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Israel bombards Rafah | Berlin election re-run | Senegal election postponed
Our weekly roundup of stories you may have missed.
Israel plans ground assault on Rafah
Israeli forces killed at least 60 in overnight air strikes in the southern Gazan city of Rafah, as Israel threatens a major ground offensive. Rafah, currently home to the majority of the 1.7 million displaced Gazans, is one of the areas previously deemed a safe zone by the Israeli military. Last week Netanyahu ordered that plans be made for the evacuation of the city, a move Human Rights Watch has called ‘catastrophic’, ‘unlawful’ and ‘a war crime’.
Berlin's repeat election
Half a million Berliners voted on Sunday in a partial re-run of the 2021 federal election, after the original result was declared invalid due to several mishaps by officials. Turnout was exceptionally low this time, and results were in line with nationwide trends, with slight gains for the CDU and far-right AfD, and small losses for the three parties that make up Germany’s governing coalition.
Sudan telecommunications blackout continues
Last week, the three main internet providers in Sudan went offline imposing a telecommunications blackout on the country. The paramilitary RSF took over the internet service providers in Khartoum but denied responsibility for the blackout. Cutting telecommunication and the internet deprives civilians of essential networks, as many rely on banking to make payments for basic needs like food. 10 months into the conflict in Sudan, over 8 million people have been displaced and up to 18 million are at risk of severe hunger, while the humanitarian response remains seriously underfunded.
Senegal postpones elections
Protesters took to the streets in Senegal, a country with a long history of democratic stability, after President Macky Sall postponed the presidential elections scheduled for 25 February. One student was killed in violent protests in Saint-Louis and the police arrested at least 150 people. President Sall claims eligibility and transparency issues with some candidates as the reason for the delay. The elections are due to be held in December, leaving Sall in power until then.
Results are inconclusive so far from the general election in Pakistan. Independent candidates backed by jailed ex-PM Imran Khan won the most seats. But, amid strong opposition from the country’s military, and nationwide protests over vote-rigging allegations, there are still questions about who will run the country. The run-up to Thursday’s election was marred by internet blackouts and intense political violence, often targetting electoral candidates. Many fear that the ongoing protests could trigger intervention from Pakistan’s powerful military.
Violent protests erupted across Haiti demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry and an end to gang violence. Police fired live ammunition and tear gas at protestors, killing 5 people. Henry has been the de facto ruler of the country since the assassination of President Jovnel Moïse in 2021. Presidential elections were supposed to be held last week but Henry claims they had to be rescheduled until the country’s security situation improves. Over 200,000 people have been displaced by ongoing gang violence in Haiti.
Reprezent Radio crowdfunder
London’s Reprezent Radio has launched a crowdfunding campaign to save the station, which is at risk of closure due to a shortage of funding. The youth-led community radio station has provided training and a platform to new radio hosts and artists for over 20 years and is currently in the process of registering as a charity in the UK. Find out more and donate here.