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  • A former Meta engineer on Tuesday accused the company of discrimination in its handling of content related to the war in Gaza, claiming in a lawsuit that Meta fired him for trying to help fix bugs causing the suppression of Palestinian Instagram posts.

    Ferras Hamad, a Palestinian-American engineer who had been on Meta’s machine learning team since 2021, sued the social media giant in a California state court for discrimination, wrongful termination and other wrongdoing over his February dismissal.

    In the complaint, Hamad accused Meta of a pattern of bias against Palestinians, saying the company deleted internal employee communications that mentioned the deaths of their relatives in Gaza and conducted investigations into their use of the Palestinian flag emoji.

  • The carbon cost of rebuilding Gaza will be greater than the annual greenhouse gas emissions generated individually by 135 countries, exacerbating the global climate emergency on top of the unprecedented death toll, new research reveals.

    Reconstructing the estimated 200,000 apartment buildings, schools, universities, hospitals, mosques, bakeries, water and sewage plants damaged and destroyed by Israel in the first four months of the war on Gaza will generate as much as 60m tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e), according to new analysis by researchers in the UK and US. This is on a par with the total 2022 emissions generated by countries such as Portugal and Sweden – and more than twice the annual emissions of Afghanistan.

    Long-term reconstruction will generate the largest carbon cost from the war on Gaza, where Israel has killed more than 36,500 Palestinians – mostly women and children – and thousands more remain buried under the rubble and presumed dead. Around 26m tons of debris and rubble have been left in the wake of Israel’s bombardment, which could take years to clean up.

  • The third attempt was the charm for Boeing’s Starliner mission after launching its first crewed flight test Wednesday in a milestone that has been a decade in the making.

    The new spacecraft’s highly anticipated voyage with humans on board lifted off atop an Atlas V rocket at 10:52 a.m. ET from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

    Veteran NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams are riding aboard the Starliner capsule on a journey that takes them to the International Space Station.

  • Judge Aileen Cannon is again ripping up the court schedule in former President Donald Trump’s classified documents case – pushing some of the legal questions that have been before her for months even further down the road.

    Cannon is planning on holding a sprawling hearing on Trump’s request to declare Jack Smith’s appointment as special counsel invalid, signaling she could be more willing than any other trial judge to veto the special prosecutor’s authority.

    The planned hearing also adds a new, unusual twist in the federal criminal case against the former president: Cannon on Tuesday said that a variety of political partisans and constitutional scholars not otherwise involved with the case can join in the oral arguments later this month.

    It’s an extraordinary elevation of arguments in a criminal case – filed a year ago this week – that likely won’t see trial until next year, if at all.

    Wednesday, Cannon went further, adding a hearing on a gag order request from prosecutors to limit Trump’s rhetoric about law enforcement and allotting more time to hear arguments on the special counsel issue.

  • Joe Biden has said that there is “every reason” to draw the conclusion that Benjamin Netanyahu is prolonging the war in Gaza for his own political self-preservation.

    Biden made the remarks about the Israeli prime minister in an interview with Time magazine published on Tuesday morning, drawing a sharp response from the Israeli government, which accused the US president of straying from diplomatic norms.

    Netanyahu’s popularity plummeted after the 7 October attack by Hamas, which exposed serious flaws in Israeli security. Most political observers say Netanyahu would lose elections if they were held now, and would be forced into opposition, facing court hearings on corruption charges. But elections have been put off until the war is over, or at least until major military operations are deemed to have been completed.

  • The White House on Tuesday announced an executive order that will temporarily shut down the US-Mexico border to asylum seekers attempting to cross outside of lawful ports of entry, when a daily threshold of crossings is exceeded.

    The order would take effect immediately, senior administration officials said on a press call. Those seeking asylum would be held to a much more rigorous standard for establishing credible fear of returning to their home country, although certain groups – including trafficking victims and unaccompanied children – would be excluded from the ban.

