Six In The Morning Saturday 27 January 2024

UNRWA claims: UK halts aid to UN agency over allegation staff helped Hamas attack

By Sarah Fowler & Lipika Pelham

BBC News

The UK has become the latest country to pause funding for the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA.

It comes after the agency announced the sacking of several of its staff over allegations they were involved in the 7 October Hamas attacks.

The UK government said it was “appalled” by the allegations made by Israel.

The US, Australia, Italy, Canada and Finland have already suspended additional funding to the UN agency.

Created in 1949, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, provides health care, education and other humanitarian aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It employs around 13,000 people inside Gaza.

Palestine Red Crescent Society says hospital and its workers in southern Gaza are besieged by Israeli forces

From CNN’s Ibrahim Hazboun and Robert Iddiols

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) says its medical workers are living in a “state of terror and panic” and once again accused Israel of besieging its headquarters and a southern Gaza hospital.

The PRCS issued a statement Saturday in which they condemned the “siege and targeting” of Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, “for the sixth consecutive day.”

“The occupation continues to bombard the vicinity of the hospital and open fire, jeopardizing the safety of medical staff, the wounded, patients, and approximately 7000 displaced individuals who sought refuge there to escape Israeli bombardment,” the statement reads.

Race against time to unlock secrets of Erebus shipwreck and doomed Arctic expedition

Hundreds of discoveries made on Sir John Franklin’s ships, but storm damage makes wrecks increasingly dangerous

Archaeologists have made hundreds of new finds on the wreck of HMS Erebus, the ship commanded by Sir John Franklin on his doomed Arctic trip 180 years ago.

The team’s discoveries include pistols, sealed bottles of ­medicines, seamen’s chests and navigation equipment. These are now being studied for clues to explain the loss of the Erebus and its sister ship Terror, and the deaths of the 129 men who sailed on them.

The work is considered to be particularly urgent because the wreck of the Erebus – discovered 10 years ago in shallow water in Wilmot and Crampton Bay in Arctic Canada – is now being battered by increasingly severe storms as climate change takes its grip on the region.

Mali to start peace talks after ending deal with separatists

Mali’s junta decided to launch a new national peace process just one day after it ended a key 2015 peace deal. Tuareg rebels are skeptical of the initiative.

Mali‘s ruling junta issued a decree to establish a new committee that will oversee a national peace dialogue.

The move comes a day after the junta scrapped a key 2015 peace deal with northern separatist groups, accusing mediator Algeria of interfering in its affairs.

Algeria previously mediated between the government and mainly Tuareg armed groups.

“There will be no negotiations outside Bamako. We will no longer… go to a foreign country to speak about our problems,” the military-appointed head of government, Choguel Kokalla Maiga, said in a video posted on social media on Friday.

French farmers vow to continue protests despite government concessions

French farmers vowed Saturday to continue protesting, maintaining traffic barricades on some of the country’s major roads a day after the government announced a series of measures that they do not fully address their demands.

The farmers’ movement, seeking better remuneration for their produce, less red tape and protection against cheap imports has spread in recent days across the country, with protesters using their tractors to shut down long stretches of road and slow traffic. They’ve also dumped stinky agricultural waste at the gates of government offices.

While some of the barricades were gradually being lifted on Saturday, highway operator Vinci Autoroutes said the A7, a major highway heading through southern France and into Spain, was still closed. Some other roads were also partially closed, mostly in southern France.

Vinci Autoroutes noted that the blockades on two highways leading to Paris have been removed. The highway from Lyon, in eastern France, to Bordeaux, in the southwest, also been reopened on Saturday, the company said in a statement.

Chiropractor who took up art at 71 finds fame here and abroad


January 27, 2024 at 07:00 JST

Noriko Sugiyama doesn’t quite get why others make a fuss of her art when she simply uses bits of old kimono fabric and obi sashes instead of paint to bring her works to life.

Be that as it may, the 76-year-old chiropractor is an award-winning upcycling artist in Japan and oversees. It is quite an achievement seeing as she is self-taught and only took up painting five years ago after finding a packet of marker pens discarded on the street.

In 2006, with her three children all grown up, she moved from Saitama Prefecture to the Iwate prefectural capital where she has relatives.