Nov 19 2023
Nov 18 2023
Civilians flee main Gaza hospital on foot
Footage has emerged online claiming to show the aftermath of a strike on the UNRWA-run al-Fakhoura School in Jabalia – which has been used a shelter for displaced people.
BBC Verify has geolocated the footage to the school.
The video, which is 1 minute 40 seconds long, begins at the western corner of the school building and tracks through various rooms and stairwells as the camera moves down towards the ground floor.
Many people – including women and children – are seen with severe injuries or lying motionless on the floor in different parts of the building. There are more than 20 such casualties visible in the footage, and around half of these are seen in one particular room on the ground floor, which also shows signs of considerable damage.
UN-run schools have been used as shelters for Gazans in the north. The weather conditions evident in the footage match the forecast from today and no previous versions of the video have been found online.
BBC Verify will continue review this and any other footage of the incident to establish further details.
- Hundreds of people have been leaving al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City – the site that Israeli forces have been searching for days
- Pictures show columns of Palestinians fleeing on foot, some waving white flags
- A journalist among those leaving the hospital said there was gunfire and explosions overnight, and that bulldozers had dug huge holes in the hospital yard
- The hospital director said the Israeli military had ordered an evacuation but the IDF denied this, saying it helped people leave after the director requested it
‘Shocking’ scale of UK government’s secret files on critics revealed
Dossiers were compiled by 15 departments after scouring social media activity to vet people invited to speak at official events
Fifteen government departments have been monitoring the social media activity of potential critics and compiling “secret files” in order to block them from speaking at public events, the Observer can reveal.
Under the guidelines issued in each department, including the departments of health, culture, media and sport, and environment, food and rural affairs, officials are advised to check experts’ Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts. They are also told to conduct Google searches on those individuals, using specific terms such as “criticism of government or prime minister”.
Thousands protest in Madrid over proposed amnesty for Catalan separatists
Tens of thousands of Spaniards took to the streets of Madrid on Saturday to denounce a proposed amnesty law for Catalan separatists and activists, which was key for the left-wing government to retain power.
Cries of “Sanchez, traitor”, “Sanchez in jail” and “Catalonia is Spain” were shouted by protesters of all ages who carried Spanish and other European flags distributed by the European People’s Party.
“What Pedro Sanchez wants is to cut Spain into pieces, to have the Basque country on one side and Catalonia on the other, and to say nothing happened,” said Maria Angeles Galan, a 65-year-old retiree from Madrid at the rally.
Kishida to press China on Fukushima ban after deal on expert talks
AFP-JIJI, STAFF REPORT
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Friday that China had agreed to expert-level talks aimed at addressing its ban on Japanese seafood following the release of Fukushima wastewater.
China banned all Japanese seafood imports in August after Japan began to release the treated wastewater from the nuclear plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that hit the Tohoku region.
Kishida said he discussed the wastewater row with Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met Thursday on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific summit in San Francisco.
An Italian ski resort shut down by climate change plans to reopen with artificial snow. Not everyone is happy
There are few things Italians do better than dreaming big against the odds. Take the multi-million-dollar plan that’s been in the works since the 1990s to build the world’s longest suspension bridge across the Straits of Messina in the heart of Mafia land. Or the very existence of the city of Venice, built on a lagoon system that’s now better protected from extreme weather by mechanical flood gates that took more than 20 years to realize.
Now, plans to build a multi-million-dollar ski facility on a snowless northern Italian mountain may prove equally challenging.
The bald mountain is the Monte San Primo, a gorgeous 1,682 meter (5,518 foot) promontory that accounts for much of the landscape view from the north end of Lake Como. The quaint cobblestone city of Bellagio, at its base, is known as the “pearl” of the lake for beauty that has lured A-list celebs (and wealthy Russians), who own the majority of lavish villas nearby.
Elon Musk to file ‘thermonuclear lawsuit’ as advertisers desert X
Social media firm boss says he will sue media watchdog that said ads were being placed alongside antisemitic content
Elon Musk has said he will be filing a “thermonuclear lawsuit” against Media Matters and others, after major US companies paused their adverts on his social media site over concerns about antisemitism.
The media watchdog Media Matters said earlier this week that it found corporate advertisements by IBM, Apple, Oracle and Comcast’s Xfinity were being placed alongside antisemitic content, including that praising Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.
It led to a number of big names in technology and media announcing they would be withdrawing their advertising. It also included Warner Brothers, Paramount and Disney.
