Gaza journalist went to get food for his 3 starving kids and pregnant wife, returned to see them killed

News Network
March 3, 2024

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A young Palestinian journalist Motasem Dalloul took a short break from his reporting to fetch food for his pregnant wife and little children, who were starving.

When Dalloul came back, he saw them lying under the rubble. They were killed in an Israeli bombing of a residential compound in Yafa Street, Gaza City. The incident occurred on February 28, 2024. 

“To Allah we belong and to Him we return my pregnant wife, Rahim, and my 3-year-old son, Abu Baker, have been Killed along with 20 other people in the Israeli bombing of a residential compound in Yafa Street, in the city of Gaza,” he posted on X, formerly Twitter.

The graphic picture of the lifeless bodies of the duo was attached to the post, which drew anger and outrage from netizens over the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

Journalists in the besieged coastal strip have borne the brunt of the Israeli genocidal war since October 7, with more than 130 scribes killed by the occupying regime so far.

However, more tragically, Gaza-based journalists have also lost their families and houses in what human rights activists believe are deliberate attacks to muzzle their voices.

The death toll in Gaza has already surpassed the mark of 30,000, most of them children and women. Earlier this week, more than 100 people were killed after regime forces and tanks opened fire on a large crowd of people who were queuing up to collect aid.

This starvation that Palestinians in Gaza are facing separated Dalloul from his family.

Dalloul went out to search for some food for his hungry wife and kids. He came back to see the house where the family had sought refuge bombed by the apartheid regime.

“At night, she told me she was hungry. I said: I had nothing to do except risking my life to get some aid. She begged me not to go, but I insisted. I LOVED her too much. I LOVED her more than my soul,” he wrote in a post on X, overwhelmed by emotions.

“I went there and succeeded in getting flour and I was happy that she would eat with my little kids. Before I reached them, I was told they were bombed and wounded. I left the flour and rushed to the hospital, found my 6-year-old sim, Asem, wounded and her and my little angel Abu Baker martyred. I got very crazy.” 

Dalloul’s three-year-old son Asem survived the attack and is now recovering from injuries.

In another post, the Palestinian journalist shared a picture of his house, razed to the ground, where his pregnant wife and child were killed.

“Here, from under this rubble, my beloved wife and little angel ascended to Heaven. My heart is completely broken,” he wrote.

UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Michael Fakhri, has repeatedly stressed that denial of food is a war crime and constitutes a "situation of genocide."

Israel has been intentionally starving Palestinians and should be held accountable for war crimes and genocide, according to the UN’s leading expert on the right to food.

“Intentionally depriving people of food is clearly a war crime. Israel has announced its intention to destroy the Palestinian people, in whole or in part, simply for being Palestinian. This is now a situation of genocide. This means…Israel in its entirety is culpable and should be held accountable – not just individuals or this government or that person,” Fakhri said.

A day before Dalloul’s family got killed; the journalist described their plight amid the worsening food situation in the besieged strip due to the crippling siege.

“We are hungry. I got sick after walking more than 20 kilometers every day since the beginning of the week and got nothing.”

“Last night was the worst since the start of the genocide as I was separated from my son. Two of my sons went to try collecting some aid today. I pray for their safety and wish they get something to eat,” he hastened to add, not knowing that the pain of separation would become permanent.

As per a consensus among hunger experts across the globe, a huge civilian population like that of Palestinians in Gaza has never been starved in such a brief period.

“Israel is not just targeting civilians, it is trying to damn the future of the Palestinian people by harming their children,” Fakhri was quoted as saying.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday said 10 children have died of starvation in the besieged strip, pointing to the gravity of the humanitarian catastrophe.

“The official records, yesterday or this morning, said that there was a 10th child officially registered in a hospital as having starved to death,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said.

As per the statistics provided by Project Hope, a health and humanitarian NGO, 21 percent of the pregnant women and 11 percent of the children in Gaza under the age of 5 that were treated by the organization in the last three weeks suffer from malnutrition.

As per a UN report released on February 19, one in six children under the age of 2 is acutely malnourished in the northern part of the coastal strip, “putting young children at highest risk of medical complications and death unless they receive urgent treatment.”

“The Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza,” said UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Humanitarian Action and Supply Operations (ASG), Ted Chaiban.

“If the conflict doesn’t end now, children’s nutrition will continue to plummet, leading to preventable deaths or health issues which will affect the children of Gaza for the rest of their lives and have potential intergenerational consequences,” Chiban added.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court regards intentionally starving a particular civilian population by denying them food, water and shelter as a war crime.

The Geneva Conventions also recognize starvation as a war crime. In 2018, the UN Security Council placed deliberate deprivation of food on the list of war crimes.

