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Vivian Balakrishnan meets Jordan counterpart amid Singapore’s humanitarian aid mission for Gaza

HUMANITARIAN AID The war began on Oct 7 when Hamas sent fighters into Israel, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and seizing 253 hostages, according to Israeli tallies. Israel’s ground and air campaign has killed more than 31,500 people, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run Gaza. Israel says it has killed at least 13,000 Hamas members in the Gaza fighting. The main United Nations aid agency in Gaza said on Saturday that acute malnutrition was accelerating in the north of the Palestinian enclave amid the war. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said one in three children under the age of two in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished. Air and sea relief deliveries into Gaza have started. A first delivery into Gaza by the World Central Kitchen, pioneering a new sea route via Cyprus, arrived on Friday and was off-loaded, the charity said. On Saturday, a second cargo of food aid was ready to depart by sea from Cyprus, Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said, while the US and Jordan said they carried out an airdrop of humanitarian aid. Israel has said it would send a delegation to Qatar for more talks with mediators after Hamas presented a new proposal for a ceasefire with an exchange of hostages and prisoners.

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Pictures: Bulgarians Bid Final Farewell to Late Orthodox Patriarch Neophyte

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) – Bulgarians lined the streets of Sofia on Saturday to bid farewell to the late Orthodox Patriarch Neophyte. The spiritual leader of Bulgaria’s Orthodox Christians died on Wednesday at the age of 78 after a long illness. Neophyte, who became patriarch in 2013, was the first elected head of the Bulgarian church after the fall of communism in 1989. His charisma as a modest and well-tempered leader won him respect among the faithful. Neophyte’s funeral drew religious and political leaders, as well as ordinary Bulgarians who recalled him fondly. The patriarch´s body, covered by a gold embroidered cloth, lay in the center of Sofia´s main Alexander Nevski Cathedral, while white-robed church elders led funeral prayers under the solemn sound of bells. Istanbul-based Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, the spiritual leader of the world´s Orthodox Christians, led the memorial service. Bartholomew is considered first among equals among Eastern Orthodox patriarchs, which gives him prominence but not the power of a Catholic pope. Large portions of the Eastern Orthodox world are self-governing under their own patriarchs. Orthodox Christianity is Bulgaria’s dominant religion, followed by about 85% of its 6.7 million people. “Neophyte will be remembered as an impeccable, flawless cleric, as a fosterer of Orthodoxy and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church and as a man who called for unity and unification,” said Rosen Zhelyazkov, the head of the National Assembly. Following the memorial service, a funeral procession took Neophyte’s coffin to the St. Nedelya Cathedral, where his body was laid to rest. Packed along the sidewalks, people stood silently paying their respects as the procession went by. The coffin was placed on a black-draped gun carriage, with the church elders and senior government officials walking behind it to the mournful tunes of a military band. The Holy Synod of senior clergy will choose among its members an interim patriarch until a larger church council elects Neophyte’s successor within the next four months, church officials said. Follow Breitbart London on Facebook: Breitbart London

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Shock Poll: Le Pen Party Could Gain Outright Majority in National Assembly if Snap Election Called in France

