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HAARETZ (Israel), WAFA (Palestine), REUTERS, AP

Worldcrunch

RAMALLAH – Barack Obama arrived Thursday in Ramallah in the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders, on the second day of his visit to the Middle East.

The U.S. President met with President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah’s presidential headquarters to emphasize the importance of reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, a message AP says was underscored when Palestinian militants in Gaza launched two rockets into southern Israel.

Obama was still in Jerusalem, some 80 kilometers away from the border town of Sderot where one of the rockets exploded in the courtyard of a house early in the morning, causing damage but no injuries; the other rocket landed in an open field, Reuters reports.

"We condemn violence against civilians regardless of its source, including rocket firing," Abbas was quoted as saying by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The second leg of Obama’s four-day Mideast tour started more calmly with a visit to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where he saw the Dead Sea Scrolls, accompanied by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Haaretz reports.

After his meeting with Abbas, Obama will attend a cultural event at Al-Bireh Youth Center and will meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Fayyad. He will then give a speech at the Jerusalem Convention Center, before attending a dinner hosted by Israeli President Peres where he will receive the Presidential Medal of Distinction.

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China

How China's Mass Protest Took The World By Surprise — And Where It Will End

China is facing its biggest political protests in decades as frustration grows with its harsh Zero-COVID strategy. However, the real reasons for the protests run much deeper. Could it be the starting point for a new civic movement?

Photo of police during protests in China against covid-19 restrictions

Security measures during a protest against COVID-19 restrictions

Changren Zheng

In just one weekend, protests spread across China. A fire in an apartment block in Urumqi in China’s western Xinjiang region killed 10, with many blaming lockdown rules for the deaths. Anti-lockdown demonstrations spread to Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan, Chengdu and other cities. University students from more than half of China's provinces organized various protests against COVID restrictions.

Why and how did the movement spread so rapidly?

At the core, protesters are unhappy with President Xi Jinping's three-year-long Zero-COVID strategy that has meant mass testing, harsh lockdowns, and digital tracking. Yet, the general belief about the Chinese people was that they lacked the awareness and experience for mass political action. Even though discontent had been growing about the Zero-COVID strategy, no one expected these protests.

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