Six In The Morning Sunday 17 March 2024


Children, women killed in Deir el-Balah attack

  • Israeli attacks on Deir el-Balah in central Gaza killed at least 12 people and wounded many more, including children, according to videos and witnesses.
  • Thirteen aid trucks arrived safely in Jabalia and Gaza City, marking the first convoys to travel from the south to the north of the Gaza Strip without incident in four months.
  • Ceasefire talks could resume in Qatar as early as Sunday, with an Israeli delegation led by Mossad’s spy chief expected in Doha to discuss Hamas’s proposal for a three-stage plan to end the war.
  • At least 31,645 Palestinians have been killed and 73,676 injured 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.

Egypt will not allow forced displacement of Palestinians from Gaza: Sisi

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has said his country would not allo the forced displacement of the Palestinians from Gaza, according to a statement from his spokesman.

He made the remarks during a meeting with Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission.

Sisi stressed the necessity of reaching a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and reaffirmed Egypt’s rejection of the forced displacement of the Palestinians outside their land.

EU leaders accused of ‘rewarding repression’ with €7.4bn Egypt deal

Agreement to be signed off on Sunday is part of bloc’s attempt to stop refugees crossing Mediterranean

European leaders are to sign off on a €7.4bn deal with Egypt just days after members of the European parliament accused Brussels of “bankrolling dictators”.

The EU-Egypt strategic partnership agreement forms part of the bloc’s latest attempt to stop refugees crossing the Mediterranean and comes less than a year after it signed a controversial €150m (£128m) migration and economic pact with Tunisia.

It is understood the deal that leaders are expected to sign off on Sunday, which dwarfs that of Tunisia in value, will include €5bn in soft loans to support economic reforms with €1bn of that as urgent aid for 2024.

The Election Farce in RussiaPutin’s Elaborate Effort to Make His Leadership Look Legitimate

Russia’s democracy may be dead, but the regime is sparing neither effort nor expense in staging the presidential election. Large voter turnout is supposed to give Putin’s rule the appearance of legitimacy.
By Ann-Dorit Boy und Christina Hebel in Hamburg, Germany, and Moscow

Yulia received her special bonus a few days ago. “For the election,” the supervisors stated bluntly. The Muscovite, in her early 40s, works in the administration of a state energy company. The bonus is linked to the so-called “presidential elections” that are slated to be held from Friday to Sunday, marking the first time polls in Russia will be open for three days.

Yulia is set to vote for Vladimir Putin together with her colleagues on Friday in their office using the government portal. Afterward, she’s supposed to send a screenshot to her bosses, she tells DER SPIEGEL. It’s an order that will be difficult to evade. Lists have been drawn up with the current telephone numbers of the employees, which they use to log into the portal, Yulia explains. She assumes that checks will be made to see who has logged in and when – and who has not.

Trump warns US voters of a ‘bloodbath’ if he loses presidential election

Former US president Donald Trump warned of a “bloodbath for the country” if he is not elected in November.  

Donald Trump told a (Nazi Rally) in Ohio on Saturday that November’s presidential election will be the “most important date” in US history, painting his campaign for the White House as a turning point for the country.

Days after securing his position as the presumptive Republican nominee, the former president also warned of a “bloodbath” if he is not elected – though it was not clear what he was referring to, with the remark coming in the middle of comments about threats to the US auto industry.

“The date – remember this, November 5 – I believe it’s going to be the most important date in the history of our country,” the 77-year-old told rally-goers in Vandalia, Ohio, repeating well-worn criticisms that his rival, President Joe Biden, is the “worst” president.

Japan lawyers’ group urges Tokyo to halt park development, calling its impact review unscientific


March 16, 2024 at 09:15 JST

The Japanese bar association is urging Tokyo’s metropolitan government to suspend a disputed redevelopment of the city’s beloved park area, saying that its environmental assessment by developers lacked objective and scientific grounds.

The metropolitan government approved the Jingu Gaien redevelopment project in February of 2023 based on the environmental assessment submitted by the developers, allowing the start of construction.

The plan involves razing a famous baseball stadium and rebuilding it, as part of a vast construction project that critics say would threaten thousands of trees in a city of meager green space.

LIVE: Volcano erupts in Iceland

Six In The Morning Saturday 16 March 2024


Israel approves plan to attack Gaza’s Rafah but keeps truce talks alive

Nod for long-threatened invasion of Rafah, home to 1.4 million displaced people, comes as Israel to send team to Qatar.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved plans for an attack on Rafah, where 1.4 million displaced Palestinians have sought shelter, while planning to send a team to further truce talks in Qatar after mocking a ceasefire proposal by Hamas as “ridiculous”.

Israel’s allies and critics warned Netanyahu against the invasion of Rafah fearing mass civilian casualties, but the Israeli government claims that the area in southern Gaza is one of the last strongholds of Hamas which it has pledged to eliminate.

Hopefully, the ground invasion of Rafah is just a bluff so they can use this as leverage to get something in negotiations. But everything Netanyahu said he will do, he did it, so I assume it is very likely this is going to happen,” Luciano Zaccara of the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University told Al Jazeera of Israel’s mixed messages.

Hong Kong court jails 12 for storming parliament in pro-democracy protests

Sentences of nearly seven years handed down over 2019 action that was pivotal moment in uprising against Chinese rule

A Hong Kong court has sentenced 12 people to jail terms of up to seven years over the storming of the city’s legislature in 2019 at the height of pro-democracy protests that challenged the Beijing-backed government.

