Daily News Brief-logo

Daily News Brief

News & Politics Podcasts

A summary of today's impactful news stories from around the world hand-picked by our staff at TRT World.




A summary of today's impactful news stories from around the world hand-picked by our staff at TRT World.






March 1, 2024

*) Israel forces shoot over a hundred Palestinians waiting in aid queue Israeli forces fatally shot 112 Palestinians as they surged towards aid trucks, marking one of the deadliest episodes in the nearly five-month war. The Health Ministry in Gaza reported over 750 individuals were injured during the incident. The tragedy unfolded amidst heightened concerns from aid agencies regarding Gaza's deteriorating humanitarian crisis, with famine looming, especially in the northern regions. *) Dozens of 112 Palestinians killed by Israel 'shot in head' Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour accused Israel of intentionally targeting a humanitarian convoy in northern Gaza. Trucks, carrying essential supplies such as flour and sugar for needy Palestinians, regularly travelled to the region, Mansour said, where many Palestinians were waiting in line. Mansour said, based on his information, among the 112 Palestinians killed, many were shot in the head. *) World reacts to Israel's carnage at Gaza aid site Israel's assault on an aid convoy killing 112 Palestinians and leaving 760 others wounded, drew widespread international condemnation. Türkiye labelled the attack as "another crime against humanity," joined by Iran, Qatar, and the OIC, who denounced it as a "heinous massacre." UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed profound dismay, with his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, conveying his condemnation of the tragic toll. European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell echoed sentiments, branding the killings as "totally unacceptable." *) US falls short of condemning Israel's attack on Gaza aid queue Separately, the United States, the main supporter of Israel, has refrained from explicitly condemning Tel Aviv's attack on Palestinians. The White House acknowledged the severity of the incident, expressing concern and stating that they are investigating the reports of Israeli fire on Palestinians. A spokesperson from the White House National Security Council conveyed condolences for the lives lost, emphasising the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where innocent civilians are struggling to provide for their families. *) US defence chief admits Israel killed 25K Gaza women, children US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has acknowledged that Israeli forces have killed over 25,000 Palestinian women and children since October 7. Responding to a query by a lawmaker regarding potential military sales to Israel, Austin emphasised the importance of responsible use of munitions by allies. Later, a Pentagon spokesperson, clarified that the mentioned figure was an estimate from the Gaza Health Ministry, and while acknowledging thousands of casualties.


February 29, 2024

*) Six children die of malnutrition as Gaza death toll nears 30,000 Six children have succumbed to malnutrition in Israeli-blockaded Gaza, Palestinian officials have reported. The overall toll for Palestinians in the nearly five-month Israeli war has exceeded 30,000. Officials revealed that two children died at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City due to "dehydration and malnutrition," prompting urgent calls for international intervention. Separately, Kamal Adwan Hospital reported four infant deaths, with seven others in critical condition. *) Israeli police warn curbing access to Al Aqsa Mosque in Ramadan may fuel tensions Israeli police have issued a warning regarding potential tensions in occupied East Jerusalem if restrictions on Palestinian entry to Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan are imposed. The caution comes as Benjamin Netanyahu's extremist minister Itamar Ben-Gvir advocated limiting access to Islam’s third-holiest site, proposing a ban on occupied West Bank residents and allowing only Palestinian citizens of Israel aged 70 and above. Unnamed senior police officials, as reported by Israeli media, stated that the decision is anticipated in the upcoming weekend. *) Fuel shortage shuts down last functioning hospital in northern Gaza The only functioning hospital in northern Gaza has been forced to cease operations due to a critical shortage of fuel. The Gaza-based Health Ministry issued a statement, underscoring the gravity of the situation as the Kamal Adwan Hospital grapples with an inability to secure the necessary fuel to run its generators. This abrupt halt in services leaves the local population without access to essential healthcare, posing significant challenges to the well-being of the community in the affected region. *) Australia spy chief drops 'traitor' bombshell on unnamed politician Australia's spy chief Mike Burgess has made a sensational public accusation. Burgess alleged that a former Australian politician was recruited by a foreign spy agency and "sold out" the country to a foreign power. While Burgess did not disclose the identity of the politician or the foreign power involved, citing national security concerns, his statement has sparked outrage and demands for transparency from the government. However, the Australian government has so far remained tight-lipped on the matter. *) Apple drops electric car plans while Tesla aims to ship Roadsters next year Apple has reportedly abandoned its plans to build its own car. The decision comes after nearly a decade of work on the project, codenamed "Project Titan," which involved a team of nearly 2,000 employees. Project Titan initially aimed to develop a fully autonomous vehicle, highlighting Apple's ambitions in the self-driving car space. However, the project faced challenges and setbacks, and the company ultimately decided to shift its focus to other areas. While Apple exits the scene, Tesla remains a major player, with CEO Elon Musk recently announcing plans to begin deliveries of the company's Roadster electric sports car next year.


