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Researched by: Rachel John & Aarthi Ramnath
For details and more context on the war, check our two part series: part one lays out the Hamas offensive and failures of Israeli intelligence; part two explains the big picture—and Hamas’ motive driving what seems like a suicidal attack.
Hospital decimated: At least 500 people were killed at a Gaza hospital due to a blast. Hamas said it was an Israeli airstrike—but Tel Aviv insists it was a misfired Hamas missile. Point to note: the blast killed not just patients but also displaced Palestinians:
Several hospitals in Gaza City have become refuges for hundreds of people, hoping they would be spared bombardment after Israel ordered all residents of the city and surrounding areas to evacuate to the southern Gaza Strip.
Bloodied and charred bodies were strewn across the courtyard of the hospital. Blankets, backpacks and mattresses lay nearby, traces of families who had come to seek refuge at the hospital after their homes were destroyed…
“I can’t describe what I saw. I swear to God — I witnessed the killing of my family, but I couldn’t even handle what I saw today,” Ali Jadallah, a longtime war photographer who visited the Shifa Hospital, said in a voice message. “I can’t handle what is happening.”
The death toll: Shelling from Israeli tanks also hit a UN school in central Gaza where 4,000 Palestinians had taken refuge—killing six and wounding dozens. More than 70 lost their lives in Israeli airstrikes elsewhere. Nearly 3,000 people have been killed and 9,700 wounded in Gaza.
Arab summit cancelled: The consequences of the hospital strike were immediate. President Biden cancelled his plan to attend an Arab summit in Jordan—during his quick trip to the Middle East. The reason: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas—leader of the West Bank—withdrew from the scheduled meetings in protest. And the other Arab nations followed suit. Jordan said it would only reschedule the summit when all participants agree on its purpose—which is to “stop the war, respect the humanity of the Palestinians, and deliver the aid they deserve.” (Associated Press)
Point to note: Jordanian King Abdullah II also made the limits of its support clear: “On the issue of refugees coming to Jordan — and I think I can quite strongly speak on behalf not only of Jordan as a nation but of our friends in Egypt — that is a red line."
Humanitarian aid: According to the New York Times, the US is working with Israel to create safe zones—and has appointed a “special envoy for humanitarian assistance” in the war. But Tel Aviv has not allowed any aid to enter Gaza as of now. The total blockade has become a “matter of life and death”:
Desperate to get some drinking water, some people in Gaza have begun digging wells in areas adjacent to the sea or were relying on salty tap water from Gaza's only aquifer, which is contaminated with sewage and seawater.
A North Korea hand? South Korea claims that Hamas used weapons supplied by Pyongyang—including rocket-propelled grenades and 122mm artillery shells—in its attack on Israel. (BBC News)
Ivy League under pressure: Wealthy Wall Street donors of Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Stanford and Cornell are putting pressure on the institutions to take action against students who have criticised Israel. These include the Wexner Foundation—which has cut ties with Harvard because it failed “to take a clear and unequivocal stand against the barbaric murders of innocent Israeli civilians.” FYI: The foundation is run by Les Wexner—the founder/CEO of Victoria’s Secret who had to leave the company after he was exposed as the “chief benefactor” and facilitator of pedophile billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. New York Times and CNN have more on the battlefields drawn in American universities.
Meanwhile in Bangalore: Hundreds of protesters formed a human chain to show support for Palestine. Some were briefly detained by police for holding the protest at an unauthorised location. See a vid of the protest below. (The News Minute)
After Afghanistan beat defending champions England, the World Cup witnessed yet another upset with South Africa losing to Netherlands at Dharamsala by 38 runs. The rain disrupted the match and reduced it to a 43-over game, but the Netherlands managed to score 245 for the loss of eight wickets. In response, the South African side crumbled under the bowling attack and were all out for 207 in 42.5 overs. This was a historic victory for the Netherlands, which had won against a Test playing nation in the World Cup for the first time. The Telegraph has details about the match, while Indian Express has a profile of Netherlands coach Ryan Cook.
The context: Disney has been trying for months to shed its India holdings—including Hotstar and the Star TV channels. Or so news reports claim. A month ago, rumours were that the Ambanis would swoop in—and add to their growing Jio Cinema assets. Then media outlets claimed that the serious suitors are Gautam Adani and Kalanithi Maran—the owner of Sun TV. But there’s no sign of an official deal.
What happened now: Sony has joined the Disney swayamvara—as a plan B in case its merger with Zee falls apart. That deal has been plodding along—primarily due to opposition from Zee’s lenders. And Sony is losing patience according to an unnamed source:
A lot has changed in the last two years in the media and entertainment space. Most importantly, Disney India was not up for sale until six months back. Now that it is, top bosses in SPE see Disney India as a better proposition, one where they have cultural similarities, too.