A previously private poll found that in the event of a dissolution of the French parliament and snap elections were called, Marine Le Pen’s populist National Rally party could win an outright majority in the National Assembly. In yet another demonstration of the growing popularity of the populist right in France, a survey commissioned by the centrist Les Républicains (LR) in December found that the National Rally (RN) of former presidential candidate Marine Le Pen could win between 243 and 305 seats in the National Assembly in the event snap elections were called. The poll of 4,000 French voters, conducted by the Ipsos Institute on a private basis, suggested that the RN would likely secure either a relative or outright majority (currently 289 seats) and therefore control the parliament, the L’Obs magazine reports. This would also represent a major jump in support compared to the 2022 legislative elections, potentially seeing the party more than triple the 89 votes it received two years ago. In comparison, the poll found that President Macron’s En Marche and his minority government coalition partners the Democratic Movement (MoDem) and the Horizon group, would only secure between 117 and 165, down from 245 in the 2022 elections and far behind the National Rally. Meanwhile, the NUPES group of leftist parties would only manage to win between 55 and 79 seats, a significant collapse from the 131 seats won in 2022. Finally, support for the Les Républicains would remain largely unchanged according to the survey, which projected the centre-right party to claim between 55 and 79 members of the National Assembly, compared to 62 in 2022. Responding to the survey an RN spokesman said: “​If the people vote, the people win!” Vox Populi, Vox Dei: Populist Parties Surged Across Europe in 2023 as Public Rejects Open Borders Globalismhttps://t.co/D7zMMJMZhy — Kurt Zindulka (@KurtZindulka) January 1, 2024 The survey was conducted amid suggestions that parliament could be dissolved in December as President Macron’s attempts — from a minority position — to push through an immigration bill were blocked by the opposition National Rally, the LR and the leftist La France Insoumise parties, throwing into question whether the president could effectively govern the country. Ultimately, the move forced Macron to push forward a stricter immigration law, which was passed with the help of the RN. While the poll should be taken with a grain of salt, given the difficulty of projecting national sentiment onto 577 individual local races, it is another significant indicator in the shifting political landscape within France. Previously cast off and dismissed as a “far-right” fringe party, the National Rally has now become a political heavyweight and potentially the strongest party in the country. Despite falling short in her previous three attempts at ascending to the Élysee Palace, Marine Le Pen now stands as the clear frontrunner in the race to replace President Emmanuel Macron when his second — and final — term in office comes to a close in 2028. In the more immediate future, the survey serves as further confirmation of the National Rally’s strong position heading into the European Parliament elections in June. A separate poll from Ipsos conducted this month found that the populist right-wing party holds a 13-point advantage over Macron’s group three months before voters head to the polls. French Populists Set to Trounce Macron in EU Parliament Elections as Support Hits Record High https://t.co/CukNNJ5wqq — Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 15, 2024 Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: Follow @KurtZindulka or e-mail to: kzindulka@breitbart.com

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Trump at Ohio Rally: Laken Riley’s Killer Is ‘An Illegal Alien Criminal’

Former President Donald Trump spoke at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, on Saturday, where he decried Joe Biden’s backtracking on his use of the word “illegal” to describe Laken Riley’s alleged killer. As Breitbart News reported, Laken Riley became yet another name in an already growing list of American citizens to have reportedly died at the hands of a migrant in the United States illegally: On Feb. 23, 26-year-old illegal alien Jose Antonio Ibarra from Venezuela was charged with kidnapping and murdering Augusta University nursing student Laken Riley the day prior while she was out for a morning jog around the University of Georgia campus in Athens. Before ever arriving in Athens, Ibarra had already been shielded from deportation thanks to New York’s sanctuary state policy. Ibarra was arrested in August 2023 in New York City and charged with injuring a child under 17 years old as well as with a motor vehicle violation. The sanctuary state law ensured that Ibarra was freed from jail before ICE agents could request custody of him. When speaking at the State of the Union address, President Joe Biden went against the grain of political correctness when he referred to Laken Riley’s killer as an “illegal.” Days later, however, Biden backtracked on his use of the word. During your response to [Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s] heckling of you, you used the word ‘illegal’ when talking about the man who allegedly killed Laken Riley,” MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart said. “An undocumented person. And I shouldn’t have used ‘illegal.’ It’s ‘undocumented,’” Biden said. “So you regret using that word?” Capehart pressed him. “Yes,” Biden replied. Former President Trump emphasized during the Ohio rally that “Laken’s killer is an illegal alien criminal” “He should never have been in our country, and he would never have been in our country under the Trump policy,” the former president said. “Joe Biden cares more about protecting the FEELINGS of illegal alien criminals than he cares about protecting the LIVES of innocent American citizens.” “Not one more American life should be lost to migrant crime. When I am President of the United States, I will demand JUSTICE FOR LAKEN,” he added. “On Day One of my administration, I will terminate every Open Border policy of the Biden administration, and we will begin the largest domestic deportation operation in American History.” The former president also mentioned how black Americans and Hispanic-Americans have been negatively affected by illegal immigration. “With his Open Border policy, Joe Biden has repeatedly stabbed African American voters in the back—including by granting millions of work permits to illegal aliens, crushing wages for actual Americans. Thanks to his Open Borders policy, virtually 100 percent of the jobs under Biden have gone to foreign-born workers,” he said. Paul Roland Bois directed the award-winning feature film, EXEMPLUM, which can be viewed for FREE on YouTube or Tubi. “Better than Killers of the Flower Moon,” wrote Mark Judge. “You haven’t seen a story like this before,” wrote Christian Toto. A high-quality, ad-free stream can also be purchased on Google Play or Vimeo on Demand. Follow him on Twitter @prolandfilms or Instagram @prolandfilms.

