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Data used for Gaza famine claims changing as expert cautions 'no one seems to be trying to explain why'

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Data used for Gaza famine claims changing as expert cautions 'no one seems to be trying to explain why'

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Dire warnings from the United Nations, the U.S. EU and aid organizations of mass starvation and famine among civilians in northern Gaza seem to be overstated, according to some experts.

“Leaders said that thousands of children were going to die, and it didn’t materialize, and no one seems to be trying to explain why,” David Adesnik, senior fellow and director of research for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies told Fox News Digital. Adesnik has been tracking recent increases in food availability in northern Gaza that have gone without comment from researchers and the media.

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The first warning of famine came on March 18 in a report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee (FRC), which stated famine was “projected and imminent” in northern Gaza and the Gazan governorates. Without “an immediate political decision for a ceasefire together with a significant and immediate increase in humanitarian and commercial access to the entire population of Gaza,” the FRC stated that there would be a markedly increased “impact on mortality and the lives of Palestinians.”

A day following the report, Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoed the report, noting during a press conference in the Philippines that “according to the most respected measure of these things, 100% of the population in Gaza is at severe levels of acute food insecurity. That’s the first time an entire population has been so classified.”

CIGARETTE SMUGGLING HAS CRIPPLED AID DELIVERY IN GAZA AS SMOKES GO FOR $25 APIECE

Palestinians shop for food and clothes at a bazaar in Jabalia, northern Gaza, on Jan. 15, 2024. (Mahmoud Shalha/Anadolu via Getty Images)

By May 31, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), reported that it was “possible, if not likely, that all three IPC thresholds for Famine…were met or surpassed in northern Gaza in April.”

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On June 4, the FRC released a different prognosis, contradicting the FEWS NET’s results and stating they were not “plausible.” Among the reasons cited for disagreement was their finding that “while FEWS NET estimated the caloric availability in the area as covering only 59%- 63% of the needs…in April, the review done by the FRC estimates that this range would be 75% to 109% if commercial and/or privately contracted food deliveries were included,” and “157% if a higher estimate was used.”

Fox News Digital reached out to both the IPC and FEWS NET about the differences between their most recent reports. The IPC said that FRC analysts were unable to respond as they were at work on a forthcoming report, due for release on June 25, about conditions throughout Gaza.

Jabalia, Gaza.

A Palestinian woman works in a makeshift kitchen in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on June 20, 2024. (OMAR AL-QATTAA/AFP via Getty Images)

FEWS NET pointed out that where FRC suggested there was not enough evidence to determine barriers to accessing aid, FEWS NET “observed significant challenges in both physical and financial access.”

“Analysis of acute food insecurity does not (and should not) only consider available supply, but access to and utilization of available food,” FEWS NET explained.

FEWS NET also stated that “when combining FEWS NET’s estimate of kilocalories available from food assistance with FEWS NET’s estimate of kilocalories available from subsidized bread from [World Food Programme (WFP)]-supported bakeries and [Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories]-facilitated commercial/private sector food commodities, the differences between FEWS NET and the FRC’s estimates are not significant. FEWS NET estimates that these three sources combined offer a total supply of nearly 150% of caloric needs in the month of April.”

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GROWING CONTROVERSY OVER BIDEN’S GAZA PIER FUELS CONCERNS OVER COST, SECURITY

Eggs are shown at a street market in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2024.

Eggs are shown at a street market in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2024. (Majdi Fathi/TPS-IL)

Adesnik, however, pointed out that FEWS NET’s original assessment did not include calories obtained through World Food Program (WFP) bread or commercial and private sector foods, noting that the FRC found that “FEWS NET simply ignored 940 tons of sugar, flour, salt and yeast that the World Food Program delivered to north Gaza bakeries. The tone of the FRC review is always respectful, yet it exposes the extent to which FEWS NET made indefensible assumptions that all serve to underestimate Israel’s efforts to help more food reach the people of northern Gaza.” 

While Adesnik said that without question “hunger persists in northern Gaza and there is a deep need for humanitarian assistance,” he also said that the “stark differences” between FEWS NET and FRC’s assessments “underscore the subjectivity inherent in famine assessments, along with the potential for politicization.”

As an example, Adesnik noted that a lack of humanitarian aid reaching Gazans was “an integral part of the charges” that the International Criminal Court leveled against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant on May 20 when they issued arrest warrants for the men. The ICC believes Netanyahu and Gallant “bear criminal responsibility” for war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Among the allegations the men face is that they “plan[ned] to use starvation as a method of war.” 

Cindy McCain

U.N. World Food Programme Executive Director Cindy McCain (United Nations via Reuters Connect/File)

Adesnik said that “regardless of whether the situation in Gaza improved because the famine declaration was premature or because Israel facilitated dramatically more shipments of food in March and April, this just shows how laughable the ICC’s charges are.”

