Six In The Morning Saturday 24 February 2024


UNRWA suspends aid to northern Gaza amid ‘collapse of civil order’

Desperation of people searching for food in southern areas is making journeys north unsafe, says UN

The UN agency in charge of Palestinian affairs said it has been forced to pause aid deliveries to northern Gaza – where it is not “possible to conduct proper humanitarian operations” – amid increasing reports of famine among people in the area.

The UN began warning of “pockets of famine” in Gaza last month, with needs particularly acute in the north. Conditions have steadily worsened since, causing a rise in the number of hungry people making fraught attempts to claim aid from passing trucks.

“The desperate behaviour of hungry and exhausted people is preventing the safe and regular passage of our trucks,” said Tamara Alrifai, director of external relations for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). She added that she was “very wary of how to explain this so as not to make it sound like we are blaming people or describing these things as criminal acts”.

Niger: West African bloc ECOWAS lifts post-coup sanctions

West African leaders are meeting in Nigeria for a critical summit to discuss the region’s challenges. The leaders have agreed to lift sanctions on former member Niger.

West African leaders and diplomats met on Saturday to discuss the region’s challenges after a string of coups threatened to weaken the regional bloc of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS.

The leaders announced that they were lifting a number of sanctions that had been imposed on Niger after the military took control there last year.

Niger, along with military juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso, announced in January they were quitting ECOWAS because of sanctions imposed by the bloc in response to coups in each of those countries.

Angry French farmers storm into Paris agriculture fair ahead of Macron visit

A group of French farmers stormed into a major Paris farm fair on Saturday ahead of a planned visit by President Emmanuel Macron amid anger over costs, red tape and green regulations.

Facing dozens of police officers inside the trade fair, the farmers were shouting and booing, calling for the resignation of Macron and using expletives aimed at the French leader.

“This is our home!”, they shouted, as lines of French CRS riot police sought to contain the demonstration. There were some clashes with demonstrators and the police arrested at least one of them, a Reuters witness saw.

Pascal Beteille, one of the demonstrators said he did not expect anything from Macron’s visit.

“This is our home and he’s welcoming us with CRS,” he told Reuters.

Unfounded rumor of Chinese gang spread after Noto quake


February 24, 2024 at 17:37 JST

Unfounded rumors have a nasty habit of spreading through social media when a natural calamity strikes, usually to the detriment of a minority group that has done nothing wrong.

Such was the case in the Noto Peninsula region in the aftermath of the magnitude-7.6 temblor that hit on New Year’s Day. Two days later, a rumor was rife that a group of Chinese were riding around in a van on a robbery spree.

By early February, the Ishikawa prefectural police still could not confirm that any such crime had occurred.

Navalny’s body given to his mother, spokesperson says

The body of Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny has been given to his mother more than a week after he died, Navalny’s spokesperson Kira Yarmysh said on Saturday.
“Alexey’s body was handed over to his mother. Many thanks to all those who demanded this with us,” Yarmysh posted to social media.
Yarmysh added that Navalny’s mother, Lyudmila Navalnaya, is still in Salekhard, the Arctic town where her son’s body was being held.

How Israel’s war on Gaza is bleeding Egypt’s economy

Tourism, gas exports and Suez Canal revenues are all suffering, and the crisis in Rafah could make things worse, say analysts.

Already facing a deep crisis, Egypt’s economy appears poised to take a hit from Israel’s war on Gaza and the spiralling tensions in the Red Sea, analysts have said.

Currently on “life support”, Egypt’s deteriorating economy suffers from growing public debt now at more than 90 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), capital flight and the currency’s fall against the US dollar.

Now, those challenges are being compounded by the war, as it edges closer and closer to Egypt’s border, with a large chunk of Gaza’s population pushed into Rafah, after four months of displacement as a result of Israel’s relentless attacks. Tourism and the Suez Canal are two of Egypt’s major sources of foreign exchange.