Six In The Morning Thursday 21 March 2024

Evacuation order issued for al-Shifa Hospital

  • Israel orders Palestinians to evacuate al-Shifa Hospital, threatening to blow up the largest medical complex in the Gaza Strip if they do not.
  • US Secretary of State Antony Blinken holds discussions on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during a visit to Egypt.
  • More than 100 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks across Gaza in the last 24 hours.
  • At least 31,988 Palestinians have been killed and 74,188 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attack stands at 1,139, with dozens taken captive.

Norway wealth fund to probe companies over Gaza war

The ethics council of Norway’s $1.6 trillion fund has said it is investigating whether companies in which it holds shares fall outside its permitted investment guidelines due to the war in Gaza.

The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, which owns 1.5 percent of the world’s listed shares across 8,800 companies, operates under ethical rules set by the country’s parliament, and over the years has divested from nine companies, all Israeli, over activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Vietnam loses its second president in two years amid concerns for political stability

Vo Van Thuong has resigned after just over a year, as the country continues its ‘blazing furnace’ anti-corruption drive

Vietnam’s government has announced the resignation of its second president in as many years amid an anti-corruption drive, sparking concerns for the country’s political stability.

President Vo Van Thuong’s alleged “violations and flaws have negatively affected public perception, as well as the reputation of the party and the state”, state media reported on Wednesday, citing an announcement from the Central Committee of the Communist party of Vietnam. No further details of any alleged violations were released.

India punishes critics by revoking visas and residency permits

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi often draws crowds of supporters from the Indian diaspora on his foreign visits. But back home, his administration has been revoking visas and residency permits of foreign nationals of Indian origin as well as spouses of Indian citizens. For those denied access or kicked out of India, the experience can be traumatic.

Vanessa Dougnac was at home in her New Delhi apartment on January 18, when she received a hand-delivered envelope that raised her spirits.

The French journalist glanced at the letterhead bearing the insignia of the Indian interior ministry’s Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and immediately thought this meant good news.

“Then I read the letter. It was totally the opposite. It was really, really bad news,” she recounted.

Dougnac, 51, had lived in India for a quarter-century, or most of her adult life. For 23 years, she served as the India-based freelance correspondent for a number of French publications. Along the way, she covered stories across the country, married an Indian national, raised a son, and mastered the ropes in the place she came to call home.

The strange case of the Astellas employee held in China for spying


March 21, 2024 at 18:25 JST

Already a year has passed since the arrest of a Japanese expat for spying, a charge that sent shock waves through the tight-knit business and diplomatic community here.

But still next to nothing is known about the crime the man is supposed to have committed, when he will stand trial and how he is being treated.

The Astellas Pharma Inc. employee had worked in China for around 20 years and was well-known in the Japanese community.

The power of the periphery in the Chinese state under Xi

China: the invention of the roadmap to global power

It’s well known that everything in China is determined at the centre by the autocratic head of the CCP in Beijing, who dreams of global power. The only problem is it’s not true.

by Renaud Lambert

There’s a belief which underpins the dominant discourse on China: the country wants to overthrow the ‘international order’ and recreate it in its own image. And to do this (so the reasoning goes), Beijing is patiently deploying a ‘grand strategy’ – what political scientist David BH Denoon calls its ‘roadmap to global power’. Michael Pillsbury, a member of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation and architect of former president Donald Trump’s China policy, even believes Beijing’s ‘secret strategy’ dates back to 1949, when the People’s Republic was proclaimed, and spans almost a century…

This prospect is especially worrying as it is allegedly driven – or, some say, even devised – by a solitary autocrat: ‘Xi Jinping, the red king’ (Les Échos, 1 July 2021), whose ‘ambitions for global leadership are becoming clearer’ (Nikkei Asia, 16 October 2023). He’s a man, CNN suggests, out to ‘reshape the world’ (10 November 2023), particularly through the New Silk Road, ‘only the first step in China’s strategy for a new world order’ (Nikkei Asia, 16 October 2023).

A plant that’s everywhere is fueling a growing risk of wildfire disaster

A ubiquitous, resilient and seemingly harmless plant is fueling an increase in large, fast-moving and destructive wildfires in the United States.

Grass is as plentiful as sunshine, and under the right weather conditions is like gasoline for wildfires: All it takes is a spark for it to explode.

Planet-warming emissions are wreaking havoc on temperature and precipitation, resulting in larger and more frequent fires. Those fires are fueling the vicious cycle of ecological destruction that are helping to make grass king.