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Fox News Digital reached out to the ICC to ask whether they would change their assessment that Israeli officials intentionally starved Gazans based on FRC findings about food availability in April, prior to charges being filed. The ICC responded by directing Fox News Digital to its statement announcing war crimes charges against Israeli and Hamas leaders.

STUDY SAYS FOOD AID MEETS QUALITY, QUANTITY FOR GAZANS AS UN, ICC SAY ISRAEL STARVING CIVILIANS

IDF forces in Rafah

IDF forces are seen operating in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. (IDF Spokesman’s Office)

Other institutions likewise seem reticent to acknowledge that the dire threats said to be “imminent” in March have not come to pass.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations and the WFP’s Hunger Hotspots outlook on food insecurity from June to October notes that “in Palestine, over 1 million people – half of the population of the Gaza Strip – is expected to face death and starvation (IPC Phase 5) by mid-July.” 

In response to Fox News Digital’s questions about whether the FAO planned to amend its report based on the FRC’s latest information on food availability in Gaza, the FAO news team stated that the organization would wait until the FRC released its updated report to revise its assessment.   

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UN aid workers in Gaza

Humanitarian aid trucks from the U.N. and World Health Organization wait to enter the central Gaza Strip on Apr 25, 2024. (Majdi Fathi/TPS)

A State Department spokesperson responded to Fox News’ requests for comment about the disparities between FEWS NET and FRC reporting by expressing concern about the “more than 2 million people and the most rapid onset of the levels of food insecurity that we’ve ever seen.” Noting that neither FRC nor FEWS NET confirmed that a famine was ongoing, the spokesperson said that “Gaza remains in a dire food security crisis with unacceptable rates of child malnutrition and elevated levels of associated sickness and deaths. And the whole point of measurements and early warning is to spur action now and not wait until it’s too late, and we’ve definitively reached a specific threshold.” 

The increased aid entering Gaza has been affected in recent weeks by cigarette smuggling that “now threatens United Nations aid convoys.” Attacks on convoys thought to hold coveted cigarettes have led the U.N. to stop picking up aid, according to Israel’s TPS news agency.

Citing the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the TPS reported that 285 aid trucks were transferred to the Gaza Strip from the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings. Of these, “only 88 aid trucks were collected by U.N. aid agencies and the private sector.” According to COGAT, “over 1,000 trucks” and “hundreds of aid pallets” await collection and distribution.

“The U.N. needs to scale up,” COGAT posted online on June 20, sharing an aerial video of unclaimed aid in the JLOTS collection and distribution compound.

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People buy food at a market in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2024.

People buy food at a market in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip, on June 21, 2024. (Majdi Fathi/TPS-IL)

The WFP’s country director for the Palestinians, Matthew Hollingworth, recently stated in an interview with CNN that “in terms of our operations, we have been able to bring more food into the north over the past few weeks, which has improved access to basic food commodities for people there, but we need to diversify the assistance given. It’s not enough to have basic food commodities. There needs to be basic health care, there needs to be water and sanitation, otherwise, we won’t turn the curve on famine.”

The WFP spokesperson did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment about whether Hollingworth believed famine to be impending in Gaza.

As various entities continue to indicate that Israel’s efforts to aid the civilian population have fallen short, FRC’s assessment is in line with a study by academics and public health officials in Israel who found that aid entering the Gaza Strip could provide for the population of 2.4 million and meet its nutritional needs.

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World

How Fast Is That Going?

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How Fast Is That Going?

You won bronze!

Lindon Victor, an Olympic decathlete from Grenada, threw this at [46] In competition, the discus can reach over [50]

Flying Objects at the Games

From the fast-flying badminton birdie to the slower and heavier shot-put, we’ve shown you a wide range of speeds that will play a critical role in who wins a medal. Is the object fast enough to go great distances? Is it fast enough to befuddle an opponent? Will the speed keep an arrow true?

The birdie and the shot-put could not be more different. The birdie is about the fastest projectile you’ll see at these Olympics, and it’s as light as a feather — literally. It’s made of 16 goose feathers and weighs less than two-tenths of an ounce (about five grams).

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Compare that with the men’s shot, one of the heaviest and slowest objects at the Summer Games. It weighs a whopping 16 pounds (7.26 kilograms) — the maximum weight of a bowling ball. To win an Olympic medal, an athlete will need to put it more than three-quarters of a basketball court.

When you’re watching the Games, keep in mind just how much an object’s speed can determine the outcome. Follow The New York Times Olympic coverage.

Methodology: The speeds of the objects were collected using a sports radar gun. Speeds were tracked throughout the flight and the peak speeds were used for this game.