It was the most violent episode in the initial stage of the huge protests that upended the city that year, with Beijing later imposing a sweeping national security law to snuff out dissent.

Hundreds of protesters broke into the legislature on the night of 1 July 2019, smashing windows and spraying graffiti on the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China.

Putin: Tracing the president’s political metamorphosis

Over his 24 years in power, Russian President Vladimir Putin has grown progressively anti-Western. How did this shift happen? Two prominent Russians provide answers.

When Vladimir Putin is — likely reelected as Russian president this weekend, many people will be asking themselves what to expect from his next term in office. What will Putin do this time? How far will he distance Russia from the European Union and US in the coming six years in power? And how was it possible that hopes for Russian-European rapprochement have been dashed? How could Putin — a leader to which many had pinned great hopes when he rose to power — become so staunchly anti-Western 24 years later?

Vitaly Mansky and Alexander Stefanov, two Russians with two very different backgrounds and a significant age gap, have tried to make sense of these questions. Both are known to millions of Russians.

Mansky, 60, has produced dozens of award-winning documentaries, making him Russia’s best-known documentary filmmaker. He got to know Putin personally, producing two films about the Russian president

Racist attacks on pop star Aya Nakamura test France’s ability to shine at Paris Olympics

Rumours that French pop star Aya Nakamara may sing at the opening ceremony of the Paris Olympics have triggered a flurry of attacks from the French far right, questioning the host country’s ability to appreciate the globally acclaimed talent emerging from its neglected suburbs with large immigrant populations.

With the Paris Olympics still months away, the host country has already won gold in a category it truly owns: divisive racial controversy with “made in France” flair.

That’s how public broadcaster France Inter summed up a row over unconfirmed rumours that Aya Nakamura would perform an Édith Piaf song during the Games’ opening ceremony in front of a crowd of 300,000 gathered along the River Seine.

Nakamura, 28, has become a global superstar for hits like “Djadja”, which has close to a billion streams on YouTube alone. On the international stage, she is the most popular French female singer since Piaf sang “La vie en rose”, a rare case of a French artist whose songs reach well beyond the Francophone world.

22 artifacts looted after Battle of Okinawa returned to Japan


Twenty-two historic artifacts that were looted following the Battle of Okinawa in World War II have been returned to Japan after a family from Massachusetts discovered them in their late father’s personal items, the FBI said Friday.

The 22 artifacts, some of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, represent a significant piece of Okinawan history. They include six portraits, a hand drawn map of Okinawa from the 19th century, and various pieces of pottery and ceramics, officials said.

The Boston division of the FBI said they helped orchestrate the return of the items, which had been missing for almost 80 years to the government of Japan, Okinawa prefecture. A formal repatriation ceremony will be held in Japan at a later date.

Inside Haiti: A lucky few escape, while millions face gang rule, hunger and chaos

In a city silenced by gangs, everyone notices the thrum of a helicopter beating overhead in the night – a brief sign that someone very lucky has been able to leave Port-au-Prince.

CNN was able to land in the Haitian capital by helicopter on Friday after days of on-again, off-again plans that required detailed security arrangements and multiple layers of diplomatic approval. Since our previous visit to Haiti last month, the situation has deteriorated sharply. Beleaguered Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced his decision to step aside, but it is not clear who will fill the void or when. A promised transitional government has yet to materialize, and plans for a Kenyan-led stabilisation force are in limbo.

Ordinary people leave their homes only rarely in Port-au-Prince these days, where daily battles between police and gangs send plumes of smoke into the air, gunshots echoing through quiet streets. Boulevards that would ordinarily be packed with cars and vendors are empty, the city’s painted “tap tap” taxis rarely full.

Six In The Morning Friday 15 March 2024


‘Massacre’: Israel forces attack crowds waiting for aid in Gaza, killing 2

Palestinian officials call latest assault ‘premeditated’ as people seeking humanitarian supplies increasingly targeted.

At least 21 Palestinians have been killed after Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of people waiting for aid in Gaza City in the same area that was targeted hours earlier, government officials said.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza described the late Thursday attack as a “new, premeditated massacre” and said more than 150 people were wounded.

It was the latest in a string of assaults on people desperately in need of food and other essential supplies as Israel continues to obstruct and severely control the entry of aid into the enclave.

A forever war, more repression, Putin for life? Russia’s bleak post-election outlook

The president will use his inevitable win in the polls as a mandate for continuing the assault on Ukraine and going after domestic ‘elites’

For a few weeks in 2022, Vladimir Putin’s world was unravelling fast. Russian troops had failed to take Kyiv and the west was coalescing around Volodymyr Zelenskiy, freezing Russian assets abroad and imposing unprecedented sanctions. Putin himself appeared unhinged, railing against Lenin or appealing to Ukrainians to overthrow their “gang of drug addicts and neo-Nazis”.

As Russians go to the polls on Friday in an election with only one possible result, the Kremlin will claim a mandate for that war, enshrining Putin’s bloodiest gamble as the country’s finest moment. The Russian leader has often succeeded by presenting his opponents with only bad and worse options; these elections are no different. Now convinced that he can outlast the west, Putin is seeking to wed Russia’s future, including an elite and a society that appear resigned to his lifelong rule, to the fate of his long war in Ukraine.

Red Sea attacks cause global trade to splutter

Container ships have been forced to make long detours for months due to the Houthi attacks on the Suez Canal route and low waters in the Panama Canal. As freight prices rocket, when will consumers feel the pinch?