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U.S. Amb. to China: China ‘Critical’ to U.S. Success Due to Trade, We Want More Work with Them on Climate

During an interview with Bloomberg on Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns stated that due to the trade relationship between the two countries, China is “critical” for America’s success and vice versa and that he hopes to “stabilize the relationship. What that could mean in the next few months is that we continue to work on climate change together.” Burns also said that we are de-risking with China and will compete with them on other issues. Burns said, “[W]e’ve been very consistent in our government in saying we do not want to see a decoupling of these two economies. We’re the two — the U.S. and China — the two largest economies in the world. We’re critical for each other’s success, given the trade relationship. We’re fundamental to the health of the global economy. So, we’ve been very consistent in saying, that’s not what we’re after. But we are de-risking.” In another part of the interview, [relevant remarks begin around 15:50] Burns stated, “[W]hat we’ve got to do is continue the progress from the San Francisco meeting, to continue to stabilize the relationship. What that could mean in the next few months is that we continue to work on climate change together. John Podesta is our new climate negotiator, that we work on food security, that we work on promoting American agriculture here. 1/5th of our ag exports in the United States go to China. And that we also compete with China on issues like technology, the TikTok issue, on the security and military issues we’ve talked about, and on leveling of the playing field for American companies here, because it’s not level with I.P. violations, forced technology transfers.” Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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VIDEO — ‘Ugly and Cruel’: Texas Neighbors Mourn Teenage Girl Found Left in Ditch ‘like an Animal’

Neighbors in San Antonio, Texas, are mourning the loss of a 17-year-old girl whose body was found Tuesday night in a drainage ditch near her home. Kaitlin Hernandez went for a walk with a friend that evening, but her body was later found laying in the ditch, News 4 San Antonio reported Friday: PLEASE SHARE | Kaitlin Hernandez was found deceased early this morning after going for a walk with a friend in her Northeast Side neighborhood. Now, police are on the lookout for the person of interest: https://t.co/uwHuVbwZoX pic.twitter.com/FeXubKzv5S — News 4 San Antonio (@News4SA) March 14, 2024 In a social media post early Wednesday, the San Antonio Police Department asked the public for help in identifying a person of interest: In an update Thursday, the agency thanked citizens for helping officers investigating the case, adding, “The person of interest was identified and is now cooperating and assisting in the investigation.” According to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office, the young woman died of strangulation and blunt force trauma, and the News 4 San Antonio report said police have interviewed at least two men but had not yet arrested anyone. “Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest. Callers can remain anonymous and call 210-224-7867,” the outlet said: HEARTBREAKING PLEA

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Saskatoon SPCA set to serve animals for years to come in new home

The Saskatoon Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has officially moved into its new home. On Saturday the SPCA celebrated with an open house at the new facility, where they showed off the new features and designs throughout. SPCA moved into the facility back in November, with construction beginning almost immediately to get it ready. “We started ripping up the floor in the back of the warehouse and there wasn’t any drainage,” Saskatoon SPCA executive director Fred Dyck said. “It was just a big, empty warehouse.” Dyck said the facility was built with an emphasis on animal safety and well-being. “Disease control, humane treatment of animals, and making sure the animals’ stay in our facility is as low-anxiety as possible,” Dyck said. “It’s as positive of an experience as we could make for them and us.” Amber Matthews, the Saskatoon SPCA animal care director, said the design helps streamline operations and will act as a resource centre for Saskatoon and the surrounding area now that the society is within city limits. “We really put our time and effort into creating an environment that was beneficial for the wellness of the animals,” she said. “A place that would reduce stress for the animals, but is also very efficient for staff and staff time as far as care of the animals go.” The move does, however, bring a new set of challenges to the table. The previous facility was located just outside city limits, owned by the City of Saskatoon. It also acted as a city pound for animals. But with the move into the city, the contract between the SPCA and the city has expired, meaning the SPCA is now responsible for 100 per cent of their own funding. “We’ve always relied on support from the community through donations, never more so than we are right now,” Dyck said. He went on to say with the community’s continued support, the new building will be a cornerstone in helping find forever homes for every animal that comes through its doors. “We’re always trying to make sure that every animal we end up with, we help someone adopt them and make sure they have got the best start to life they can,” Dyck said.

