Six In The Morning Sunday 11 February 2024

 

Hamas says Rafah assault would end captive talks

  • Any Israeli ground offensive on Rafah will “blow up” the captive exchange negotiations, Al-Aqsa television channel quoted a senior Hamas leader as saying on Sunday.
  • The United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Arab nations are warning Israel not to go ahead with the planned offensive, saying it would cause a humanitarian catastrophe.

HRW: ‘We are deeply alarmed’ about Rafah invasion

Nadia Hardman, researcher at Human Rights Watch, has said that people are already struggling to survive in the small area where they have been pushed and displaced.

She told Al Jazeera that people she spoke with, some of whom have been displaced up to ten times since the war began, say they are fearful of a ground invasion of the area.

“The one question they continue to ask is ‘where do we go?’ They have fled from areas that were once considered safe. Israel’s promise to provide safe passage must be analysed in light of the fact that it has consistently failed to do this,” Hardman said.

“This evacuation would be unlawful if it is ordered.”

‘They’re treating us like thieves’: Rio de Janeiro traders rage as historic flea market shuts

Feira de Acari is closed down by the mayor after claims that gangsters used it to sell stolen goods

Manoel Ribeiro has never known a world without Rio de Janeiro’s best-known flea market, the Feira de Acari.

The swarming suburban bazaar was founded outside his home in 1970, the year of his birth. It existed in 1993 when the market trader was shot nearby during an armed robbery and lost the use of his legs.

And, until last month, it continued to thrive – a Sunday institution famed for its suspiciously low prices and immortalised in songs by celebrated Brazilian musicians. “The Feira de Acari is a success. It has everything. It’s a mystery,” the singer-songwriter Jorge Ben Jor sang in one hit.

Iran marks the 45th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution

Processions across the country drew hundreds of thousands of people, with some burning US and Israeli flags. The 1979 revolution saw the US-backed Shah ousted and replaced by Islamic cleric Ayatollah Khomeini.

Hundreds of thousands of people took part in rallies across Iran on Sunday to mark the 45th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The commemoration of the toppling of the US-backed monarch and the takeover by the Islamic cleric Ayatollah Khomeini comes amid rising tensions across the Middle East over Israel’s continued war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

How was the anniversary marked?

Sunday’s processions took place across the country, with major streets and squares decorated with flags, balloons and banners with revolutionary and religious slogans.

Finns go to the polls for presidential run-off amid tensions with Russia

Voters in Finland are choosing Sunday between two experienced politicians to be their next president, whose main task will be to steer the Nordic country’s foreign and security policy now that it is a member of NATO, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Former prime minister Alexander Stubb, 55, on the center right, and former foreign minister Pekka Haavisto, 65, from the green left, largely agree on Finland’s foreign policy and security priorities.

These include maintaining a hard line toward Moscow and Russia’s current leadership, strengthening security ties with Washington, and the need to help Ukraine both militarily and at a civilian level. Finland shares a 1,340-kilometer (832-mile) border with Russia.

Unlike in most European countries, the president of Finland holds executive power in formulating foreign and security policy together with the government, especially concerning countries outside the European Union such as the United States, Russia and China.

Ocean sponges suggest Earth has warmed longer, more than thought; some scientists dubious

By SETH BORENSTEIN

A handful of centuries-old sponges from deep in the Caribbean are causing some scientists to think human-caused climate change began sooner and has heated the world more than they thought.

They calculate that the world has already gone past the internationally approved target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, hitting 1.7 degrees as of 2020. They analyzed six of the long-lived sponges — simple animals that filter water — for growth records that document changes in water temperature, acidity and carbon dioxide levels in the air, according to a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Other scientists were skeptical of the study’s claim that the world has warmed that much more than thought. But if the sponge calculations are right, there are big repercussions, the study authors said.

Trump Nato comments labelled ‘appalling and unhinged’

By Frank Gardner

BBC security correspondent

And so it begins. Nine months still to go before the next US presidential election and already the Republican party favourite and former President Donald Trump is sending eyes rolling skywards with his seemingly outlandish statements.

And yet they will delight many of his supporters.

Suggesting at a rally in South Carolina that he would “encourage” aggressors (for example Russia) “to do whatever the hell they want” with Nato countries that fail to pay their dues has prompted an immediate slap down from the White House. A spokesman called the comment “appalling and unhinged”, saying it was “encouraging invasions of our closest allies by murderous regimes”.

Nato Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg has also responded forcefully, saying: “Any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US, and puts American and European soldiers at increased risk.”

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