All this gossiping may add up to very little in the end. But it shows how volatile the entertainment market is right now—both in India and across the globe. (Mint)
Until now, the theory of evolution framed by Charles Darwin applied only to living creatures (explained at great length in this Big Story). Nine scientists and philosophers have proposed a new law of nature—arguing that that Darwinian version is just “a vibrant example of a much broader phenomenon, one that appears at the level of atoms, minerals, planetary atmospheres, planets, stars and more.”
Basically, all natural systems—living or non-living—are subject to the universal process of evolution. And this process creates greater diversity and patterning in all instances. Sounds terribly abstract, but take the instance of elements:
In stars, for instance, just two elements—hydrogen and helium—were the main ingredients in the first stellar generation following the Big Bang about 13.8 billion years ago that initiated the universe.
That first generation of stars, in the thermonuclear fusion caldrons at their cores, forged about 20 heavier elements such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen that were blasted into space when they exploded at the end of their life cycles. The subsequent generation of stars that formed from the remnants of the prior generation then similarly forged almost 100 more elements.
Similarly, living organisms on Earth too evolved toward greater diversity and complexity. This one will likely take a Big Story to fully unpack. For now, The Guardian and Reuters offer good overviews—including the three universal concepts of selection. You can also read the original study.
Many patients who recover from Covid continue to experience mild to severe symptoms—including exhaustion and memory loss. A new study has linked the disease to serotonin—which communicates messages sent by the brain to the body.
Viral vestiges in the gastrointestinal tracts of a subset of long-Covid patients may drive chronic inflammation that interferes with a key chemical messenger involved in nerveB activity, brain function and memory… The findings provide an explanation for poor concentration, memory problems and other neurocognitive symptoms in long Covid…
Why this matters: Prozac and other drugs that boost levels of serotonin could help ease the symptoms. But that requires more research. Also this: long Covid has more than 200 symptoms—and at least some of them have common pathways that can be alleviated by the same treatment. (New York Times)
In bad news for your doc: A study compared the treatment prescribed by two recent versions of ChatGPT for mild to moderate depression—to that of 1,249 French GPs. And it did way better at following medical guidelines:
Only just over 4% of family doctors exclusively recommended referral for psychotherapy for mild cases in line with clinical guidance, compared with ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4, which selected this option in 95% and 97.5% of cases, respectively.
In general, doctors seemed to be far more aggressive in prescribing meds than is recommended. What puzzled us: all the stories point out that 73% of the doctors were women and then leave that fact hanging. Hmm. Reminder: a study also found ChatGPT to be more empathetic than doctors. Independent UK has lots more on the study.
And it has nothing to do with music. It’s a social platform called It’s Good—and carries only positive recommendations for food and travel:
Legend said that is in part a reaction against the negativity that pervades much of the internet. He acknowledged that the format requires that people trust that those making recommendations are sincere, but said it is integral to It’s Good’s approach. “It’s actually not even built for negative comments,” he said. “Either you recommend it or you don’t.”
It also helps to cancel out the noise of negative reviews. Of course, all of this depends on whether you trust the folks who are making the recommendations. And this kind of thing can be a recipe for influencer promos. That said, we heartily approve since it’s the philosophy of our weekend Advisory—which includes excellent picks from the splainer fam and team. Either we recommend it or we don’t. (Wall Street Journal)
It has been included—along with baseball/softball, flag football, lacrosse and squash—on the roster for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. According to Times of India, Virat Kohli’s reach as a global icon was one of the factors. Niccolo Campriani, director of the 2028 Olympics organising committee, name-checked Kohli’s 340 million followers—making him the third most followed athletes in the world—“surpassing combined numbers of LeBron James (NBA basketball star), Tom Brady (American football icon) and Tiger Woods (American golf legend).” CBS News has more on cricket’s inclusion. Mint looks at why the Olympics may be a “game-changer” for cricket. ICYMI: We did an excellent Big Story on cricket’s history at the Olympics—which dates back to 1900.
One: AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes is receiving serious flak for a photo he shared on LinkedIn. It shows a bare-chested Fernandes receiving a massage during a Zoom meeting. The caption: “Was a stressful week and Veranita Yosephine suggested a massage. “Got to love Indonesia and AirAsia culture that I Can have a massage and do a management meeting.” Everyone on Twitter got mad and he seems to have deleted his post. But here’s what we want to know: was the video on or off? Makes all the difference as you can see below. (NDTV)
Two: We generally don’t do ‘first look’ or poster releases for movies. But we broke that rule yesterday for a manic-looking Deepika Padukone’s ‘Singham Again’ poster. And we’re doing so today for a happier reason. The newly released poster for Martin Sorcese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ was designed by Osage Nation Ambassador—Addie Roanhorse. Reminder: The movie is based on the true story of brutal murders of members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s. CBS News has more on the plot. The movie releases this weekend on AppleTV+.
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