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Talks For Gaza Ceasefire At A Standstill, No Deal Likely By Ramadan

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According to people involved with the negotiations, a ceasefire agreement in Gaza that would liberate Israeli detainees and mark the first lull in the conflict in more than three months is unlikely to be reached before the start of Ramadan, as the Biden administration had hoped.

Negotiators had planned to reach a draft deal this week following days of sessions in Cairo, “but it won’t happen,” according to one diplomat familiar with the discussions. The diplomat described the last few days of talks as “very hectic.”

Two American officials acknowledged that Israel and Hamas’ chances of reaching an agreement on a temporary truce by the start of the Muslim holy month early next week are poor.

“Hope is fading,” a US official stated.

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Talks For Gaza Ceasefire At A Standstill, No Deal Likely By Ramadan

A failure to reach an agreement in the coming days would follow weeks of US President Joe Biden and administration officials stating that an agreement must be in place by Ramadan to avoid escalation of the five-month conflict. He cautioned on Tuesday that without a ceasefire, the region may become “very, very dangerous.”

Israel has also warned that if the Israeli captives detained in Gaza do not return home by Ramadan, it will launch a military attack into Rafah, southern Gaza, where over 1.5 million Palestinians are attempting to flee the violence.

Representatives from Hamas, Egypt, Qatar, and the United States met in Cairo this week for fresh discussions, but Israel declined to send a delegation because Hamas has failed to produce a list of hostages who are living and dead, as Israel has recently demanded.

The Biden administration argues that Israel has already agreed to the general terms of a six-week truce, but Hamas refuses.

A Hamas team left Cairo on Thursday following days of talks that yielded no apparent progress in achieving a ceasefire in exchange for hostage releases. According to Egypt’s Al Qahera news, the group has left to consult on the recommendations, and negotiations will resume next week.

“It’s in the hands of Hamas right now,” Biden told reporters as he boarded Air Force One Tuesday. He had expressed hope last week that a ceasefire could be in place by this past Monday, which he later recognized was improbable.

The administration and Hamas agree on one thing: they want a temporary, six-week truce to turn into a permanent ceasefire with no resumption of combat. Biden officials have stated that they believe the halt could lead to a more lasting peace, while Israel has stated that they intend to continue operations to dismantle Hamas, notably in Rafah.

The diplomat cautioned that hope is still possible for a first phase to begin soon, stating that an agreement may be reached in the first week or two of Ramadan.

However, the terrible episode last week in Gaza City, in which more than 100 Palestinians were killed when an aid convoy was surrounded and Israeli forces opened fire, “took us back 10 steps,” according to the diplomat. Hamas subsequently provided mediators with a response to a negotiated framework that “no one is happy about.”

If a deal is successful, it is likely to have several phases. During the first stage, when the violence is likely to stop for at least six weeks, around 40 Israeli-old, female, sick, and injured prisoners will be released. Concurrently, Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian inmates from Israeli prisons.

According to CNN sources, Hamas had relaxed some of its more rigorous demands, but following last week’s “Flour Massacre,” the group pressed for further assurances. According to the diplomat, the Israeli force would pull back from Gazan cities in the first phase and then completely withdraw from the enclave in the second.

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Talks For Gaza Ceasefire At A Standstill, No Deal Likely By Ramadan

Not only do Palestinians from northern Gaza need to be able to return to what remains of their homes, Hamas has said in the discussions, but they must do so without passing through IDF checkpoints. According to the diplomat, Hamas has requested specific machinery for moving rubble, as well as field hospitals and clinics.

Hamas claimed its delegation left Cairo on Thursday “to consult with the movement’s leadership, as negotiations and efforts continue to stop the aggression, return the displaced, and bring relief aid to our Palestinian people,” according to a statement.

On Wednesday, Hamas claimed that it had “shown flexibility” while Israel continued to “evade the obligations of the agreement” under consideration.

“We have affirmed our conditions for a ceasefire: complete [IDF] withdrawal from the sector, the return of displaced persons to the areas they left, especially in the north, and the provision of sufficient aid, relief, and reconstruction,” Hamas senior leader Osama Hamdan told a news conference in Beirut on Tuesday.

Ramadan, a month of fasting and piety for Muslims, is a “period in which you have calm and you’re able to do the essential humanitarian work,” according to a senior administration official speaking to reporters over the weekend.

According to the United Nations, around one-quarter of Gaza’s population is on the verge of hunger. The Biden administration has stepped up its criticism of Israel’s refusal to open more border crossings to let aid into Gaza, particularly to meet needs in the north.

