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Rolling Coverage: Documenting the conflict in Gaza

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One week ago today, at 7 AM AEST the situation in Gaza was at breaking point, with the United Nations warning that the violence may turn into a “full scale war”.

Ahmed Abu Hameeda

At this time, militants in Gaza had fired over 1,000 rockets into Israel, with airlines either suspending or diverting planes over fears they would be shot down.

103 Palestinians and seven Israelis had been killed, as Israel’s military moved troops towards the border and prepared for “all eventualities”.

SITUATION ESCALATES

At 7:22 AM, news began to break that Israel had officially invaded Gaza, after a tweet was posted by the country’s defence force saying that its air and ground troops had been deployed, and were attacking the Gaza Strip.

At 8:30 AM, Ticker News launched into rolling coverage as we tried to make sense of the situation in the Middle East and provide our viewers with comprehensive updates.

We would later find out that Israel had, in fact, not invaded the Gaza Strip. Nevertheless, the country was still launching intensive attacks from the border. A breakdown in communication was to blame for the confusion.

EXPERT WEIGHS IN

At 10 AM AEST, we were joined by Andray Domise from McLean’s Magazine who was reporting on the unfolding crisis from Canada.

Demise was calling on US President Joe Biden to step in and take immediate action to prevent a war from errupting.

Demise said the events the world was witnessing in the Gaza region were reminiscent to those during the Intifada Rebellion.

The Intifada Rebellion was an uprising of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with the aim of challenging Israel’s control.

ONE WEEK LATER

This morning, at 9:00 AM AEST (2:00 AM local time), a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was officially enacted, bringing an end to the violence.

Footage flooded social media showing residents in Gaza taking to the streets and cheering with joy as a sense of calm was restored in the Middle East.

But despite the halting of rocket fire, tensions in and around the Gaza Strip remain at an all-time high.

So what’s next? Andray Demise joined us again and argued peace won’t be restored in the region until Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and his government leave politics.

AS THE DUST SETTLES

But as the dust settles and the ceasefire continues to do its job, it is important to reflect on the 11 days of violence which saw thousands of rockets fired, numerous citizens displaced and many people killed.

The impact of the conflict has been described as the worst in decades. It began on May 10, with tensions brought to a head when worshipers clashed at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews.

At least 232 people have lost their lives in Gaza, 100 of whom were women and children. 12 Israelis also died.

Around 4,000 rockets were fired by Hamas militants into Israeli territory, many of which were stopped by Israel’s so-called “Iron Dome”.

Israel’s Security Council says the ceasefire agreement was proposed by Egypt is equal and will be “unconditional”.

World leaders continue to offer their support, including US President Joe Biden who says his administration will offer “quiet, relentless diplomacy”.

Business

The airline set to fire unvaccinated aircrew and pilots

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As the coronavirus vaccine rollout ramps up within many nations around the world, many aviation industry experts say the jab will play a huge role in bringing aviation back to normal

Cathay Pacific Airways has confirmed that all Hong Kong-based pilots and flight attendants would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by August 31st or risk losing their jobs.

The mandate has become one of the airline industry’s toughest policies.

Cathay Pacific stated it had struggled with staff rostering due to Hong Kong’s strict quarantine rules, which require unvaccinated crew members to quarantine every flight.

New guidelines exempt flight crew that are vaccinated from quarantining

There are also requirements that only fully vaccinated crews can operate to certain high-risk destinations and on quarantine-free “bubble” flights.

Hong Kong has a surplus of unused vaccines and some of the shots are about to expire.

Cathay said 90% of pilots and more than 65% of the cabin crew had already received their vaccinations or had appointments booked, following a previous warning that vaccination was highly likely to become compulsory.

US Airlines impose similar rules

United Airlines has confirmed it would mandate full vaccination for crew members flying to countries with high COVID-19 cases at the beginning of August.

Delta Air Lines last month said all new hires would have to be vaccinated.

While vaccines for passengers on all Qantas international flights will also become mandated after the airline said it will require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated when the country’s borders reopen to widespread international travel.

Emirates has provided employees with free vaccines since January.

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Global Politics

China challenges Australia anti-dumping measures at WTO

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China has filed a lawsuit at the World Trade Organisation over Australian anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures

The anti-dumping measures affect Chinese exports of train components, wind turbines, and stainless steel sinks.

China hopes Australia can adopt concrete measures so that bilateral trade can return to normal.

Relations between the two sides have steadily worsened since 2018, when Australia barred Huawei from building its 5G network.

Relations also went into freefall last year as Prime Minister Scott Morrison led calls for an independent probe into the origins of the coronavirus.

China opposes nations abusing trade remedy measures which damage the legitimate rights of Chinese companies and undermine the authority of WTO rules, Ministry of Commerce Spokesman Gao Feng told reporters in Beijing Thursday. 

Beijing has responded with tariffs and restrictions on imports of coal, barley, lobsters and wine.

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Why Singaporeans may have to learn to live with COVID-19

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Singapore is drawing up a road map to transit to a “new normal”, where COVID-19 is likely endemic.

Singapore’s government believes COVID-19 may never go away.

But ministers leading the city-state’s pandemic response say the good news is that it is possible to live normally with the virus in our midst.

Three key ministers have written an opinion piece in The Straits Times, outlining what they believe life will look like in a “new-normal” where COVID-19 is still around but can be controlled through mass vaccination.

The ministers, who lead the city-state’s pandemic task force, say they hope COVID-19 will become like influenza.

They haver pointed out that people carry on with their daily activities during the flu season, take simple precautions or get an annual flu jab.

The ministers want to work towards a similar outcome for Covid-19.

“We can’t eradicate it, but we can turn the pandemic into something much less threatening, like influenza, hand, foot and mouth disease, or chickenpox, and get on with our lives.”

Rapid mass vaccination will be key

The ministers say “we are on track” to have two-thirds of the population vaccinated with at least their first dose by early July.

The next vaccine milestone will be to have at least two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated by National Day on August 9, supply permitting.

The ministers say they are working to bring forward the delivery of vaccines and to speed up the process.

The new-normal

It’s hoped that in the future, when someone gets COVID in Singapore, the response can be very different from now.

And instead of monitoring Covid-19 infection numbers every day, the focus will be on the outcomes, such as how many people are getting sick.

The government says in this new-normal, large gatherings can resume, businesses will have certainty that their operations will not be disrupted, and vaccinated travellers can be exempted from quarantine

But the ministers added a note of caution:

“The battle against Covid-19 will continue to be fraught with uncertainty.”

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