07/03/2023, 09.20
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Jenin: at least three Palestinians killed in Israeli military operation

Today's headlines:  Two weeks of strikes in South Korea; Chinese director-general Qu Dongyu re-elected at FAO; In Myanmar the number of displaced people rises to 1.8 million; In East Timor, independence hero Xanana Gusmao confirmed as new head of state; Heavy rains hit Japan; Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov attacks Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople.


At least three Palestinians died in a military operation launched by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) against the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank. The Israeli military claimed to have hit 'terrorist infrastructure', while the Jenin Battalion, which brings together several Palestinian armed groups, said it would continue to fight. "What is happening in the refugee camp is a real war," said a Palestinian ambulance driver.


The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Myanmar has reached 1.8 million according to the UNHCR, of whom an estimated 328,000 fled before the military coup on 1 February 2021 and are mainly in Kachin, Rakhine, Karen, Shan and Chin states, while now due to the civil war 41% of the IDPs are in the northern Sagaing region.


As previously announced, Xanana Gusmao was elected Prime Minister of East Timor on Saturday, after his party, the Timorese National Reconstruction Congress, winner in the May elections, allied with the Democratic Party, which came second in the polls. A fighter for independence, he had been the country's first president in 2002.



Yesterday Qu Dongyu was re-elected for a second term as director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), receiving 168 out of 182 votes. He will remain in office until 2027. According to the organisation's website, since the first election in 2019 "Qu has supported a wide range of reforms and initiatives to overhaul the business model" of the FAO.


The Korean Confederation of Trade Unions announced a two-week strike calling for the resignation of President Yoon Suk-yeol. The demonstration is expected to involve 400-500 thousand workers opposed to Yoon's proposed labour reform measures, which the unions believe are 'pro-chaebol', Korea's large family-owned corporate conglomerates, and 'anti-worker'.


Heavy rains hit the southwestern region of Kyushu, causing a bridge to collapse, and Japanese authorities issued evacuation orders for about 360,000 residents of the city of Kumamoto, who were also advised to be on the alert for possible landslides and flooding. No casualties have been reported so far.


Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has lashed out at Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, who, according to him, "is on very close terms with the United States, which finances him, and does everything to ruin the whole of world Orthodoxy, and has never done anything to help us solve the problems with the Ukrainian Orthodox, on the contrary, he has ruined everything".


The parliament in Minsk has passed a law for the accession of Belarus to the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, and the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Andrej Savinykh, said he was certain that this decision would make accession possible in an accelerated timeframe, 'not in two years, but in one'.

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