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HURRIYET, RADIKAL (Turkey), AL JAZEERA(Qatar)

Worldcrunch

ANKARA - Turkish artillery has continued to target Syria for a second straight day, in retaliation for the shelling of a Turkish town that killed five people.

Wednesday’s deadly mortar fire heightened tensions as it marked the first time that Turkish citizens have been killed as a result of the 18-month war in neighboring Syria. It is also the first time that Ankara has fired into Syria.

While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey had resumed artillery shelling of Syria, Turkey’s Parliament debated a bill Thursday to authorize the military to launch cross border operations in Syria, according to the Istanbul daily Hurriyet.

The motion to be voted on at Parliament would grant "a one-year-long permission to make the necessary arrangements for sending the Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries" in light of the fact that the conflict in Syria "has reached a stage that poses serious threats and risks to our national security. Therefore, the need has developed to act rapidly and to take the necessary precautions against additional risks and threats that may be directed against our country."

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is expected to vote against the motion following a group meeting in the early hours Thursday, according to Radikal newspaper.

The AKP Deputy Chairman Ömer Çelik has said the mandate is about the sovereignty rights of the Turkish Republic and does not mean declaring war.

Ibrahim Kalin, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Erdogan, says Turkey has no interest in a war with Syria, but it will continue to protect its borders, Hurriyet reported.

The White House and Pentagon have condemned Syria for the shelling. NATO continues to stand by its member Turkey, but has proposed no immediate action.


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Coronavirus

Chinese Students' "Absurd" Protest Against COVID Lockdowns: Public Crawling

While street demonstrations have spread in China to protest the strict Zero-COVID regulations, some Chinese university students have taken up public acts of crawling to show what extended harsh lockdowns are doing to their mental state.

​Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling on a soccer pitch

Screenshot of a video showing Chinese students crawling

Shuyue Chen

Since last Friday, the world has watched a wave of street protests have taken place across China as frustration against extended lockdowns reached a boiling point. But even before protesters took to the streets, Chinese university students had begun a public demonstration that challenges and shames the state's zero-COVID rules in a different way: public displays of crawling, as a kind of absurdist expression of their repressed anger under three years of strict pandemic control.

Xin’s heart was beating fast as her knees reached the ground. It was her first time joining the strange scene at the university sports field, so she put on her hat and face mask to cover her identity.

Kneeling down, with her forearms supporting her body from the ground, Xin started crawling with three other girls as a group, within a larger demonstration of other small groups. As they crawled on, she felt the sense of fear and embarrassment start to disappear. It was replaced by a liberating sense of joy, which had been absent in her life as a university student in lockdown for so long.

Yes, crawling in public has become a popular activity among Chinese university students recently. There have been posters and videos of "volunteer crawling" across universities in China. At first, it was for the sake of "fun." Xin, like many who participated, thought it was a "cult-like ritual" in the beginning, but she changed her mind. "You don't care about anything when crawling, not thinking about the reason why, what the consequences are. You just enjoy it."

The reality out there for Chinese university students has been grim. For Xin, her university started daily COVID-19 testing in November, and deliveries, including food, are banned. Apart from the school gate, all exits have been padlock sealed.

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