Sources: U.S.A. Archery; Lancaster Archery Academy; Seng Ming Tan, Long Island Badminton Center; Chris Huffins, Olympics bronze medalist in decathlon and current decathlon coach; Marissa Chew, ​​assistant coach, combined events/vertical jumps, Texas Christian University; Yu Shao, New York Indoor Sports Club; U.S.A. Volleyball; Guinness World Records

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Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer faces his first House of Commons grilling from lawmakers

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Britain’s new Prime Minister Keir Starmer faces his first House of Commons grilling from lawmakers

Newly elected British leader Keir Starmer faced a House of Commons milestone on Wednesday, fielding lawmakers’ queries at the boisterous weekly Prime Minister’s Questions session.

It was the first such session since Starmer’s Labour Party won a landslide election victory on July 4, returning to power after 14 years. The center-left party won 412 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

KEIR STARMER ELECTED NEW UK PRIME MINISTER AFTER BIG LABOUR PARTY WIN

Starmer is more accustomed to asking the questions after spending four years as leader of the opposition to a Conservative government. Former Prime Minister Rishi Sunak now fills that role as leader of the defeated Conservative Party.

Starmer was greeted with a loud cheer by Labour lawmakers packed onto the green benches in the Commons. The often rambunctious spectacle of PMQs struck an unusually cordial note, as Sunak and Starmer stressed their mutual commitment to supporting Ukraine in its defense against Russia’s invasion.

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Britain’s Prime Minister Keir Starmer leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers Questions session in parliament in London, Wednesday, July 24, 2024.  (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

The prime minister told the opposition leader he “wholeheartedly agree” on the need to arm Ukraine and set it on the path to NATO membership — words not often heard between them.

The two politicians also sent best wishes to British athletes at the Paris Olympics, although, Sunak added, “I’m probably not the first person they want to hear advice from on how to win.”

Labour won a landslide election victory over the Conservatives on July 4 on a promise to get the U.K.’s sluggish economy growing, unleash a wave of housebuilding and green energy projects and patch the country’s frayed public services.

Labour’s large majority means Starmer should easily be able to pass legislation. But he has already had to quell a rebellion, suspending seven Labour lawmakers for voting against the party over social welfare.

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The government is under pressure from anti-poverty groups and many Labour lawmakers to scrap a policy introduced by the Conservatives that limits a widely paid welfare benefit and tax credit to a family’s first two children. The new government says it can’t afford to immediately abolish the two-child cap.

On Tuesday night, seven Labour lawmakers on the left of the party sided with an opposition call to scrap the limit. The party said the seven, who include former deputy leader John McDonnell, had been suspended from Labour’s parliamentary caucus for at least six months. They will remain lawmakers, but will sit as independents.

Zarah Sultana, one of the suspended legislators, said she had “slept well knowing that I took a stand against child poverty that is affecting 4.3 million people in this country.”

“It is the right thing to do and I am glad I did it,” she told broadcaster ITV.

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Canadian women’s football staff sent home from Olympics over drone incident

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Canadian women’s football staff sent home from Olympics over drone incident

Canada head coach Bev Priestman apologies to New Zealand, says spying scandal does not represent team’s ‘values’.

Canadian women’s football coach Bev Priestman has removed herself from opening match duties at the Paris Olympics while an assistant coach and a team analyst were kicked out of the Games after a spying scandal engulfed the tournament.

The sport’s governing body FIFA said on Wednesday that it had begun disciplinary proceedings after New Zealand’s women’s team said a training session this week had been disrupted by a drone flown by a Canadian team staff member.

Canada and New Zealand will face each other in the opening match of Group A on Thursday.

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) also said it had taken action to remove two staff members from the team’s Olympic squad, who were gold medallists at the Tokyo Games.

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“Joseph Lombardi, an unaccredited analyst with Canada Soccer, is being removed from the Canadian Olympic Team and will be sent home immediately,” COC said in a statement.

“Jasmine Mander, an assistant coach to whom Mr Lombardi reports to, is being removed from the Canadian Olympic Team and will be sent home immediately.”

Coach Bev Priestman says the incident ‘does not represent the values’ of Canada’s football team [File: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/Reuters]

Lombardi, 43, was also given a suspended eight-month prison sentence for flying the drone over the New Zealand training session on Monday in Saint-Etienne.

In a statement, Priestman – the Canadian team’s head coach – said she had decided to “voluntarily withdraw” from the match against New Zealand on Thursday.

“On behalf of our entire team, I first and foremost want to apologise to the players and staff at New Zealand Football and to the players on Team Canada. This does not represent the values that our team stands for,” Priestman said.

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The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) reported the incident to the police and to the International Olympic Committee’s integrity unit.

The NZOC said it and New Zealand Football “are committed to upholding the integrity and fairness of the Olympic Games”.

“At this time the NZOC’s main priority is to support the New Zealand women’s football athletes and wider team as they start their campaign,” it added.

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