Truckloads of goods enter Gaza from Israel UN reports

2 November 2009The Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that nearly 80 truckloads of goods entered Gaza from Israel yesterday through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The Office of the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO) reports that nearly 80 truckloads of goods entered Gaza from Israel yesterday through the Kerem Shalom crossing.The majority of the trucks contained fruit, cooking oil, dairy products, flour, frozen meat, tea and coffee.More than 100,000 kilograms of cooking gas also made it into Gaza through Kerem Shalom, UNSCO noted. However, the Karni conveyor belt and the Nahal Oz fuel pipelines remained closed.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned in a report released in September that the ongoing Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, now in its third year, has triggered a “protracted human dignity crisis” with negative humanitarian consequences.“At the heart of this crisis is the degradation in the living conditions of the population, caused by the erosion of livelihoods and the gradual decline in the state of infrastructure, and the quality of vital services in the areas of health, water and sanitation, and education,” stated the report, entitled “Locked In: The Humanitarian Impact of Two Years of Blockade on the Gaza Strip.” The blockade, imposed following the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June 2007, includes the closure of Karni, one of the largest and best equipped commercial crossings; sweeping restrictions on the import of industrial, agricultural and construction materials; the suspension of almost all exports; and a general ban on the movement of Palestinians through Erez, the only passenger crossing to the West Bank. read more

Death toll of bombings in Sri Lanka reaches 290

As the death toll in Sri Lanka rises, officials continue to look for answers as to who was behind the Easter Sunday suicide bombings.A little-known Islamic extremist group has been linked to the explosions that have killed nearly 300 people, but officials say the complexity of the terrorist attack leads them to believe an international group may have played a role.Another explosion today in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo as police were trying to defuse a bomb in a parked van near a religious shrine. No one was hurt.Yesterday, chaos and hysteria.Local officials say 7 suicide bombers blew up 3 Christian churches during Easter celebrations, and 3 luxury hotels.290 people dead. Over 500 wounded.Sri Lankan officials have blamed the terrorist attack on a local militant group named National Thowfeek Jamaath.Officials say the group hasn’t carried out any serious attacks before, but add that the complexity, and sophistication of the suicide bombings has them investigating the potential role of any international terror groups.39 foreigners have been identified among the dead. Some from the U.S, Portugal and Britain. So far, no word of any Canadian victims.Justin Trudeau released a statement yesterday condemning the terrorist attacks. Today, U.S. President Donald Trump says he has spoken with Sri Lankan government officials.“Its a terrible terrible thing.”In his Easter Monday address in Vatican City, Pope Frances condemned the attacks and prayed for the victims and wounded.In recent years tourism has boomed in Sri Lanka, known for its Buddhist temples, beaches and wild life.The capital city’s airport is still operating despite the bombings, but a nation-wide curfew has been imposed. Global Affairs Canada is warning Canadians travelling to the country to exercise extreme caution saying the situation is volatile and that more bombings could occur.So far 24 people have been arrested in connection with the explosions.Its been reported that Sri Lanka’s security forces were warned of the church bombings 10 days before, but took no action. A leaked police advisory dated April 11 documented a threat from the radical group that has since been linked to the attacks. The mistake being called a catastrophic intelligence failure. read more