Israeli forces geared up on Friday for a ground assault on Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of people displaced by violence further north are trapped in desperate conditions. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the military had been told to come up with a plan to evacuate civilians, but aid agencies warned that a military offensive in such a densely populated area could end up killing large numbers of innocent people. “There is a sense of growing anxiety, growing panic in Rafah because basically people have no idea where to go," said Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA. U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday Israel's response to the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants was "over the top" and Washington said it would not support any military operation mounted in Rafah without due consideration for civilians - Reuters

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Medical professionals have stepped up calls for President Biden to take a mental competency test after Thursday’s blistering report from special counsel Robert Hur revealed the 81-year-old can’t remember basic facts about his own life and career. The Hur report, released Thursday, assessed Biden as too senile to be prosecuted over his wrongful retention of classified documents and noted the commander-in-chief “did not remember when he was vice president” and “did not remember, even within several years, when his son Beau died” over two days of interviews in October. Something isn’t right, and even if it’s minor, it must be explained to the public,” Dr. Stuart Fischer, a primary care physician at a nursing home in the Bronx, told The Post. “The horse is out of the barn. Not only does [Biden] have an infirmity of some degree, but he has delayed producing objective evidence,” the internal medicine expert added, arguing that “no one is buying” the president’s defenses about his memory. Despite being the oldest president in US history, Biden has refused to take mental acuity tests despite repeated calls to do so from his critics — as well as consistent polling showing a majority of Americans share those concerns - NY Post

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Syrsky Admits ‘Miscalculations’ by Commanders in Avdiivka Sector
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Syrsky Admits ‘Miscalculations’ by Commanders in Avdiivka Sector

The Ukrainian Armed Forces chief assured that corrective measures have been taken on the ground, including allocating additional ammunition resources and necessary reserves.

Ukraine faces a critical gap in western artillery ammunition needed to withstand Russian attacks, officials have warned, as US assistance runs out and Europe fails to hit its own targets for increased arms production. Kyiv has already been struggling to hold back Russia’s troops along a 1,500km active frontline, with Ukrainian forces rationing stockpiles and firing only about a third of the number of rounds they need each day to maintain their position. Further aggravating their situation is the failure in Washington to pass $60bn in military and financial aid, which means most American shipments are at an effective pause, while a promised European ramp-up of production has not been fast enough, according to US and European officials. The congressional delay risked creating an “air bubble” or “gap in the hose” of supplies to Kyiv, said a senior US military official - FT

In his first remarks since being appointed head of Ukraine's armed forces, Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky, said the country must change and improve its methods of warfare if it is to thwart Russia's full-scale invasion. Syrsky, who on Feb. 8 was named by President Volodymyr Zelensky to take charge of the armed forces from Valeriy Zaluzhny, said in a post on Telegram that "clear and detailed planning of the actions of all military administration bodies" was needed while also addressing the need for modern weapons from Ukraine's Western partners. “Only changes and constant improvement of the means and methods of warfare will make it possible to achieve success on this path," he wrote in the post on February 9, adding that new technical solutions, including drone systems and adding means of radio-electronic warfare are needed - RFE/RL

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At least seven people have been killed in an overnight Russian drone attack on Ukraine's north-eastern city of Kharkiv, the regional head says. Oleh Syniehubov says a baby and two children - aged four and seven - were among the victims. One man was reported injured in Ukraine's southern city of Odesa in a separate Russian drone attack - BBC

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees has said he followed “reverse due process” in sacking nine staff members accused by Israel of being involved in Hamas’s 7 October attacks. Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA’s commissioner general, said he did not probe Israel’s claims against the employees before dismissing them and launching an investigation. At a press conference in Jerusalem, Lazzarini was asked if he had looked into whether there was any evidence against the employees and he replied: “No, the investigation is going on now.” He described the decision as “reverse due process”, adding: “I could have suspended them, but I have fired them. And now I have an investigation, and if the investigation tells us that this was wrong, in that case at the UN we will take a decision on how to properly compensate [them].” - The Guardian

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This review is reprinted with the author’s permission from his World Briefing blog. See the original here.

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Comments ( 1)

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Imokru2
This comment contains spoilers. Click here if you want to read.

Ukraine is a European country that is under military attack by Russia. It is the security obligation of other European countries to step up and provide all that is required for Ukraine to throw back the invaders.
It is not the responsibility of far off Canada and the USA to step up to the same degree.

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