Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City last month. Credit…Mohammed Saber/EPA, via Shutterstock
Conditions worsen at Gaza’s hospitals
The Palestinian Red Crescent said yesterday that Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City was “no longer operational,” as power outages and shortages of fuel continued to wreak havoc on Gaza’s health facilities. The Gazan aid group said that more than 14,000 displaced people had been sheltering there.
The announcement meant another hospital unavailable to Gazans. Four others that are adjacent to one another — the Rantisi children’s hospital, Al-Nasr Hospital and two additional medical centers — were evacuated on Friday. Israel’s ground invasion has been slowly closing in on the facilities, which have provided refuge for tens of thousands of civilians. Israel says the sites are shielding Hamas military operations in tunnels below.
Conditions at Gaza’s main hospital, Al-Shifa, are also dire. Thousands of seriously ill and wounded patients and displaced people have been trapped inside, while Israeli tanks and troops surround the compound. Snipers occasionally fire off shots, according to Gaza’s health ministry, doctors and some witnesses sheltering inside. Nearby, there is intense, close-quarter combat.
The World Health Organization said yesterday that it had lost communication with its contacts at Al-Shifa, where the Gaza health ministry said a day earlier that at least five wounded patients — including a premature baby in an incubator — had died as a result of the power outage.
Here’s the latest, and what we know about the death toll.
A U.S. warning: President Biden’s national security adviser cautioned Israel yesterday against engaging in combat in hospitals in Gaza, even though he said he agreed with Israel’s view that Hamas uses such civilian facilities “as human shields” to house its fighters and store its weapons.
Who runs Gaza after the war: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said yesterday that only the Israeli Army could take military responsibility for Gaza after the war and that he did not see a future administrative role for the Western-backed Palestinian Authority. His remarks appeared somewhat at odds with the Biden administration, which does not support an Israeli “re-occupation” of Gaza.
Protests: Tens of thousands of people protested in cities across France yesterday to show their solidarity with the country’s Jews and to deplore antisemitic acts that have multiplied across the nation since Hamas’s attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
U.S. hopes for renewed dialogue with China
President Biden’s top military adviser said in a letter to his counterpart in China on Friday that the U.S. was open to resuming military-to-military communication that Beijing suspended last year to protest a visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, who was then the speaker of the House.
The letter comes ahead of an expected meeting between President Biden and China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit this week. U.S. officials are hoping the two leaders will announce a resumption of military dialogue there.
In the South China Sea: Over more than two decades, the Sierra Madre, a decaying, World War II-era ship stranded on a tiny reef, has become a symbol of Philippine resistance against Beijing. After multiple maritime clashes with China, the Philippines granted New York Times journalists rare access during a mission to resupply the handful of people still stationed on the ship.
Myanmar’s rebels win key victories against the military
The Brotherhood Alliance — a coalition of three ethnic rebel armies in Myanmar — has taken several key towns from the country’s military regime in the past couple of weeks. It has presented the biggest challenge to the junta that seized power in a coup in 2021, and its success is the latest evidence of how overstretched the military has become.
The alliance’s campaign, which began in Shan State at the end of last month, has galvanized resistance forces elsewhere in the country, which have also seized several towns and military outposts.
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A Morning Read
For 80 years, every jar of Vegemite has begun its journey in a Melbourne, Australia, neighborhood that smells of a crucial ingredient: leftover yeast from local breweries and bakeries. Celebrating its 100th birthday this year, the spread is adored by Australians — and loathed by almost everyone else.
Still, hope springs eternal. Jamie Callister, the grandson of Cyril Callister, the food chemist who invented the divisive treat, looks to the next hundred years and says: “I still think Vegemite could go global.”
Staying active, despite India’s toxic air
Every year in late fall, as air pollution in New Delhi climbs to noxious extremes, India’s government takes emergency measures like closing schools, restricting traffic and banning construction. Public health experts say that strenuous exercise can mean deeper breathing and more particles inhaled into the lungs, making outdoor activity dangerous, sometimes even fatal, especially for older people and children.
But for the region’s 30 million inhabitants, staying inside and skipping exercise is worse than going out and breathing poison. As a thick, brown-gray haze blankets the city’s 18,000 parks and gardens, joggers, yoga enthusiasts and dog owners are keeping to their daily habits despite official warnings.
“We are all jogging faster toward death,” said Purushottam Sahu, 46. “Because we have no other choice.”
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That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Justin
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