On the morning of February 21, a cargo ship rammed a bridge in Guangzhou, China — one of the world’s busiest seaports — causing the structure to partially collapse. This type of accident, where a significant portion of East-West trade passes, can have costly consequences for maritime trade. Fortunately, on this occasion, the incident didn’t cause any delays for shipping.

It’s just as well though, as international maritime routes are already facing plenty of obstacles. Shipping, which transports more than 80% of global goods, is dealing with piracy in Asian and African waters, but also from the effects of armed conflict and low water levels.

Iran’s new generation: Meet the young women fighting for freedom

In Iran, the death of 22-year-old student Mahsa Amini triggered an unprecedented uprising that is still having repercussions. Arrested on September 13, 2022 by Iran’s morality police for wearing an “ill-fitting” headscarf that did not fully cover her hair, Amini died three days later in hospital, provoking a wave of anger and protests across the country. A new generation of women is now daring to defy the mandatory Islamic veil law imposed by the mullahs. Who are these young women ready to break the law, and how do they differ from their elders? Our reporters Catalina Gomez Angel and Pouya Parsa Magham went to meet the Iranian women determined to fight for their freedom despite threats and intimidation.

Tokyo’s controversial Yasukuni Shrine picks ex-admiral as chief priest

By Yukiko Toyoda

Japan’s Yasukuni Shrine has picked a former military commander as its chief priest in a move that could stir controversy over a site that other Asian nations see as a symbol of Japan’s wartime aggression.

Umio Otsuka, 63, a former Maritime Self Defense Force (SDF) commander and a one-time ambassador to Djibouti, confirmed his appointment, which marks the first time since 1978 for an ex-military official to assume the post.

The last retired military officer appointed as chief priest, Nagayoshi Matsudaira, enshrined 14 prominent convicted war criminals alongside the 2.5 million war dead honored at the shrine, including World War II-era Prime Minister Hideki Tojo.

First aid ship reaches Gaza amid new efforts to step up relief to besieged enclave

The first aid ship carrying much-needed food has reached the shoreline of central Gaza as part of new efforts to ease a humanitarian crisis in the besieged enclave.

Workers have been unpacking the 200 tons of food aid on smaller boats off the shore of the Gaza City neighborhood of Sheikh Ajleen, according to a journalist on the scene who works for CNN.

The initiative is led by the non-profit World Central Kitchen (WCK) and the ship is run the Spanish charity Open Arms.

Six In The Morning Thursday 14 March 2024


‘Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah’

We reported earlier that US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Israel must make “significant course corrections” to achieve lasting peace with the Palestinians.

Here’s more on his address to the Senate, where he said Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government “no longer fits the needs of Israel” after October 7.

“At this critical juncture, I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel, at a time when so many Israelis have lost their confidence in the vision and direction of their government,” Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish politician in the US, said.

He added Netanyahu surrounded himself with far-right ministers and “has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows”.

“Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah,” Schumer said.

Pro-Ukraine exiled Russian fighters launch cross-border raid into southern Russia

Members of the Siberia, Freedom of Russia Legion and RDK battalions work closely with the Ukrainian army

Three pro-Ukrainian battalions made up of recruits from Russia have launched a fresh incursion into southern Russia in a cross-border raid meant to sow chaos before Vladimir Putin’s widely expected re-election this weekend.

The three armed groups of Russian exiled fighters, who operate in close coordination with Ukraine’s military, said they had crossed the border into the southern Kursk and Belgorod regions. In a statement, the Russian National Guard acknowledged the raid, saying that together with the armed forces, they were repelling the Ukrainian-backed armed groups’ attack near the village of Tyotkino in Russia’s western Kursk region.

India’s Citizenship Amendment Act: Why is it controversial?

Opposition parties and rights groups say the new citizenship law discriminates against Muslims and undermines the country’s secular constitution

This week, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the implementation of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), drawing sharp criticism from opposition parties and rights groups.

The CAA was passed by India‘s Parliament in 2019, but was not enforced until now.

What is the law about?

The CAA fast-tracks Indian citizenship applications of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian immigrants who escaped to India from religious persecution in Muslim-majority Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Instead of having to spend 11 years in the country to qualify for citizenship through naturalization, they would become eligible after just five years.

The law excludes Muslim immigrants from these countries, marking the first time that India has set religious criteria for citizenship.

How charity ship Open Arms is delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza

The ship Opens Arms left Cyprus for the Gaza coast on October 12 with 200 tonnes of food supplies, the first ship to sail as part of a maritime aid corridor initiated by Cyprus, with the support of the European Union, the UK and the US. Given the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the charities leading the effort felt they couldn’t wait for the US military to complete a pier to deliver aid.

The 200 tonnes of food supplies transported by the Open Arms is already bringing hope to the people of Gaza. Some Gazans even rushed to the beach near Gaza City on Sunday, hoping to see the ship and its desperately needed cargo arrive, AFP reported.

Aid agencies have warned of looming famine in the Palestinian territory of 2.4 million inhabitants.

Israel has imposed a near-total blockade on Gaza since the start of its war with Hamas five months ago.  Given the humanitarian emergency that has resulted, the EU decided to push for a maritime aid route via Cyprus, the EU country closest to Gaza.

High court: Lack of provisions for gay marriage unconstitutional


March 14, 2024 at 18:54 JST

For the first time, a high court has ruled that Japan’s lack of legal provisions for same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

The Sapporo High Court on March 14 upheld the landmark ruling of the Sapporo District Court in March 2021, which said the absence of same-sex marriage provisions in the Civil Law and Family Register Law violated Article 14 of the Constitution.