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First aid shipment for Gaza arrives, second ready to sail from Cyprus

US-based charity World Central Kitchen, which arranged the mission with the UAE and Spanish charity Open Arms with support from the Cypriot government, said the new shipment included pallets of canned goods and bulk products. WCK said the second boat also had two forklifts and a crane to assist with future maritime deliveries to Gaza. A crew ship would accompany the cargo boat with eight workers to operate the machinery and offload the aid, it said. In the first mission, the charity offloaded aid onto a makeshift jetty WCK built from the rubble of destroyed buildings. “Hopefully, this corridor we open today will be a pathway alongside the terrestrial ones to alleviate hunger, relieve suffering, and restore humanity to the civilian population,” Open Arms, which provided the ship, said on Friday on X. The main UN agency operating in Gaza said on Saturday that one in three children under age 2 in northern Gaza is now acutely malnourished and famine is looming.

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Huge swings further dent Qld Labor’s chances in state election

Enormous swings against Queensland Labor in two byelections have highlighted Premier Steven Miles’s difficult challenge to retain power in October. The Miles government appears certain to have lost the safe seat of Ipswich West after an 18 per cent swing gave Ipswich Show Society president Darren Zanow and the Liberal National Party a 2.9 per cent margin. The LNP also cannoned through a 28 per cent margin built up by former premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Inala before retiring last year. Labor’s primary vote fell to a historic low of 36 per cent, but projections on Sunday had candidate Margie Nightingale retaining the seat in Brisbane’s south-west on a 7 per cent margin, beating out the LNP’s Trang Yen.

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Congress announces 'guarantees' for labourers ahead of Lok Sabha elections

The Congress on Saturday announced five 039guarantees039 for labourers including right to health ahead of the Lok Sabha electionsCongress president Mallikarjun Kharge announced the 039Shramik Nyay039 and the 039Hissedari Nyay039 in Bengaluru in Karnataka on SaturdaySpeaking about 039guarantees039 under the lsquoShramik Nyayrsquo Mallikarjun Kharge said that the Congress guarantees a Right to Health law that will provide universal healthcare including free medicines treatment essential diagnostics rehabilitative and palliative care and surgery for the labourersHe said that the party will ensure the 039Shram ka Samman039 under which the labourers including the MNREGA workers will get a national minimum wage of Rs 400 per dayThe Congress will bring an urban employment guarantee act with a focus on building public infrastructure making cities resilient to climate change and bridging gaps in social services the party president was quoted as saying by news agency PTIHe said that with focus on 039Samajik Suraksha039 the party guarantees comprehensive social security for all unorganised workers including life insurance and accident insuranceThe Congress further guarantees a comprehensive review of the anti-worker labour codes passed by the Modi government and to make suitable amendments to strengthen the rights of labour Mallikarjun Kharge addedCongress leader Rahul Gandhi highlighted the 039guarantees039 under the 039Shramik Nyay039 in a post on X and said quotThese five guarantees of Congress will eliminate risk and insecurity from your life and give you a secure futurequotquotCongress will strengthen the foundation of nation building by giving rights to those who built India Economically capable and socially secured workers will revolutionize production and accelerate economic activity Strong workers will become the strength of the countryquot he addedAnnouncing the 039guarantees039 under the 039Hissedari Nyay039 the Congress president said quotThe Congress Party guarantees a comprehensive social economic and caste census Through this the population socio-economic condition of all castes and communities their share in national wealth and their representation in institutions related to governance will be surveyedquotldquoThe Congress also guarantees that it will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservation for SC ST and OBCacirc128aelig50 per cent may go 60 65 Like Tamil Nadu what they did we want to dordquo he saidWith inputs from PTIPublished By Ashutosh AcharyaPublished On Mar 17 2024ALSO READ 039Yuva Nyay039 Congress039s 5 promises to youth farmers ahead of Lok Sabha pollsMust Watch

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