defectors shows North Korean authorities publicly sentencing two teenagers to 12 years’ hard labour for watching South Korean videos.

The footage, which shows the two 16-year-olds in Pyongyang convicted of watching South Korean films and music videos, was released by the South and North Development Institute (Sand).

Reuters was unable to independently verify the footage, which was first reported by the BBC.

Brazil: Probe shows Bolsonaro faked his COVID vaccine record

An investigation reveals that the vaccination records of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro were forged. Although Bolsonaro publicly opposed the vaccine, records had shown that he received the COVID-19 shot.

The Brazilian Comptroller General’s office (CGU) said on Thursday that the COVID-19 vaccination records of former President Jair Bolsonaro were forged.

Health records state that Bolsonaro, a COVID-19 skeptic who opposed the vaccine in public, received a shot of the vaccine at a public healthcare center in Sao Paulo in July 2021.

However, the CGU investigation revealed several inconsistencies in the entry, which allowed the president to dodge travel and other restrictions.

Sweden’s call for population to prepare for war sparks panic and criticism

It’s been described as a bombshell moment. The upper echelons of Sweden’s government and defence forces last week shocked the nation by explicitly warning that war might come to Sweden, and that each and every Swede should prepare themselves. While some have taken the warning seriously and flocked to the stores to stock up on fuel and survival kits, others have accused the country’s leaders of fear-mongering.

Gustav Wallbom, a 37-year-old entrepreneur and farmer who was conscripted into Sweden’s compulsory military service before it was put on hold between 2010 and 2017, was not the least bit surprised by the call for Swedes to ready themselves for war.

“The fact that Russia, which is very near Sweden, is unreliable is not something new, and all the cases of espionage lately and Russia’s attempts to influence [public opinion] just add to that,” he said.

Heeding the call from officials, Wallbom, like many other Swedes, immediately headed to the hardware store to stock up on equipment for his and his family’s “crisis kit”.

After six months in Saudi Arabia, Jordan Henderson has returned to European soccer

Soccer player Jordan Henderson has announced that he is returning to Europe to join Ajax, six months after making a controversial move to Saudi Arabia.
On Thursday, the England international said that he is leaving Saudi Pro League (SPL) club Al-Ettifaq “with immediate effect,” adding: “It wasn’t an easy decision but one that I feel is best for me and my family.”
Ajax, currently fifth in the Dutch Eredivisie, also confirmed the transfer on Thursday, posting photos and videos of Henderson’s arrival on the club’s social media pages.


‘I never lost a fight against a man’: The story of the only woman to join Japan’s notorious yakuza

By Martina Baradel

Mako Nishimura is a petite woman in her late 50s, with flowing hair and a delicate face. But you soon notice that she is no traditional Japanese lady – she is tattooed up to her neck and hands and her little finger is missing. These are signs of affiliation to the yakuza – Japan’s notorious criminal syndicates.

The yakuza is dominated by men and leaves only informal roles to women. Typically a woman involved with the yakuza might be an anesan, a boss’ wife who takes care of young affiliates and mediates between them and her husband. Wives and partners of the members support the group in a peripheral way. Some get involved to the extent that they manage yakuza-owned clubs or deal drugs.

When I interviewed Nishimura recently as part of my research, she told me that when she had become involved with the yakuza at 20, she took up both roles. But she went one step further – Nishimura is the only woman who has ever partaken in the sakazuki ceremony of exchanging sake cups. This is the ritual that confirms formal affiliation with a yakuza group.