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U.S. Military Installs Temporary Pier in Gaza for Aid

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The U.S. military anchored a temporary pier on Gaza’s coast on Thursday, creating a point of entry for humanitarian aid for the enclave, where the flow of supplies through land borders has largely come to a halt since Israel began its incursion into Rafah last week.

The aid will be loaded onto trucks that will begin moving ashore “in the coming days,” the U.S. Central Command said in a statement Thursday morning. U.S. officials had said last week that the floating pier and causeway had been completed, but that weather conditions had delayed their installation.

Israel has long opposed a seaport for Gaza, saying it would pose a security threat. As the humanitarian crisis in the territory has spiraled in recent months, with severe shortages of food, medicine and other basic needs, the U.S. military in March announced a plan to build a temporary pier to enable aid shipments via the Mediterranean Sea.

An American ship loaded with humanitarian aid, the Sagamore, set off for Gaza from Cyprus last week, and the aid was loaded onto a smaller vessel that had been waiting for the pier to be installed. The United Nations will receive the aid and oversee its distribution in Gaza, according to Central Command, which said no U.S. troops would set foot in the territory.

Over the next two days, the U.S. military and humanitarian groups will aim to load three to five trucks from the pier and send them into Gaza as a test of the process laid out by the Pentagon, said General Charles Q. Brown, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“It’ll probably take another 24 hours to make sure everything is set up,” he told reporters on Thursday aboard a flight to Brussels, where he was attending a NATO meeting. “We have our force protection that’s been put in place, we have contract truck drivers on the other side, and there’s fuel for those truck drivers as well.”

The Pentagon hopes the pier operation will bring in enough aid for around 90 trucks a day, a number that will increase to 150 trucks when the system reaches full operating capacity, officials say.

In a briefing on Thursday, an Israeli military spokesman, Lt. Col. Nadav Shoshani, said supporting the temporary pier project was a “top priority.” He said the Israeli Navy and the 99th Division were supporting the effort by sea and by land, respectively.

Aid groups say the devastation in Gaza after seven months of Israeli bombardment, strict Israeli inspections and restrictions on crossing points are limiting the amount of aid that can enter Gaza. Israel has maintained that the restrictions are necessary to ensure that neither weapons nor supplies fall into the hands of Hamas.

The United Nations’ World Food Program said on Wednesday that it had not received any aid through the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel in southern Gaza since May 6, as Israeli troops began a military operation in the area near the city of Rafah. The agency said in a statement that access to its warehouse in Rafah had been cut off because of the fighting, and that its stock of food and fuel would run out “in a matter of days.”

“The threat of famine in Gaza never loomed larger,” the agency said, adding that Israel’s operations in Rafah had significantly set back efforts to alleviate the humanitarian crisis for the enclave’s 2.2 million people.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Dan Dieckhaus, a director for the U.S. Agency for International Development, stressed that the maritime aid corridor was meant to supplement deliveries through land crossings, not replace them.

The Pentagon has said that the pier could help deliver as many as two million meals a day.

An aid group, World Central Kitchen, built a makeshift jetty in mid-March to deliver aid by sea to Gaza for the first time in nearly two decades. But those efforts came to an abrupt stop in early April after seven of the group’s workers were killed in an Israeli strike.

Rawan Sheikh Ahmad and Helene Cooper contributed reporting.





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Plan to shoot Catalina deer from helicopters is scrapped

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Santa Catalina Island’s evasive mule deer dodged a bullet — or several — on Wednesday.

At a special meeting of the Los Angeles County Fish and Wildlife Commission, the Catalina Island Conservancy, which controls 88% of the island, announced it was scrapping plans to eradicate the nonnative species by shooting them from helicopters with high-powered rifles.

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, whose district includes the island, confirmed in a statement that the conservancy has “taken the aerial shooting proposal off the table.”

“I appreciate the Conservancy for listening to the serious concerns people had about this plan, especially from people living on the island,” Hahn said in a statement. “I heard from residents who were terrified at the thought of bullets raining down from helicopters over their beloved island and others who couldn’t stand the thought of the deer carcasses that would be left in their wake.”