Article 14 states that everyone is equal under the law.

Fear and chaos await Haitian migrants forced back over border

By Will Grant, BBC News, on the Haiti-Dominican Republic border

At the Dajabón border crossing between the Dominican Republic and Haiti, a constant stream of trucks pulls up carrying undocumented Haitian migrants, who are being deported back to their home country.

They are being sent to a nation in the grip of its most acute humanitarian crisis since the devastating earthquake in 2010, which killed hundreds of thousands.

“I’d been in the Dominican Republic for three years,” yelled construction worker, Michael Petiton, “they came into my house and took me from my home.”

He worked hard, he insisted, doing a job most Dominicans did not want. Now he is back in Haiti with only the clothes on his back and a few tools he managed to salvage in a rucksack.

Six In The Morning Wednesday 13 March 2024


Dozens of casualties in Israeli attack on UN hub

  • Israeli attack hits UN aid distribution centre in Rafah, killing at least five people and wounding dozens.
  • Israeli forces also carry out more raids in the occupied West Bank, killing at least four Palestinians – including two minors – and destroying infrastructure.
  • Hezbollah says two of its fighters were killed after Israel launched attacks deep inside Lebanon for a second consecutive day.
  • At least 31,272 Palestinians have been killed and 73,024 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,139 and dozens continue to be held captive.

Video shows destruction of Hamad City as Israeli troops withdraw

Palestinian photographer Hassan Aslaih has posted video to his Instagram account showing the destruction of the Hamad City residential complex in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, after Israeli forces began their withdrawal from the area.

The Hamad City complex was built with funding from the state of Qatar, and has been heavily bombarded since the start of the war on Gaza.

How the fishing industry abuses workers who catch the fish we eat

One out of every five fish is caught through illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in conditions where abuse is common, according to a UN estimate

Labor groups and government officials are pushing to rein in rampant abuses of workers in the fishing industry, where migrant laborers are frequently subjected to slavery and violence from employers.

One out of every five fish is caught through illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in conditions where abuses of workers are common, according to a United Nations estimate. Some 128,000 workers are thought to be currently trapped in forced labor on remote fishing vessels around the world, according to the International Labour Organization.

Navalny ally Leonid Volkov attacked near home in Lithuania

Prominent Russian opposition figure Leonid Volkov, an ally of the late Alexei Navalny, had his arm broken in an attack. Lithuania’s intelligence service says it is highly likely that Russia is behind the attack.

Lithuanian police said they are devoting “huge resources” to investigate an attack in Vilnius on Leonid Volkov, a long-time aide to late Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Police Commissioner Renatas Pozela said on Wednesday.

Volkov was attacked Tuesday outside his home in the Lithuanian capital.

In a video on Telegram, Volkov said he was struck 15 times in the leg during the attack, and his arm was broken.

The incident sparked an uproar from the Lithuanian government.

Situation in Gaza ‘completely unimaginable’, British doctor says after mission

FRANCE 24 spoke to Basil Budair, a British orthopaedic surgeon and member of IDEALS, a charity providing medical aid in conflict zones. He recently returned from a mission at Gaza’s European hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis – one of the last health centres still operating in the besieged enclave. The World Health Organization has described the state of healthcare in Gaza as being “beyond words”. Budair called the situation “completely unimaginable” and regretted the lack of staff and medical equipment at the European hospital. He also recounted how two of his patients were severely injured in separate missile strikes and survived complex surgery, but later died of an infection that their bodies were too weak to cope with.

China demands Japan start Fukushima treated water compensation system

China has demanded Japan set up a compensation system for potential economic damage stemming from the release of treated radioactive wastewater from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

Japan has refused the demand, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency has concluded that the water discharge is safe, but China is unlikely to retract it, according to the sources familiar with bilateral relations.

Senior Chinese officials presented the demand to Japan last year several times through diplomatic channels, the sources said. Beijing has imposed an import ban on all seafood products from its neighbor since the start of the water release in August 2023.

House passes bill that could lead to US ban of TikTok

By Antoinette Radford and Brian Fung, CNN

Updated 11:40 a.m. ET, March 13, 2024

What we’re covering here

  • The House passed legislation that could ban TikTok in the US unless the app parts ways with its Chinese parent company, ByteDance. It’s a major challenge to one of the world’s most popular social media platforms, used by 170 million Americans.
  • If enacted, the bill, which passed on a bipartisan 352-65 vote, would give TikTok about five months to separate from ByteDance, or app stores in the US would be banned from hosting it on their platforms. It’s not yet clear what the fate of the measure will be in the Senate.
  • Lawmakers supportive of the bill have argued TikTok poses a national security threat because the Chinese government could use its intelligence laws against ByteDance, forcing it to hand over the data of US app users.
  • TikTok blasted the House vote and urged the Senate to “consider the facts.” China’s foreign ministry responded angrily ahead of the vote, calling it an “act of bullying.”

TikTok failed to read the political landscape, NYU analyst says

From CNN’s Brian Fung

TikTok misread years of signals from politicians that they intended to ban the app, according to Paul Barrett, deputy director of New York University’s Stern Center for Business and Human Rights.

“Faced with persistent bipartisan suspicion in the US, ByteDance and the Chinese government should have read the political signals more astutely and spun off TikTok as a stand-alone American company,” Barrett said.

“A broad U.S. ban would inhibit Americans from using TikTok to express themselves — an outcome that would limit free speech and make no one happy,” he continued.

More context: Lawmakers supportive of the bill have argued TikTok poses a national security threat because the Chinese government could use its intelligence laws against ByteDance, forcing it to hand over the data of US app users.