February 28, 2024

*) UN warns 576,000 people in Gaza are 'one step away' from famine A senior United Nations aid official revealed to the Security Council that approximately 576,000 people in Gaza, constituting a quarter of the population, are on the brink of famine. The World Food Programme (WFP) heightened concerns by declaring that famine is "imminent" in northern Gaza amidst Israel’s ongoing war on the besieged enclave. WFP's deputy executive director urgently addressed the UN Security Council, emphasising the critical need for intervention, while an official from the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, warned of the "almost inevitable" prospect of widespread starvation if the current conditions persist. *) No UN aid convoys reached northern Gaza since Jan 23 The United Nations (UN) highlighted that no humanitarian aid convoys have reached northern Gaza since January 23 as the humanitarian situation in the enclave worsens due to Israel's blockade. Spokesperson of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres revealed that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) currently has food supplies positioned at the Gaza border, capable of catering to the needs of up to 2.2 million people throughout the region. The spokesperson stated that approximately 1,000 trucks, loaded with 15,000 metric tonnes of food, are stationed in Egypt and ready for deployment. *) US says Israel has not presented plan to protect civilians in case of Rafah invasion The White House has confirmed that the United States has not received any Israeli proposal outlining plans to ensure the safety of civilians in Gaza in the event of a potential military invasion of Rafah. Speaking at a press briefing, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated that he "can't speak for the Israelis and to what degree their planning has progressed and what that looks like.” *) Ukraine intel committee warns of bid to overthrow Zelenskyy Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's legitimacy may be questioned and a coup may be attempted in the spring, according to a high-ranking committee. The Intelligence Committee under the President of Ukraine said in a statement published on the Telegram channel of the Main Directorate of Intelligence under the Ukranian Ministry of Defense that Russia's "Maidan-3 special operation will reach its climax in March-May 2024.” According to the committee, in the coming weeks, there will be "attempts to foment conflicts both inside Ukraine and in other parts of the world," and Zelenskyy's legitimacy may be questioned after May 20. *) Texas wildfires force evacuations and shut down nuclear facility Wildfires spreading rapidly across the Texas Panhandle have triggered evacuations in small towns and forced the closure of a key US nuclear facility. Fueled by strong winds, dry conditions, and unseasonably warm temperatures, the blazes have become a major concern for the state. Governor Greg Abbott declared the wildfires a disaster for 60 counties, as the largest fire grew to nearly 1,040 square kilometres. The critical Pantex Plant, responsible for assembling and disassembling US nuclear weapons, also shut down its operations Tuesday night due to the proximity of the fires.


February 27, 2024

*) Red Cross warns of looming famine in Gaza The head of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has issued a stark warning about the dire situation in besieged Gaza. He emphasised the looming threat of severe food insecurity, with approximately 80 percent of the population facing critical food shortages. He further highlighted the plight of over a million children and elderly who are particularly vulnerable to health issues like dehydration, respiratory and skin diseases and anaemia due to the harsh conditions in shelters. *) Biden says Gaza truce imminent while Israel plans Rafah invasion US President Joe Biden said he hoped that a ceasefire in besieged Gaza could start by next Monday. When asked about the possibility, he stated that his national security adviser informed him that a deal was close but not yet finalised. *) Putin vows to boost Russian special forces' ability to strike Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to increase the mobility and striking potential of Russia's special operations forces, saying this is a key priority to making the country's army stronger. Putin said in a congratulatory video message issued ahead of the February 27 Special Operations Forces Day in Russia that Moscow "will continue to strengthen the Special Operations Forces, increase their mobility and striking potential, and arm them with new-generation weapons and equipment." Putin then added that "this is one of the key priorities for the long-term development of the army and navy." *) Hungarian parliament approves Sweden's NATO accession Hungary's parliament has approved a bill to allow Sweden to join NATO, finally clearing the way for the Nordic country to join the Western defence alliance as war rages in Ukraine. Hungary was the last among the 31 members of the alliance to ratify Sweden's membership after months of delay by the ruling party. *) Istanbul hosts 9th International Publishing Meetings The 9th International Istanbul Publishing Professional Meetings will be held at the Rami Library from the 5th to the 7th of March, aiming to establish Istanbul as a major copyright market. Organised by Türkiye's Press Publishing Profession Association, the event will bring together national and international publishers. Since 2021, the programme has offered participants a hybrid model for conducting business, allowing both physical and online B2B meetings.


February 26, 2024

*) Israel presents Rafah invasion plan to War Cabinet amid fears of civilian casualties Israel's military has proposed a plan for the invasion of Gaza's Rafah city, aligning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assertion of the necessity of a ground invasion in Rafah for what he calls a "total victory." Concerns persist about potential civilian casualties in Rafah, where 1.4 million forcibly displaced Palestinians are concentrated. The city is also a crucial entry point for aid brought in through neighbouring Egypt as the enclave faces famine. Talks in Doha involving Egyptian, Qatari, and US representatives, along with Israeli and Hamas officials, aim to secure a truce before the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan. *) Jordan warns of conflict spread in region due to Israel's Gaza war Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has cautioned against the continuation of the Israeli onslaught on Gaza during Ramadan, stating that it poses a risk of escalating the conflict in the region. Speaking at a press conference in Amman with Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel, Safadi emphasised the potential for an explosive situation if the aggression persists during the Muslim fasting month. He urged a halt to the ongoing war, expressing concerns about the increasing risks and casualties associated with the prolonged conflict. *) Israeli vows continued attacks on Hezbollah despite Gaza Ceasefire Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has pledged to intensify strikes against Lebanon's Hezbollah, even if a ceasefire is achieved with Hamas in Gaza. While Hezbollah indicated a willingness to cease daily attacks on Israel with a Gaza ceasefire, Gallant dismissed the idea that the temporary truce would extend to the northern front. Emphasising an independent approach, he affirmed the goal of pushing Hezbollah away from the Israeli border, either through diplomatic means or by force. *) Demonstrations across Spain call for arms embargo on Israel Hundreds of thousands rally across Spain, denouncing Israel's actions in solidarity with Palestine. Protesters demand an immediate arms trade halt with Israel, led by Podemos leader Ione Belarra, who plans to present a parliamentary motion for an arms embargo, questioning the government's sincerity in its support for Palestine. *) Algeria unveils Africa's largest mosque with world's tallest minaret Algeria unveiled Africa's largest mosque on its Mediterranean coast, overcoming political delays and cost overruns. Constructed by a Chinese firm, the Great Mosque of Algiers boasts the world's tallest minaret at 869 feet. The third-largest mosque globally and the largest outside Islam's holiest cities, it can accommodate 120,000 worshippers with modernist features honouring Algerian tradition.