“There are no excuses,” wrote Biden on X.

Even in the absence of a truce, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Tuesday that it is crucial to “dramatically increase the humanitarian assistance that is reaching people inside of Gaza” because the situation with children, women, and adults caught in the crossfire that Hamas has created inside Gaza is untenable and unsustainable.

Blinken made the remarks before a meeting with Qatar’s Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, a key actor in the ceasefire negotiations. According to a person acquainted with the meeting, Blinken recognized that the pause and hostage arrangement are unlikely to occur before Ramadan begins.

According to the same person, CIA Director Bill Burns, who has been driving the administration’s efforts in the negotiations, met with Thani for an extended period during his visit to Washington.

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Talks For Gaza Ceasefire At A Standstill, No Deal Likely By Ramadan

According to a US official and another person familiar with the trip, Bill Burns has returned to the Middle East.

According to sources, Burns visited Egypt on Wednesday before heading to Qatar on Thursday. According to a US official, Burns is not anticipated to visit Israel during this trip, nor is a “quad” format meeting with Egyptian and Israeli intelligence chiefs, as well as the Qatari Prime Minister, planned, as it was in Paris two weeks ago.

“We continue to believe that the obstacles are not insurmountable and that a deal can be reached,” State Department spokesman Matt Miller said Wednesday when asked about the lack of progress. “The pact benefits Israel. It is in the interests of the Palestinian people. And it is in the best interests of the entire area, so we will continue to fight for one.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

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TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan scrambled jets and placed missile, navy, and ground forces on notice Thursday in response to Chinese military maneuvers near the self-governing island democracy, whose new president took office this week.

The Chinese military claimed its two-day operations around Taiwan were punishment for separatist forces seeking independence. Beijing claims the island is part of China’s national territory, and the People’s Liberation Army sends navy ships and warplanes into the Taiwan Strait and other areas around the island daily to wear down Taiwan’s defenses and intimidate its people, who strongly support their de facto independence

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China | AP News Image

Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

China’s “irrational provocation has jeopardized regional peace and stability,” according to the island’s Defense Ministry. It stated that Taiwan will not seek confrontations but “will not shy away from one.”

“This pretext for conducting military exercises not only does not contribute to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, but also shows its hegemonic nature at heart,” said the ministry.

In his inauguration speech on Monday, Taiwanese President Lai Ching-te urged Beijing to end its military intimidation and promised to “neither yield nor provoke” the mainland Communist Party leadership.

“Faced with external challenges and threats, we will continue to uphold the values of freedom and democracy,” Lai told sailors and top security officials Thursday while visiting a naval facility in Taoyuan, just south of Taipei.

While not directly referring to China’s actions, he stated that international society was concerned about Taiwan’s security. This is likely due to its critical role in supply chains for the most advanced computer chips and its democratic bulwark against Chinese attempts to assert control over the Asia-Pacific.

Lai has stated that he seeks engagement with Beijing while retaining Taiwan’s existing status and avoiding disputes that may involve the island’s principal ally, the United States, and other regional partners such as Japan and Australia

The main opposition, the Nationalist Party, widely regarded as pro-China, also criticized Beijing’s activities.

The Nationalists, sometimes called the KMT, “the opposite side of the (Taiwan Strait) to exercise restraint, cease unnecessary maneuvers, avoid a conflict in the Taiwan Strait and maintain the cherish the results of peace and development between the sides.

Thursday’s tensions arose amid protests outside Taiwan’s legislature over plans by the Nationalists and their allies to utilize their small majority to ram through legislation that might alter military expenditures and critical judicial and administrative appointments.

The People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theater Command stated on its official Weibo account that the land, navy, and air exercises around Taiwan are intended to test PLA units’ navy and air capabilities and joint strike abilities to hit targets and take control of the battlefield.

“This is also a powerful punishment for the separatist forces seeking ‘independence’ and a serious warning to external forces for interference and provocation,” stated the statement.

The PLA also released a map of the anticipated training region, which includes five distinct spots around Taiwan’s main island and neighboring islands, such as Matsu and Kinmen, which are closer to the Chinese mainland than Taiwan.

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China | AP news Image

Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

In a statement, China’s coast guard also said that it had organized a fleet to conduct law enforcement drills around two islands near the Taiwanese-controlled island groupings of Kinmen and Matsu, which are just off the Chinese coast.

While China has labeled the exercises as retribution for Taiwan’s election results, the Democratic Progressive Party has now dominated the island’s administration for more than a decade, despite the pro-China Nationalist Party gaining a one-seat majority in parliament

Speaking in Australia, Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Stephen Sklenka, the deputy commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command, urged Asia-Pacific nations to criticize China’s military exercises.

