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72-Hour Gaza Truce, Anti-Ebola Efforts, Headline Of The Year

The first of 888,246 ceramic poppies in London to commemorate UK's involvment in WWI.
The first of 888,246 ceramic poppies in London to commemorate UK's involvment in WWI.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Israel announced the withdrawal of its ground troops from Gaza this morning after Egyptian mediators brokered a 72-hour truce with Hamas late Monday.

An Israeli military spokesman said the army’s main goal of destroying Hamas’ cross-border tunnels had been completed, adding that the troops would be redeployed in “defensive positions outside the Gaza Strip” and “maintain those defensive positions.” In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces announced they had killed around 900 “terrorists,” and destroyed 32 tunnels and 3,000 missiles.

Minutes before the ceasefire began, Hamas launched a salvo of rockets at southern and central Israel and the occupied West Bank, Reuters reports. Israeli authorities said the country’s Iron Dome anti-missile defense system shot down a rocket over Jerusalem as another hit a house in a town near Bethlehem. It caused no casualties. According to the BBC, Israeli forces also staged raids in Gaza shortly before the ceasefire began.

An Israeli delegation is set to leave for Cairo in the next few days to negotiate — with the help of Egyptian mediation — a more permanent agreement with Hamas, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports. A Palestinian delegation, including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is already on site.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian foreign minister argued to International Criminal Court prosecutors today that Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza, where authorities say 1,869 people have been killed and 9,800 wounded.

The World Bank announced today it would allocate $200 million in emergency assistance for the governments of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO), to help battle the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. This comes as African leaders are in Washington discussing the crisis as part of the 2014 African Summit. According to the WHO, 1,323 confirmed and suspected cases have been reported, and at least 729 people have been killed since March 2014 in what is an unprecedented outbreak of the deadly virus.

Meanwhile, the conditions of two American missionary workers who became infected with Ebola in West Africa improved significantly after they received a highly experimental drug called ZMapp, CNN reports. Both patients had been informed that the medication had never been tried on humans before but that it had shown promise in experiments with monkeys.

One of the Tower of London's Yeomen Warders planted the first of 888,246 ceramic poppies (one for each soldier who died fighting for Britain and its colonies) as the country marked on Monday the centenary of its involvement in World War I.

At least 100 people are still missing a day after a ferry capsized 30 kilometers from the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka on Monday. Authorities said rescuers still had not found the boat but were using sonar to locate it. Authorities have rescued 100 people, Reuters reports.

As Hurriyet’s Verda Ozer writes, the jihadist movement is not only reshaping the situation in Syria, but may also completely shift alliances across the region. Will Assad ally with Turkey, Iraq and even the West against ISIS? “Expert opinions regarding ISIS have repeatedly proved to be wrong,” the journalist writes. “First, the group was said to be focused on fighting against Assad. Only much later, people realized that the movement was acting largely in step with the Syrian regime, with their goals on the field matching up perfectly. The Turkish government was the first to voice that view, which was later embraced by both UN and U.S. officials.”
Read the full article, How ISIS Could Turn Assad Into A Western Ally.

In a report published today, Amnesty International claims that the Nigerian army has committed atrocities in its fight against Islamist militants belonging to Boko Haram. The organization says gruesome footage obtained from multiple sources on a trip to the northeastern Borno state included “horrific images of detainees having their throats slit one by one and dumped in mass graves.” Nigerian authorities announced they would investigate.

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed a bill providing an additional $225 million in emergency aid to Israel for its Iron Dome missile defense system.

Chinese authorities are investigating a Canadian couple suspected of stealing national defense and military secrets, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced today. The couple, identified by Xinhua as Kevin and Julia Dawn Garratt, ran a coffee shop on the Chinese border with North Korea.

“Highlighting a woman as a target like this may one day make her the victim of a murder,” says the chief of an organization that has filed a criminal complaint against the high-ranking Turkish official who said last week that women shouldn’t laugh in public.


This is definitelya strong contender for headline of the year. Shake those feathers, Les, because YOLO.

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First It Was Poland's Farmers — Now Truckers Are Protesting Ukraine's Special Status

For the past month, Poland has been blocking off its border checkpoints to Ukrainian trucks, leaving many in days-long lines. It's a commercial and economic showdown, but it's about much more.

Photogrqph of a line of trucks queued in the  Korczowa - border crossing​

November 27, 2023, Medyka: Trucks stand in a queue to cross the border in Korczowa as Polish farmers strike and block truck transport in Korczowa - border crossing

Dominika Zarzycka/ZUMA
Katarzyna Skiba

Since November 6, Polish truckers have blocked border crossing points with Ukraine, citing unfair advantages given to the Ukrainian market, and demanding greater support from the European Union.

With lines that now stretch for up to 40 kilometers (25 miles), thousands of Ukrainian truckers must now wait an average of about four days in ever colder weather to cross the border, sometimes with the help of the Polish police. At least two Ukrainian truck drivers have died while waiting for passage into Poland.

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The round-the-clock blockade is being manned by Polish trucking unions who claim that Ukrainian trucking companies, which offer a cheaper rate, have been transporting goods across Europe, rather than between Poland and Ukraine. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian truckers have been exempt from the permits once required to cross the border.

Now, Polish truckers are demanding that their government reintroduce entry permits for Ukrainian lorries, with exceptions for military and humanitarian aid from Europe. For the moment, those trucks are being let through the blockade, which currently affects four out of Ukraine’s eight border crossings with Poland.

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