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Globetrotter Submission: Global News Dispatches: 4 Stories

By Global News Service

Credit Line: from the Peoples Dispatch / Globetrotter News Service


  • Colombian Government and ELN Reach Historic Ceasefire Agreement
  • Ultra-Processed Food Dominates Child Nutrition in the UK
  • Palestinians Warn Against Israeli Proposal to Divide Al-Aqsa Compound
  • U.S. Bid to Convince Allies to Normalize Ties With Israel Is Floundering

Colombian Government and ELN Reach Historic Ceasefire Agreement

On June 9, the Colombian government and the leftist guerrilla group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), signed a historic agreement for a six-month bilateral ceasefire. The parties also reached an agreement on the participation of civil society in developing peace negotiations, as well as in verification and monitoring mechanisms.

The agreements on the long-awaited truce and the participation of society in the process were reached during the third round of peace talks, which began on May 2 and concluded on June 9 in Havana, Cuba.

President Gustavo Petro, who traveled to Cuba to attend the closing ceremony of the third round of talks, celebrated the agreement on the ceasefire.

The ceasefire will be applicable nationwide and will be implemented on August 3. Between June 9 and July 5, both the ELN and the government will prepare and discuss internally how the ceasefire will be implemented and how they will reach those in remote areas to spread the message about the new agreement. Both parties will give orders of cessation of offensive operations on July 6, and finally, on August 3, the ceasefire will be fully implemented.

During the six months of ceasefire, the Colombian Armed Forces and the ELN guerrillas will stop all kinds of offensive operations against each other. Additionally, the rebel group will halt any hostilities against the civilian population.

With regard to the participation of civil society, a National Participation Committee will be created that will begin functioning on July 25. It will include representatives from 30 sectors of society, who will contribute to the transformation of the country and the achievement of peace.


Ultra-Processed Food Dominates Child Nutrition in the UK

A new report from First Steps Nutrition Trust indicates that an overwhelming number of children in the United Kingdom rely on a diet of ultra-processed foods. According to the report, 61 percent of the total average energy intake among children aged two to five originates from ultra-processed foods, which have long been associated with an increased risk of developing obesity and other non-communicable diseases.

The report comes at a time when the UK is facing a cost of living crisis that is affecting the price of food in particular. Recent data has revealed that families with children, especially those with children under the age of four, are particularly affected by the cost of living crisis and experience a higher prevalence of food insecurity. Due to soaring food prices, many families rely on ready-made meals, which are often ultra-processed, in order to reduce expenses.

By utilizing marketing techniques such as featuring cartoon characters on packaging, the industry presents its products as desirable to children, despite lacking the nutritional benefits of less processed foods. The First Steps Nutrition Trust report also highlights that marketing practices can convince families that pre-packaged food is superior to meals prepared from fresh ingredients.

72 percent of children between the ages of seven and nine months consume a commercial meal as one of their main daily meals. The majority of infants in the UK are deprived of the advantages of healthier eating habits, including exposure to various food textures and the consumption of unprocessed foods.


Palestinians Warn Against Israeli Proposal to Divide Al-Aqsa Compound

On June 12, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh warned the Israeli occupation against submitting any proposal to divide the Al-Aqsa mosque compound on a religious basis, saying that any such move will lead to “overwhelming anger with unpredictable results” given its religious sanctity for Palestinians, other Arabs, and Muslims in general.

The proposed division of Al-Aqsa would be a serious violation of the 1967 “status quo” agreement, according to which Jordanians are the custodian of the mosque and only Muslims are allowed to pray inside. It will also be a violation of the international law of occupation, under which an occupying power is not allowed to make any fundamental changes in the occupied territories.

As per the proposed legislation, Palestinians will get access to around 30 percent of the present compound, with the rest going to the settlers, including the area where the Dome of the Rock is located. It will also allow the settlers to use all the gates of the compound instead of the present mechanism where they are only allowed to enter the mosque compound through the Maghariba (Moroccan) gate.

Shtayyeh’s remarks came after the Islamic Supreme Council and Council of Scholars and Preachers in the occupied territories issued a statementon Sunday calling the Israeli proposal to divide the Al-Aqsa mosque dangerous.

The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Territories, Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, warned that the move will lead to a “worldwide religious war.” 


U.S. Bid to Convince Allies to Normalize Ties With Israel Is Floundering

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken concluded his three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 8, seen as a desperate attempt by the Biden administration to hold on to its “closest ally” in the region.

Before Blinken started his tour, he had stated that the normalization of Saudi-Israel relations was one of the top priorities of his government. However, reports indicate that Blinken not only failed to get any assurance from the Saudis on that front but had to concede some crucial ground on significant regional issues.

Hours before he traveled to Saudi Arabia, Blinken addressed a meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a pro-Israel lobbying group in the U.S., claiming that the Biden administration “has a real national security interest in promoting normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia.” He also noted that there are no real prospects of a two-state solution in the near future and that his government will not push for it.

On June 8, before leaving Saudi Arabia, Blinken addressed a press conference jointly with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh, where he reiterated his government’s resolve to work for Israel-Saudi normalization. However, Blinken was contradicted by Faisal bin Farhan who pointed out that “normalization of ties with Israel will have limited benefit without a pathway to peace for the Palestinians.”

Blinken ended up committing to work for the resolution of the conflict in Palestine and the creation of a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders in a joint statement issued a day after his meeting with the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers.

The statement indicated that the U.S. may have conceded crucial geopolitical ground on other issues as well. For example, while it raised the issue of “freedom of navigation and maritime security in the region,” hinting at alleged Iranian threats, it welcomed the restoration of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia in a reversal of the U.S.’s earlier cautious tone.

The U.S. seems to have toned down its objections to Arab countries’ normalizing their relations with Syria. The joint statement expressed support for the Arab countries’ “efforts to resolve the [Syrian] crisis in a step-for-step manner.”


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