Nov 17 2023
Russia seeks extremist label for ‘LGBT movement’
Russia’s justice ministry has filed a motion with the country’s Supreme Court to ban the activities of what it calls the “international LGBT public movement” as extremist.
It is unclear whether the ministry’s statement refers to the LGBT community as a whole or specific organisations.
It said the movement had shown signs of “extremist activity”, including inciting “social and religious strife”.
The ban could leave any LGBT activist vulnerable to criminal prosecution.
Revealed: Abramovich, the super-agent and the footballers owned as ‘commodities’
Investigation shows how two of the most powerful men in football controlled the careers of 21 young players
The entire population of Tillmitsch, in the mountainous Austrian wine-growing region of Styria, could fit into Manchester City FC’s 53,400-seater Etihad Stadium more than 14 times over.
The local team plays in the lowly fourth tier of Austrian football, a far cry from the pinnacle of the global footballing pyramid occupied by the Manchester club.
Yet if life had taken a slightly different turn, the 6ft 4in central defender Emir Dautović – who patrols the penalty box for SV Tillmitsch when he isn’t working for a frozen foods company – might have starred for the reigning English and European champions.
Lithium mining in Africa reveals dark side of green energy
An August fact-finding mission by the Mineworkers Union of Namibia into the Uis mine — which is operated by Chinese mining company Xinfeng Investments — found that the mine’s local employees live in tiny, hot shacks made of corrugated zinc and without proper ventilation.
The union also faulted a lack of privacy in the sanitation blocks, where toilets and showers are lined up without partitions between them. By contrast, the mine’s Chinese workers have comfortable air-conditioned rooms and decent bathrooms.
‘Fiery hell’: Ukraine secures multiple strategic areas along eastern bank of Dnipro River
Ukraine’s marine corps said Friday it has secured multiple bridgeheads on the eastern bank of the Dnieper River in the Kherson region in fighting it described as having left nearly 3,500 Russians killed or wounded and dozens of ammunition depots, tanks, armored vehicles and other weaponry destroyed.
The Marine Infantry Command’s claims are the first to come directly from the Ukrainian military about advances across one of Russia’s most significant strategic barriers. Earlier this week, Andriy Yermak, head of the president’s office, confirmed for the first time that Ukraine had established a foothold on the eastern side of the river.
The wide river is a natural dividing line along the southern battlefront and Moscow’s forces have used it since leaving the area around the city of Kherson in November 2022 to prevent Ukrainian troops from advancing further toward Russian-annexed Crimea.
Western officials with knowledge of intelligence, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive information, said Thursday that Ukraine has portions of three brigades across the river and was expected to make small gains as Russians have so far been unable to repel them.
China, Japan reaffirm strategic relationship in rare leader talks
Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida committed to pursuing mutually-beneficial relations in their first face-to-face talks in a year, a sign that Asia’s two largest economies are looking to patch up strained ties.
The two leaders also discussed China’s ban on Japanese seafood and the high-profile case of a Japanese businessman detained in China during their hour-long talks on the sidelines of the APEC summit in San Francisco on Thursday evening.
The countries should “focus on common interests” and reaffirm their “strategic relationship of mutual benefit and give it new meaning,” Xi told Kishida as they sat across from one another at a table flanked by their delegations.
‘Where will I leave these children, on the street?’ The struggle for survival faced by disabled Palestinians in Gaza
Since Israel’s complete siege on Gaza began, Hazem Saeed Al-Naizi, the director of an orphanage in Gaza City, had been gripped with fear, worried about when food, water and other basic necessities might run out for the dozens of children and young people in his care, most of whom are living with disabilities.When a strike hit a mosque near the Mabarat Al-Rahma orphanage on October 27, blowing out windows, scattering the building with debris, igniting a fire and filling the air with smoke, Al-Naizi said he was confronted with the agonizing decision of whether to evacuate the children and young people.“There was chaos in the place, children crying, and smoke and fire spread,” Al-Naizi told CNN, sharing videos of the aftermath. “We quickly moved the children to a safe place and extinguished the fire to get rid of the smoke that almost killed us all.”
Nov 16 2023
Israel-Hamas war live: Al-Shifa Hospital head says situation ‘catastrophic’
‘People will die,’ al-Shifa director warns as hospital besieged
Muhammad Abu Salmiya, the director of Gaza’s largest health facility, said “no one can reach or leave the besieged hospital”.