February 23, 2024

*) Gaza in ‘extreme peril’ as NGOs call on Israel to execute humanitarian law The leaders of a number of UN agencies and humanitarian organisations urged Israel to provide food and medical supplies to Gaza, warning that civilians there are in “extreme peril.” The Inter-Agency Standing Committee, the highest-level humanitarian coordination forum of the UN system, called on Israel to fulfil its legal obligation, under international humanitarian and human rights law. The health system continues to be “systematically degraded with catastrophic consequences,” it said. *) Netanyahu proposes Gaza’s demilitarisation, UNRWA’s exit in post-war plan Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unveiled a written plan aimed at demilitarising and reconstruction of Gaza. Netanyahu’s so-called “Post-Hamas Plan” was unveiled to his political and security cabinet in the dead of Thursday night, as reported by Israeli media. At the heart of the proposal lies a pivotal strategy: the establishment of a civilian entity tasked with overseeing Gaza’s demilitarisation while safeguarding the Israeli army’s operational autonomy in the blockaded enclave. *) Over 95 percent of Sudan’s population cannot afford a meal per day: WFP Ten months into the war has sent Sudan to the “verge of collapse,” with the vast majority of its people going hungry, the UN’s World Food Programme said. Eddie Rowe, the WFP’s Sudan country director, told reporters in Brussels that “at this point, less than five percent of Sudanese can afford a square meal a day.” Since last April, Sudan has been gripped by fighting between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, which has killed thousands and created what the UN calls “the world’s largest displacement crisis.” *) US to sanction over 500 targets involved in Russia’s ‘war machine’ The US has planned to impose sanctions on more than 500 targets involved in Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. The action to be rolled out on Friday will hit “Russia, its enablers and its war machine,” a Treasury spokesperson said. The official added that the sanctions will be imposed by both the Treasury and State Department. And finally… *) US achieves first Moon landing in 50 years with private spacecraft A private lander has touched down on the Moon but managed just a weak signal back, as flight controllers scrambled to gain better contact with the first US spacecraft to reach the lunar surface in more than 50 years. Despite the spotty communication, Intuitive Machines, the company that built and managed the craft, confirmed that it had landed. There was no immediate word from the company on the condition — or even the exact location — of the lander.


February 22, 2024

*) Israel’s war could kill nearly 86,000 more Palestinians in Gaza — study At least 85,750 more Palestinians could die from physical trauma and disease if Israel’s ongoing war against besieged Gaza further escalates in the next six months, according to a joint US-UK study. “The Crisis in Gaza: Scenario-Based Health Impact Projections”, a joint project from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Humanitarian Health tracks multiple scenarios, including a worst-case possibility in which the hostilities in Gaza raise the number of casualties to more than 115,000 Palestinians. *) LA protesters welcome Biden with ‘genocide supporter’ chants A group of pro-Palestine demonstrators welcomed US President Joe Biden to America’s second most populous city with chants ridiculing his hitherto unwavering support for Israel’s ongoing carnage in besieged Gaza. “Genocide supporter!” protesters yelled as Biden’s motorcade pulled up to the Culver City Julian Dixon Library in Los Angeles, where he delivered remarks touting his efforts to reduce US student debt. Protesters sought to interrupt the president as he concluded his remarks, but their words were not immediately discernible amid applause from the crowd. *) NZ mosque attacker radicalised ‘earlier than thought’, new research reveals Researchers have theorised that the white supremacist who murdered 51 people in the 2019 New Zealand mosque shootings was radicalised “earlier than previously thought,” based on violent posts written years before the atrocity. Brenton Tarrant had shot and killed 51 Muslim worshippers across two Christchurch mosques in March 2019, carrying out New Zealand’s deadliest modern-day mass shooting. New Zealand researchers have been pouring through Tarrant’s posts on notorious online message boards to understand what sparked the atrocity — and if it could have been prevented. *) Ukraine humanitarian appeal only 10% funded for 2024 — UN envoy The UN’s humanitarian appeal to meet needs in Ukraine is only 10 percent funded for 2024, out of $3.1 billion needed, according to the country’s resident coordinator. Denise Brown, the UN’s top representative in Ukraine, said an estimated 8.5 million Ukrainians living in dire conditions near combat zones risk going without basic humanitarian deliveries, including food and water. *) Türkiye’s first fighter jet KAAN conducts its maiden test flight Türkiye’s first domestic fighter jet KAAN, designed and manufactured by Turkish Aerospace Industries, has successfully conducted its maiden test flight. Temel Kotil, the head of Turkish Aerospace Industries, said on X that KAAN stayed in the air for 13 minutes and reached a speed of 230 knots at an altitude of 8,000 feet during the flight. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Türkiye has left behind another critical stage to produce its own fifth-generation fighter aircraft.


