An Airstrike kills two Palestinians on the border of Gaza-Egypt.

On the morning of February 9th, an explosion killed two Palestinians and left five wounded on a smuggling tunnel between the Egypt-Gaza border. The origin of the airstrike is a question, Palestinian officials said that the explosion was caused by an Israeli airstrike, but the Israeli army denied any involvement in the incident.

Gaza’s health ministry spokesman, Ashraf al-Qidra (also known as Ashraf al-Qedra), has pointed out that the aim of the attack was the tunnel that unifies the city of Gaza and Rafah. The tunnel is normally used as a way to pass products between Gaza and Egypt. It has become an important means for transports and exchange of armament and basic resources to survive. The huge tensions in the border have caused that more than 2 million Palestinians in Gaza are still living since 2014 under a military blockade.

Ashraf al-Qidra said that the two men were “martyred and five other people were wounded as a result of being targeted by the Israeli warplane along the Palestinian-Egyptian borders”. According to Al-Qidra, the Two Palestinian victims have been identified as Hossam Al-Sufi, 24, from the town of Rafah, and Mohammed al-Aqra, 38, resident of Gaza City.

Some witnesses said that they saw an Israeli airplane threw a missile against the entry of the tunnel on the bounder, but the Israeli army denied having carried on these attacks. The facts happened a few hours after the draw of several rockets on Wednesday night from the Sinai city, Egypt, that is between the border of the East side of Israel and Gaza, Palestine.

The Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights has expressed their concern that Israel could be starting a high-scale military offensive. Also, the non-governmental organization has prayed to the international community to “act promptly against Israel’s military escalation, to fulfill their obligations to protect civilians, and ensure respect for the rules of international law,” claiming that “acting before a full-scale military bombardment is launched is crucial to ensuring the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.”

The idea of building the tunnels comes from Hamas, who decided to build this grid of tunnels in order to support the Gaza strip. They built two kinds of tunnels: on the one hand, the one used by the Gaza strip and another one used to infiltrate Israel. The first category allows the terrorists of Gaza to hide their weapons, their commander center and their launching rockets ramps underground. The second one was made in order to kidnap and kill civilians from Israel.

In the past years, Egypt has destroyed more than 2,000 tunnels that provides basic resources to more than 2 million Gaza citizens. Also, Tamer al-Rifai, the Egyptian army spokesman, stated that in the past two months the Egyptian army has destroyed and uncovered six tunnels at the border between Gaza and the North Sinai, Egypt.

Angela Cantero, Alejandra Torres and Marie Camacho. 

United States Court of Appeals Denies Trump’s Travel Ban

The controversial decree signed by President Donald J. Trump banning refugees and restricting travel from seven Muslim-majority countries to enter in the U.S. was declined by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

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President of United States Donald J. Trump

Mr. Trump signed the Executive Order 13769 under the name of “Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States”resulting in the suspension of this decree on 3rd February. The U.S. Court of Appeals on 9th February unanimously rejected President Trump’s attempt to re-apply it

From this declarations, CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said:

This victory should not lead to complacency. This and other Trump administration orders and policies still pose a threat to communities of color, religious minorities, women, and others.”  

Three judges supported arguments in order to keep the suspension of the traveling ban and Mr. Trump said he would take the case to the Supreme Court.

Trump defend his travel ban and accused the judiciary branch of becoming “political” during an address to the Washington, D.C.conference of the Major Cities Chiefs Association. He also made references to his current measures related to the electoral campaign:


“One of the reasons I was elected was because of law, order, and security.”

Mr. Trump talks directly to the American people, Courts of Appeal and to the Opposition:


“You are great men and women, and we have to allow you to do your jobs, and we have to give you the weapons that you need […] they are trying to taking away from you, because of politics, or political views.”


In those statements, he is calling for Americans to understand the travel ban as a tool for increment security and jobs. Then Trump alleged the possibility of the Courts of being influenced by the opposite party in its decisions. 

This article from The Guardian informs about Trump called for surveillance against mosques and support the idea of establishing a database for all Muslims living in the United States. This ideology has led Trump wants to the shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until he was able to figure out how to attack horrendous threats by people who believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life, in his own words.