TikTok has called the legislation an attack on the constitutional right to freedom of expression for its users.

Six In The Morning Tuesday 12 March 2024


Qatar says truce deal ‘not near’

  • Israel and Hamas are not close to a deal to halt the fighting in Gaza and free captives, mediator Qatar says, warning that the situation remained ‘very complicated’.
  • At least eleven people were killed when Israeli forces again targeted aid seekers in Gaza.
  • The WHO chief says an aid mission managed to reach al-Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza, bringing food and medical supplies, as the Health Ministry says 2,000 medical workers in the north face famine.
  • Israel imposes restrictions on West Bank worshippers entering Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, as 35,000 gather for prayers on the first day of Ramadan.
  • At least 31,184 Palestinians have been killed and 72,889 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The revised death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,139, and dozens continue to be held captive.

US senators urge Biden to condition weapons sales to Israel

In a letter to the US president, independent Senator Bernie Sanders, and seven Democrats say that by continuing to arm Israel, Biden is violating the Foreign Assistance Act, which bars military support from going to any nation that restricts the delivery of humanitarian aid.

“We urge you to make it clear to the Netanyahu government that failure to immediately and dramatically expand humanitarian access and facilitate safe aid deliveries throughout Gaza will lead to serious consequences, as specified under existing US law,” the senators write.

Haiti PM Ariel Henry resigns after gang insurrection caused days of chaos

Henry urges people to remain calm while his government is replaced by a transitional council

The embattled Haitian prime minister, Ariel Henry, has resigned after a gang insurrection against his government plunged the country into anarchy and prevented his return from a trip to Kenya.

Henry, who is now in Puerto Rico, said he would formally quit after the installation of a transitional council to lead the Caribbean state, which has been submerged in chaos since the assassination of its president Jovenel Moïses in July 2021 by Colombian mercenaries.

Houthi attacks in Red Sea threaten internet infrastructure

The recent attack on the cargo ship Rubymar by the Iran-backed Houthis caused the crew to drop anchor, which damaged undersea internet cables, the US has said. Could the vital infrastructure now become a regular target?

A new threat has emerged from the attacks by Iran-backed Houthis on shipping in the Red Sea that have caused delays to goods arriving in Europe from Asia.

The United States said last week it believed the recent sinking of a Belize-flagged, Lebanese-operated fertilizer ship severed vital undersea cables that provide internet connectivity between the East and West.

The attack on the M/V Rubymar on February 18 “forced the crew to drop anchor and abandon ship,” a US defense official said.

Turkey, Iran and Morocco joust for influence in Africa’s Sahel

Turkey, Iran and Morocco are vying for a greater economic and military role in Africa’s Sahel after former colonial ruler France’s forced withdrawal from the volatile region.

Turkish military equipment and Moroccan and Iranian development and infrastructure projects are tempting for cash-strapped Sahelian military regimes grappling with jihadist violence.

MaliBurkina Faso and Niger have undergone coups since 2020, against a backdrop of a bloody jihadist insurgency.

Their military rulers have since exited a wider Western African bloc and created a joint defence pact to fight the jihadists.

Under-equipped Sahelian armies want “to develop endogenous capabilities to reduce our dependence”, Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Karamoko Jean Marie Traore said.

Hiroshima grapples with ‘Oppenheimer’ Oscars success

By Harumi OZAWA

Oppenheimer” had a glittering night at the Oscars but in Hiroshima, devastated by the first nuclear bomb in 1945, the film about the weapon’s creator is harder to stomach.

“Is this really a movie that people in Hiroshima can bear to watch?” said Kyoko Heya, president of the Japanese city’s international film festival, on Monday after the blockbuster won seven Academy Awards including best picture.

Christopher Nolan also picked up best director for the biopic, which was a huge hit worldwide last summer — except in Japan, where it was absent from cinemas.

Mars could be driving ‘giant whirlpools’ in the Earth’s deep oceans, new study finds

Mars may be around 140 million miles away from Earth, but the red planet is influencing our deep oceans by helping drive “giant whirlpools,” according to new research.

Scientists analyzed sediments, drilled from hundreds of deep-sea sites over the past half century, to look back tens of millions of years into Earth’s past, in a quest to better understand the strength of deep ocean currents.

What they found surprised them.

The sediments revealed that deep-sea currents weakened and strengthened over 2.4 million-year climate cycles, according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications.

Six In The Morning Monday 11 March 2024

US defence contractor paid commissions to Saudi firm later alleged to be conduit for bribes

Harris had longstanding relationship with ABTSS, later alleged by British prosecutors to have handled or received illegal payments

One of the largest military contractors in the US paid commissions to a Saudi company later alleged to have been a conduit for bribes for the kingdom’s royal family.

A document disclosed in a UK criminal trial revealed that Harris Corporation, now L3Harris, paid commissions to the Saudi company for over two decades for services in the kingdom.

The Saudi company that received the payments was run by the Fustoks, a Lebanese family that has had a close relationship with one branch of the Saudi royal clan for decades, according to court documents.

Israeli human rights groups accuse country of failing to abide by ICJ’s Gaza aid ruling

Exclusive: 12 prominent organisations sign open letter criticising lack of humanitarian access

Twelve of Israel’s most prominent human rights organisations have signed an open letter accusing the country of failing to comply with the international court of justice’s (ICJ) provisional ruling that it should facilitate access of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

The court in The Hague made a number of legal requirements of Israel when it issued a provisional ruling in late January in response to South Africa’s complaint accusing the state of committing genocide in its military campaign in Gaza.