Lauren Dennhardt, the conservancy’s senior director of conservation, did not respond to a request for comment. The group previously indicated that it would be open to considering other options for the best way to rid the island of the nonnative deer.

In her statement, Hahn said Dennhardt told the meeting that the conservancy was revising its plan “to prioritize other methodologies” in light of the concerns raised by Hahn and island residents.

Mule deer were introduced to the island in the 1930s as a game species for hunting, according to the conservancy.

Protesters hold picket signs on Catalina Island.

Protesters with the Coalition Against the Slaughter of Catalina Deer hold signs as island visitors arrive on the Catalina Express boat on Oct. 30, 2023.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

Their population can range from 500 to 1,800, according to the conservancy. The group claims the invasive deer have destroyed natural habitat — including vegetation found only on the island — and exacerbated the risk of soil erosion in overgrazed areas.

As the conservancy continues to plot how to hasten their demise, the deer are starving and dying of thirst.

Photos presented at Wednesday’s meeting included a young dead deer lying on a paved walkway. Another showed a male deer scavenging through an Avalon resident’s trash can.

“The island and the deer are both fighting for survival, and neither one is winning,” Whitney Latorre, the conservancy’s chief executive, said in an interview in the fall. “Unless we address the deer issue, the island will become more and more vulnerable to the devastating consequences brought on by rising temperatures and drought.”

Hahn drafted a letter that the supervisors unanimously approved on April 23 opposing the proposal to hunt the deer from helicopters, calling it “inhumane and drastic.”

She said her letter was prompted by “an intense public outcry” that sprung up after the aerial sharpshooting proposal became public last year.

The conservancy’s original plan was to hire sharpshooters from the Connecticut-based nonprofit White Buffalo Inc. The group would use AR-15-style rifles with lead-free bullets, to avoid poisoning natural scavengers.

Some carcasses would remain where they fell, and those closer to Avalon and roadsides would be removed.

Ultimately, California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife will decide whether to allow whatever plan the conservancy files to remove the deer. The agency hadn’t made a ruling on the helicopter proposal because it had been waiting for additional paperwork from the conservancy, a Fish and Wildlife spokesperson said.

 A mule deer doe licks its fawn on Catalina Island.

A mule deer doe licks its fawn on Catalina Island in 2023.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

It’s unclear what will happen next.

Hahn is asking that the conservancy reconsider alternative proposals previously dismissed, although she didn’t endorse any specific course of action, a spokesperson said.

The conservancy had considered fencing, recreational hunting, the introduction of natural predators, relocation, sterilization and chemical contraceptives before settling on aerial sharpshooting, which it said was an efficient way to quickly eliminate a large number of animals.

The main drawbacks included the loud sounds of gunfire, which could distress wildlife and residents.

In comparison, fencing was described as costly and challenging, given the island’s topography, while recreational hunting was generally ineffective, the conservancy said. Between 200 and 300 hunters visit the island annually, according to the conservancy.

Overall, there are about 4,200 residents and 1 million visitors to Catalina, which spans about 48,000 acres.

Opposition to aerial hunting has been intense. The advocacy group Coalition to Save Catalina Island Deer has collected more than 18,000 signatures since Sept. 23 on a petition opposing the concept.

Bernd Blossey, a natural resources and environment professor at Cornell University, said in an interview in April that aerial shooting was a standard form of extermination.

Blossey, who chairs the university’s deer management program, pointed to aerial shooting efforts used to eradicate feral goats on the Galapagos Islands and in New Zealand earlier this century.

Blossey also believes that calls to relocate the animals — as some conservationists want — may be more harmful than helpful.

“The capture is traumatic, the transport is traumatic and the success rates of doing both are poor,” he said. “Then they’re moved to areas that they don’t know and it’s just not a good thing.”

