Six In The Morning Monday 12 February 2024


 Rafah bombarded as Israel plans ground assault

  • At least 67 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air and sea attacks on Rafah early on Monday, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza.
  • The Israeli army says it rescued two captives from a house in Rafah’s Shaboura neighbourhood overnight.

Prospect of Israeli ground attack on Rafah ‘terrifying’: UN rights chief

Volker Turk, the UN’s human rights chief, has raised alarm over an anticipated Israeli ground assault on Rafah, where more than half of Gaza’s population is packed in with nowhere to flee.

Turk said it is “wholly imaginable what would lie ahead” if the planned incursion is not stopped.

“A potential full-fledged military incursion into Rafah – where some 1.5 million Palestinians are packed against the Egyptian border with nowhere further to flee – is terrifying, given the prospect that an extremely high number of civilians, again mostly children and women, will likely be killed and injured,” Turk said in a statement.

Early blood test to predict dementia is step closer as biological markers identified

Scientists have found patterns of four proteins that predict onset of dementia more than a decade before formal diagnosis

Researchers have taken a major step towards a blood test that can predict the risk of dementia more than a decade before the condition is formally diagnosed in patients.

Hopes for the test were raised after scientists discovered biological markers for the condition in blood samples collected from more than 50,000 healthy volunteers enrolled in the UK Biobank project.

Analysis of the blood identified patterns of four proteins that predicted the onset of dementia in general, and Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia specifically, in older age.

Migration, Russia challenge global security

A survey for the 2024 Munich Security Conference shows people fearing climate-change-driven migration ahead of the threat from Russia. However, they are also worried about cyberattacks and the impact of AI.

The world in 2024 will be characterized by a “downward trend in world politics, marked by an increase in geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainty,” Christoph Heusgen, chairman of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), wrote in the conference’s 2024 security report, released on Monday ahead of this week’s high-profile gathering in Bavaria.

From February 16 to 18, military personnel, security experts and high-ranking politicians from all over the world will once again meet in Munich, southern Germany, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also expected to attend.

In a Munich Security Index survey published ahead of last year’s conference, Russia’s war on Ukraine was rated as the biggest threat to security, particularly in the G7 countries, which includes seven of the world’s advanced economies.

Thousands of Khan supporters block highways to protest Pakistan’s election results

Thousands of supporters of Pakistan’s imprisoned former prime minister Imran Khan and members of other political parties blocked key highways and started a daylong strike in the volatile southwest Monday to protest alleged rigging of last week’s elections.

Candidates backed by Khan won more seats than the political parties who ousted him from power nearly two years ago, according to the final tally published Sunday. However, no party won a majority, so the parties will have to hold talks on forming a coalition government. The new parliament chooses the country’s next prime minister.

Thursday’s vote to choose a new parliament was overshadowed by the vote-rigging allegations, an unprecedented mobile phone shutdown, and the exclusion of Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, or PTI, from the vote.

While election winners were celebrating victory, PTI and other parties refused to accept their defeat in dozens of constituencies. Dozens of Khan’s supporters were briefly detained in the eastern city of Lahore over the weekend while protesting alleged vote-rigging.

Japan maglev train project being derailed by Shizuoka stalemate

The start date of the new high-speed maglev train that will run from Tokyo to Nagoya has become increasingly uncertain, as long-running environmental disputes with the Shizuoka prefectural government leave the project at a stalemate.

Central Japan Railway Co’s Linear Chuo Shinkansen project is planned to link Tokyo and Osaka with trains traveling up to 500 kilometers per hour. But a small area on the section between the capital and Nagoya has proved a stumbling block for the major project, due mostly to opposition by Shizuoka Gov Heita Kawakatsu.

The Nagoya to Osaka section is penciled in for completion in 2037, while the Tokyo to Nagoya portion was initially targeted for 2027 but is now officially “2027 or later” following the prolonged schism between the train operator and the local government.

Kenyan marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in road accident’

By Celestine Karoney

BBC Sport Africa, Nairobi

The men’s marathon world record holder, Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum, 24, has died in a road accident in his home country.

He was killed alongside his coach, Rwanda’s Gervais Hakizimana, in a car on a road in western Kenya on Sunday.

Kiptum made a breakthrough in 2023 as a rival to compatriot Eliud Kipchoge – one of the greatest marathon runners.

Kiptum bettered Kipchoge’s record, clocking the 26.2 miles (42km) in two hours and 35 seconds in Chicago last October.