Gaza militants, Israel trade new rocket fire and airstrikes

Jerusalem, May 11 :  Palestinian militants launched dozens of rockets from Gaza and Israel unleashed new air strikes against them early Tuesday, in an escalation triggered by soaring tensions in Jerusalem and days of clashes at an iconic mosque in the holy city.

Twenty-two people, including nine children, were killed in Gaza overnight, most of them in Israeli strikes. More than 700 Palestinians were hurt in clashes with Israeli security forces in Jerusalem and across the West Bank in 24 hours, including nearly 500 who were treated at hospitals. The Israeli military said six Israeli civilians were hurt by rocket fire Tuesday morning.

This round of violence, like previous ones, was fuelled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem, home to major holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The rival national and religious narratives of Israelis and Palestinians are rooted in the city, making it the emotional core of their long conflict.

In recent weeks, tension as been soaring in Jerusalem, marked by clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in the walled Old City, located in east Jerusalem which Israel captured and annexed in the 1967 war.

One of the flashpoints in the Old City has been the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site of Islam and the holiest site of Judaism. Another driver of Palestinian anger has been the threatened eviction of Palestinian families from homes in an east Jerusalem neighborhood by Israeli settlers.

Monday was a long day of anger and deadly violence, laying bare Jerusalem's deep divisions, even as Israel tried to celebrate its capture of the city's eastern sector and its sensitive holy sites more than half a century ago.

With dozens of rockets flying into Israel throughout the night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with top security officials and warned that the fighting could drag on, despite calls for calm from the US, Europe and elsewhere.

Hamas, the militant group ruling the Gaza Strip, fired dozens of rockets Monday evening, setting off air raid sirens as far as Jerusalem. The barrage came after Hamas had given Israel a deadline to withdraw forces from the Al-Aqsa compound.

By Tuesday morning, Hamas and other Gaza miliants had fired more than 200 rockets. That included a barrage of six rockets that targeted Jerusalem, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) away. It set off air raid sirens throughout Jerusalem, and explosions could be heard in what was believed to be the first time the city had been targeted since a 2014 war.

There appeared to be some first signs of de-escalation in Jerusalem early Tuesday. Palestinian worshippers performed the dawn prayer at the mosque without confrontations as Israel apparently limited the presence of its police officers around the compound. Amateur videos showed dozens of faithful marching to the mosque and chanting we sacrifice our blood, soul for Al-Aqsa .

In Gaza, an Israeli drone strike killed a man in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis early Tuesday, according to local media reports. In another strike, a woman was killed when a missile struck the upper floors of an apartment building in the Shati refugee camp on the edge of Gaza City, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

Hamas' armed wing said it intensified the rocket barrages following the airstrike on the house.

The Israeli military said it had carried out dozens of airstrikes across Gaza overnight, targeting what it said were Hamas military installations and operatives. It said a Hamas tunnel, rocket launchers and at least eight militants had been hit.

Dozens of rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome defence system. But one landed near a home on the outskirts of Jerusalem, causing light damage to the structure and sparking a brush fire nearby. In southern Israel, an Israeli man was lightly wounded after a missile struck a vehicle.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that terrorist organisations in Gaza have crossed a red line and attacked us with missiles in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

He said fighting could continue for some time and that whoever attacks us will pay a heavy price , warning that the fighting could continue for some time.

Gaza health officials gave no further breakdowns on the casualties. At least 15 of the 22 deaths in Gaza were attributed to the airstrikes. Seven of the deaths were members of a single family, including three children, who died in a mysterious explosion in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun. It was not clear if the blast was caused by an Israeli airstrike or errant rocket. More than 100 Gazans were wounded in the airstrikes, the Health Ministry said.

In a statement issued early Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the rocket attacks would continue until Israel stops all scenes of terrorism and aggression in Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa mosque.

Tensions at the site, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, have triggered repeated bouts of violence in the past.

In Monday's unrest, Israeli police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets in clashes with stone-throwing Palestinians at the compound.

More than a dozen tear gas canisters and stun grenades landed in the mosque as police and protesters faced off inside the walled compound that surrounds it. Smoke rose in front of the mosque and the golden-domed shrine on the site, and rocks littered the nearby plaza.

Over 600 Palestinians were hurt in Jerusalem alone, including more than 400 who required care at hospitals and clinics, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.

Blue Java Bananas that tastes just like Vanilla Ice Cream

Thursday, 15th April 2021: The English phrase ‘once in a blue moon’ means something very rare. What if I say there is a blue coloured banana that exactly tastes like yummy vanilla ice-cream. Yes, you heard to right. We have seen bananas since childhood – green when raw and yellow when ripen. That’s how we know it. But have you ever heard of blue bananas? Yes there exist a variety of bananas and it is called blue java banana. And recently this variety of banana took internet by storm when Tham Khai Meng, the former Global Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy wrote on his Twiiter handle, “How come nobody ever told me to plant Blue Java Bananas? Incredible they taste just like ice-cream”. He also shared an eye-catching images of blue banana that will make your mouth watery in this hot summer.
According to expert, it is found primarily in Southeast Asia and is very popular in Hawaii where it is called ‘Ice Cream Banana’. In Philipines, they are called ‘Krie’ and in Central America, they are popular as ‘Cenizo’.

