Pope calls slain Gaza children ‘little Jesuses of today’, urges truce amid ‘desperate situation’

News Network
December 26, 2023

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Pope Francis has deplored the “desperate humanitarian situation” in the Gaza Strip and repeated his call for an immediate ceasefire and provision of aid to the besieged territory.

“I plead for an end to the military operations with their appalling harvest of innocent civilian victims, and call for a solution to the desperate humanitarian situation by an opening to the provision of humanitarian aid,” he said in his Christmas message on Monday.

The pope called for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to be resolved through “sincere and persevering dialogue between the parties, sustained by strong political will and the support of the international community.”

He said children dying in wars, including in Gaza, are the "little Jesuses of today" and that Israeli strikes there were reaping an "appalling harvest" of innocent civilians.

Addressing the world on Christmas Eve, the pontiff emphasized the need for peace in the Holy Land.

“Tonight, our hearts are in Bethlehem, where the Prince of Peace is once more rejected by the futile logic of war, by the clash of arms that even today prevents him from finding room in the world,” the pope said.

He once again took swipe at the armaments industry, saying it ultimately controlled the "puppet-strings of war."

Last week, Pope Francis slammed the Tel Aviv regime for committing terrorism against Palestinians in Gaza, after an Israeli sniper killed two women at a Catholic church in Gaza where they had taken refuge. 

More than 20,600 Palestinians, most of them women and children, have been slaughtered by the Israeli occupation forces after the regime unleashed a war against the Strip on October 7.

The war, nearing its fourth month, has resulted in a “catastrophic” humanitarian situation in Gaza, according to the United Nations.

According to estimates by the aid agencies, up to 85 percent of the 2.3 million people in Gaza - one of the most densely populated areas of the world - have already been displaced from their homes and are now crammed in an ever smaller area near the border.

Humanitarian agencies have warned that Gaza is facing the threat of starvation and disease after aid deliveries were slowed or halted by a lack of fuel and communication blackouts.

In solidarity with the victims of the occupying entity’s unbridled aggression, this year, Christian communities in the city of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank as well as in the Gaza Strip have decided to cancel the annual Christmas festivities.

“If Christ was born today, he would be born under the rubble and Israeli shelling,” said Pastor Munther Isaacs of the Lutheran Church in Bethlehem.

“This year we are not celebrating Christmas, it is impossible to celebrate with genocide happening in our country,” Pastor Isaacs added. 

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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 11,2024

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Mangaluru: A woman from Andhra Pradesh drowned in the sea off Ullal beach. The locals were successful in rescuing four others from drowning.

The deceased was identified as Parimi Rathna Kumari (57), wife of P L Prasanna from Serilingampally. When a group of women were on the shore of Ullal beach, a huge wave washed them away.

A group of five women from Hyderabad had gone to Mysuru on June 6. After touring in Mysuru, they hired a car to travel to Kodagu on June 7. On June 9 they visited Kukke Subrahmanya. On Monday, they had visited Dharmasthala and Ullal beach where the mishap occurred, said a member in the group.

The locals rescued four women, however, Parimi Rathna lost consciousness in the water. Later, her body was retrieved and taken to the hospital where she was declared dead. 

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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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