Trump’s executive order of the travel ban restriction proposed (also applied to permanent US residents, like green-card holders and foreign visitors) the imposition of a 90-day ban on travelers from Syria, Iran, Sudan, Lybia, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq, according to the Telegraph

However, the ban is not applied to Christians of these countries. 

Trump’s executive order has been strongly criticized by many people, as the Court of Appeals alleged that the travel ban has nothing to do with the reach of ‘national security’:

The decision to ban people from seven-Muslim majority countries to enter the United States will give further arguments to extremist groups, such as the Islamic State, and will not guarantee national security.”


By Alejandro Martínez, Marina Barberá and Alba Tissera.

Four teenagers have been arrested by French police while they were planning a terrorist attack in Paris.

On Friday 10th of February, French police arrested four people, three men and a 16-year-old woman, suspicious of planning a suicide attack in Paris.

According to Sky News, all of them were arrested in the southern French city called MontpellierApparently, the young people were going to activate the explosive belt in one of the most visited touristic areas of the French capital.

According to the french police sources, the four suspects were arrested after buying acetone, which they may have used on preparing an explosive device to realize a frustrated planned attack. Between them, the 16-year-old girl who has been watched out in social networks, after expressing a wish to travel to the Syria and Iraq, defeat them and attack France.  All four were suspicious on plannig an attack and were under surveillance by french authorities.

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The french police raided a house where the four teenagers were arrested and they found explosive material, computers and other equipment. In particular, agents of the anti-terrorist group found 70 grams of TATP, a powerful explosive, but also one liter of acetone, another one of hydrogen peroxide and another one of sulfuric acid, material that can be used to make explosives, informs BFMTV. These explosives are known as  “Mother of Satan” and were used in the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels and in bombing in London in 2005.

The arrested teenagers may remain in provisional detention for 96 hours, before they will be presented to a judge who will determine their possible accusation. The arrests came a week after a 29- year- old Egyptian, Abdallah el-Hamahmy attacked a French soldier in gallery of the Louvre in Paris, while he was screaming “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is the greatest), however he refused that it was an attack and said, that he only wanted to make a pacific sign and show his opposition to bombarding Syria by France.

A new meassure that was taken a few days ago, to counter the continuous attemps of attacks is the construction of a wall around the Eiffel tower. According to the diary           “Le Parisienne”, the French Government its planning to shield the Eiffel Tower with a 2.50-meter-high bullet-proof glass wall that will surround the french main momnument this autumn to reinforce the safety.

 François Martins, deputy of Tourism of the mayor, the socialist Anne Hidalgo, said that “The terrorist risk remains high in Paris and the most exposed points, such as the Eiffel Tower, must be subject to specific security measures.

Juan Alejandro Garcia de la Vega Lapique
Mateo Caraballo Pérez Galdós
Romana Donovalová

Huge fire rages through shanty town leaving 15,000 people homeless

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From NYT

Last Week, 7th of February there was a huge fire in Shanty town, near the docks of Manila, burning the whole slum area which left more than 15000 people homeless, said Philippine capital said last Wednesday.

The blaze started 9:38 p.m. on Tuesday night in Area B, Gate 7 of the Shanty town, according to Senior Superintendent Wilberto Tiu, chief of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), National Capital Region. Fire authorities said the flames spread quickly as houses in the area are made of light materials, making them incredibly flammable. Superintendent Tiu said that 90 firetrucks were deployed to put out the fire.

Seven people were injured, more than 1000 makeshift houses were burnt and fortunately no casualties were reported. Three evacuation centres were opened, and food and water were provided to the 3,000 families who lost their homes, said Philippine social welfare officer Regina Jane Mata.

The BFP says that the cause of the fire is still unknown. However, the investigation team suggests that the cause might be a faulty electricity wiring or an unattended gas stove, as reported in The Telegraph. Recently a Inquirer published that the fire appeared to have been caused by a candle left unattended inside a house of a Parola Compound resident known only as Andang.
A victim named Edna Purios explained the fire spread so quickly her family fled without their belongings. Purios, who lived with six of her children and three grandchildren, said the local government should help the community rebuild. “Our only wish is to get some help with repairing our house because we have nowhere to sleep,” she told Reuters Television.