 

Meng further shared a tweet mentioning an amazopedia link that has detailed facts about this magic fruit. According to it, the blue Java bananas are triploid hybrid of the seeded bananas – Musa balbisiana and Musa acuminate. These bananas can grow to a height of 15 to 20 ft and the leaves of the tree are silver green in colour, also they require a temperature of 40 Fahrenheit for optimal growth.

 

His tweet attracted number of netizens who could not stop themselves from commenting where one person wrote, “Amazing, I just looked them up, I’d never heard them before your tweet. What an amazing, abundant, diverse world we live in.” Another Twitter user wrote, “Where did you find these? Never knew they existed.” A third tweet reads, “What, is this real?”

So, would you like to try this unique banana? Share your thoughts with us.

Coronavirus | WHO team visits Wuhan virus lab at centre of speculation

World Health Organisation (WHO) investigators on Wednesday visited a research centre in the Chinese city of Wuhan that has been the subject of speculation about the origins of the coronavirus, with one member saying they intended to meet key staff and press them on critical issues.

The WHO team’s visit to the Wuhan Institute of Virology is a highlight of their mission to gather data and search for clues as to where the virus originated and how it spread.

“We’re looking forward to meeting with all the key people here and asking all the important questions that need to be asked,” zoologist and team member Peter Daszak said.

Reporters followed the team to the high security facility, but as with past visits, there was little direct access to team members, who have given scant details of their discussions and visits thus far. Uniformed and plainclothes security guards stood watch along the facility’s gated front entrance, but there was no sign of the protective suits team members had donned Tuesday during a visit to an animal disease research centre.

Speculations on where COVID-19 originated

One of China’s top virus research labs, the institute built an archive of genetic information about bat coronaviruses after the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. That has led to unproven allegations that it may have a link to the original outbreak of COVID-19 in Wuhan in late 2019.

China has strongly denied that possibility and has promoted also unproven theories that the virus may have originated elsewhere or even been brought into the country from overseas with imports of frozen seafood tainted with the virus, a notion roundly rejected by international scientists and agencies.

The institute’s deputy director is Shi Zhengli, a virologist who worked with Daszak to track down the origins of SARS that originated in China and led to the 2003 outbreak. She has published widely in academic journalists and worked to debunk theories espoused by the former Trump administration and other American officials that the virus is either a bioweapon or a “lab leak” from the institute.

Will take years to confirm virus origins

Following two weeks in quarantine, the WHO team that includes experts from 10 nations has visited hospitals, research institutes and a traditional wet market linked to many of the first cases. Their visit followed months of negotiations as China seeks to retain tight control over information about the outbreak and the investigation into its origins, possibly to avoid blame for alleged missteps in its early response.

Confirmation of the origins of the virus is likely to take years. Pinning down an outbreak’s animal reservoir typically requires exhaustive research, including taking animal samples, genetic analysis and epidemiological studies. One possibility is that a wildlife poacher might have passed the virus to traders who carried it to Wuhan.

The first clusters of COVID-19 were detected in Wuhan in late 2019, eventually prompting the government to put the city of 11 million under a strict 76-day lockdown. China has since reported more than 89,000 cases and 4,600 deaths, with new cases largely concentrated in its northeast and local lockdowns and travel restrictions being imposed to contain the outbreaks.

New cases of local transmission continue to fall with just 15 reported on Wednesday as Chinese heed government calls not to travel for the Lunar New Year holiday later this month.

Input. thehindu

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Donald Trump Claims he is ‘Immune’ to COVID-19

Guwahati: Ahead of Florida rally, United States of America's President Donald Trump claimed that he was “immune” to the coronavirus after recovering from Covid-19.

The President also tweeted: "A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can't get it (immune), and can't give it. Very nice to know!!!"

Twitter later flagged the tweet as a violation of its rules forbidding the spread of "misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19."

According to reports, in an interview with Fox News, Trump said he felt “fantastically” and was ready to “get out of the basement”.

“It seems like I’m immune, so I can go way out of a basement, which I would have done anyway,” Trump told the channel. “It looks like I am immune for I don’t know, maybe a long time or maybe a short time...It could be a lifetime, nobody really knows but I am immune.” Studies have yet to establish whether being infected with Covid-19 leads to future immunity.

Trump is expected to make his first public appearance on the campaign trail since his diagnosis at a rally in Florida today.