February 21, 2024

*) Gaza's Nasser Hospital ‘has become a place of death’ — UN An official from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, expressed concern over the state of the Nasser Hospital in the city of Khan Younis in the south of besieged Gaza. Jonathan Whittall, senior humanitarian affairs officer at OCHA in the occupied Palestinian territory, said: “The conditions are appalling. There are dead bodies in the corridors. Patients are in a desperate situation.” He also added that the hospital “has become a place of death, not a place of healing.” *) UN official says ‘there needs to be an explanation on how the veto is used’ Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said the five countries that hold the veto power at the UN Security Council “have a great amount of responsibility, and there needs to be an explanation on how the veto is used.” The spokesperson’s comments came after the Security Council failed to adopt a resolution on a humanitarian ceasefire in besieged Gaza for the third time. *) Russia rejects US claims of nuclear space threat Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared that Moscow has no intention of deploying nuclear weapons in space and that his country has only developed space capabilities similar to those of the US. Putin’s statement followed the White House confirmation last week that Russia obtained a “troubling” anti-satellite weapon capability, although such a weapon is not operational yet. *) Pakistan parties reach power-sharing agreement, Khan loyalists left out Two Pakistan parties have reached a power-sharing agreement that will return Shehbaz Sharif to the premiership, leaving out politicians loyal to jailed former leader Imran Khan despite winning the most seats in this month’s vote. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party said they had settled days of negotiations on securing a majority to form a coalition government that will also include several smaller parties. Under the deal, the PML-N and PPP will put forward former leader Sharif as prime minister and Asif Ali Zardari, the husband of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, as president. And finally… *) Eagles’ iconic ‘Hotel California’ lyrics at centre of rare manuscript trial In the mid-1970s, the Eagles were working on a spooky, cryptic new song. On a lined yellow pad, Don Henley, with input from band co-founder Glenn Frey, jotted thoughts about “a dark desert highway” and “a lovely place” with a luxurious surface and ominous undertones. The song, “Hotel California”, became one of rock’s most indelible singles. And nearly a half-century later, those handwritten pages of lyrics-in-the-making have become the centre of an unusual criminal trial set to open on Wednesday.


February 20, 2024

*) Arab Group calls on UNSC to take action on besieged Gaza The Arab Group in New York has urged the UN Security Council to take immediate action on besieged Gaza. It said in a statement that “regrettably, the UN Security Council remains inert, unable to denounce the daily atrocities perpetrated by the occupying authorities.” The group, which is a coalition of Arab states promoting common interests at the UN, called on the Security Council to take immediate action. *) Israel declares Brazil’s Lula ‘persona non grata’ as Gaza row escalates Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s comparison of Israel’s war in besieged Gaza to the Holocaust has unleashed a diplomatic firestorm. Israel declared Lula “persona non grata” and Brazil recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv. The row erupted the day before when Lula said the ongoing war on the blockaded enclave “isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” and compared it to “when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.” *) Ukraine faces ‘extremely difficult’ frontline battles: Zelenskyy Ukrainian troops, reeling from losing a key town, now faced “extremely difficult” conditions all along the frontline with Russia because of delayed foreign aid, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. The Ukrainian military said it was critically short of ammunition and shells, worsened by the holdup of a $60 billion US aid package. After visiting frontline troops in the Kharkiv region, Zelenskyy said the situation was extremely difficult in several parts of the frontline, where “Russian troops have concentrated maximum reserves.” *) Julian Assange begins last-ditch effort to block US extradition WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange began what could be his last chance to stop his extradition from Britain to the United States. Assange has been battling the authorities in British courts for more than 13 years. US prosecutors seek to put Assange on trial on 18 counts relating to WikiLeaks’ high-profile release of vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables. And finally… *) India’s centuries-old heritage hit by Delhi ‘development’ demolitions For nine centuries, Indians prayed at the forest shrine of Baba Haji Rozbih, a revered Sufi master whose grave is one of the capital Delhi’s oldest Muslim sites. Then, in early February, the Delhi Development Authority reduced the site to rubble, the latest victim of a “demolition programme” it says has cleared “illegal religious structures” including a mosque, tombs, shrines and Hindu temples. The demolitions come at a sensitive time, as Hindu nationalists have been emboldened to claim ancient Muslim monuments for the country’s majority faith.


February 19, 2024

*) Israel insists on attacking Gaza to ‘impose displacement’ Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel insists on continuing its attacks on Gaza to “impose displacement,” especially on the city of Rafah. In a meeting of the Palestinian government held in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, Abbas said the Israeli government and its army are continuing their attacks on various cities in Gaza, especially Rafah, with the aim of forcibly displacing citizens. He added that the situation in Rafah has become “extremely dangerous and difficult.” *) Israel to restrict Palestinian access to Al Aqsa Mosque in Ramadan Israel approved restricting the entry of Palestinians living in Israel and Jerusalem to the Al Aqsa Mosque during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, beginning in the second week of next month, local media claimed. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his approval to the recommendations of far-right Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir. Netanyahu gave the approval despite the country’s security agency warning that restrictions on Palestinians’ access to the Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan could add fuel to the fire. *) US strikes Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen: Military US forces in the Red Sea conducted “five self-defence strikes” to foil attacks by land and sea from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, US Central Command said. It said it struck three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, one unmanned underwater vessel and one unmanned surface vessel. Central Command said it had determined the missiles and vessels presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant ships in the area. *) Militia kills 15 in eastern DRC: local sources Militia fighters killed 15 people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo’s troubled Ituri province, local sources said. This was the second such attack in less than a week. The sources said the CODECO (Cooperative for the Development of the Congo) militia, which claims to defend the interests of the Lendu group, again targeted victims from the rival Hema tribe. And finally… *) Türkiye celebrates anniversary of joining NATO alliance The Turkish National Defence Ministry commemorated Türkiye’s 72nd anniversary of joining NATO. The commemoration underscored the nation’s steadfast commitment to its obligations and responsibilities within the alliance. A ministry posted on X said that “as the second-largest military force within the Alliance, Türkiye proudly occupies a pivotal position at its core.”


