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Palestinian detainee in Israeli jail on Hunger strike for 37 days

A Palestinian held in administrative detention in Israel since January 27, 2020, has been on hunger strike for 37 days in protest against his continued detention, today said the Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners Commission.

It said Imad Batran, 47, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, went on hunger strike after his administrative detention was renewed for the fourth time in a row on January 21, and which is supposed to end on May 17, unless renewed once again.

Turkish-backed terrorist groups block checkpoints in Idlib, Aleppo — Russian reconciliation center

MOSCOW,(ST)_ Turkish-backed armed terrorist groups impede the work of three checkpoints in Syria’s Idlib and Aleppo governorates, the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Conflicting Parties in Syria said on Saturday.

"The Saraqib and Miznas checkpoints in the province of Idlib, and the Abu Azedeen crossing in the Aleppo governorate, opened with the assistance of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Conflicting Parties in Syria, continue to function. At the same time, according to the Russian reconciliation center’s information, members of illegal armed groups operating on the Turkish-controlled territory, prevent civilians from leaving the area via the above-mentioned checkpoints, blocking people and their vehicles and threatening them with force and arrest," the center said in a statement.

France bears responsibility on Rwanda genocide, historical commission reports

France bears overwhelming responsibilities over the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and was "blind" to preparations for the massacres, a report by historians said Friday, while adding there was no evidence that Paris was complicit in the killings.

A historical commission set up by President Emmanuel Macron concluded there had been a "failure" on the part of France under former leader Francois Mitterrand over the genocide that saw around 800,000 people slaughtered, mainly from the ethnic Tutsi minority.

More details are available in the following link:

Inas Abdulkareem

UNESCO: More than 100 million children lack basic reading skills because of COVID-19

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned that the percent of children who are experiencing reading difficulties has become to 20% due to school closures imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the UN News website, a new study released on Friday by the UNESCO revealed that more than 100 million children, are falling behind the minimum proficiency level in reading, due to COVID-related school closures. 

The study, titled “One year into COVID: Prioritizing education recovery to avoid a generational catastrophe”, said that even before the pandemic the number of children lacking basic reading skills was on a downward curve. 

In 2020, instead of 460 million children experiencing reading difficulties, that number jumped to 584 million. The rise of more than 20 per cent, wiped out two decades of education gains, the agency said. 

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, complete or partial closures have disrupted schooling for an average of 25 weeks, says the report, with the highest learning losses projected to be in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and in Central and Southern Asia.

How the Suez Canal blockage can seriously affect global trade

The repercussions of the disruption of navigation in the Egyptian Suez Canal following the stranding of a giant container transport ship continue to affect the global economic and commercial situation.

 The disruption of this vital waterway, which connects the Red and the Mediterranean seas, has serious impacts as it is the lung of global trade and the lifeline that connects the east and the West in the light of a global economic crises and high oil prices.

On Tuesday, the container ship “Ever Given”, a Japanese-owned huge ship operated by Taiwan got stuck in the Suez Canal because of strong wind and blocked the route. The blockage causes the suspension of daily trade exchange that is estimated at 9.6 billion US dollars, equivalent to 400 million US dollars per hour.

The Suez Canal stepped up efforts on Friday to free the stuck huge vessel, after an earlier attempt has failed to end the blockage.

UN Women calls for enhancing gender equality after COVID-19 pandemic

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has called on the international community to deepen gender equality in order to fill growing gap between men and women when it comes to political leadership and ensure that women have a strong voice in rebuilding economies after the COVID-19 pandemic.   

 In an interview with The Associated Press Mlambo-Ngcuka said that the pandemic has left women facing increasing domestic violence and being laid off from two-thirds of the jobs lost during the coronavirus crisis. In addition, 11 million girls are at risk of never returning to school, child marriage has increased, and there are more orphans and child-headed homes, she said.

“So whatever you touch, women are in a bad space, as a result of the pandemic” and the underlying discrimination “that has always been there," she said. “This therefore suggests that building back better is about gender equality, just as it’s about green economies and any equitable sharing of resources.”

US sanctions badly affect the Syrians' livelihood and uncover the West's hypocrisy

The unfair American and western sanctions on Syria, including the so-called Caesar Act", unequivocally uncover the West's hypocrisy and crocodile tears for the Syrian people, because these suffocating sanctions badly affect the Syrians' livelihood and exacerbate their humanitarian suffering, according to Patrick Cockburn, the Irish writer and journalist.

In an article published by the UK's "The Independent" Newspaper on Friday, Cuckburn said that "great dollops of hypocrisy invariably accompany expressions of concern by outside powers for the wellbeing of the Syrian people. But even by these low standards, a new record for self-serving dishonesty is being set by the Caesar Civilian Protection Act, the new US law imposing the harshest sanctions in the world on Syria and bringing millions of Syrians to the brink of famine."

The writer made it clear that the United States claims that its coercive measures and sanctions aim at protecting civilians in Syria. However, the truth is that these sanctions are destroying Syria and despite attempts by Washington and the West to hide the main purpose of these sanctions under a false humanitarian cover,  these measures act as collective punishment that is impoverishing all the Syrian people.