To watch the video, click here.

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From NYT

 

A Philippine NGO named ‘Project Pearls’ is working there helping the victims and building up new homes.

Statistics show that fires are very common in factories of Shanty town and Manila and just only a week ago a worker was killed and hundreds were injured in a huge industrial fire at a factory south of Manila.

A Prayer That Ends In Death

 

The shooting that took place inside a mosque in Quebec, Canada on January 29th, was an act of islamophobia by Alexandre Bissonnette who killed 6 people and injured 8.

At 20:00 on Sunday, more than 50 people were at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, after they ended praying. When it was bound to be a normal day, a man entered and started shooting, taking the life of six people and injuring eight. The victims were all men between 39 and 60 years old. The man accused of being the gunman, Alexandre Bissonnette, was charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder using a restricted firearm on Monday, according to police sources.

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Alexandre Bissonnette, 27 years old. – wpmedia.montrealgazette.com –

Alexandre Bissonnette is a 27 years old Quebec native who studied political science and anthropology at Laval University, close from where the shooting took place. Khaled Belkacemi, former professor at Laval University, also died in the attack. Mr Bissonnette went to the mosque days before the shooting with a curious and suspicious attitude. A witness in the mosque said that the Young man wasn’t interested in learning about their religion. Nobody imagined what days later would happen. Those who knew him from near or far and the families of the victims are wondering why.

Mr Bissonnette was known for taking nationalist and anti-feminist positions by their classmates. According to the testimonies that were provided by the authorities and published by Montreal Gazette, he was bullied at school for being a “nerd” and he built a thick skin, according to statements of his twin brother. A friend of Alexander reassured that this individual was independent, not antisocial. Another more recent acquaintance suggested that Bissonnette had become radicalized in the last year, mainly through the Internet. We can see in his FaceBook page how refugee’s advocates and community organizers were regularly moscked by Alexander Bissonnette with anti-immigrant and anti-feminist statements.

Facts such a pig’s head being left at the mosque’s doorstep last year- as we have found in these article of CBC NEWS.- make us wonder if the police have taken properly measures. We need stronger condemnation of hate speech in a context where there is Trump, that is normalizing anti-Muslim discourse, and it seeps into people.

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Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City

According to what The New York Times tell us in one of its articles contrasted with official sources, the shooting was the first time anyone had been killed in a mosque in Canada in such circumstances and was, at least in recent times, a rare event outside the Muslim world. Also is particularly decisive and relevant to know the current frame of creeping intolerance, fuelled by other politicians as much as Trump. Who is constantly posting on his personal twitter messages that encourage hatred and revenge.

We can’t forget that on Friday 27 of January (two days before the Quebec shooting) Trump signed the order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days,  CNN. He didn’t mention anything but these tweets about what happened in Quebec:

On the other hand the Prime Minister of Canada Mr. Trudeau, said at a memorial near the mosque on Monday:

“Muslim Canadians are valued members of every community and wherever they live they deserve to feel safe; they are home here” 


This research was done by Alejandro Martín, Marina Barberá and Alba Tissera.

Omran Daqneesh, the face of suffering in Aleppo.

Omran Daqneesh, a five year old child, has become the symbol of 100,000 children that are currently suffering constant bombings and the subsequent loss of their homes and hopes for the future.

Pain is the first feeling that we can see through the children’s eyes. They have witnessed how their playgrounds have been reduced to ashes. This is just one of the consequences of the terrible bombings that are taking place in this country. Not only militaries, but also civilians have been affected by these attacks. The insurgents are the ones that are killing thousands of people by bombarding hospitals, homes, schools or even markets.

With regard to El Confidencial, people are leaving underground, save of shrapnel and of the collapse of buildings that have been attacked. They have created an atmosphere where children can feel safer than leaving outside.

More than one million people have seen the pictures of Omran Daqneesh, pictures that talk without words. In Aleppo, you can constantly hear the weeping of the children that is interrupted by the bombs. They have seen how everything has been destroyed: from hospitals to schools. And no one has been able to help them. They are captured in a city that is in ruins and is becoming a cemetery of dreams and hopes. Aleppo has stopped being the city that saw them born.