February 16, 2024

*) Israeli attacks in Gaza fuel 'catastrophic' medicine shortage The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has issued a warning this week regarding a scarcity of medicines and medical supplies. They highlight the inability to provide over 60 percent of essential primary healthcare drugs. Approximately 350,000 individuals in Gaza with chronic illnesses lack access to medication, raising concerns about severe health complications. In Rafah, more than half of Gaza's population, roughly 1.4 million Palestinians, endure harsh living conditions and are exposed to disease, states the United Nations. The Health Ministry emphasises the heightened risk of respiratory, skin, and infectious diseases due to overcrowding and cold weather, particularly hepatitis A. *) Prabowo leads Indonesia presidential race by a wide margin Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto is leading the country's presidential election by a significant margin, according to results from the election commission released on Friday. With 50 percent of the votes counted, the 72-year-old former general is poised to succeed the current popular leader, Joko Widodo. While the official outcome is anticipated in late March, early indications suggest Prabowo is set to win decisively. Currently, he holds 56.89 percent of the votes, more than double that of his closest competitor, ensuring a first-round majority, as per the election commission's website. *) South Africa says Israel not complying with world court's interim ruling As Israel prepares for a possible ground offensive in Gaza's southern city of Rafah, South Africa has accused it of disregarding previous orders from the UN's top court to prevent genocide in Palestine. South Africa's Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, expressed horror at the situation in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, particularly in Rafah on the Egyptian border. She stated that Israel's actions support their allegations of ongoing genocide in the occupied Palestinian territories, as presented to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). *) US warns Russia to 'stay out of our elections' after Putin remark The US issued a stern warning to Russia, instructing them to refrain from interfering in American elections, in response to President Putin's recent comments seemingly favouring President Biden's re-election. During a press briefing, White House National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby emphasised the administration's efforts to counter Russia's negative influence globally and within Ukraine. Kirby reiterated the US's readiness to push back against Russian actions, particularly in Ukraine, and urged Putin to respect American elections. And finally… *) Nepal pursues sacred statues of Hindu deities once smuggled abroad Several sacred statues of Hindu deities, previously stolen and smuggled abroad, are now being repatriated to Nepal as part of a global initiative to return such artefacts to their countries of origin. Last month, the United States returned four idols and masks of Hindu gods, including a 16th-century statue of Uma-Maheswora, an incarnation of Shiva and Parvati, stolen four decades ago. Devotees in Patan, near Kathmandu, joyously welcomed the return of these artefacts, with crowded alleys witnessing offerings of money and flowers. Traditional drummers and chanters in customary attire marked the occasion with celebratory prayers.


February 15, 2024

*) Israel attacks Nasser Hospital in Gaza At least one person was killed, and many others were wounded in an attack by Israeli forces on the Nasser Hospital in besieged Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis. The attack was carried out in the hospital’s orthopaedics section, according to a WAFA report. The Palestinian news agency said the hospital has been under a blockade by Israeli forces for the last 25 days. *) UN seeks immediate action to end ‘dangerous escalatory cycle’ in Yemen The UN’s special envoy for Yemen has called for immediate action to end the “dangerous escalatory cycle” in the war-stricken country. Hans Grundberg, the UN envoy, said he was engaging the Yemeni parties and relevant regional actors to support de-escalation in the Red Sea “to protect the mediation space in Yemen.” The UN envoy called for all regional parties to refrain from “military opportunism” and for progress towards a mediated agreement to be protected. *) Putin says he regrets not starting ‘operation’ in Ukraine sooner Russian President Vladimir Putin said the only thing he regrets is that the “special military operation” in Ukraine did not start earlier. Commenting on Western reactions to his interview with US journalist Tucker Carlson in a televised show, Putin said it was good that Western politicians watched the interview, but it was unfortunate that his words were being twisted. *) MIT suspends students over protests against Israel’s attacks on Gaza The president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology has suspended a student group that held demonstrations against the Israeli military’s possible ground invasion of Gaza’s Rafah. In a video statement, Sally Kornbluth said the group, Coalition Against Apartheid or CAA, held a demonstration without going through the university’s permission process required of all groups. *) Storms batter eastern Australia, knock out power to 174,000 homes Storms packing powerful winds have toppled trees, killed one person and knocked out power from 174,000 homes and businesses in eastern Australia. The wild weather hit large swathes of Victoria on Tuesday, dumping torrents of rain and unleashing gusts of more than 150 kilometres per hour, according to the state government and emergency services. The Australian Energy Market Operator said in an update that, at its peak, 530,000 homes and businesses lost power, and about 174,000 were still cut off on Wednesday afternoon.


