Israeli forces destroyed 50,000 housing units, roads, sewage networks in northern Gaza

News Network
June 3, 2024

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A Palestinian official in the Gaza Strip says the Israeli occupation forces have destroyed a total of 50,000 housing units during their nearly-eight-month war of aggression in the northern part of the territory.

The figure was given by the chairman of the Emergency Committee for Northern Gaza Municipalities, during a press conference on Sunday.

“Some 50,000 housing units have been destroyed, and sewage networks and roads have been bulldozed in most municipalities of northern Gaza,” the official, whose name was not given by Palestinian media outlets, said.

The official noted that “35 water wells, schools, and UNRWA facilities have been destroyed, and an imminent famine is threatening northern Gaza.”

The official also declared “Jabalia [refugee camp] and Beit Hanoun [both in northern Gaza] as disaster areas due to the indescribable destruction” caused by Israel’s genocidal war.

The Palestinian official’s warning came a day after the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, said in a post on X social media platform that as a result of the Israeli aggression, “Gaza has been reduced to rubble and Palestinian families have to survive in inhumane conditions with scarce water, food and supplies.”

UNRWA’s Commissioner General Philippe Lazzarini has also described the destruction caused by Israeli forces in Jabalia refugee camp as “horrific,” adding that “thousands of displaced people have no choice but to live amid the rubble and in destroyed UNRWA facilities.”

It was about a month ago that a UN official said the destruction caused by Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip is unseen since the Second World War, estimating that the reconstruction of the Palestinian territory could take 80 years and cost up to $40 billion.

Abdallah al-Dardari, UN assistant secretary-general and director of the UN Development Program's regional office for the Arab states, added that the Israeli aggression has completely or partially destroyed 72 percent of all residential buildings in Gaza.

According to Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza, the regime’s genocide has so far claimed the lives of 36,439 civilians, mostly women and children, while leaving 82,627 others injured.

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News Network
June 7,2024

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New Delhi: Narendra Modi - to be sworn in Sunday as a three-term Prime Minister after Chandrababu Naidu's TDP and Nitish Kumar's JDU dragged his BJP past the 272-seat majority mark - mocked eternal rivals Congress for failing to win as many seats in this election. The Congress, he declared, had yet again failed to cross the 100-seat mark and won fewer seats in three elections than the BJP had in one.

Mr Modi - whose party finished with 240 seats, its lowest return in 15 years - also said "we were neither defeated nor are we defeated" and claimed, "Our values are such we do not develop frenzy during victory and do not mock the defeated. We do not have perversion of mocking the defeated."

Mr Modi then taunted his rivals over their poor electoral performance.

"Even after 10 years Congress could not touch the figure of 100 seats. If we combine the 2014, 2019, and 2024 elections... Congress did not even get as many seats as BJP got in this election. I can clearly see people of INDI Alliance (the BJP's jibe at the INDIA bloc) were sinking slowly earlier... now they are going to sink at a faster pace..." the Prime Minister-designate proclaimed.

The Congress, which led the INDIA opposition bloc in this election, finished with 99 wins from the 328 seats it contested. That was the party's best result in 15 years; it won 44 in 2014 and 52 in 2019.

The last time the party scored in the triple digits was in 2009 when it won 206 seats and propelled former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the United Progressive Alliance to a second term.

Mr Modi's jibe, though, may be premature, for the Congress could still hit the 100-mark if Vishal Patil, a party rebel who contested and won from Maharashtra's Sangli, re-joins the party.

In a post on X this morning, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge said, "Welcoming the support of elected MP from Sangli, Shri Vishal Patil to the Congress party".

In a lengthy speech that included multiple jabs and jibes at the Congress and the opposition, Mr Modi also made a pitch for governance by consensus and coalition politics. "Our alliance reflects the spirit of India and we are dedicated to upholding constitutional values. NDA is the most successful..."

"When I was speaking in this House in 2019 you chose me as the leader. Then I emphasised one thing... trust. Today, when you are giving me this role again, it means the bridge of trust between us is strong. This relationship is built on a strong foundation... and that is its biggest asset."

The remarks are seen as acknowledgement of his reliance on allies - new territory after enjoying brute majorities in 2014 and 2019. The BJP needs the support of Chandrababu Naidu and Nitish Kumar. Mr Naidu's TDP and the JDU of Nitish Kumar are seen as kingmakers after the TDP and JDU won 28 seats; take those away and the NDA does not have the numbers to form the government.

"The mandate of 2024 is strengthening one thing again and again - the country trusts only NDA. When there is such unbreakable trust, it is natural for expectations to increase. This is good...I said earlier past 10 years were a trailer. It was not an election statement, it was my commitment..."