According to the executive director of Unicef Justin Forsyth “the children in Aleppo are trapped in a truly nightmare.” There are not enough doctors or medicines to attend all of the injured people, people are letting others die in the streets when they

cannot do anything more for them.

 As the Time sais, there are lots of NGOs that were created with the purpose of helping all the families affected by the war, like Save the Children that helps providing kids and their families warm clothes, water, protection and medical care. Another example is Hand in Hand for Syria that was created after the beginning of the war in Syria helping with the emergency appeal. Thirdly, International committee of the Red Cross acts as a neutral and impartial humanitarian intermediary.

To understand the situation that Aleppo is facing we have to go back to 2012. Back then, the regime of Bashar Al Assad took place in Aleppo, Syria´s martyr city. Aleppo has been four years fighting against this regime when it became a battlefield where the insurgents attacked to try to get the governmental forces out and gain power over the North of Syria.

 In relation with the Courrier International, the president of Syria was looking for the legitimacy of the war arguing that all the enemies are terrorists and showing the military operations as liberation of war. However, we can’t talk about liberation when thousands of children have had to escape because of the offensive.

Moreover, how can we talk about liberation when the most important part of the city has become a big open sky cemetery?

So is there a solution to bring hope to the children of Aleppo?

The end of the conflict might seem quite far but we need to prevent the future. Not only humanitarian help is needed but strong agreements between countries to stop the conflict. After all, if kids are born in this hostile environment they will not grow as strong and educated adults and we will have to face a lost generation. However, as agreements between countries are very arduous, NGOs must support the most vulnerable group: kids.

 

Angela Cantero, Marie Camacho and Alejandra Torres.

DROWNED IN INDIFFERENCE

On Sunday, January 29th, an African immigrant lost his life in Venice, Italy, when he fell into the water of the Gran Canal and after a few minutes of fighting for his life, he drowned while the people around him were laughing and making videos and racist jokes. Nobody jumped in to help him.

 On the last day, we could see many internet pages showing a video of a young man, of age 22, called Pateh Saballyh from Gambia, Africa, who fell into the water of the Gran Canal in Venice and was drowning. Although some people from the boats which were around at that moment threw him some lifebuoys, he could not get any of them and in the end, he died. Although, some witnesses and also the Italian police say that he jumped into the water by himself, and that his intention was suicide, it does not change the fact that nobody jumped into the water to help him or in the case of the possible suicide, to save his young life. What is more, people around were making videos, in which we can hear racist jokes and comments such as: “Africa!”, “Come on, go back to your country!”, “He is stupid, he wants to die!”, “He deserves it!”, “Let him die!”…

After a few minutes, witnesses only saw a man’s dead body floating on the surface of the water. Some media sources state that the people around tried to help him by throwing him the lifebuoys and that he just did not catch them. But what if he was not able to do so? They are trying to present themselves innocent, but why did nobody jump into the water to safe his life? Yes, the water during the end of January might be very cold, but we think that human life deserves at least the intention to be saved.

 

 

“A young man has jumped into the water. They threw him two or three lifebuoys, but he refused the help. It is a disaster. I don’t know his story. People say that he is African. I cannot imagine what he had been through, how many seas and deserts he had to cross in order to come here and he came to die here, in the most beautiful place in the world,” said an Italian taxi driver. Other sources say, that he was not an immigrant, but that he had already been in Italy for two years and that he also had a residence permission and had been working legally.

But whoever he was and wherever he had come from, that does not change the fact that he was a human being. The question is: If it was a white person, European or American citizen drowning and losing his or her life in the canal, would it have been the same? Wouldn’t the people have helped him or her? Wouldn’t the people have jumped into the water and not just say that it was too cold? Would they have let him or her die? We are pretty sure that the answer is no. This event has driven us to ask if we are all like this? Are we all such big racists? Where has all this hate against people of another colour come from, if in the beginning and in the end we are all equal? This case of a poor young man who lost his life, in part due to of the selfishness and ignorance of others, has to serve us as an example. An example about how we are and how we cannot be anymore, and as a warning: that humanity has to learn how to be more human.

  • Juan Alejandro Garcia de la Vega Lapique 
  • Mateo Caraballo Pérez Galdós    
  • Romana Donovalová