February 14, 2024

*) South Africa requests ICJ to take action against Israel’s Rafah offensive South Africa has urged the UN top court to assess Israel's plan to extend the Gaza offensive into Rafah for potential emergency measures, citing grave concerns about large-scale harm to Palestinians. In January, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to prevent a genocide and help Palestinian civilians in Gaza, in a case initiated by South Africa. The court has yet to give a final ruling on the issue, but the far-right Benjamin Netanyahu administration stresses that it will continue with the Rafah invasion. *) UNRWA faces shutdown due to lack of funds in Gaza The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees, UNRWA, has warned of an imminent closure in besieged Gaza if funding decisions aren't reversed within weeks. Director Marta Lorenzo stressed the urgent need for humanitarian aid amid hunger and disease, citing the International Court of Justice's call for immediate action. She lamented UNRWA's limited time before operations cease, emphasising the potential exacerbation of humanitarian suffering. *) CIA, Mossad chiefs, Qatar PM meet Egyptians on Gaza truce US CIA Director William Burns, Israel's Mossad Chief David Barnea and Qatari PM Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani met in Cairo to discuss a Gaza truce with Egyptian officials. The quartet meeting responds to mounting international pressure against Israel's Gaza onslaught while Israeli intelligence assesses Hamas's response to a proposed deal amid its ongoing war that has claimed over 28,000 lives in Gaza. *) US House leader rejects Ukraine aid bill despite Biden's plea US House Speaker Mike Johnson threw a wrench into vital support for Ukraine, blocking a vote on the $95 billion aid package already approved by the Senate. Speaker Mike Johnson told reporters he has no intention even of allowing a vote on the bill. The move ignores President Joe Biden's calls and raises international concerns about the US's commitment to Kiev facing Russia's aggression. And finally… *) UN: Distressing to see nations prioritising weapons over food, climate UN Chief Antonio Guterres has criticised governments prioritising arms over global issues like the climate crisis and hunger and urges UN action to address the deadly nexus threatening international peace. Climate chief Simon Stiell underscores the devastating links, emphasising the need for enhanced action.


February 13, 2024

*) UNGA president warns another phase of a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza ‘is at our doorstep’ The president of the UN General Assembly expressed grave concern over Israel’s assault on the city of Rafah in the southern besieged Gaza. Dennis Francis said on X that he was “deeply distressed by the escalating military operation into Rafah,” where over a million civilians were already sheltering in the most dire conditions. Francis said “another phase of this humanitarian catastrophe” was “at our doorstep” and that this was “not a path to sustainable peace.” *) Egypt hits back at Israeli minister Smotrich’s ‘disgraceful’ remarks The diplomatic tensions between Egypt and Israel escalated following controversial remarks made by Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich. Egypt’s foreign ministry condemned as “disgraceful” and “irresponsible” comments by Smotrich who claimed Cairo has “considerable responsibility” for Hamas’s October 7 attack. In a statement, Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said, “Egypt fully controls its territory, and does not allow any party to involve Egypt’s name in failed attempts to justify its own shortcomings.” *) Kremlin, Musk deny Russian army using Starlink Both the Kremlin and Elon Musk rejected Ukraine’s claims that Russian troops fighting on the frontline were using Starlink internet terminals. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that Starlink could not be “officially supplied” in Russia and thus “it cannot be officially used here in any way.” Musk also rejected Kiev’s claims, saying his “companies have probably done more to undermine Russia than anything.” *) Qatar frees eight ex-Indian officers after dropping death sentences Qatar released eight Indian ex-naval officers after dropping their death sentences, India’s foreign ministry said. The men were charged with spying for Israel, according to sources, though India and Qatar did not confirm the charges. Their death sentence, handed down in October, was dropped in December. The Indian foreign ministry credited the Qatari emir for the decision more than 18 months after their arrest challenged diplomatic ties between the two countries. And finally… *) Biden joining TikTok causes stir over national security concerns US President Joe Biden’s debut on TikTok has caused a stir — not least because the Chinese-owned social media platform is still officially considered a security risk by Washington. Republicans criticised Biden for using an app that is banned on US federal government devices over fears it harvests data for Beijing. Even the White House admitted it still had concerns about TikTok.


February 12, 2024

*) More than 100 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes on Rafah A series of Israeli air strikes on the southern Gaza city of Rafah has killed at least 100 Palestinians, according to health officials in the besieged enclave. The strikes hit over a dozen houses and several mosques in different parts of Rafah, authorities said. TRT World correspondent Mohammad al Kassim reported that at least 40 air strikes hit several locations in Rafah and that Israeli naval and artillery shelling took part in the violent attacks on early Monday. *) Trump’s remarks put allies at risk: NATO The head of NATO has warned that Donald Trump was putting the safety of US troops and their allies at risk. The Republican presidential front-runner said Russia should be able to do “whatever the hell they want” to NATO members who don’t meet their defence spending targets. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said “any suggestion that allies will not defend each other undermines all of our security, including that of the US.” *) Death toll in Senegal protests over delayed election rises to three The death toll amid protests in Senegal over the postponement of the presidential election until December has climbed to three. The announcement of the delay just three weeks ahead of the planned February 25 vote triggered violent clashes between protesters and police in Dakar and several other cities. President Macky Sall said the delay is necessary because electoral disputes threatened the credibility of the poll, but some opposition lawmakers have denounced the move as an “institutional coup.” *) Khan-backed independents dominate parliament in Pakistan ballot: commission Pakistan’s national election vote count concluded with independents, mostly backed by jailed former Prime Minister Imran Khan, winning 101 of the 264 seats, the election commission’s website showed. The final tally was released more than 60 hours after voting ended on February 8 national elections, a delay that has raised questions about the process. The independents came in ahead of the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, which won 75 seats, making it the largest single party in parliament as Khan’s independents ran as individuals. *) Scholar fired for criticising Israel slams German academic censorship Ghassan Hage, an internationally renowned scholar, has slammed German academic institutions for suppressing criticism of Israel, after he was abruptly fired over allegations of anti-Semitic social media posts. He said: “What to me is a fair, intellectual critique of Israel, for them is antisemitism.” The scholar said he finds “Germany’s pseudo philosemitism self-serving, and at times racist, instrumentalised to racialise the Palestinian and more generally the Arab and Muslim community in Germany.”


