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Hamas: Gaza will not ‘remain silent’ as Israel escalates siege | News

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Gaza City – The threat of a new Gaza war continues to rise as Palestinians demand an end to the devastating 13-year-long blockade and Israel tightens the screws on Gaza’s economy while targeting Hamas positions.

Israeli warplanes and tanks bombed Hamas military sites early on Tuesday in response to the incendiary balloons launched from Gaza towards Israel’s south, according to an Israeli army statement. 

It was the 15th day in a row that Israel launched attacks against Hamas’s infrastructure and agricultural land in the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s military factions did not respond on Tuesday, although they previously launched rockets towards Israel after attacks last week.

No serious injuries were reported on either side.

The current escalation between Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip and Israel was caused by the launching of incendiary balloons by Palestinians into southern Israel in the past two weeks as a way to pressure Israel to lift its crippling blockade imposed in 2007. The rigged balloons and kites often start blazes on farms in Israel.

Over the past two years, following the momentum of the Great March of Return protests, multiple deals were reached between Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel with the mediation of Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations.

Hamas, which governs Gaza, was to provide security along the demarcation dividing the Palestinians and Israelis, in return for Israel’s alleviation of the blockade.

But Palestinian leaders in Gaza accused Israel of continuing to renege on implementing its side of the bargain.

According to local Palestinian media reports, Israel has failed to extend Gaza’s allowed fishing zone to 20 nautical miles, allow the construction of a new power line into the Gaza Strip, permit Gaza’s power plant to operate on natural gas, and facilitate the movement of goods, including the entry of 1,200 trucks a day, through the Karem Abu Salem (known as Kerem Shalom to Israelis) crossing.

In response to the launching of incendiary balloons, Israel has taken punitive measures against Gaza by restricting goods coming through the crossing, fully closing the sea to Gaza’s fishermen, and halting fuel supplies, causing the territory’s sole power plant to shut down with electricity reduced to four hours a day.

“The current escalation is a confrontation between the Palestinian factions who are fighting to lift the blockade on Gaza, and Israel who is fighting twice as hard to keep the blockade in place,” political analyst Husam al-Dajani told Al Jazeera. 

Israeli soldiers gather near the barrier with the Gaza Strip on August 16 [Menahem Kahana/AFP]

“Whenever the Palestinians protest and demand that the blockade be lifted or even alleviated, Israel responds by further tightening the blockade and further exacerbating the crises in Gaza,” he added.

“By doing this, Israel is adding more fuel to the fire and directing the situation towards further escalation and instability. You solve a problem by addressing its cause, not by exacerbating the cause.”

Al-Dajani said the standoff could lead to another full-blown military confrontation.

“And now Israel is threatening Gaza with another military operation, it’s astonishing that Israel wouldn’t even consider easing its blockade on Gaza and would contemplate any other alternative,” he said.

‘Situation exploding’

Hamas official Basem Naim told Al Jazeera despite efforts to “prevent the situation from exploding”, Israel continues to escalate the Gaza siege and evade committing to previous agreements.

“The Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip are living under unbearably miserable and grim conditions … Gaza’s factions have told the mediators that Gaza will not remain silent under these tragic conditions.” 

Gaza’s armed groups and Israeli forces are now on high alert and gearing up for further confrontation. Hamas officials say this time they will not cooperate until Israel fully lifts its blockade on Gaza.

In preparation for an escalation, the Israeli army on Sunday reinforced the deployment of Iron Dome missile batteries in the south.

Meanwhile, incendiary-balloon units released a statement on Saturday saying: “We will not retreat and will not rest until the demands of our people are met and the blockade is lifted.”

In Gaza, Palestinian factions are united behind the demand for Israel to lift the blockade. 

On Friday, Gaza’s Joint Chamber of the Palestinian Resistance Factions, which includes 13 armed groups, issued a statement. 

“We will not allow the enemy to continue the unjust siege on our people … It is the right of our people to express, by all appropriate means, their rejection of the blockade,” it said. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to assassinate Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders if the fire balloons continue, and suggested another war on Gaza is possible.

Economic calamity

Gaza has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007 when Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip.

The siege has inflicted severe hardship on residents. The poverty rate among Gaza’s population has reached 53 percent, while “extreme poverty” stands at 33.8 percent, according to statistics by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

About 68 percent of families do not have enough to eat, while 80 percent of Gazans are dependent on aid. The area’s unemployment rate stands at 45.1 percent, according to PCBS.

“The Israeli occupation wants to keep the blockade in place on the Gaza Strip,” said Talal Abu Zarifa, senior member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

“Israel wants to enforce calm in Gaza without lifting the siege, and the Palestinians reject that equation.”

Abu Zarifa added: “When the occupation closes the crossings and prevents fishing at sea, these acts constitute collective punishment and this is against international and humanitarian law.”

He noted “the occupation” bears responsibility for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip. 

The international community must pressure Israel to lift the blockade and stop all forms of collective punishment on the Palestinian people, Abu Zarifa added.

Naim said the suffering of Gazans has become “a forgotten issue”.

“In light of that, the Palestinian people and Palestinian factions have no other option other than to take the initiative and raise their voice against this deteriorating humanitarian situation, and say we will not accept that we die in silence,” he said.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million

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Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe

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A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.



Source – observer.ug

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News

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Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.



Source – www.aljazeera.com

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