“There’s no surprise whenever there’s an action that highlights Taiwan in the international sphere, the Chinese feel compelled to make some kind of form of statement,” Sklenka told the National Press Club of Australia in Canberra, referring to Monday’s presidential inauguration.

“Just because we expect that behavior doesn’t mean we shouldn’t denounce it, and we must do it openly. And it must come not only from us, but also, I believe, from other nations in the region. It’s one thing for the US to denounce China, but I feel it has a considerably greater impact when it comes from countries in this region,” Sklenka remarked.

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China | AP News Image

Taiwan Scrambles Jets And Puts Missile, Naval And Land Units On Alert Over China’s Military Drills

While visiting the United States, Japan’s top ambassador declared that Japan and Taiwan share values and principles such as freedom, democracy, basic rights, and the rule of law.

“(Taiwan) is an extremely important partner with whom we have close economic relations and people exchanges, as well as a precious friend,” Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa told reporters in Washington after meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

She stated that the two ministers discussed Taiwan and the significance of keeping the Taiwan Strait, one of the world’s most significant maritime routes, peaceful.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

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Harvard | Harvard.com Image

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts – Harvard University planned to host its commencement ceremony on Thursday, following a weeks-long pro-Palestinian encampment that closed off Harvard Yard to save individuals with university links and heightened campus tensions.

Those tensions were heightened on Wednesday when school authorities revealed that 13 Harvard students who participated in the encampment would not be permitted to graduate alongside their classmates.

Those in the encampment demanded a cease-fire in Gaza and Harvard’s divestment from firms that support the war.

Also on Thursday, Northwestern and Rutgers University presidents are scheduled to speak before the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on concessions they made to pro-Palestinian protesters to cease campus rallies. The Chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles, was also due to attend the most recent hearings looking into how universities have responded to the protests and charges of antisemitism.

Harvard

Harvard | AP News Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

The decision by the school’s top governing board comes after faculty members recommended on Monday that the 13 students be allowed to graduate despite their participation in the encampment.

However, Harvard’s governing board, the Harvard Corporation, stated that each 13 had been determined to have violated university standards during the camping protest.

“In coming to this determination, we note that the express provisions of the Harvard College Student Handbook state that students who are not in good standing are not eligible for degrees,” the company stated in a written statement.

The statement did not rule out the possibility of an appeals procedure, stating that the corporation knows “that the inability to graduate is consequential for students and their families” and supports the Faculty of Arts and Sciences’ goal to accelerate the examination of appeal requests.

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Harvard | The Forward Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“We care deeply about every member of our community — students, faculty, staff, researchers, and alumni — and we have chosen a path forward that accords with our responsibilities and reaffirms a process for our students to receive prompt and fair review,” said the statement.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area

Supporters of the students said that the decision not to allow them to earn degrees at commencement violated a May 14 agreement between interim President Alan Garber and the Harvard Out of Occupied Palestine alliance, which would have allowed them to graduate.

Protesters opposing Israel’s war with Hamas willingly demolished their tents after university administrators agreed to hear their concerns over the endowment, bringing a peaceful end to the types of demonstrations that were broken up by police on other campuses.

The group issued a statement late Wednesday, claiming that the decision jeopardizes the 13 students’ post-graduate careers.

“By rejecting a democratic faculty vote, the Corporation has proved itself to be a wholly illegitimate body, and Garber an illegitimate president, accountable to no one at the university,” claimed the organization.

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Harvard | Harvard Crimson Image

Harvard Holding Commencement After Weekslong Pro-Palestinian Encampment Protest

“Today’s actions have plunged the university even further into a crisis of legitimacy and governance, which will have major repercussions for Harvard in the coming months and years,” claimed the organization.

Supporters of the protestors planned a vigil outside Harvard Yard on Thursday to support the 13 and urge for a cease-fire in Gaza.

Protesters packed up their things and departed a pro-Palestinian campsite at Drexel University in Philadelphia on Thursday after the school announced a decision to have police clear the area. A wave of pro-Palestinian tent encampments on college campuses has resulted in over 3,000 arrests nationally.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

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Biden | NBC Image

Washington — President Joe Biden is greeting Kenyan President William Ruto to the White House for a three-day state visit as the East African country prepares to send troops to Haiti as part of a United Nations-led effort to calm a deteriorating security situation in the Caribbean.