Experts say that Israel’s claim of exceptions in war crimes holds no ground. The regime is purposefully destroying the food system, holding humanitarian aid, to let hunger and diseases spread in Gaza.

Meanwhile, a day after losing his wife and son, Dalloul returned to his professional duty.

“Motasem Dalloul continues to cover the ongoing genocide despite losses in his immediate family. If there is any journalist you should be following in Gaza, it's him,” wrote Wad Kosti.

The Gazan journalist asked the world to pray for his children recuperating from injuries and shock of losing their mother and sibling.

“Pray for my son, Asem, who was left without mother, due to Israeli bombing, along with three little daughters: Habiba, 7, Hafsa, 5 and Halima, 2.”

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News Network
April 11,2024

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Real estate tycoon Truong My Lan was sentenced Thursday to death by a court in Ho Chi Minh city in southern Vietnam in the country's largest financial fraud case ever, state media Thanh Nien said.

It's a rare verdict - she is one of very few women in Vietnam to be sentenced to death for a white collar crime, i.e. looting one of the country's largest banks over a period of 11 years.

The decision is a reflection of the dizzying scale of the fraud. Truong My Lan was convicted of taking out $44bn (£35bn) in loans from the Saigon Commercial Bank. The verdict requires her to return $27bn, a sum prosecutors said may never be recovered. Some believe the death penalty is the court's way of trying to encourage her to return some of the missing billions.

The habitually secretive communist authorities were uncharacteristically forthright about this case, going into minute detail for the media. They said 2,700 people were summoned to testify, while 10 state prosecutors and around 200 lawyers were involved.

The evidence was in 104 boxes weighing a total of six tonnes. Eighty-five defendants were tried with Truong My Lan, who denied the charges.

"There has never been a show trial like this, I think, in the communist era," says David Brown, a retired US state department official with long experience in Vietnam. "There has certainly been nothing on this scale."

The trial was the most dramatic chapter so far in the "Blazing Furnaces" anti-corruption campaign led by the Communist Party Secretary-General, Nguyen Phu Trong.

A conservative ideologue steeped in Marxist theory, Nguyen Phu Trong believes that popular anger over untamed corruption poses an existential threat to the Communist Party's monopoly on power. He began the campaign in earnest in 2016 after out-manoeuvring the then pro-business prime minister to retain the top job in the party.

 The campaign has seen two presidents and two deputy prime ministers forced to resign, and hundreds of officials disciplined or jailed. Now one of the country's richest women has joined their ranks.

Truong My Lan comes from a Sino-Vietnamese family in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. It has long been the commercial engine of the Vietnamese economy, dating well back to its days as the anti-communist capital of South Vietnam, with a large, ethnic Chinese community.

She started as a market stall vendor, selling cosmetics with her mother, but began buying land and property after the Communist Party ushered in a period of economic reform, known as Doi Moi, in 1986. By the 1990s, she owned a large portfolio of hotels and restaurants.

Although Vietnam is best known outside the country for its fast-growing manufacturing sector, as an alternative supply chain to China, most wealthy Vietnamese made their money developing and speculating in property.

All land is officially state-owned. Getting access to it often relies on personal relationships with state officials. Corruption escalated as the economy grew, and became endemic.

By 2011, Truong My Lan was a well-known business figure in Ho Chi Minh City, and she was allowed to arrange the merger of three smaller, cash-strapped banks into a larger entity: Saigon Commercial Bank.

Vietnamese law prohibits any individual from holding more than 5% of the shares in any bank. But prosecutors say that through hundreds of shell companies and people acting as her proxies, Truong My Lan actually owned more than 90% of Saigon Commercial.

They accused her of using that power to appoint her own people as managers, and then ordering them to approve hundreds of loans to the network of shell companies she controlled.

The amounts taken out are staggering. Her loans made up 93% of all the bank's lending.

According to prosecutors, over a period of three years from February 2019, she ordered her driver to withdraw 108 trillion Vietnamese dong, more than $4bn (£2.3bn) in cash from the bank, and store it in her basement.

That much cash, even if all of it was in Vietnam's largest denomination banknotes, would weigh two tonnes.

She was also accused of bribing generously to ensure her loans were never scrutinised. One of those who was tried used to be a chief inspector at the central bank, who was accused of accepting a $5m bribe.

The mass of officially sanctioned publicity about the case channelled public anger over corruption against Truong My Lan, whose fatigued, unmade-up appearance in court was in stark contrast to the glamorous publicity photos people had seen of her in the past.

But questions are also being asked about why she was able to keep on with the alleged fraud for so long.

