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Did Argentine Aquarium Work Sea Lions To Death?

Sea lion and Buenos Aires Zoo trainer — Photo: Laura Gravino/Zoológico de Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES — Zoo and aquarium shows may make kids smile, but some animal rights activists say it basically amount to slave labor. The debate returns after two sea lions recently died in the Buenos Aires Zoo within three days of each other, and activists suspect at least one death was from the stress of doing too many water shows in the Zoo's aquarium space.

Argentine daily Clarin reports that members of the animal rights group Sin Zoo said one sea lion died last month after doing 15 shows in a day, while the other was possibly being overfed by spectators. Their trainers insist they had not noticed any of the seals eating differently.

Sin Zoo spokeswoman Malala Fontán told Clarín that on July 26 one of the group's activists stood at the gates of the aquarium and counted the sea lions' shows. "Exactly 15," Fontán said. "People inside then said that one of the little ones collapsed, and all this when they had sent the vet on holiday. They don't care about anything."

Fontán dismissed the idea of the spectacles being "educational" programs for children, and said they constitute shows involving animals, which the city banned in 2006. She said the NGO lodged 30 complaints with local authorities, and "none led to an inspection."

An aquarium spokesman, Fernando Peralta, said that "it is not uncommon for animals to die for one or other reason," though in this case "we do not know what happened exactly." Test results to determine the causes of death will need a month, he said.

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FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Our Next Four Days In Gaza: Digging For The Dead, Hunting For Food, Hoping Ceasefire Sticks

With Qatar now confirming that the temporary truce will begin Friday morning, ordinary Gazans may be able to breathe for the first time since Oct. 7. But for most, the task ahead is a mix of heartbreak and the most practical tasks to survive. And there’s the question hanging over all: can the ceasefire become permanent?

Photo of Palestinians looking for their belongings in the rubble of their housein Deir al-Balah, Gaza

Palestinians look for their belongings in the rubble of their housein Deir al-Balah, Gaza

Elias Kassem

It’s what just about everyone in Gaza has been waiting for: a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war is expected to begin Friday, bringing a respite to more than 2.3 million people who have been living under war and siege for seven straight weeks.

By the stipulations of the deal, the truce is expected to last four days, during which time Hamas will release hostages captured during their Oct. 7 assault and Israel will release Palestinian prisoners from their jails.

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While details of the negotiations continue, ordinary Palestinians know they may only have four days before the bombs starting dropping and tanks start rolling again.

Some will continue sifting through the rubble, looking to find trapped family members, after searches were interrupted by new rounds of air attacks.

Other Gazans will try to find shelter in what they’ve been told are safer areas in the south of Palestinian enclave. Some will hurry back to inspect their homes, especially in the northern half of the strip where Israeli ground forces have battled Palestinian militants for weeks.

Ahmed Abu Radwan says he will try to return to his northern town of Beit Lahia, with the aim of resuming digging the rubble of his home in hopes of pulling the bodies of his 8-year-old son Omar.

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