EU states agree to regulate Deliveroo, Uber workers’ rights

EU ministers have agreed that the bloc should regulate the circumstances under which “gig economy” workers would be granted employee rights. The rules would apply to platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber.

European Union member states’ labor and social ministers on Monday agreed on regulations that determine when workers on platforms like Uber and Deliveroo should be classified as employees.

The Platform Work Directive would categorize workers on “gig-economy” apps as employees in certain cases. This would apply where the platform supervises workers’ performances electronically and controls factors like how much they are paid and their working hours.

“Better working conditions for those delivering your meal at home!” the rotating Belgian EU presidency tweeted on X, formerly known as Twitter. Belgian officials mediated talks to pass the legislation in Brussels on Monday.

Emergency summit in Jamaica to address spiraling instability in Haiti

US, Canadian, French and Caribbean envoys were meeting Monday in Jamaica to address the spiraling instability in Haiti, where gang violence has crippled the capital and forced foreign diplomats to evacuate over the weekend.

Armed groups, which already control much of Port-au-Prince as well as roads leading to the rest of the country, have unleashed havoc in recent days as they try to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

In power since the 2021 assassination of president Jovenel Moise, Henry had been visiting Kenya, in search of support for a UN-backed security support mission, when the latest burst of violence broke out.

Unable to return to Haiti last week, he instead landed in the US territory of Puerto Rico, where he remained on Monday, according to a US official.

The CARICOM group of Caribbean nations has summoned its leaders as well as envoys from the United States, France, Canada and the United Nations to a meeting in Kingston, Jamaica to discuss the crisis.

Japan marks 13 years since quake-tsunami triggered nuclear disaster

Japan on Monday marked 13 years since a massive earthquake and tsunami devastated its northeastern region and triggered one of the world’s worst nuclear accidents, with the government vowing to keep the memory of it alive to better respond to current and future disasters.

While recovery has progressed in areas hit by the magnitude-9.0 quake and ensuing tsunami, which claimed the lives of 15,900 people, around 29,000 people are still displaced with cleanup efforts at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant expected to span decades.

In a memorial ceremony held in Fukushima, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he will not let the lessons of the March 11 disaster “fade away” in the quake-prone nation, which most recently saw a powerful temblor shake Ishikawa Prefecture in central Japan on New Year’s Day.

(Editors note: I was living just north of Tokyo when the earthquake and tsunami occurred.)

India implements ‘anti-Muslim’ 2019 citizenship law weeks before election

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government announces rules to implement the controversial law, weeks before he seeks a rare third term in vote due by May.

The Indian government has announced rules to implement the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), weeks before Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeks a rare third term for his Hindu nationalist government.

The controversial law passed in 2019 by Modi’s government allowed Indian citizenship for non-Muslim refugees from India’s neighbouring countries.

It declared that Hindus, Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Christians who fled to Hindu-majority India from mainly Muslim Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan before December 31, 2014, were eligible for citizenship.

Six In The Morning Sunday 10 March 2024

US military ship heading to Gaza to build port

By Tiffany Wertheimer, BBC News


A US military ship is sailing towards the Middle East, carrying equipment to build a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza, the army says.

The support ship, General Frank S Besson, set sail from a military base in the state of Virginia on Saturday.

It comes after President Joe Biden said the US would build the floating harbour to help get aid into Gaza by sea.

The UN has warned that famine in the Gaza Strip is “almost inevitable” and children are starving to death.


Pope provokes outrage by saying Ukraine should ‘raise white flag’ and end war with Russia

Francis’s failure to condemn Moscow as aggressor decried as ‘shameful’ and ‘incomprehensible’

The Ukrainian government has responded angrily and vowed never to surrender after Pope Francis said the country should have “the courage to raise the white flag” and negotiate an end to the war with Russia.

“Our flag is a yellow and blue one. This is the flag by which we live, die, and prevail. We shall never raise any other flags,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said on social media on Sunday.

Politicians and commentators in Europe expressed outrage after the pontiff gave an interview in which he appeared to stay silent on Russia’s crimes as aggressor in the invasion and placed the onus on Ukraine to make peace.

An Agent for Russia?The Double Life of Former Wirecard Executive Jan Marsalek

Since the collapse of Wirecard, Jan Marsalek has been on the run and is one of the most wanted men in the world. A DER SPIEGEL investigation has revealed how he went underground and that he’s a Russian spy.

It’s the middle of summer in Nice, and the Mediterranean is lapping gently against the walls of the quay. A man with shortly trimmed dark hair in a black suit and a radiant white shirt is striding briskly toward a cutter. A second man is carrying his case. An attractive woman – tall and blond, her summer dress fluttering in the wind – is pacing on the aft deck of the Poseidon III, laughing nervously. Her name is Natalya Zlobina, and she is the Russian lover of Jan Marsalek, one of the most-wanted men in Europe.

The scene, recorded by a camera at the Port of Nice, becomes a bit blurry. The man in the black suit climbs down a ladder to the Poseidon III and greets the woman with a kiss. She laughs; he seems annoyed. Now, it’s possible to recognize his face, well-known these days from the wanted posters plastered on the walls of train stations and airports: It is Jan Marsalek himself, the former COO of Wirecard, which was once listed on Germany’s blue-chip stock index, the DAX. He has been on the run since June 2020.

Haiti’s capital ‘under siege’ as armed gangs attack key infrastructure

Residents of Haiti’s capital scrambled for safety on Saturday following the latest spasm of gang violence, with a UN group warning of a “city under siege” after armed attackers targeted the presidential palace and police headquarters.