    “Individuals who do not manifest a fear will be immediately removable, and we anticipate that we will be removing those individuals in a matter of days, if not hours,” one official said. “The bottom line is that the standard will be significantly higher. And so we do anticipate that fewer individuals will be screened in as a result.”

  • Joe Biden has called Donald Trump “reckless and dangerous” over the former president’s claim that the trial leading to last week’s felony conviction in a Manhattan court was rigged.

    In his sharpest criticism yet of his predecessor’s drive to undermine the legal integrity of the prosecution against him, the president also said a second Trump presidency would be a much greater threat to American democracy than his first. He likened Trump’s rejection of the court verdict against him to his refusal to accept that he lost the 2020 presidential election.

    “[Trump] wants you to believe it’s all rigged. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Biden told a fundraising audience in Greenwich, Connecticut.

    “It’s reckless and dangerous and downright irresponsible for anyone to say that it’s rigged just because you don’t like the verdict.”

  • A volcano in southwestern Iceland erupted Wednesday for the fifth time since December, spewing massive lava flows that threaten to cut off the town of Grindavík and prompting the evacuation of the world-famous Blue Lagoon.

    Dramatic video and images from the scene showed fountains of red-hot lava shooting into the air along a 3.4-kilometer (two-mile) fissure near Mount Hagafell on the Reykjanes Peninsula.

    Iceland’s Meteorological Office said in a statement that “the first estimate of scientists is that the start of this eruption is more vigorous than in previous eruptions in the area.”

    The eruption began around 1 p.m. local time on Wednesday following an earthquake at the Sundhnúks crater, Iceland’s public broadcaster RUV reported. The Met Office had earlier warned that a volcanic eruption was likely following “intense seismic activity” at the crater and a build-up of magma in its underground reservoir.

    Lava flows have cut off two out of three roads leading to the fishing town of Grindavík, and were steadily moving along a defensive barrier built to save the town and key infrastructure from being destroyed, according to the Met Office.

    “Lava is flowing outside the defense walls at Grindavík in several places, and lava is also starting to flow outside the walls at Svartsengi,” Víðir Reynisson from Iceland’s Civil Defense told RUV.

    He warned that Grindavík is at risk of becoming completely cut off, though he added that the defense barriers were holding.

  • Security services around Europe are on alert to a potential new weapon of Russia’s war – arson and sabotage – after a spate of mystery fires and attacks on infrastructure in the Baltics, Germany and the UK.

    When a fire broke out in Ikea in Vilnius in Lithuania this month, few passed any remarks until the Polish prime minister, Donald Tusk, suggested it could have been the work of a foreign saboteur.

    Investigators have already alleged potential Russian involvement in an arson attack in east London, an inferno that destroyed the largest shopping mall in Poland, a sabotage attempt in Bavaria in Germany and antisemitic graffiti in Paris.

    While there is no evidence that any of these incidents across the continent are coordinated, security services believe they could be part of an attempt by Moscow to destabilise the west, which has backed Ukraine.

    They point out that after the cold war, foreign intelligence operations consisted of spies and their handlers, but in the era of social media, vandals can be hired, leaving few connections to other attackers as pay-as-you-go saboteurs paid a few hundred euros or in cryptocurrency.

    Such is the emerging concern that these hybrid attacks could be the work of Russia that the issue was raised at a summit of foreign and defence ministers in Brussels this week with Dutch, Estonian and Lithuanian security officials all warning of national vulnerabilities.

    One minister, who asked not to be named said, they were deeply worried about “sabotage, physical sabotage, organised, financed and done by Russian proxies”.

  • at 10am ET, the supreme court will issue opinions, potentially on some of the closely watched cases the justices have yet to rule on. Among these is Donald Trump’s petition for immunity from the federal charges brought against him for trying to overturn the 2020 election, as well as a pair of cases dealing with abortion access. One concerns whether the Biden administration can require hospitals in states with strict bans on the procedure to perform the procedure in emergencies, and the other deals with a conservative effort to roll back the availability of abortion pill mifepristone. With six conservative justices and three liberal justices, the court has a pronounced rightwing tilt, but plenty of uncertainty remains, and, as alway, we do not know in advance which cases they will rule on, or how many opinions they will issue.

