No progress at UN meeting
Efforts by China, Norway and Tunisia to get the UN Security Council to issue a statement calling for a stop of hostilities were thwarted by the United States. The Associated Press quoted diplomats saying Washington was concerned a statement would interfere with its diplomatic efforts to halt the violence. The Guardian says the UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Tor Wennesland, summed up the week’s dark balance sheet: 950 Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed 181 Palestinians, including 52 children. Over the same period, more than 2,900 rockets fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad killed 10 people, including two children. The Norwegian diplomat said 40 schools and four hospitals were completely or partially destroyed in Gaza and 18 buildings including four high-rise towers, including one housing several press offices, had been razed.
OIC accused UN of inertia
Khaleej Times reports the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for an immediate halt to what it described as Israel’s barbaric attacks on Gaza and blamed “systematic crimes” against the Palestinians for hostilities now in their second week. The OIC statement came after a virtual meeting in which Saudi Arabia condemned the violation of the sanctity of Muslim holy sites and evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem. The 57-member body accused the UN Security Council of inertia.
EU to meet Tuesday
Meanwhile, Euronews says the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, called an extraordinary summit of EU foreign ministers for Tuesday. He tweeted: “We will coordinate and discuss how the EU can best contribute to ending the current violence.”
COVID hits Eurovision
NPR reports four Eurovision contestans have been forced to withdraw from one of the preliminary events. Singers from Malta, Iceland, Poland and Rumania were unable to attend the opening ceremony after two COVID cases were detected. The final takes place this Saturday in Rotterdam.
COVID-19 booster likely needed
Germany’s independent vaccine advisory panel has said it was likely that all would have to get vaccinated again next year against COVID-19. Virologist Thomas Mertens, chairman of the Standing Committee on Vaccination (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin, told Funke newspaper, there was not yet enough data to say exactly when booster shots would be needed.
Eye of the tiger ‘saved’
ITV says it was a tricky procedure, needing very careful handling and plenty of anaesthetic, but the eye of a fully grown Sumatran tiger has indeed been saved. Ratna was operated upon at a zoo in Cambridgeshire to save her left eye. Two months on, the procedure has been hailed a roaring success after she was given the all clear. The operation is thought to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world on such a large animal.