Criminal groups, which already control much of Port-au-Prince as well as roads leading to the rest of the country, have unleashed havoc in recent days as they try to oust Prime Minister Ariel Henry as leader of the Western hemisphere’s poorest country.

On Saturday, dozens of residents were seeking safety in public buildings, with some successfully breaking into one facility, according to an AFP correspondent.

The unrest has seen 362,000 Haitians internally displaced — more than half of them children and some forced to move multiple times, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Saturday.

Germany’s RAF terrorism — an unresolved story

Left-wing terrorism once shook the Federal Republic of Germany. The Red Army Faction emerged from the radicalized student protest movement in the 1960s and ’70s.

Even today, talk of the Red Army Faction (RAF) often provokes a heated debate in Germany. The crimes of the RAF, said Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) at the end of February, are “today still unmatched as examples of the dangers of left-wing extremism and left-wing terrorism in the Federal Republic of Germany.”

More than a quarter of a century has passed since the terrorist organization announced its dissolution. Nonetheless, there are those who are still grieving, victims who are still injured, RAF members who are still on the run — and many unanswered questions. At the end of February 2024, after many years without success, special police units began once again publicly tracking down the last prominent suspects involved in RAF terrorism.

13-year-old has eureka moment with science project that suggests Archimedes’ invention was plausible

Often called the father of mathematics, Archimedes was one of the most famous inventors in ancient Greece, with some of his ideas and principles still in use today.

But one fabled device has left scientists speculating on its existence for hundreds of years — the death ray. Now, a middle schooler may have some answers.

Brenden Sener, 13, of London, Ontario, has won two gold medals and a London Public Library award for his minuscule version of the contraption — a supposed war weapon made up of a large array of mirrors designed to focus and aim sunlight on a target, such as a ship, and cause combustion — according to a paper published in the January issue of the Canadian Science Fair Journal.

Six In The Morning Saturday 9 March 2024


Hamas says US must push Israel to open borders

  • A Hamas spokesperson says the US plan to build a temporary port off Gaza’s coast to deliver humanitarian aid “is a step in the right direction”, but Israel needs to be pressured to open all Gaza borders.
  • Israeli attacks have killed 82 Palestinians and wounded 122 in the past 24 hours, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.
  • US President Joe Biden says it was “looking tough” for a ceasefire agreement in Gaza by the start of Ramadan. He also said he was concerned about violence in East Jerusalem without a ceasefire.
  • Three more children have died of malnutrition and dehydration at Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital, Palestinian officials said, bringing the confirmed toll from starvation to 23.
  • At least 30,960 Palestinians have been killed and 72,524 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attacks stands at 1,139, and dozens continue to be held captive.

13 Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks; death toll likely to rise

Tareq Abu Azzoum
Reporting from Rafah, southern Gaza

There has been a wide scale of destruction in the past few hours because of unrelenting bombardment carried out by the Israeli military.

In the Nuseirat refugee camp, at least 13 Palestinians were killed after a home was destroyed with civil defence crews now working to recover all the victims from under the rubble. The death toll and number of wounded is expected to rise.

Nuseirat, in Deir el-Balah, has previously been attacked by Israeli artillery stationed on the outskirts of the city.

Rare glimpse inside China’s halls of power as Beijing hosts major political event amid high security

‘Two Sessions’, the country’s most high-profile political forum, is open to the world, but protests in Beijing will meet with a tough response

Across Beijing, security guards stand shivering. Residents of the heavily monitored capital city are used to encountering security guards, members of an urban management force called chengguan, and police officers every few blocks. But this week, as China hosts its biggest political meetings of the year, even more muscle has turned up in Beijing.

Since Monday, Beijing has been hosting the Two Sessions, concurrent meetings of China’s top political consultative body and its rubber-stamp parliament, the National People’s Congress (NPC). The meetings, which are expected to finish on Monday, are China’s most high-profile annual political event, in which thousands of delegates gather inside the Great Hall of the People, an enormous Communist-era building that looms over the western edge of Tiananmen Square.

Poland won’t rule out NATO force in Ukraine

Poland’s foreign minister says the presence of NATO forces in Ukraine is “not unthinkable.” Meanwhile, nearly 50 Ukrainian combat drones have been shot down in Russia, according to Russian officials. DW has more.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski responded positively to French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent comments about the deployment of Western troops in Ukraine.

“The presence of NATO forces in Ukraine is not unthinkable,” Sikorski wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

On the contrary, British Foreign Minister David Cameron has stated that he opposes the deployment of Western troops in Ukraine, even for training purposes.

Senegal kicks off shortened election campaign after vote postponement crisis

Senegalese presidential candidates launched their shortened campaigns on Saturday, two days after a court confirmed the election would be held on March 24, ending weeks of uncertainty and kick-starting a competition that remains wide open.

Tensions have gripped the country since early February, when a bid by President Macky Sall to postpone by 10 months a vote that had been due to take place on Feb. 25 provoked widespread protests and warnings by critics of democratic backsliding.

Senegal, a country of 18 million, is normally one of West Africa‘s most stable democracies.

The worst of the crisis appears to be over after the Constitutional Council ruled that the vote must be held before Sall’s mandate expires on April 2.

TOWARDS EQUALITY: Fog harvesting liberates the women of Sidi Ifni in Morocco

By Khadija Skalli/ L’Économiste du Maroc (Morocco)

March 9, 2024 at 07:30 JST

At an altitude of 1,225 meters, at the top of Mount Boutmezguida in Morocco, an innovative technology captures water droplets from the fog.