    A ruling in the Trump case would present an interesting split-screen with the scene in New York, where jurors are beginning their second day of deliberations in his business fraud trial. There’s no telling when they will reach a verdict, but however they find the former president will undoubtedly send shockwaves through the 2024 election campaign.

  • Two more US officials have resigned over the Gaza war, saying that the Biden administration is not telling the truth about Israeli obstruction of humanitarian assistance to more than two million Palestinians trapped and starving in the tiny coastal strip.

    Alexander Smith, a contractor for the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said he was given a choice between resignation and dismissal after preparing a presentation on maternal and child mortality among Palestinians, which was cancelled at the last minute by USAID leadership last week.

    Smith, a senior adviser on gender, maternal health, child health, and nutrition chose to resign on Monday after four years at USAID. In his resignation letter to the head of the agency, Samantha Power, he complained about the inconsistencies in USAID’s approach to different countries and humanitarian crises, and the general treatment of Palestinians.

    In another resignation on Tuesday, a state department official from the bureau of population, refugees and migration, Stacy Gilbert, sent an email to colleagues explaining that she was leaving because of an official finding by the department that Israel was not deliberately obstructing the flow of food or other aid into Gaza.

  • After the International Criminal Court’s top prosecutor sought arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defense minister and top Hamas officials, the Israeli leader accused him of being one of “the great antisemites in modern times.”

    As protests roiled college campuses across the United States over the Gaza war, Netanyahu said they were awash with “antisemitic mobs.”

    These are just two of the many instances during the war in which Netanyahu has accused critics of Israel or his policies of antisemitism, using fiery rhetoric to compare them to the Jewish people’s worst persecutors. But his detractors say he is overusing the label to further his political agenda and try to stifle even legitimate criticism, and that doing so risks diluting the term’s meaning at a time when antisemitism is surging worldwide.

    “Not every criticism against Israel is antisemitic,” said Tom Segev, an Israeli historian. “The moment you say it is antisemitic hate ... you take away all legitimacy from the criticism and try to crush the debate.”

    There has been a spike in antisemitic incidents since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, according to researchers. And many Jews in North America and Europe have said they feel unsafe, citing threats to Jewish schools and synagogues and the pro-Palestinian campus demonstrations in the U.S., although organizers deny that antisemitism drives the protests.

    The war has reignited the long debate about the definition of antisemitism and whether any criticism of Israel — from its military’s killing of thousands of Palestinian children to questions over Israel’s very right to exist — amounts to anti-Jewish hate speech.

    Netanyahu, the son of a scholar of medieval Jewish persecution, has long used the travails of the Jewish people to color his political rhetoric. And he certainly isn’t the first world leader accused of using national trauma to advance political goals.

    Netanyahu’s supporters say he is honestly worried for the safety of Jews around the world.

    But his accusations of antisemitism come as he has repeatedly sidestepped accountability for not preventing Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack. Hamas killed roughly 1,200 people and took 250 hostage, which many in Israel’s defense establishment acknowledge they shoulder the blame for.

    Netanyahu has continued to face criticism at home and abroad throughout the war, which has killed 35,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which doesn’t distinguish between fighters and noncombatants. The fighting has sparked a humanitarian catastrophe, and ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan has accused Netanyahu and his defense minister of using starvation as a “method of warfare,” among other crimes.

    Segev, the historian, acknowledged there is a rise in “violent hate” toward Israel and, speaking from Vienna, said he wasn’t sure if speaking Hebrew in public was safe. But he said Netanyahu has long used Jewish crises to his political benefit, including invoking the Jewish people’s deepest trauma, the Holocaust, to further his goals.

    At the height of the campus protests, Netanyahu released a video statement condemning their “unconscionable” antisemitism and comparing the mushrooming encampments on college greens to Nazi Germany of the 1930s.

    “What’s happening in America’s college campuses is horrific,” he said.