“People inside will die if no aid reaches them and many patients in need of urgent medical needs could die if they cannot reach the hospital on time,” he told Al Jazeera.
More Israeli raids taking place in occupied West Bank
These raids are not related to the shooting [at the checkpoint near Jerusalem].
One of them – the longest – has been in al-Mughayyir village near Ramallah.
Also we have another raid that has been going on in a village near Bethlehem where we’ve seen the demolition of three homes.
We can tell you that the number of Palestinian structures that have been demolished since October 7 has been 139, so it remains a tense situation in the occupied West Bank.
Russian artist who protested against Ukraine war jailed for seven years
Aleksandra Skochilenko admits replacing supermarket price tags with pieces of paper urging shoppers to stop the war
A Russian court has sentenced a St Petersburg artist to seven years in prison in a closely watched trial that has highlighted the severe punishments meted out to ordinary Russians for even small acts of civil protest against the invasion of Ukraine.
Aleksandra “Sasha” Skochilenko, an artist, musician and activist, was found guilty on Thursday of “knowingly spreading false information about the Russian army” in March 2022. The artist admitted replacing five price tags in a local supermarket with pieces of paper urging shoppers to stop the war and resist propaganda on television.
Finland to close Russia border points amid heavy migration
Finnish authorities have reported a sharp rise in the number of undocumented asylum-seekers arriving via Russia, and alleged that Russian authorities are facilitating the movement of migrants to the border region.
Finland’s prime minister Petteri Orpo on Thursday said that four of the country’s nine crossing points on its long eastern border with Russia will be closed starting Saturday in an attempt to stem the flow of asylum seekers.
“The government has today decided that Finland will close some eastern border crossing points,” Orpo told a press conference.
The move comes in response to a sharp increase in the number of asylum-seekers from countries such as Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, who Finnish authorities are being purposely ushered towards the border by Russia.
Iran releases prize-winning rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh
Iranian authorities on Wednesday released the prize-winning rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh after she spent more than two weeks in prison, her husband said.
Sotoudeh, who has spent much of the past decade in and out of prison serving a myriad of sentences in cases linked to her activism, was after her arrest moved to Qarchak women’s prison outside Tehran and subsequently to Evin prison in the capital.
“Nasrin was released from prison a few hours ago after posting bail,” her husband Reza Khandan wrote on X, formerly Twitter, posting a picture with his wife who was defiantly not wearing the headscarf obligatory for women in the Islamic republic.
Rightist arrested after car rams fence outside Israeli Embassy
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
November 16, 2023 at 13:25 JST
A man with ties to a rightist group was arrested on Nov. 16 for ramming a car into a metal fence on the street outside the Israeli Embassy in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward.
The incident, which occurred around 11 a.m., followed recent rallies staged by protesters around Japan demanding an end to the bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Israel’s war against Hamas.
Elon Musk agrees with antisemitic X post that claims Jews ‘push hatred’ against White people
Agreeing with an antisemitic post on his social media platform X, Elon Musk endorsed the claim that Jewish communities push “hatred against Whites.”
An X post Wednesday afternoon said: “Jewish communties (sic) have been pushing the exact kind of dialectical hatred against whites that they claim to want people to stop using against them.” The post also referenced “hordes of minorities” flooding Western countries, a popular antisemitic conspiracy theory.
In response, Musk said: “You have said the actual truth.”
Nov 15 2023
Journalist in hospital says younger men interrogated as situation remains tense
Rushdi Abu Alouf
Reporting from Khan Younis
The Israeli operation inside Al-Shifa hospital is still going on some 15 hours after tanks and soldiers were sent in.
I spoke to a contact inside in the hospital who said Israeli troops were investigating and talking to hundreds of people at the facility.
He told me the soldiers made an order over a loudspeaker in Arabic for any men aged between 16 and 40 to leave all hospital buildings and go into the courtyard.
Medical teams, patients and women were not told to leave.
Soldiers asked some of those who left the buildings were to strip down to their underwear, before being interrogated, he told me.