This ambitious project, the largest park of water harvesters in the world, has already changed the lives of 300 women and girls, who are freed from the burden of having to collect water.

Today, they dedicate their free time to education, reading, writing and developing new skills, all the while conserving their role as “water guardians.”

Legal row could finally force mystery artist Banksy to reveal his real name

Two art collectors are taking legal action against artist over his ‘refusal’ to confirm the authenticity of one of his famous images

His identity has long been a matter of speculation and investigation, but Banksy may be forced to reveal his real name if a dispute over a print of the late Queen Elizabeth depicted as a bejewelled primate ends up in court.

Two art collectors are taking legal action against the graffiti artist’s company, Pest Control, following its apparent refusal to confirm the authenticity of Monkey Queen. After three years of trying to get an answer, Nicky Katz and Ray Howse have lost patience and are suing Pest Control for breach of contract.

They point to Pest Control’s website, which states that it will issue a certificate of authenticity for “paintings, prints, sculptures and other attempts at creativity”. It likens the certificate to “an MOT for the art world”: “[It] means you can buy, sell or insure a piece of art knowing it’s legitimate and the wheels won’t fall off.”

Six In The Morning Friday 8 March 2024

Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas

By Kathleen Magramo, Sana Noor Haq and Aditi Sangal, CNN

Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT) March 8, 2024

What we’re covering

  • The European Union said Friday it is planning to open an emergency maritime aid corridor from Cyprus to Gaza this weekend in a joint effort with allies, including the US. It comes after US President Joe Biden announced plans to establish a temporary port to bring desperately needed additional humanitarian aid into the war-torn enclave.
  • Speaking in his State of the Union address, Biden said “Israel has a right to go after Hamas,” but it is also responsible for protecting civilians. He also reiterated US calls for a two-state solution to bring peace to the Middle East.
  • Displaced Palestinians say they are struggling to feed their children as Israel severely restricts aid deliveries. A senior US official said Israel has “prepared a new land crossing directly into northern Gaza,” following weeks of increased US pressure as the humanitarian crisis worsens.
  • With no obvious breakthrough in negotiations aimed at reaching a ceasefire in exchange for hostage releases, a deal appears unlikely to happen by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

UN: Iran committed crimes against humanity during protest crackdown

Fact-finding mission concludes regime murdered, imprisoned, tortured and raped those who protested the death of Mahsa Amini

The Iranian regime’s human rights violations during its brutal suppression of protests in 2022 amount to crimes against humanity, a UN fact-finding mission (FFM) has said.

Established by the UN human rights council in November 2022 – two months after the Woman, Life, Freedom protests swept the country in response to the death in custody of Mahsa Amini – the FFM has released a report concluding the regime carried out widespread and sustained human rights violations against its own people, which broke international laws and specifically targeted women and girls.

International Women’s Day: What’s happening around the world

Ireland is voting on constitutional changes over equality on the day that focuses on women’s rights. UNICEF, meanwhile, has warned that female genital mutilation “is declining, but not fast enough.” DW has the latest.

International Women’s Day (IWD) was recognized on Friday with Ireland holding two referendums on proposals to modernize constitutional references, billing the votes as opportunities to embed equality.

The United Nations, meanwhile, has highlighted the plight of more than 200 million females who have undergone genital mutilation.

With all this and more, DW looks into how the globe is reacting to IWD.

French cinema has its #MeToo moment, sparking growing need for intimacy coordinators

A cascade of sexual violence allegations has rocked the French film industry in recent months, with actor Judith Godrèche leading the charge for a reckoning about gender-based abuse. Calls to safeguard actors on set are growing, as is the need for intimacy coordinators – a job that is yet to be officially recognised in France.

For the first time in history, an actor spoke to MPs in the French upper house of parliament about sexual violence and gender-based abuse in the film industry last week.

Addressing the Senate’s women’s rights committee, actor Judith Godrèche called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry into gender-based violence and reprehended the “incestuous family” that is French cinema.

The actor-turned-filmmaker has become a bellwether for France’s #MeToo movement. She recently accused two filmmakers, Benoît Jacquot and Jacques Doillon, of sexually assaulting her as a teenager. Both men have denied the allegations.

‘Dragon Ball’ manga artist Akira Toriyama dies at 68


March 8, 2024 at 18:31 JST

Acclaimed manga artist Akira Toriyama, creator of the global hits “Dragon Ball” and “Dr. Slump,” died on March 1 due to acute subdural hematoma, according to his publisher Shueisha Inc. He was 68.

A private funeral was held for close family members.

Tributes are pouring in from across the industry in the face of the passing of the modern manga giant. 

“He departed too early, leaving too big a gap behind him,” said Eiichiro Oda, the creator of the best-selling manga series “One Piece.” “I’m overwhelmed with the sadness that I will never see him again.” 

Nigeria abduction: Hundreds of pupils missing after gunmen storm school

Search and rescue team deployed to find missing children, a majority of them aged between eight and 15.

Hundreds of pupils are missing after gunmen attacked a school in northwestern Nigeria in the second mass abduction within a week in the country.

Local government officials in Kaduna state confirmed the kidnappings from Kuriga school on Thursday, but did not provide figures as they were working out how many children had been abducted.

Reporting from the capital, Abuja, on Friday, Al Jazeera’s Fidelis Mbah said school authorities told the state governor that about 25 of the abducted students had been returned to their parents, but 275 remained missing.

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