Netanyahu asks military to submit Rafah plan
- The Israeli prime minister says he has ordered the military to develop a plan to both evacuate civilians from Rafah and defeat the remaining Hamas battalions.
- Israeli snipers in Khan Younis kill at least 21 people outside Nasser Hospital with medical staff among those targeted. Within 24 hours, 107 Palestinians have been killed and 142 injured.
Gaza rights group says ‘time is running out’ to stop Rafah incursion
The Gaza-based rights group Al-Mezan Center has said that the international community must mobilize swiftly to stop an anticipated Israeli assault on Rafah, where more than one million displaced Palestinians are hemmed in with nowhere to flee.
“For months, Al-Mezan Center warned of Israel’s evacuation orders as a pretext to push #Gaza’s population closer to the border with Egypt in preparation for their mass deportation,” the group said in a social media post today.
“Time is running out: the international community must act now to halt the ground invasion of Rafah.”
Pakistan in crisis as election results still undeclared and rigging claims mount
Count at a standstill as candidates for Imran Khan’s PTI allege seats they were winning are declared for Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N
Pakistan was thrown into a state of crisis on Friday with its election results still undeclared more than 24 hours after polling closed and the vote marred by widespread allegations of rigging.
Analysts and candidates widely questioned the integrity of the polls that took place on Thursday, raising concerns that there was an attempt to rig the vote to bring back the three-time former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and his Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) to power.
Sharif was seen to have the backing of Pakistan’s powerful military, which has long been the country’s political powerbroker and has a history of meddling in its elections.
Russians enter North Korea as first post-COVID tourists
Scores of Russians have flown to North Korea for a private tour — the first foreign tour group to visit the reclusive state since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Almost 100 Russian tourists arrived at Pyongyang International Airport in North Korea on Friday to enjoy a private skiing and sightseeing tour.
What we know about the tour
Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency said 97 Russians had left Russia’s far eastern city of Vladivostok for North Korea on a group tour. The group was said to include teenage ski athletes.
A North Korean-operated Air Koryo flight carried the visitors to Pyongyang, the Russian Embassy in North Korea said in a Facebook post on Friday.
As donors suspend critical funding to UNRWA, allegations against staff remain murky
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) announced on January 26 that it had terminated the contracts of several employees pending an investigation into Israeli allegations that they had been involved in Hamas’s October 7 attacks in Israel. The move prompted several nations to suspend vital funding to UNRWA while the inquiry proceeds, deepening Gaza’s already acute humanitarian crisis. But Israel refuses to share either its evidence or the intelligence dossier – a summary of which was seen by FRANCE 24 – with UNRWA, posing a challenge for the UN agency as it tries to complete its inquiry.
A senior Israeli diplomat surprised UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini during a routine in-person meeting in Tel Aviv on January 18, informing him that Israel had evidence UNRWA staff members were involved in the October 7 massacre in southern Israel that left more than 1,100 dead.
“We were shocked, we took this seriously because these were very serious allegations,” UNRWA director of communications Juliette Touma told FRANCE 24.
Lazzarini travelled to New York four days later to brief UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and then to the US State Department in Washington to warn UNRWA’s top donor, the United States, Touma said.
New documents show warlord Hideyoshi craved recognition
By TAKAE KUMAGAI/ Staff Writer
February 9, 2024 at 19:09 JST
Newly discovered historical documents suggest that feudal warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), who unified Japan, might have desired and actively sought recognition for his accomplishments.
About half are letters to Hideyoshi by close aides of his lord Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582). They are responses to reports of war achievements from Hideyoshi.
The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History in Himeji and the University of Tokyo’s Historiographical Institute said on Feb. 8 that their contents and number indicate that Hideyoshi was intensely promoting his own achievements.
According to the museum, copies of 35 documents were found.
Meta removes Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader
Meta has removed the Facebook and Instagram accounts of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Khamenei’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are no longer available. According to Meta, the accounts have been disabled, which means they are permanently removed.
“We have removed these accounts for repeatedly violating our Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy,” a Meta spokesperson told CNN.