- A journalist inside the hospital tells the BBC that soldiers are going room to room and interrogating people but there is no shooting taking place
- He said commandos had entered the main emergency department, with tanks also in the hospital area
- Israel accuses Hamas of running a command centre in tunnels under the hospital and the US says it has intelligence that supports this
- Hamas denies this and says the raid on the hospital is a war crime – hundreds of civilians have been sheltering there, alongside patients and staff
Russia and Israel lead global surge in attacks on civilian water supplies
Exclusive: at least 228 water conflicts were recorded in 2022 – an 87% rise on the year before, Pacific Institute database shows
At least 228 water conflicts were documented in 2022 – an 87% rise since 2021, according to research by the Pacific Institute shared exclusively with the Guardian.
The incidents include Israeli settlers sabotaging wells in the occupied West Bank, state violence against protesters demanding safe drinking water in Iran, nomadic pastoralists and farmers fighting over scarce supplies in sub-Saharan Africa, and Russia bombarding dams and water treatment plants in Ukraine.
Rwanda migration plan ‘unlawful,’ UK top court rules
The British government’s plan to send asylum-seekers who arrive by irregular means to Rwanda is not lawful, the UK Supreme Court has ruled. The government says it “takes issue” with the ruling.
The UK Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a controversial British government plan to send asylum-seekers who arrive in the country as stowaways or in boats to Rwandais unlawful.
Five justices on the country’s top court said asylum-seekers would be “at real risk of ill-treatment” because they could be sent back to their home countries once they were in Rwanda.
The government appealed to the Supreme Court after a lower court had already ruled that the removal policy to the East African country was unlawful because Rwanda could not be considered a safe third country.
Mali: How junta and Wagner forces seized control of rebel stronghold Kidal
Mali’s army has recaptured the strategic northern town of Kidal, a stronghold of Tuareg-dominated separatist groups that has long posed a major sovereignty issue for the ruling junta. The capture is a significant symbolic success for Mali’s military leaders, who seized power in 2020. France 24’s Wassim Nasr takes a look at how the army were able to take back the city, including with the help of Wagner troops.
Fossil fuel interests have large, yet often murky, presence at climate talks
The badges said they were there to participate in negotiations to curb climate change. They stated affiliations like the government of Brazil, Indigenous organizations of the Amazon, the Climate Registry. But in reality, the livelihoods of these participants were more aligned with what’s keeping the problem going: fossil fuels.
Close to 400 people connected in some way or another to fossil fuel industries attended last year’s United Nations’ climate talks in Egypt, a grouping that was larger than all but two of the national delegations sent by countries, according to a data analysis of the more than 24,000 participants by The Associated Press.
As United Nations leaders, scientists and others called for an eventual elimination of coal, oil and natural gas, various delegations included attendees who in some way owed part or all of their paychecks to fossil fuel burning. Many of these same people, and possibly even more connected to fossil fuels, will likely be at this year’s official climate talks, known as Conference of Parties or COP, being hosted by the United Arab Emirates, a major oil producing country.
US and China pledge to ramp up renewables in place of planet-warming fossil fuels ahead of Biden-Xi summit
The United States and China have agreed to resume a working group on climate cooperation and pledged a major ramp-up of renewable energy, the two sides announced Wednesday ahead of a leaders’ summit in San Francisco, as the world’s two largest polluters seek to overcome their geopolitical tensions to tackle the climate crisis.The announcement came hours before US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are set to sit down on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit for their first talk in a year – a highly anticipated meeting aimed at stabilizing rocky relations.Cooperation on climate change has long been seen as a rare bright spot in an otherwise difficult US-China relationship strained by tensions over trade, technology, human rights and geopolitics. But even that bright spot had dimmed over the past year, with Beijing cutting off climate talks with Washington in retaliation for a high-level US visit to Taiwan last summer.
Nov 14 2023
Why this war in Gaza is different to the others
If this Gaza war was like all the others, a ceasefire would probably have been in force by now.
But now the fault lines that divide the Middle East are rumbling. For at least two decades, the most serious rift in the region has been between the friends and allies of Iran, and the friends and allies of the United States.
The core of Iran’s network is made up of Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Assad regime in Syria, the Houthis in Yemen and assorted Iraqi militias that are armed and trained by Iran. The Iranians have also supported Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.
Iran is also getting closer to Russia and China. It has become a significant part of Russia’s war effort in Ukraine and China buys a great deal of Iranian oil.
The longer the war in Gaza goes on, and as Israel kills more Palestinian civilians and destroys tens of thousands of homes, the greater the risk of conflict involving some members of those two camps.