    In response to Khan seeking the arrest warrants, he said the ICC prosecutor was “callously pouring gasoline on the fires of antisemitism that are raging across the world,” comparing him to German judges who approved of the Nazis’ race laws against Jews.

    Those comments drew a rebuke from the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell. “The prosecutor of the court has been strongly intimidated and accused of antisemitism — as always when anybody, anyone does something that Netanyahu’s government does not like,” Borrell said. “The word antisemitic, it’s too heavy. It’s too important.”

    Netanyahu has compared accusations that Israel’s war is causing starvation in Gaza or that the war is genocidal to blood libels — unfounded centuries-old accusations that Jews sacrificed Christian children and used their blood to make unleavened bread for Passover.

    “These false accusations are not levelled against us because of the things we do, but because of the simple fact that we exist,” he said at a ceremony marking Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day earlier this month.

    Netanyahu previously made repeated allusions to the Holocaust while trying to galvanize the world against Iran’s nuclear program.

    Israeli leaders and the country’s media also made such comparisons about Oct. 7, describing the Hamas attackers as Nazis, comparing their rampage to the historic violence inflicted on Eastern European Jews, and referring to the images of Jewish victims’ burned bodies as a Shoah — the Hebrew word for Holocaust.

    Israelis have been jarred by the global rise in antisemitism, and many view the swell of criticism against Israel as part of the rise. They see hypocrisy in the world’s intense focus on Israel’s war with Hamas while other conflicts get much less attention.

    Moshe Klughaft, a former advisor to Netanyahu, said he believes the Israeli leader is genuinely concerned over rising antisemitism.

    “It is his duty to condemn antisemitism as prime minister of Israel and as head of a country that sees itself as responsible for world Jewry,” he said.

    Many Israelis view the war in Gaza as a just act of self-defense and are befuddled by what many think should be criticism directed at Hamas — blaming the group for starting the war, using Palestinian civilians as human shields and refusing to free the hostages. The ICC warrant requests have likely bolstered such feelings.

    When Netanyahu leans on accusations of antisemitism, he is doing so with the Israeli public in mind, said Reuven Hazan, a political scientist at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

    Hazan said Netanyahu has leveraged the campus protests, for example, to get Israelis to rally around him at a time when his public support has plummeted and Israelis are growing impatient with the war. He said Netanyahu has also used the protests as a scapegoat for his failure so far to achieve the war’s two goals: destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages.

    “He deflects blame from himself, attributing any shortcomings not to his foreign policies or policies in the (Palestinian) territories, but rather to antisemitism. This narrative benefits him greatly, absolving him of responsibility,” Hazan said.

    Shmuel Rosner, a senior fellow at the Jewish People Policy Institute, a Jerusalem think thank, rejects the notion that Netanyahu stifles criticism by calling it antisemitic, pointing to just how much criticism the country receives. But he said using the antisemitic label to achieve political ends could cheapen it.

    “I’d be more selective than the government of Israel in choosing the people and bodies they tag ‘antisemitic,’” he said.

  • Atlanta police have been carrying out around-the-clock surveillance in several neighborhoods for months, on people and houses linked to opposition against the police training center colloquially known as “Cop City”.

    The surveillance in Georgia has included following people in cars, blasting sirens outside bedroom windows and shining headlights into houses at night, the Guardian has learned.

    While no arrests have been made, residents said they’re at a loss as to what legal protections of privacy and freedom from harassment are available to them. Chata Spikes, the Atlanta police spokesperson, did not respond to requests for comment.

  • Munitions made in the United States were used in the deadly Israeli strike on a displacement camp in Rafah on Sunday, a CNN analysis of video from the scene and a review by explosive weapons experts has found.

    At least 45 people were killed and more than 200 others injured after a fire broke out following the Israeli military’s strike on the outskirts of Gaza’s southernmost city, most of them women and children, according to the Gaza Health Ministry and Palestinian medics.

  • Ireland formally recognized the State of Palestine at a government meeting Tuesday.

Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.
— Ellen Degeneres