Daily News Brief

1) UN human rights chief says destruction in Gaza is a 'grave breach' of Geneva Convention The UN human rights chief Volker Turk said that the destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza is a violation of the Geneva Convention and a war crime. "Extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and a war crime," he said. 2) Pakistan awaits election result as vote count continues Polls closed Thursday evening in Pakistan's pivotal general elections, with counting now in progress. Pakistan’s chief election commissioner said that the results of national and provincial elections are being compiled and will be announced as soon as possible. Contrary to predictions, national broadcasters reported that the PTI-backed candidates are ahead on dozens of seats nationwide. 3) Kremlin says Xi and Putin accuse US of 'interfering' in Russia and China's affairs. The Kremlin said Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have accused the United States of "interfering" in their countries' affairs. According to Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov, Xi and Putin denounced the "US policy of interfering in the internal affairs of other states" during an hour-long telephone call. He said, "The leaders of the two countries realise that the US is practically implementing a policy of double containment, (toward) both Russia and China". 4) Biden calls Israel's Gaza war 'over the top' US President Joe Biden said Israel's military response to the October 7 attacks has been "over the top." Speaking at the White House, Biden said "I'm of the view…that the conduct of the response in Gaza has been over the top." "I've been pushing really hard, really hard to get humanitarian assistance into Gaza," he added. 5) Protesters utilise Picasso's Guernica to condemn Israel's brutality in Gaza A group called "Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against the State of Israel" organised a demonstration protest at Madrid's renowned Reina Sofia Museum to denounce Israel's continued attacks on Gaza. Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at the Museum in front of the powerful Pablo Picasso's "Guernica" painting which is one of history's most evocative anti-war artworks. As visitors to the museum paused before the haunting masterpiece, they were invited to join in a moment of silence to honour those who died in the conflict. Demonstrators read a statement later published on social media saying, "Zionist Israel began systematically bombing the people of Gaza four months ago.” "Today, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people, calling for an immediate ceasefire and urging the Spanish government to sever diplomatic ties with Israel while halting arms purchases and sales to the Zionist state."


February 7, 2024

*) Saudi Arabia says no normalisation with Israel without Palestinian state Saudi Arabia has told the US that there will be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognised as per the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. The Saudi foreign ministry in a statement called for a halt to “aggression” in besieged Gaza. Earlier, the White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby said the Biden administration received positive feedback that Saudi Arabia and Israel were willing to continue normalisation discussions. *) Yemen’s Houthis launch missiles on ships in Red Sea Yemen’s Houthi group launched six missiles toward two merchant ships, reportedly causing light damage to one of the vessels, the US military said. US Central Command said in a statement that “Iranian-backed Houthi militants fired six anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Southern Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.” The missiles targeted Marshall Islands and Barbados flagged vessels owned and operated by Greece and the UK respectively. *) Opposing Ukraine aid bill is playing into Putin’s hands: Biden President Joe Biden has said that Congress will be doing the Kremlin’s bidding if it fails to renew funding for Ukraine in its war with Russia. The US president blamed Donald Trump for playing politics with US national security. Biden called out Trump for pressuring Republican lawmakers not to pass a $118 billion bill that would fund Ukraine’s military in return for strict US immigration curbs, a Republican demand. *) EU agrees on first law tackling violence against women EU member countries and lawmakers have reached an agreement on the bloc’s first rules to tackle violence against women, the European Parliament and officials said. The law seeks to protect women in the 27-nation European Union from gender-based violence, forced marriages, female genital mutilation and online harassment. The text criminalises cyberstalking, cyberharassment and cyber incitement to hatred or violence across the European Union. *) Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson says will interview Putin ‘soon’ Tucker Carlson, a firebrand American talk show host, has said he was in Moscow to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin. The announcement makes Carlson the first American media personality to land a formal interview with Putin since the Russia-Ukraine conflict began. Carlson, known for conservative opinions that have garnered a vast right-wing following, did not specify when the interview would be broadcast but mentioned that it would be free to watch on his personal website.