"For me, all leaders of all parties are equal in Parliament. When we talk about 'sabka prayaas', for us, everyone is equal, whether from our party or not. This is why NDA is strong in past 30 years..."

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News Network
June 2,2024

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Bengaluru: The Congress on Sunday released its list of seven candidates for the biennial MLC elections on June 13. The elections were necessitated due to the retirement of 11 members on June 17.

As expected, the Congress has fielded Karnataka Science and Technology Minister N S Boseraju and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's son Dr Yathindra Siddaramaiah.

The other candidates are Vasanth Kumar, K Govindraj, lvan D'Souza, Bilkis Bano and Jagdev Guttedar.

The party also announced Basanagouda Badarli for the forthcoming MLC byelection for a seat that fell vacant owing to the resignation of former chief minister Jagadish Shettar, who joined the Congress briefly after he rebelled against the BJP when he was denied a ticket in the 2023 assembly election.

"The election dates to fill that post have not been announced yet but our party has declared him as our candidate whenever the election takes place," a Congress leader said.

Shettar contested the assembly election in 2023 on a Congress ticket and after his defeat, his new home rewarded him with an MLC seat.

Earlier this year, he went back to his parent organisation and is contesting the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from Belgaum (Belagavi) constituency against Congress's Mrinal Hebbalkar, who is the son of Women and Child Development Minister Laxmi Hebbalkar.

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News Network
June 4,2024

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New Delhi: From 'pappu' to 'shehzade', Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been the prime target of BJP's ridicule for years. Jabs at the Gandhi family have been the BJP leader's main line of attack at the main Opposition Congress in every election over the past decade. But as Congress inches towards a 100-seat tally in this Lok Sabha election -- its best show in a decade -- and the INDIA bloc's tally defies all exit polls, the Gandhi siblings have played a central role.

Mr Gandhi virtually launched his campaign with a Bharat Jodo Yatra across the length and breadth of the country. While the actual impact of the yatra in terms of Lok Sabha seats won is a subject of data and debate, there is no doubt that his public interactions on the trail brought him out of television screens to the people and contributed to shattering the perception the BJP had created of him.

Visuals of Mr Gandhi petting puppies, hugging people and chatting with people from every section of the society, from students to truck drivers to mechanics, showed a side of him the country had not seen before.

As for Priyanka Gandhi, many had expected her to contest the polls this time, and questions were raised when she did not. In her response, Ms Gandhi Vadra has said in several interviews that it was a conscious decision. If both she and Rahul contested the election, they would get tied up with campaigning in one constituency, she had said, adding that the plan was to keep her free for rallies. The move clearly seems to have paid off.

As Mr Gandhi travelled across the country to address rallies of the INDIA bloc, Ms Gandhi Vadra also took up the task of leading the Congress's campaign in family strongholds Amethi and Raebareli. Nine hours into the counting, the party seems set for a win in both seats, including Amethi, where Gandhi family loyalist Kishori Lal Sharma has emerged a giant slayer by defeating Union Minister Smriti Irani -- a sweet revenge for Rahul Gandhi's 2019 defeat.

In these seats, Ms Gandhi Vadra was as much the party's face as its brain. From addressing nukkad sabhas to planning the party's moves, she led the campaign in these prestige battles from scratch.

The 2024 election also saw her emergence as an orator who charms the audience and also connects with them. Her counterstrike to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charge that the Congress plans to bring a wealth distribution plan and would take away "mangalsutra" had made national headlines.

"He says the Congress wants to take away your gold, your mangalsutra. The country has been independent for 70 years. The Congress ruled for 55 years. Has anyone robbed you of your gold or your mangalsutra? When the war was on, Indira Gandhi gave her gold to the country. My mother's mangalsutra was sacrificed for this country," she had said.

According to a PTI report, the Congress leader was attending a party meeting in Amethi when she told the audience that there was a woman among them who wanted to educate her daughter, but her father-in-law was against it. So, the woman stitched sari falls to save money and ensured that her daughter became a graduate. She then invited the woman to stage as the audience cheered.

Such interactions smashed the image the BJP had created for the Gandhi siblings and the ruling party's "royal family" jabs lost their sheen.

Also significant is the fact that the Congress this time contested just 328 seats out of 543 -- its lowest ever, leaving the remaining 215 seats for INDIA allies. Known to bargain hard for seats and then failing to convert them into wins, this was a big climbdown by the Mallikarjun Kharge-led party. And the move seems to have paid off.

The Congress may still finish with half the seats as compared to the BJP, but the Gandhi siblings shine in its stellar show. And at the Congress press meet this evening, Mr Gandhi underlined sister Priyanka's contribution in the party's performance.

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