Children burnt alive: Death toll from Israel attack on Rafah safe zone rises to 50

News Network
May 27, 2024

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The death toll from the Israeli regime’s airstrikes against a designated safe zone for displaced people in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip has risen to at least 50 people.

ActionAid UK, the British chapter of an international relief organization, reported the fatalities on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Israeli warplanes fired eight missiles toward makeshift shelters housing internally-displaced persons in the city’s northwest.

“These shelters were supposed to be safe havens for innocent civilians, yet they became targets of brutal violence,” the organization said.

“Children, women, and men are being burned alive under their tents and shelters,” it noted, warning that the number of fatalities could rise.

Reacting to the massacre, the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas called it an “egregious affront” to a recent ruling by the International Court of Justice, which ordered the Israeli regime to “immediately” halt its offensive against Rafah.

The movement called on all parties, especially Egypt, to pressure the regime into ending its occupation of the city’s Rafah crossing, which borders the country and serves as the main point of entry for vital supplies into Gaza.

Hamas also urged the international community, the United Nations, and all concerned parties to scramble to support the Palestinian nation in the face of the Israeli massacre, which has been seeking to bring about the mass exodus of the Palestinian people and destroy their national cause for the past seven months.

It was referring to an October-present genocidal war that the regime has been waging against Gaza in response to a retaliatory operation by the territory’s resistance movements.

The war has so far claimed the lives of around 36,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, in Gaza.

Hamas called on the world’s Muslim and Arab peoples to step up their anti-Israeli activism in the face of the genocide.

Israel must face sanctions: UN

Francesca Albanese, the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, meanwhile, reacted to the “horror” created by the Israeli regime in Rafah, calling for pressure on Tel Aviv.

“The Gaza genocide will not easily end without external pressure: Israel must face sanctions, justice, suspension of agreements, trade, partnership and investments, as well as participation in international forums.”

Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the world body’s special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, also denounced the bloodletting, saying, “Attacking women and children while they cower in their shelters in Rafah is a monstrous atrocity.” 

“We need concerted global action to stop Israel’s actions now,” he added.

The Israeli massacre in Rafah was also followed by mass protest rallies across the West Bank, including in the city of Ramallah and the town of Anabta, which is located to the east of the city of Tulkarm in the northern part of the occupied territory.

The Emirati Hospital in Rafah also condemned the Israeli attacks on Rafah as “a heinous massacre.”

Similar demonstrations also erupted elsewhere throughout the region, including at the Baqa’a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan and in front of the Israeli consulate in Istanbul.

In Iraq, enraged people stormed the KFC’s branch in the capital Baghdad, inflicting damage on the restaurant in protest at the United States’ ongoing support for the Israeli regime’s war on Gaza.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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Amravati (Maharashtra): Amravati MLA Ravi Rana has claimed Shiv Sena (UBT) head and former Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray will join the Modi government in 15 days after the Lok Sabha election results come out on Tuesday.

Ravi Rana's wife Navneet Rana, the sitting MP from Amravati, contested the Lok Sabha poll from the seat this time on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party's ticket.

In 2019, Navneet Rana won the Lok Sabha poll from Amravati as an independent candidate.

Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, the MLA from Badnera in Amravati district said he knows the way Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut have been speaking about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"I can confidently say that 15 days after Modi ji becomes the prime minister again, Uddhav Thackeray will be seen in the Modi government and with Modi ji, because the coming era is of Modi ji and Uddhav Thackeray knows it," Ravi Rana claimed.

Leaders of the opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in the state should keep blood pressure medicines and doctors with them as many of them will fall sick on June 4, the day of vote counting, the Yuva Swabhiman Party MLA said.

The MVA comprises the Shiv Sena (UBT), Congress and the Sharad Pawar-led NCP (SP). The legislator expressed confidence that his wife Navneet Rana will win the Amravati Lok Sabha seat by a margin of more than two lakh votes.

Navneet Rana will become MP again as all sections of the society have voted for her in large numbers, he added.

In Amravati, Navneet Rana was pitted against Congress MLA Balwant Wankhede and Dinesh Bub of the Prahar Janshakti Party.

The Rana couple had taken on the MVA government over the recitation of Hanuman Chalisa in April 2022 when Uddhav Thackeray was the chief minister.

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News Network
June 3,2024

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Mangaluru: Tamil Nadu surfers swept the top honors in all four categories, men’s open, women’s open, groms boys & U-16 and groms girls & U-16, at the Indian Open of Surfing at the Sasihithlu beach.

Ajeesh Ali, who competed in the Paris Olympics qualifiers (2023 ISA World Surfing Games, El Salvador) last year, was crowned the new IOS champion in the men’s open category.

Teenage sensation Kamali Moorthi completed a double victory by winning both the women’s open and groms girls & U-16 categories, successfully defending her titles.

Another Tamil Nadu teenager, Tayin Arun, impressed the judges with his maneuvers and was crowned the new IOS champion in the groms boys & U-16 category.

The final day's action began with the semi-finals of the groms boys and U-16 category. Local favorite Pradeep Pujar led the pack with a score of 8.80, advancing to the finals alongside Prahlad Sriram (8.50), Harish P (8.26), and Tayin Arun (6.76).