The American Assn. of Wildlife Veterinarians endorsed the aerial shooting on Wednesday via a letter, while the American Bird Conservancy, the California Botanic Garden and several others backed permanently removing the nonnative deer.



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Virginia mom says white students told her Asian American son to sit at ‘segregated’ table

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An after-school game took a troubling turn last Tuesday at Lyles Crouch Traditional Academy in Alexandria.

Mom Kathryn Kelley says a group of white students allegedly told her fifth-grade son, who is half Asian, that he couldn’t sit with them.

“[They were] saying that mixed race kids had to sit at a table that was away from the white kids, and then African American and Black kids had to sit even further,” Kelley told News4. “They said that they were segregated and that they couldn’t play with the white kids.”

Kelley says some students also allegedly teased the students of color, based on race and class.

“It was of course very difficult, it was confusing. He was trying to understand what was going on while also trying to stand up for his friends and trying to interrupt the situation, but not really knowing what to do,” Kelley said.

News4 obtained a letter sent by the school’s principal to parents last Friday, acknowledging an “inappropriate game” that caused some students to feel uncomfortable, as part of a “role play of a social studies lesson.”

The letter said, “Students often want to discuss troubling topics from class in a variety of ways, some of which may cause offense. This is certainly a challenge in educating our students and one that we must be keenly aware of when difficult topics are presented.”

Kelley feels there are steps that should have been taken.

“When kids are learning these things, like about segregation, learning about the history of white supremacy in the U.S. — they have to learn that, they need to learn that, but it’s not a game, and they need to learn the seriousness of these things.”

In the letter to families, the school’s principal said she plans to work with her team to incorporate lessons into the curriculum on thinking before you speak and act. The principal also said the school community has a collective responsibility to make sure all students feel valued and respected.

“I think we do it by perhaps starting with what children know,” said Greg Carr, an Afro American studies professor at Howard University.

Carr said lessons on inclusion can be simple, such as asking kids how they feel when they see TV characters who look like them. He also says guest speakers can be helpful.

“So a lesson on segregation could incorporate elders who lived through that period,” Carr said. “You know the implications of it now, from an elder who can tell you how much it hurt to be segregated.”

It is not yet clear if any students involved in the game faced discipline. The principle, in her letter to parents, said she could not say.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com



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How to ‘File Fold’ Clothing the KonMari Way

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You can use whatever method you want to declutter your home, but they all require you to find a good way to organize the items you choose to keep when you’re done. KonMari, arguably the most famous decluttering and cleaning technique, even advises you on how to fold your clothes when you’re finished deciding which ones spark joy for you—but this tip from Marie Kondo is too often overlooked in favor of her structured approach to paring down how much you own. Don’t let Kondo down by only following half her advice.

What is file folding?

This technique is one of Kondo’s original, most long-standing tips and comes straight from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Sometimes called “file folding,” this involves folding your clothes in a way that allows you to stand them up vertically in your drawers. 

The way you fold each kind of clothing will be different and you can try a few approaches until you figure out how to get each one to look like a triangle or rectangle and stand straight up. Here’s how Kondo recommends doing it on a few kinds of clothing items:

Once you get everything folded so it’s vertical, you can stack it front to back in the drawer. You’ll know you’re doing it right if you can see every item. 

Why file folding works

There are a few different benefits to folding your clothes this way. First, storing them vertically and with chunkier folds reduces wrinkles, especially because there are no items on the bottom that are being weighed down by ones on the top. 

Second, this allows you to see all your clothes, so you have a better sense of what you’ve got. It’s easy to forget what you already own, buy duplicates, or waste space on things you never wear if you can’t see your stuff, but this prevents all of that. 

Finally, you can store more this way than you can just plopping everything on top of each other, especially if you make crisp, small folds. While the ability to store more doesn’t necessarily help you declutter or reduce how much you have, it at least makes the drawers more organized, which prevents clutter and the space getting overwhelming. 

Make this easier by picking up a few flat baskets, like this set of four for $15.99, to keep every type of clothing separate and maintain structure even when some items are removed. 





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