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Extra! In China, Hopes To Find Shipwreck Survivors Fade

Rescue efforts continued into Wednesday as a total 14 survivors were rescued from the Eastern Star, the cruise ship carrying 456 that sank Monday night in China's Yangtze River.

So far, 19 bodies have been recovered, leaving more than 420 people unaccounted for, most of whom are by now feared dead.

The boat, which departed from Nanjing in eastern China and was bound for Chongqing in southwest China, was caught in a cyclone and capsized at around 9:28 pm Monday in a section of the Yangtze River in Jianli county, Hubei Province.

Chinese dailyBeijing Evening News featured the country's Premier Li Keqiang on its Tuesday night front page. Keqiang, speaking from the scene of the accident, called for a transparent investigation into the shipwreck and promised that more divers and rescue teams would be dispatched on site.

Although more than 2,000 rescue workers have been sent since Monday night, they lack professional rescuing equipment. A firefighter captain told the press that they arrived at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning but have just been standing by for a long time without being able to do much.

Chinese media offers limited updates about the development of the rescuing operations. Most of the passengers were retired elderly on a sightseeing tour from all over China.

Zhang Hui, a rescued 43-year-old tourist guide, told news agency Xinhua: "It was just after 9 pm when big wind and rain suddenly arrived, together with thunder and lightning. Even with the windows shut the rain started to pour in. Around 9:20 pm when I was walking back from the office at the left wing of the ship to my bedroom at the right wing, the boat suddenly tilted. Just after that I told my colleague: "We are in big trouble, the ship overturned." It all went really fast. I had time only to grab a life jacket and climb out of the window."

ABOUT THE SOURCE: Beijing Evening News is a Beijing-based, Chinese-language newspaper. It was founded in 1958.

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Geopolitics

Utter Pessimism, What Israelis And Palestinians Share In Common

Right now, according to a joint survey of Israelis and Palestinians, hopes for a peaceful solution of coexistence simply don't exist. The recent spate of violence is confirmation of the deepest kind of pessimism on both sides for any solution other than domination of the other.

An old Palestinian protester waves Palestinian flag while he confronts the Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the village of Beit Dajan near the West Bank city of Nablus.

A Palestinian protester confronts Israeli soldiers during the demonstration against Israeli settlements in the West Bank village of Beit Dajan on Jan. 6.

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — Just before the latest outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, a survey of public opinion among the two peoples provided a key to understanding the current situation unfolding before our eyes.

It was a joint study, entitled "Palestinian-Israeli Pulse", carried out by two research centers, one Israeli, the other Palestinian, which for years have been regularly asking the same questions to both sides.

The result is disastrous: not only is the support for the two-state solution — Israel and Palestine side by side — at its lowest point in two decades, but there is now a significant share of opinion on both sides that favors a "non-democratic" solution, i.e., a single state controlled by either the Israelis or Palestinians.

This captures the absolute sense of pessimism commonly felt regarding the chances of the two-state option ever being realized, which currently appears to be our grim reality today. But the results are also an expression of the growing acceptance on both sides that it is inconceivable for either state to live without dominating the other — and therefore impossible to live in peace.

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