Israel reinforces Gaza border
As hostilities entered their fifth day, with no sign of abating, Jerusalem Post reports that Israel has deployed tanks and troops to its border with Gaza. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, tweeted: “The last word was not said and this operation will continue as long as necessary.” Conflict raged throughout Thursday as Palestinian militants fired rockets into Israel and the Israeli army maintained a barrage of air strikes. More than 100 people have been killed in Gaza and seven have died in Israel. A virtual meeting of the UN Security Council on the ongoing conflict will be held on Sunday.
Jewish and Arab mobs spread violence
Haaretz says violence has also spread to mixed communities of Jews and Arabs in Israel, a new front in the long conflict. Synagogues were attacked and fighting broke out on the streets of some towns, prompting Israel’s president to warn of civil war. Defence Minister Benny Gantz ordered a “massive reinforcement” of security forces to suppress the internal unrest, and more than 400 people were arrested.
Libya releases 78 detainees
Libya Observer says the Libyan Ministry of Justice on Thursday announced the release of 78 detainees who fought with the eastern-based army against the former UN-backed government of national accord for control of the capital Tripoli. Justice Minister Halima Ibrahim Abdul Rahman stressed the importance of tolerance and forgiveness as a way to achieve national reconciliation.
COVID: Biden hails ‘great day’
President Joe Biden hailed a “great day for America” as US officials said vaccinated people can go mask-less in most indoor and outdoor settings. The President removed his mask in the Oval Office with Republican lawmakers as the guidance was being announced. The advice still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes and hospitals.
Russia movie to be shot in space
Russia said Thursday it would send an actress and a director into space to make the first feature film in the cosmos and also deliver an eccentric Japanese billionaire to the International Space Station. Moscow is seeking to boost its embattled space programme, which has stagnated since the collapse of the Soviet Union and been overtaken by US tech billionaire Elon Musk’s company SpaceX.
Picasso painting fetches $103 million
A painting by Pablo Picasso has sold for $103 million (€85.2 million) after 19 minutes of bidding at at Christie’s in New York. The painting, “Woman sitting by a window (Marie-Therese)” dates from 1932 and was initially valued at $90 million (€74.5 million).
No foreign audiences at Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics
Kyodo news agency reports Japan has decided to exclude foreign audiences from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held in the summer as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. According to a survey recently published by the Yomiuri newspaper, 91% were in favour of keeping the number of spectators to a minimum or not allowing them in.