Speaking on the surfing conditions today, Dylan Amar from Indonesia, who was the head judge at Indian Open of Surfing, said, “The conditions today were excellent, making this venue highly competitive. Over the three days, the athletes put on an impressive show. If they maintain this level of effort, Indian surfers could soon make it to the Olympics."

The action then moved to the semi-finals of the groms girls and U-16 category. Tamil Nadu surfers Dhamayanthi Sriram and Mahathi Srinivasabharathi qualified for the finals with scores of 4.57 and 3.54 respectively. Kamali Moorthi, the top seed from Tamil Nadu, had already been granted a final spot based on her national ranking.

The finals of the groms boys and U-16 category saw Tayin Arun impressing the judges with his acrobatics, winning his first title at IOS with a score of 10.17. Harish P (8.40) and Prahlad Sriram (7.47) made it a thrilling competition, finishing second and third, respectively. Mantra Surf Club's Pradeep Pujar finished fourth with a score of 5.34.

Speaking after winning his first-ever IOS title, Tayin Arun expressed his joy, "I’m really happy to win the title today as it is my first IOS title, and the conditions were really good for surfing. I enjoyed surfing today, and I’m looking forward to winning more titles in the future. I missed Kishore Kumar as he is my best friend, and I would like to beat him as well."

The final day also featured the groms girls and U-16 finals, an all-Tamil Nadu affair. Kamali Moorthi emerged victorious with a commanding score of 12.17, securing the title by a wide margin. Dhamayanthi Sriram (5.93) and Mahathi Srinivasabharathi (2.07) finished second and third, respectively.

The highlight event of the day was the men’s open surfing final, another all Tamil Nadu affair, featuring the top-seeded surfers from across the country. Ajeesh Ali, who represented India at the 2023 ISA World Surfing Games in El Salvador, walked away with the championship title with the highest score of the day (14.70). The intense action and thrilling competition in the category captivated the audience.

Srikanth D (12.57) and Sanjaikumar S (11.10) took the runner-up and second runner-up titles, respectively, while Sanjay Selvamani came in fourth with a score of 6.17.

Speaking after winning the IOS title in surfing men’s open category, Ajeesh Ali said, “I am thrilled to have won the title today after being the runner-up in the previous edition. Winning the Indian Open of Surfing was something I desperately wanted.

"My experience in El Salvador last year for the Paris Olympics qualifiers allowed me to compete with some of the world’s best surfers and learn a great deal from them. The conditions today were challenging with slow waves, but luckily, I had a board specifically for such conditions. The competition was fierce, as my fellow surfers are among the best in the country."

The women’s open surf category finals concluded the event with fierce competition among India’s leading female surfers. Kamali Moorthi emerged victorious, winning the IOS women’s championship title in a thrilling final.

Kamali scored 12.40 in the finals, narrowly edging out 2022 champion Sugar Banarse from Goa, who scored 12.23 and finished as the runner-up by just 0.17 points. Neha Vaid from Mumbai came in third with a score of 2.97.

Speaking post winning the double titles at IOS, Kamali said, "I am thrilled to have successfully defended both my titles at the Indian Open of Surfing. Surfing in Mangaluru is always a joy, and today was no different. The women’s open category was challenging because I was competing against Sugar Banarse, the 2022 champion. Despite this, I managed to stay calm and not let the pressure get to me before the finals." 

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News Network
June 4,2024

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New Delhi: If shocking trends on counting day could be ranked, Uttar Pradesh would be the topper. Nearly three hours into the counting of votes for Lok Sabha polls, the BJP's big bastion in the past two general elections is witnessing en epic neck-and-neck battle between the BJP-led NDA and INDIA bloc comprising Samajwadi Party and Congress. In fact, INDIA bloc holds a slim lead over NDA. 

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-led NDA won 62 of the state's 80 seats, with the BSP and Samajwadi Party, then allies, winning 10 and five seats, respectively. This time, the BSP is on its own, and early trends do not suggest that it will pull off a good show.

While the Akhilesh Yadav-led Samajwadi Party is contesting 62 seats, the Congress is fighting 17.

The BJP has stuck to its old ally, Apna Dal (Sonelal), and has also brought in Jayant Chaudhary's RLD and OP Rajbhar's Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party into the NDA fold.

For the Congress, Amethi and Rae Bareli, its family strongholds, are prestige battles. This holds especially true for Amethi, where Rahul Gandhi lost to BJP's Smriti Irani last time. As of 11 am, Ms Irani is trailing to Congress's Kishori Lal Sharma, a Gandhi family loyalist. In Rae Bareli, Mr Gandhi is leading by over 60,000 votes.

Exit polls had earlier given the NDA an edge in Uttar Pradesh, but the INDIA bloc leaders had dismissed the projections.

Key Lok Sabha Seats

Among the key Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently leading over Congress's Ajay Rai in Varanasi, while Congress MP Rahul Gandhi is ahead in Rae Bareli.

Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is leading from the Kannauj Lok Sabha seat.

In Lucknow, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, who is seeking a third term, is leading over SP's Ravidas Mehrotra and BSP candidate Sarwar Malik.

Hema Malini, BJP's actor-turned-politician, is ahead in the Mathura constituency against Congress' Mukesh Dhangar.

Union minister Smriti Irani is trailing behind Congress' Kishori Lal Sharma in Amethi.

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