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WHO cautions of airborne transmission of COVID-19

Geneva: The World Health Organization has acknowledged that there's a possibility of coronavirus being spread in the air under certain conditions. The UN body releases new guidelines on COVID-19 transmission, including new scientific evidence available on the spread of the SARS-CoV-2. The world health body has issued guidelines as to how one may stay safe from the deadly virus

On Thursday WHO issued new guidelines on the transmission of the novel coronavirus acknowledging some reports of airborne spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. In an updated scientific brief on COVID-19 transmission, the UN health agency said the airborne spread of coronavirus can occur in health care settings where specific medical procedures generate very small droplets - aerosols. However, WHO said that more research is urgently required to elucidate the importance of different transmission routes of the virus.

 The guidelines stated that understanding how, when and in what types of settings the SARS-CoV-2 virus spreads between people is critical for developing effective public health and infection prevention measures to break chains of transmission.

As of now what is needed is to inform all that airborne transmission is different from droplet transmission and what one can do to stay safe from respiratory infections such as COVID-19 by following the preliminary guidelines like wearing mask, frequent hand washing and maintaining social distancing.

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Trump Working On Executive Order To Establish Merit Based Immigration System

Washington: Amid the outrage, US President Donald Trump is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system, the White House has said.

The statement came soon after he, in an interview with an American News channel, said he is working on an executive order on immigration that will include a "road to citizenship" for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programme.

Responding to a question, Trump said his action on the DACA is going to be part of a much bigger bill on immigration."It's going to be a very big bill, a very good bill, and a merit-based bill and it will include DACA, and I think people are going to be very happy," the president.

"One of the aspects of the bill is going to be DACA. We're going to have a road to citizenship," Trump said, drawing sharp criticism from quarters in his camp. Senator Ted Cruz described the move as a mistake.

As the president announced today, he is working on an executive order to establish a merit-based immigration system to further protect US workers, the White House said in a statement.

Furthermore, the president has long said he is willing to work with the Congress on a negotiated legislative solution to DACA, one that could include citizenship, along with strong border security and permanent merit-based reforms, the White House said.

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Pakistan's Health Minister Zafar Mirza Tests Positive For COVID-19

ISLAMABAD: On Monday Health Minister of Pakistan announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19.

“I have tested positive for COVID-19. Under (medical) advice I have isolated myself at home & taking all precautions. I have mild symptoms. Please keep me in your kind prayers,” Minister Zafar Mirza said on Twitter.

So far almost 2.3 lakh COVID-19 positive cases have been recorded in Pakistan while the death toll stands at around 4,762. It is also confirmed that on an average about  4000 new cases on a daily basis are recorded across the country.

So far several political heavyweights including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rasheed and the Speaker of the lower house of Parliament, Asad Qaiser been hit by the virus.

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New Expat Bill In Kuwait May Force To Leave Over 8 Lakh Indians

Mumbai: New bill on ex-pats in Kuwait has been enacted into the law. National Assembly has approved the draft of ex-pats quota bill, due to which Indians population in Kuwait won’t exceed 15% of the population. Due to this move, over 8 lakh Indians may have to leave the nation forcefully.

The current population of Kuwait is 4.3 million which includes 1.3 million Kuwaitis and 3 million as ex-pats serving in the nation.  Due to a slump in oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a spike in anti-expat rhetoric as government officials and lawmakers call for reducing the number of foreigners in Kuwait.

As far as the remittances source for India is concerned, Kuwait ranks top on the table with USD 4.8 billion. According to the Indian embassy in Kuwait, around 28,000 Indians are working in various sectors such as hospitals, oil companies and others. Over 5.23 lakh are deployed in various sectors. Due to this anti-ex-pat law, they may have to leave Kuwait.

According to reports, this draft law will propose to impose a cap on the number of ex-pats, whose numbers must decrease gradually by stating that this year ex-pats will be 70 percent, next year 65 percent and so on.

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Tests COVID-19 Positive

Islamabad: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Friday tested positive for COVID-19. Significantly, over the last few days, the Foreign Minister had close contact with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in parliament as well as during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday. The same day he also met the U.S. special representative to discuss progress on the Afghan peace process.

Till date Pakistan has reported 2,21,896 COVID-19 positive cases of while the death toll is 4,451. Presently, the country is witnessing on an average about 4,000 new cases every day.

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Gunmen Attack PSX, 6 Killed, 4 Gunmen Eliminated

Karachi (Pak): The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) building in Karachi came under gun attack from four gunmen on Monday as per reports emanating from Pakistan. While six civilians were killed in the attack, all the four gunmen were gunned down by the security forces, as per the reports.

The gunmen armed with guns and grenades reportedly came in a silver Corolla car and attacked the PSX building which is in a high-security zone

As per a PSX tweet, “The situation is still unfolding and management, with the help of security forces, is managing the security and controlling the situation." The further added,” "We will issue a more detailed statement in due course once the situation is under control and more details are known.” The PSX tweet could be a reflection that the situation may not have come fully under control.

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