Monday Sunrise Briefing: Gaza ceasefire? Not yet, says Israel.
Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, May 17, 2021, sunrise briefing.
Here are two news events - Israeli-Palestinian attacks continue and China's historic Mars landing - from this past weekend (while you may have been whale watching, baking a chess pie, and enjoying an offline life). Also, what to look for in the news this week.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled Sunday the fourth war with Hamas in Gaza would go on “full force” even as the U.N. Security Council convened an emergency meeting to demand a stop to civilian deaths.
Hamas, considered a terrorist group by the U.S. and Israel, is reportedly seeking a ceasefire. But after a week of what Israel called the highest concentration of rockets - more than 3,000 - from Hamas ever, Mr. Nethanyahu said Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on the militant group. The pattern, say observers, is familiar. In the past, Israel has leveraged its military advantage over Hamas until the global outcry over civilian deaths - and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza - pushes Israel to end its response.
On Saturday, after giving a one-hour warning, Israeli jets bombed the Gaza building housing the offices of the Associated Press, Al Jazeera, and other media outlets. Israel said Hamas was using journalists as human shields to protect “military intelligence assets.” Joel Simon of The Committee to Protect Journalists said Israel was attempting “to disrupt coverage of the human suffering in Gaza.”
2. First trip to the Red Planet. China joined the U.S. and Russia on Saturday in achieving a difficult space mission: landing on Mars. The European Space Agency has attempted two Mars landings, but both spacecraft crashed. China's Mars rover is expected to spend at least 90 days studying the planet and looking for signs of water ice. China’s first Mars landing comes on the heels of its launch last month of the main section of what will be a new permanent space station orbing Earth, and a mission that brought back rocks from the moon late last year.
TUESDAY, May 18
A better deal? France hosts an African Economies Summit aimed at creating what French President Emmanuel Macron has called a “new deal” for financing African countries.
Oscars of the Internet. The 25th Webby Awards honor the year's best websites, podcasts, online videos, and commercials. Acceptance speeches are limited to five words. Yes, there’s a statuette too.
Best of pop music? The annual Eurovision Song Contest showcases singers from 39 countries. This year's contest will be hosted by The Netherlands (home of the 2019 winner). Sweden's SVT channel will be streaming the event. The first semi-final is at 3 p.m. ET. Semi-final 2 is scheduled for Thursday, May 20, 3 p.m. ET, and the Grand Final is set for Saturday, May 22, 3 p.m. ET.
WEDNESDAY May 19
Arctic cooperation. The foreign ministers from eight nations bordering the Arctic (Russia, U.S., Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Norway) gather in Iceland to discuss global warming, shipping lanes, and mining rights as the ice thaws and competition heats up.
THURSDAY, MAY 20
Anti-democracy crackdown. Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai faces another trial, this time on charges of fraud. This past Friday, the government froze an estimated $64 million of his personal assets.
SATURDAY, May 22
Best of B-Ball. The long NBA playoff season begins with the top eight teams from each division competing for the Larry O'Brien Trophy. The finals won’t be played until July.
Mellissa Powell never intended to start a business. She saw a need and stepped up.
Thirteen years ago, she started a free “homework center” for neighborhood kids in her backyard in Waterhouse, Jamaica. "When I was growing up, I never had anyone around me to guide me in certain ways and ask me, ‘how was school’ and if I understood the day's lesson. I want every child to have that opportunity," the mother of three tells The Jamaica Star in Kingston.
She has no formal training as a teacher, but “challenges herself” by doing research online so that she can challenge the kids. About five years ago, her generosity evolved into an income. "I used to help out with the kids' homework and then one parent asked me if I woudn't do it for a small fee and then next thing I knew I had 28 children who I was teaching after school and on Saturday.”
To comply with COVID-19 guidelines, she only has nine children in her backyard classroom now. But her enthusiasm hasn’t waned: “This is one job that doesn't seem like a job to me."
The Respect Project
Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:
In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about Black moms fighting racism in Canadian schools.
Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:
- In Israel, Arabs and Jews alike recoil from mob violence
- Beijing embraces gig workers’ cause – but not their activists
- In US, pandemic’s end is in sight. Are Americans ready?
- Renewable energy in a rare ape’s habitat raises ethical dilemma
- Women’s pro soccer goes big-time in England. Why now?
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The Monday Sunrise Briefing editor is going on holiday. We'll see you again on June 7.