February 6, 2024

*) US military says it conducted strike against two Houthi drones The US military says that its forces conducted a strike against two Houthi drones in Yemen. The US Central Command said in a post on X that its forces identified the explosive USVs in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen. It added that the USVs presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region. *) Biden’s Syria, Iraq strikes driven by US electoral agenda, Russia says Russia has accused US President Joe Biden of carrying out strikes in Iraq and Syria to boost his image as the presidential election campaign “is heating up” and not in retaliation for a deadly attack on US soldiers. The US began the airstrikes on Friday against dozens of targets linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and allied groups after three US soldiers were killed in Jordan in an attack that Washington blamed on Iranian-backed groups. Russia said there was no justification for the US action. *) Trump urges US Republicans to reject Ukraine aid deal Former US president Donald Trump has urged Republicans to reject a bill tying the toughest border security measures in a generation to $60 billion in Ukraine aid. Trump said they need a separate border and immigration bill. He added that “it should not be tied to foreign aid in any way, shape, or form.” *) Senegalese lawmakers vote to delay election until December Senegalese lawmakers have voted to delay a presidential election due to take place this month until December 15. The president of the National Assembly announced that lawmakers had passed the measure on Monday after several opposition deputies were forcibly removed from the chamber by police. Senegalese lawmakers have gotten physical as they debated the unprecedented move to delay this month’s presidential election, which also sparked clashes outside parliament and prompted international concern. *) Turkish President Erdogan vows to stand by victims of Feb. 6 earthquake Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to heal the wounds of the victims of the February 6, 2023 earthquakes that hit the southern part of the country. Erdogan said on X that “the pain of the lives lost in the Kahramanmaras-centred earthquakes that we experienced a year ago continues to burn our hearts as fresh as the first day.” Türkiye is marking the first anniversary of the powerful quakes that killed a total of 53,537 people and injured more than 107,000 others.


February 5, 2024

*) Hamas in consultation with factions on ceasefire: source Hamas has not informed mediators of its rejection of a proposal for a hostage swap deal and a ceasefire in Gaza, a well-informed Palestinian source said. The source, which requested anonymity, affirmed that the Palestinian resistance group’s consultations with other Palestinian factions on the proposals are “ongoing.” His remarks were in response to international media reports, some of which claimed that Hamas had rejected the proposals while others suggested that it intended to deliver its response on Sunday evening. *) US plans additional strikes on Iranian-linked targets: White House The United States will press on with its retaliation against Iran-aligned groups in Iraq and Syria, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said. Sullivan declined to say if he ruled out strikes against Iran itself. The White House national security advisor said the US intended to take additional strikes and additional action to continue to send a clear message that it will respond when its forces are attacked. *) Israel demolishes ‘58 Palestinian structures’ in occupied West Bank in January The Israeli army has demolished 58 Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank in the month of January alone, according to a local organisation. “The demolished structures included 22 inhabited houses and 16 agricultural facilities,” the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission said in a statement. It said most of the demolitions occurred in the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, occupied East Jerusalem and Qalqilya. *) G7 eyes Russian assets as collateral to fund Ukraine The Group of Seven and the European Union have been discussing a plan to use more than $250 billion in frozen Russian central bank assets, Bloomberg News reported. The assets will be used as collateral to help fund the reconstruction of Ukraine, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. *) FIFA announces venue for 2026 men’s World Cup The 23rd edition of the FIFA World Cup will mark the first time that the world’s biggest men’s football event will take place in three countries: Canada, Mexico and the US. FIFA allocated the opener of the 39-day tournament to Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca and the third-place match will be at Florida’s Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. The final of the 2026 World Cup will be played at MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey in the US on July 19, FIFA has confirmed.


February 2, 2024

*) 'Everyone in Gaza is hungry' : UN chief appeals for heightened aid UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urgently called for increased humanitarian aid into Gaza because of severe hunger, mass displacement and a crumbling humanitarian system. "I call for rapid, safe, unhindered, expanded and sustained humanitarian access throughout Gaza," Guterres wrote on X. "Everyone in Gaza is hungry. 1.7 million people have been displaced. The humanitarian system is collapsing," he said, highlighting the critical situation. *) Hamas receives truce proposal 'positively' — Qatar Hamas has given "initial positive confirmation" to a proposal for the cessation of fighting in Gaza and the release of hostages, Qatar's foreign ministry spokesman has said. US, Egyptian and Qatari mediators met with Israeli intelligence officials in Paris on Sunday where they proposed a six-week pause in the Gaza war and a hostage swap for Hamas to review. "That proposal has been approved by the Israeli side and now we have an initial positive confirmation from the Hamas' side," Majed al Ansari told an audience at a Washington-based graduate school. Ansari emphasised that a challenging path lies ahead in the negotiations. *) $54B aid package to Ukraine sends 'strong message to Putin' — EU European Council President Charles Michel has announced that all 27 EU countries have sealed a deal on additional €50 billion or $54 billion aid to Ukraine. “We have a deal,” Michel said in a post on X. The announcement came despite staunch objections from Hungary in December and in the days leading up to Thursday's summit in Brussels. *) War between rival generals in Sudan displaces 8M people: UN The number of people uprooted by the war between rival generals in Sudan is around eight million, the United Nations has said. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, who was later to visit Sudan, rallied international donors to open their wallets to fight the crisis, describing the situation as "serious" on Wednesday. "Since April 2023, so less than a year ago, eight million people have been displaced from their homes in Sudan," he said, adding that more than 1.5 million had fled to six neighbouring countries. *) Spain's Catalonia declares drought emergency for Barcelona Spain's northeastern Catalonia region has declared a drought emergency for Barcelona and the surrounding area, which will now face tighter water restrictions following three years without significant rain. The head of the regional government of Catalonia, Pere Aragones, announced on Thursday that the step after reservoirs in the Mediterranean region fell below 16 percent of their capacity. That level is the benchmark set by the authorities for the application of a new round of water-saving measures that will affect some six million people.