"I am puzzled," says Le Hong Hiep who runs the Vietnam Studies Programme at the ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute in Singapore.

"Because it wasn't a secret. It was well known in the market that Truong My Lan and her Van Thinh Phat group were using SCB as their own piggy bank to fund the mass acquisition of real estate in the most prime locations.

"It was obvious that she had to get the money from somewhere. But then it is such a common practice. SCB is not the only bank that is used like this. So perhaps the government lost sight because there are so many similar cases in the market."

David Brown believes she was protected by powerful figures who have dominated business and politics in Ho Chi Minh City for decades. And he sees a bigger factor in play in the way this trial is being run: a bid to reassert the authority of the Communist Party over the free-wheeling business culture of the south.

"What Nguyen Phu Trong and his allies in the party are trying to do is to regain control of Saigon, or at least stop it from slipping away.

"Up until 2016 the party in Hanoi pretty much let this Sino-Vietnamese mafia run the place. They would make all the right noises that local communist leaders are supposed to make, but at the same time they were milking the city for a substantial cut of the money that was being made down there."

At 79 years old, party chief Nguyen Phu Trong is in shaky health, and will almost certainly have to retire at the next Communist Party Congress in 2026, when new leaders will be chosen.

He has been one of the longest-serving and most consequential secretary-generals, restoring the authority of the party's conservative wing to a level not seen since the reforms of the 1980s. He clearly does not want to risk permitting enough openness to undermine the party's hold on political power.

But he is trapped in a contradiction. Under his leadership the party has set an ambitious goal of reaching rich country status by 2045, with a technology and knowledge-based economy. This is what is driving the ever-closer partnership with the United States.

Yet faster growth in Vietnam almost inevitably means more corruption. Fight corruption too much, and you risk extinguishing a lot of economic activity. Already there are complaints that bureaucracy has slowed down, as officials shy away from decisions which might implicate them in a corruption case.

"That's the paradox," says Le Hong Hiep. "Their growth model has been reliant on corrupt practices for so long. Corruption has been the grease that that kept the machinery working. If they stop the grease, things may not work any more."

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News Network
April 11,2024

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BJP MLA Arabail Shivaram Hebbar’s son Vivek Hebbar on Thursday, 11 April, joined the Congress party along with his supporters at Banavasi in Uttara Kannada district.

After quitting the BJP, Vivek Hebbar joined the party in the presence of state Congress vice president and former MLC Ivan D’Souza and other local party leaders.

Speculations have been rife about his father Shivaram Hebbar, an MLA from the Yellapur Assembly segment, also planning to join the Congress, ever since he did not turn up for voting during the polls to four seats of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka held on 27 February.

The senior Hebbar’s absence from voting, despite a party whip, had caused embarrassment to the BJP. He had, however, later attributed his absence to poor health.

The BJP had also issued notice to him, which he responded to.

Shivaram Hebbar had recently met Deputy Chief Minister and state Congress chief DK Shivakumar but claimed that the meeting was about water issues in his Assembly segment.

The senior BJP leader was earlier with the Congress. He was among 17 Congress-JD(S) legislators, who had quit from their parties, which ultimately led to the collapse of the then HD Kumaraswamy-led coalition government in July 2019.

Shivaram Hebbar had subsequently won the by-poll on a BJP ticket and served as a minister in the then government of the saffron party.

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News Network
April 10,2024

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Bengaluru: The results of the first examination for the 2nd Pre-University (PU) students were out Wednesday, registering an increase of six percentage points.

The results will be announced in colleges at around 3 pm today. Results were made available online at 11 am. Students can visit www.karresults.nic.in to check their scores.

A total of 6. 81 lakh candidates appeared for the examination and 5.52 lakh students passed. The overall pass percentage is 81.15 %. 305212 girls and 247478 boys passed the exam. The pass percentages of girls and boys are 84.87% and 76.98% respectively.

Medha D of NMKRV PU College, Bengaluru, emerged as the topper in the Arts stream by scoring 596 for 600.

In the Commerce stream, Gnanavi M from Vidyanidhi Independent PU College, Tumkur, topped the list by scoring 597 out of 600. In Science, the topper is A Vidyalakshmi of Vidyanikethan Science PU College, Hubballi, with 598.

Karnataka School Examination and Assessment Board chairperson N Manjushree said the second exam will be held between April 29 and May 16. Students can apply for revaluation, she specified.

The Karnataka 12th examination was conducted from March 1, 2024, to March 22, 2024, at various exam centres in the state. 

According to officials, around 7 lakh students have appeared for Karnataka Class 12 board examination this year.

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