Islam Dwidar's classmates were still taking in her shocking death -- the teacher weeping outside before facing the girls, her closest friend recounting how they walked to school together each day -- when the news arrived about Tahreer Abu El Jidyan. \nThe two 15-year-old pupils at Jabaliya's school were both shot in the head by Israeli soldiers inside their homes just a few blocks and several hours apart. Islam died almost immediately after the bullet smashed through her forehead as she baked bread with her mother in their yard on Sunday. Tahreer is still on life support at a Gaza hospital after an operation to remove shards of shattered skull from her brain. \nShe lies motionless, with little to suggest she is alive other than gentle breathing. Doctors do not expect her to survive. \nTahreer's mother, was at her bedside on Tuesday. \n"Oh Tahreer, my heart. I wish I were lying in this bed, not you," she whispered to her child. \n"She was sweeping the floor in front of the door," said Intisar Abu El Jidyan. "I was standing talking to her. We knew the Israeli soldiers were around, we knew they had snipers in the buildings on our street but we didn't expect what happened. They just shot her in the head. Her brains spilled out. She said: `Mum, I'm hit.' She praised God and she collapsed." \nThere were two bullets. The first struck Tahreer in the head. As she fell, the second hit the wall behind her. "I've no doubt a sniper shot her deliberately. There was no fighting in the area. There were no other shots, only the ones that hit Tahreer," her mother said. \nWith her stood Tahreer's 14-year-old brother, Naser, who was wounded by shrapnel last week. Israeli forces killed their father 11 years ago during the first intifada. \nIntisar Abu El Jidyan regrets preventing Tahreer from walking to school on Sunday morning. She thought it would be too dangerous to venture out of their home in Jabaliya's Sikka neighborhood because it is on the edge of the area occupied by Israeli troops and tanks last week. Snipers are posted in buildings overlooking their street and a tank is less than a block away. \n"I wouldn't let her out of the house but it was dangerous at home too. When there was fighting, bullets came through the walls. We stopped using some rooms on the side where the Israelis are," she said. \nIsraeli and Palestinian human rights groups say that about half of the nearly 80 people killed by the army over the past week of "Operation Days of Penitence" are civilians. The military says it has carefully targeted Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters with missile strikes. \nBut while the numbers are in dispute -- in part because it is often hard to say whether youths in their mid to late teens are bystanders or part of the Palestinian resistance -- there is no doubt that a growing number of children have been felled by Israeli snipers. \nUntil June, Tahreer and Islam had been classmates, but then Tahreer failed her exams and was held back for a year. Asmaa Abu Samaan walked to school with her each morning. \n"I met her in front of my house each morning to walk to school. I did my homework with her. I keep thinking that if she is brain-dead and not killed perhaps she is still suffering. I can't stand it," she said. \nAsmaa walked to school yesterday morning without her friend. \n"I walked against the wall hoping the soldiers can't see me. I want to go to school because I know the Jews do not want us to study because we need to be educated to build our country," she said. \nBut the killing went on as the conflict claimed the life of another teenage girl in the Gaza strip yesterday. Palestinian medics said Israeli soldiers fired about 20 bullets into 13-year-old Iman al-Hams, including five into her head. \nThe military said she had entered a forbidden zone in Rafah refugee camp, and that she dropped a bag that soldiers feared was a bomb. \nThe Palestinians said Iman was walking to school when troops entered the camp and that she dropped her bag as she ran away in fear.
Reporters Without Borders has accused the Algerian government of taking advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic to “settle scores” with independent journalists, including those covering long-running anti-government protests. In a statement signed with Algerian non-governmental organizations, the watchdog on Thursday called for the immediate release of its correspondent, Khaled Drareni, who has been in pretrial detention since Sunday after being charged with inciting an unarmed gathering and endangering national unity. Drareni has been arrested several times for covering the “Hirak” anti-government protests held in the capital, Algiers, every Friday since February last year. Imprisoning people during a pandemic is “an act of physical endangerment,”
Vietnam has lodged an official protest with China following the sinking of a Vietnamese fishing boat that it said had been rammed by a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel near islands in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese fishing vessel, with eight fishermen onboard, was fishing near the Paracel Islands (Xisha Islands, 西沙群島) on Thursday when it was rammed and sunk by the Chinese vessel, the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement posted on a government Web site yesterday. All of the fishermen were picked up by the Chinese vessel alive and were transferred to two other Vietnamese fishing vessels
DIVIDED YOUTH: There is a belief that overseas students see themselves as superior, which is compounded by perceptions of their extreme wealth and multiple nationalities Chinese students flying home from overseas to escape the COVID-19 pandemic face a frosty reception from sections of the public who view them as wealthy, spoiled — and potentially contaminated. The number of officially reported cases in China has dwindled dramatically over the last month, but the country is now taking drastic steps to try and stem a second wave of infections brought in from abroad. With most international flights canceled and nearly all foreigners barred from entering the country, the vast majority of returnees are Chinese nationals, including many students. The situation has exposed animosities over class and privilege in Chinese society,
An Australian graduate student arrested for spying and expelled from North Korea last year said that he was threatened with a firing-squad execution and told not even US President Donald Trump could save his “sorry arse.” Among the crimes Alek Sigley was accused of committing was posting a picture of a toy tank on Instagram, which his interrogators told him was military espionage. Sigley, 30, was studying for a master’s degree in Korean literature at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang when he went missing in June last year, sparking alarm. A fluent speaker of Korean, he had written articles for several publications