Back to school in Gaza after offensive

Updated 25 November 2012
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Back to school in Gaza after offensive

GAZA CITY: Tens of thousands of children are returning to school in the Gaza Strip after eight days of Israeli aggression against Palestinian group Hamas.
Israel carried out about 1,500 airstrikes against Hamas-linked targets in Gaza, while fighters fired about as many rockets into Israel.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that 166 Palestinians were killed, including 33 children and minors under 18. Rockets from Gaza killed six Israelis. The group says most of more than 1,000 wounded Gazans were civilians.
Gaza’s schools reopened yesterday. Adnan Abu Hassna, spokesman for a UN aid agency, says tens of thousands of students at 245 UN-run schools spent the first day talking about their experiences during the fighting.
Israel eased restrictions on Gaza fishermen yesterday, further implementing a three-day-old truce, Palestinian officials said.
A statement from the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said Egypt had notified them that “Israel has allowed Palestinian fishermen to fish in Gaza’s waters at a distance of six miles, up from three miles.”
Israel had formally barred Gaza fishermen from heading more than three miles out into the Mediterranean Sea for about three years, its gunboats often enforcing the rule.
Murad Al-Issi, a member of a local fishermens’ group, told Reuters his colleagues had already ventured out to the six-mile limit yesterday.
“The Israeli Army naval boat which used to fire and torch Palestinian boats that sailed beyond a three-mile distance watched without doing anything to prevent them,” Issi said.
Palestinians say the Israeli restrictions had hampered the amount and variety of fish they could catch.
“This is a good step,” Issi said, adding it would be best to be permitted double the distance. Palestinian farmers tended land along the testy frontier with the Jewish state without incident, a day after Israeli troops killed a Palestinian man at a border fence.
Yesterday, a Reuters photographer saw farmers in the Khan Younis area working close to the Israeli frontier fence.
Hamas security officials were on patrol and Israeli soldiers looked on without interfering, but for a brief verbal exchange between one soldier and a Hamas guard, witnesses said.
Israel had barred Palestinians from coming within 300 meters of the border since 2009.


Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos accused of helping runaway maids

Updated 23 April 2018
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Kuwait arrests 2 Filipinos accused of helping runaway maids

  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases
  • The two countries have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there
KUWAIT CITY: Kuwaiti police arrested two Filipinos for allegedly convincing housemaids to run away from their employers’ homes as the Philippines’ ambassador faced questions for comments about his embassy’s work in aiding abused workers, authorities said Sunday.
The arrests, reported by the state-run KUNA news agency, come as relations are tense between Kuwait and the Philippines, which sends many domestic laborers to the Gulf Arab emirate.
Already, the government of President Rodrigo Duterte has banned workers from heading to Kuwait over abuse cases, culminating in a February incident that saw a Filipino’s body discovered in a freezer at a Kuwait City apartment abandoned for more than a year.
KUNA said Sunday the two Filipinos acknowledged convincing the maids to leave. It wasn’t clear what law the two men were accused of breaking, though KUNA said the two “confessed to the crime in addition to other similar offenses that had been committed in various regions of the country.”
The arrests came after Kuwait summoned the Philippines ambassador over comments he made that were reported in local press about the embassy’s effort to rescue domestic workers who are abused by their employers. Ambassador Renato Villa was quoted as saying his embassy moves in to help the abused if Kuwaiti authorities fail to respond within 24 hours.
Villa’s office said he was unavailable for comment Sunday.
Duterte in January complained that cases of abuse reported by Filipino domestic workers “always” seem to be coming from Kuwait.
There have been prominent cases of abuse in the past, including an incident in December 2014 where a Kuwaiti’s pet lions fatally mauled a Filipino maid.
The Philippines banned workers entirely from Kuwait after the discovery of Joanna Demafelis’ body in a freeze in February. In late March, Lebanese officials said 40-year-old Lebanese national Nader Essam Assaf confessed to killing the woman along with his Syrian wife, who remains at large. Authorities say Assaf faces a possible death sentence.
More than 260,000 Filipinos work in Kuwait, many of them as housemaids. Kuwait and the Philippines have since been negotiating for new rules governing Filipino workers there.
Philippine officials have demanded that housemaids be allowed to hold their passports and cellphones, which is normal for skilled workers like teachers and office workers. But many Kuwaiti employers seize their phones and passports.