Some 1,000 Kenyan police personnel will soon arrive in Haiti as part of a multilateral security support operation aimed at reducing gang violence. Other countries anticipated to assist the Kenyan military include the Bahamas, Barbados, Benin, Chad, and Bangladesh.

For years, the United States has worked with Kenya on counterterrorism initiatives in Africa, notably the fight against the extremist group al-Shabab. Kenya has joined the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and an international maritime task force established by the Biden administration in December in response to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.

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Biden | AP News Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

A top Biden administration official praised Ruto’s decision to send police personnel to Haiti, calling it an “unprecedented undertaking” and demonstrating Kenya’s international leadership.

Kenya is the first African nation to have a state visit from the United States since 2008.

“This is a deep and broad partnership,” White House principal deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said last week. He said it begins with combatting terrorism in Kenya’s region of Africa and progresses to “becoming a net security provider in our own hemisphere” with the upcoming deployment to Haiti.

The state visit begins with the two leaders meeting with CEOs at the White House in the afternoon. The goal is to increase relations between the American and Kenyan IT industries. The White House predicts that Teneo, Alphabet, and Semiconductor Technologies Limited executives will attend.

On Thursday, Biden and Ruto will hold formal talks and a joint press conference before attending a state dinner. Ruto is also scheduled to attend a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event with Vice President Kamala Harris this Friday.

Ruto began his journey to the United States in Atlanta, where he visited The King Center, met NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal, and dropped by Tyler Perry Studios.

The United States and Kenya are commemorating their 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations. According to White House officials, the leaders’ agenda will include trade and investment, technological innovation, climate and sustainable energy, as well as health and security.

Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell stated that the two countries would make “substantial commitments” to strengthen Kenya’s technical industry. Kenya hosts Google and Microsoft headquarters and established itself as East Africa’s technology hub, the Silicon Savannah.

In December 2022, Biden gathered dozens of African leaders in Washington to make the case that the United States was “all in” on Africa’s future, promising billions of dollars in government and private investment in health, infrastructure, business, and technology. The Democrat also promised to visit Sub-Saharan Africa in 2023.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

But other issues got in the way last year, notably the Israel-Hamas conflict and Biden’s lengthy battle with Republicans to renew financing for Ukraine’s war with Russia. Biden’s projected journey to Africa never occurred.

All the while, Russia has attempted to strengthen its economic and military influence in Africa. The junta in the West African nation recently ordered the withdrawal of US troops from Niger, which should be complete by mid-September. Meanwhile, Russia sent military trainers to Niger.

In addition, the United States needs to catch up to rival China in terms of investment in Africa, which has emerged as a vital battleground in the rivalry between great powers.

Biden and his advisers foresee fierce economic competition with Beijing in Africa but have attempted to argue that Washington is a far more stable partner in the long run

To that purpose, Biden took steps early in his presidency to prioritize Africa over his predecessors, including hosting over 50 leaders for the U.S.-Africa Leaders Conference in December 2022. However, analysts think the administration’s involvement has waned since the summit.

Cameron Hudson, a senior scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies Africa Program, highlighted that Biden has only hosted one African leader, Angola President João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, for meetings at the White House since the conference.

“This visit today feels a bit like a fig leaf, not just for the Kenyans but for Africa in general, and a kind of a placeholder for the administration to say: All of those things that we said early on in the administration, they all remain true,” Hudson stated.

According to Macharia Munene, a professor of international relations at the United States International University in Africa, Ruto hopes to use the visit to boost his international reputation. He feels that deploying Kenyan police to Haiti will help him achieve that aim.

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Biden | AP news Image

Biden Is Honoring Kenya With State Visit As The East African Nation Prepares To Send Police To Haiti

“Ruto wishes to be known as the African leader, particularly in the West. “And this kind of recognition fuels that desire,” Munene explained.

Ruto has stated that Kenya’s mission to Haiti aims to “formulate actionable strategies that will lead to long-term solutions” in the poorest Western Hemisphere country. For decades, Haiti has suffered from poverty, political instability, and natural calamities. The United States has agreed to offer direct financial assistance to the United Nations-backed mission and training, logistics, and material support.

However, Ruto’s decision to involve Kenyan police in a crisis hundreds of miles abroad has sparked criticism in Nairobi, including legal challenges to prevent police troops from being deployed.

International intervention in Haiti has a complex history. A sexual abuse scandal and the arrival of cholera, which claimed over 10,000 lives, hindered a U.N.-approved stabilization operation in Haiti that started in June 2004. The mission concluded in October 2017.

SOURCE – (AP)

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