- A mass grave is being dug at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, a witness tells our reporter in Gaza
- The witness says he saw 30 bodies buried there – a doctor at the hospital says the total is 200 bodies
- Fighting between Israel and Hamas is raging in Gaza City, including at the hospital site
- Israel has accused Hamas of running a command centre under Al-Shifa – which the hospital and Hamas deny
- The hospital’s lack of fuel means premature babies and dialysis patients can’t get treatment, the UN warned earlier
- Meanwhile, Israel confirms the death of 19-year-old Noa Marciano, a soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas last month
- Israel began striking Gaza after the Hamas attacks on 7 October, in which 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 taken hostage
- The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since – of whom more than 4,500 were children
Top German journalist received €600,000 from Putin ally, leak reveals
Influential author and broadcaster Hubert Seipel received financial support for his work on two books described by many as sympathetic to Russian president
Aleading western journalist who has long been considered one of Germany’s top independent experts on Russia received at least €600,000 (£522,000) in undisclosed offshore payments from companies linked to an oligarch close to Vladimir Putin, leaked files have revealed.
Hubert Seipel, an award-winning film-maker and author, was paid money in instalments, which documents suggest was to support his work on two books he wrote that chart Putin’s rise to power and offer portrayals described by many as sympathetic to the Russian president.
The case is one of the first linking an influential western journalist with significant payments in what could be seen by some as attempts by pro-Putin actors to secure positive coverage in the international media.
India: Prize winning author Arundhati Roy faces prosecution
Invited to speak at the Munich Literature Festival, Booker Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy cannot travel to Germany, as she faces charges in India over comments she made in 2010.
Indian author Arundhati Roy was invited to give the opening speech at the Munich Literature Festival, which takes place from November 15 to December 3. However, the renowned novelist cannot travel to Germany, as she faces new charges in her home country related to comments she made 13 years ago.
While she will not be giving the festival’s opening address, she will nevertheless contribute to a panel discussion at the festival on the situation in India, via video link, on November 16.
In 2010, Roy made a speech about Kashmir, and her comments that the disputed region has never been an “integral” part of India have been dredged up once more. She now faces fresh charges for “offences related to provocative speech and the promotion of enmity between different groups.” The prosecution could lead to a prison sentence of up to seven years.
French right ‘toughens up’ new bill aimed at controlling immigration
France’s upper house Senate on Tuesday passed a bill aimed at controlling immigration, toughening the language and measures of the legislation in a manner likely to complicate the government’s search for compromise in the lower house.
Originally proposed by President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government with a mix of steps to expel more undocumented people and improve integration, the text – voted through by 210 to 115 – now leans firmly towards enforcement after its passage through the Senate, which is controlled by the right.
“The Senate has restored the bill’s consistency by toughening it up,” said Bruno Retailleau, the head of the right-wing Republicans faction in the upper house.
Most bitterly contested was the government’s plan to offer a general right for undocumented migrants working in sectors with labour shortages to stay legally.
Environmental change threatens what’s left of Japan’s cormorant fishing legacy
By Kim Kyung-Hoon
Cormorants have been a constant presence in Yoichiro Adachi’s life, and when he was young, he cried whenever one of his family’s birds died.
Now 48, Adachi still cares deeply for his birds, drawing them out of their baskets each morning and stroking their long necks to confirm their health and maintain a bond.
“For me, cormorants are my partners,” he said.
Adachi is the 18th generation of his family to be a master cormorant fishermen, and one of about 50 people in Japan carrying on the 1,300-year tradition of using trained birds to dive for fish. It is considered the ideal way to catch the sweet ayu river fish, and his family has a hereditary mandate to supply the delicacy to the Japanese imperial household.
Russia, al-Assad step up Syria bombing amid world focus on Israel-Gaza war
Russian and Syrian regime attacks have killed 66 civilians since the start of October, and displaced 120,000 people.
Syrian government forces and Russia have stepped up the bombardment of northwest Syria, killing dozens of people, including children, and wounding hundreds of others, opposition leaders and emergency volunteers have said, at a time when Israel’s war on Gaza is holding the world’s attention.
Russian and Syrian attacks in October focused on cities and villages in the countryside of Idlib and Aleppo. This escalation resulted in the total deaths of 66 civilians, including 23 children and 13 women, and left more than 270 people injured, with 79 children and 47 women among the casualties, according to a Syrian volunteer emergency rescue group.
While the pace of aerial and artillery bombardment in northwest Syria has decreased since the beginning of November, Syrian regime forces have shifted their attention to targeting civilian vehicles using guided missiles.