Six In The Morning Thursday 7 March 2024


Gaza ceasefire talks end in Cairo with ‘no substantial answer or solution’

Hamas says negotiations to continue next week even as Israel ‘thwarts’ deal to secure 40-day truce before Ramadan.

Hamas says its delegation has left Egypt but talks on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip will continue next week until an agreement is reached with Israel, whom the Palestinian group says has “thwarted” mediators’ attempts to broker a deal before the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

“Hamas’s delegation left Cairo this morning for consultation with the leadership of the movement, with negotiations and efforts continuing to stop the aggression, return the displaced and bring in relief aid to our people,” a Hamas statement said on Thursday.

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said Israel had been “thwarting” efforts to conclude a ceasefire mediated by Qatar and Egypt during four days of talks in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

It’s now or never for Cyprus reunification, says top UN official

UN special representative for divided island says time is running out to settle decades-long dispute

Efforts to re-unite Cyprus are approaching a decisive moment, a top UN official has said, as he urged leaders on both sides to show political courage and warned civil society groups: “It’s now or never.”

In a week marking 60 years since the arrival of a UN peacekeeping force on the east Mediterranean island, Colin Stewart, the United Nations special representative in Cyprus, said time was running out to settle the decades-long dispute.

“We have to seize whatever opportunities we have, however small. We don’t know if there is going to be another opportunity,” he told local civil society groups.

With Sweden onboard, NATO’s north is now sealed

With Sweden’s membership now formalized, NATO’s Nordic wall is complete. Stockholm has been impatiently awaiting this moment, as it felt left out in the cold between allies Norway and Finland.

NATO officials assured Finland and Sweden when they applied together for membership in May 2022 that their process would be the fastest in history. And, in fact, it finally has been, but nearly one year since Finland’s rapid accession in April 2023 has been nerve-wracking for the Swedish government, which had hoped the duo’s accession would be a tandem one like the application. But opposition from Turkey and Hungary meant Sweden had to accept that long delay before being allowed under NATO’s security umbrella.

Oscar Jonsson, a researcher with the Swedish Defence University, says having declared its desire to join but being stalled by would-be allies was the “worst place” for Sweden to be stranded, even temporarily.

“If you look at just recent empirics, you can see that Russia has invaded two states that it perceived to be on the way into NATO,” he told DW, referring to Georgia and Ukraine, “but zero NATO member states.”

UN Security Council raises alarm over ‘critical’ situation in Haiti

The UN Security Council expressed its concern over the deteriorating situation in violence-gripped Haiti on Wednesday, as Washington ramped up pressure on absent Prime Minister Ariel Henry to secure a political settlement.

Armed gangs who control swaths of the country launched a coordinated effort to oust Henry last week, attacking the airport, prisons and police stations and threatening a full-scale civil war.

“The situation is critical,” said Security Council member Ecuador, whose ambassador to the UN José Javier De La Gasca Lopez-Domínguez called for Wednesday’s meeting.

The United States called for the prime minister to hold free elections, but did not urge his resignation – a key demand of powerful gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherisier.

In power since the 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moïse, Henry was due to leave office in February but instead agreed to a power-sharing deal with the opposition until new elections are held.

From edge of extinction to Australia’s croc ‘paradise’

By Andrew LEESON

If you want a snappy death, one expert’s advice is to leap into a river near the Australian city of Darwin — within minutes, you’ll be in the jaws of one of the hundreds of crocodiles that stalk its murky waters.

That’s the promise of Grahame Webb, whose conservation efforts are credited with helping wrestle Australia’s saltwater predators back from the verge of extinction.

“You can’t sugarcoat crocs; these are seriously dangerous,” Webb told AFP in his leafy garden in the country’s tropical Top End.

Opinion: I’m a climate scientist. If you knew what I know, you’d be terrified too

Are you frightened by climate change? Do you worry about what sort of world we are bequeathing to our children and grandchildren? In the words of science writer and author of “The Uninhabitable Earth” David Wallace-Wells, “No matter how well informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough.”

I would put it even more strongly.

If the fracturing of our once stable climate doesn’t terrify you, then you don’t fully understand it. The reality is that, as far as we know, and in the natural course of events, our world has never — in its entire history — heated up as rapidly as it is doing now. Nor have greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere ever seen such a precipitous hike.