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Mourning in Jerusalem
Mourning in Jerusalem

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A second Gaza school was hit by Israeli Defense Forces, killing at least 19 people. Today’s assault was on the United Nations-run Abu Hussein School in Gaza's Jabaliya refugee camp where displaced Gazans have sought shelter, CNN reports (video included). In total, at least 32 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire overnight in Gaza, where there is a growing shortage of clean water and electricity. More than 3,500 families have reportedly lost their homes.

Today’s strike on the school, which included women and children among the dead, followed an attack Thursday on another U.N.-run school in northern Gaza, that killed 16 and left hundreds wounded.

All told, at least 1,200 Palestinians and 55 Israelis have been killed since July 8 in the conflict between Hamas and Israel. For more details, The New York Times has a graphic detailing the war’s day-by-day toll.

Hamas released a video showing what it’s like going through tunnels into Israel and attacking a military position, a raid in which five Israeli soldiers died.

According to the Jerusalem Post, a poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed oppose a ceasefire because “Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered.”

Both EU officials and President Barack Obama announced new and harsher economic sanctions against Russia for its policy in Ukraine, including its arming of separatists there. The new measures include an arms embargo and limits on access to European capital markets for Russian state-owned banks, reports The Washington Post, which characterizes the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in eastern Ukraine as “the most galvanizing event for Europe.”

“It’s not a new Cold War,” Obama said during the announcement of new “Level 3” sanctions Tuesday. Read more about it here.

Five people were killed today in a landslide in western India after heavy monsoon rains. As many as 150 others are trapped, AFP reports. Debris from a hill collapsed onto homes while residents of the remote Malin village were asleep.

Al-Qaeda has taken at least $125 million in revenue from kidnappings since 2008, according to an investigation by The New York Times.



Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond characterized the spread of the deadly Ebola virus as a “very serious threat” to the UK, The Telegraph reports. The disease, which the newspaper notes can be fatal for up to 90% of infected victims, has killed more than 670 people in an outbreak across Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Public Health England has issued an urgent warning to doctors to watch for signs of the disease after an infected man was allowed to travel through an international hub. An official said the virus was “clearly not under control.”

Die Welt reporter Nikolaus Doll traveled from Berlin to the South Pacific island of Samoa, which used to be a German colony and is now facing an array of social and economic problems, some linked to foreign rulers of the past. “The German colonial heritage is quite noticeable in many other ways here. For a long time, Samoans benefited from it. Yet it now seems to have become an obstacle on the way to Samoa's prosperity. The island might look like the perfect exotic paradise — but it is an illusion…”
Read the full article: Samoa, Tropical Paradise Burdened By German Past

Microsoft plans to launch its Xbox One gaming console in China on Sep. 23, making it the first foreign company to start selling consoles in the world’s third-biggest gaming market after a ban on the devices was lifted this year, Reuters reports.

You may know that the cedar tree is the national symbol of Lebanon. It’s also at risk from environmental damage, which has led the Ministries of Environment and Education to a team of bioacoustic engineers who have extracted the natural sounds emitted in the Barouk Forest by a cedar tree. See and hear how a tree sounds on our oh-so-global music blog: Hit It!

Stockholm’s contest to choose the color of its new Metro line is costing taxpayers $72,887 (half a million kroner), but here’s why “it’s worth it.”

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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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