Welcome to Wednesday, where Israeli forces raid Gaza’s largest hospital, Chinese President Xi Jinping lands in the U.S. for his first visit in six years, and New Zealand’s Pūteketeke gets crowned “bird ot the century” — with a little help from John Oliver. Meanwhile, Turin-based daily La Stampa meets with Sara Barsotti, the Italian scientist leading the task force that monitors Iceland's major volcanic eruption threat.
[*Inuktitut - Canada, Alaska]
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• Israeli forces raid Gaza’s largest hospital: Israeli forces raided Gaza’s largest hospital early Wednesday, where hundreds of patients, including newborns, have been stranded with little supplies and no electricity, as the IDF extended its control across Gaza City and the north. Israel accuses Hamas of using Palestinians as human shields, while Palestinians and rights groups say Israel has endangered civilians as it seeks to eradicate the group. Follow Worldcrunch’s coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas here.
• British Supreme Court rules Rwanda deporting plans unlawful: The British Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda is unlawful because they would not be safe.
• Xi Jinping arrives in U.S. ahead of summit with Joe Biden: Chinese President Xi Jinping has arrived in the United States for his first visit in six years, after U.S. President Joe Biden said his goal was to restore normal communications with Beijing, including military-to-military contacts. Xi is due to meet Biden near San Francisco on Wednesday morning U.S. time, before attending the annual summit of the 21-member Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping.
• At least 30 dead in Kashmir bus accident: At least 30 people have been killed after a passenger bus slid off a Himalayan highway and rolled down a steep slope onto another road in Indian-administered Kashmir. The accident took place on Wednesday on a remote mountain road in the Doda area, about 124 miles southeast of the region’s main city of Srinagar.
• Brazil hit by major heatwave: Red alerts have been issued for almost 3,000 towns and cities across Brazil, which have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave. Rio de Janeiro recorded 42.5C (108.5F) on Sunday, a record for November, and high humidity on Tuesday meant that it felt like 58.5C (137.3F). More than a hundred million people have been affected by the heat, which is expected to last until at least Friday. French daily Les Echos reported earlier this year on how the human body will evolve with the extreme heat brought on by climate change.
• U.S. House passes spending bill to avert government shutdown: The United States’s House of Representatives has passed a temporary spending bill to avert a government shutdown that could have left as many as 1.5 million public workers without pay. The legislation, which would extend government funding until mid-January, now heads for likely approval in the Senate.
• New Zealand crowns “bird of the century” championed by John Oliver: The great crested grebe, better known as the pūteketeke, has been elected New Zealand’s “Bird of the Century”. It won by a significant margin getting more than 290,000 votes, notably after talk show host John Oliver voiced his support for the peculiar bird. “It began as an outside contender but was catapulted to the top spot thanks to its unique looks, adorable parenting style and propensity for puking,” wrote conservation charity Forest and Bird in a statement on Wednesday local time announcing the results.
Brazilian daily O Estado de S. Paulo reports on the country’s heatwave, which is causing electricity consumption to break records, with energy demand for equipment such as fans and air conditioners reaching all-time highs. Brazilian shoppers, as photographed on the front page of the Sao Paulo-based daily, are on the hunt for fans, causing demand and prices to soar: even Google has registered a 615% rise in “air conditioning” searches because of the heatwave. The front page also features coverage of Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s recent comparison of Israel and Hamas, which Jewish leaders contest. Lula talked about how Israel was committing acts of terrorism, equating it to Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack on Israel.
Helen Williams, a Nigerian woman hailing from Lagos, has set a new Guinness World Record for the longest handmade wig ever made. Coming in at 351.28 meters (1,150 ft), the wig took 11 days and $2,493 to make — but the biggest challenge was finding an open space where the wig could be laid out and measured.
The Italian scientist predicting the eruption of Iceland's most dangerous volcano
Originally from Tuscany, Sara Barsotti has spent the past decade leading the task force monitoring Iceland's major volcanic eruption threat, following all the warning signs as her family evacuates the small town they've been calling home, reports Federico Taddia in Italian daily La Stampa.
🌋 Originally from Carrara, the 48-years-old former researcher at the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Pisa was hired by IMO ten years ago through a Skype interview following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. This life-changing choice, made with her husband Matteo, has positioned her as a key figure in supervising the 30 active volcanoes on the island. "We were aware that the situation on the Reykjanes Peninsula was still in flux, given the eruptions in recent years. But we did not expect a scenario of this magnitude.”
⚠️ There was a sudden accumulation of warning bells: earthquakes, evidence from probes scattered around the area, satellite images and values from GPS stations showing increasingly evident deformations. All this while the first cracks began to appear in the asphalt of Grindavík, a town of 3,800 inhabitants, an hour south-west of Reykjavík. It's the magma pushing and deforming the ground, still deep at around three or four kilometers, but that could transform at any moment into a river — or a bomb — of lava.
🏘️ "Evacuating the town was necessary: the citizens left within three hours. We, as scientists, have the task — and responsibility — of interpreting the data and passing the information to civil protection, which is responsible for assessing the risk-related implications. It's true, history speaks clearly here: the entire peninsula is a lava field, and Icelanders have always lived with the vitality of volcanoes in mind. But telling someone they must leave their home immediately, with the possibility of never seeing it again, is not an easy decision for anyone."
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➡️ Watch the video: THIS HAPPENED
“Someone needs to be honest: your plan is not working.”
— Suella Braverman has launched a full-scale attack on British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, the day after being fired as Home Secretary. In a scathing letter, she accused Sunak of having repeatedly failed on key policies and broken pledges over immigration, instead adopting “wishful thinking” to “avoid having to make hard choices.” Braverman also described the Prime Minister as being either “incapable” of delivering on immigration policy priorities, or never having “any intention” of keeping those promises in the first place.
✍️ Newsletter by Emma Albright, Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Michelle Courtois
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