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2014 Israel–Gaza conflict

The 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict known as Operation Protective Edge and sometimes referred to as the 2014 Gaza war, was a military operation launched by Israel on 8 July 2014 in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas members, the IDF conducted Operation Brother's Keeper to arrest militant leaders, Hamas fired rockets into Israel and a seven-week conflict broke out; the Israeli airstrikes and ground bombardment, the Palestinian rocket attacks and the ground fighting resulted in the death of thousands of people, the vast majority of them Gazans. The stated aim of the Israeli operation was to stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, which increased after an Israeli crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank was launched following the 12 June kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by two Hamas members. Conversely, Hamas's goal was to bring international pressure to bear to lift Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, end Israel's offensive, obtain a third party to monitor and guarantee compliance with a ceasefire, release Palestinian prisoners and overcome its political isolation.

According to the BBC, in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, Israel launched air raids on Gaza. On 7 July, after seven Hamas militants died in a tunnel explosion in Khan Yunis, caused by an Israeli airstrike or an accidental explosion of their own munitions, Hamas assumed responsibility for rockets fired into Israel and launched 40 rockets towards Israel; the operation began the following day, on 17 July, the operation was expanded to an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza with the stated aim of destroying Gaza's tunnel system. On 26 August, an open-ended ceasefire was announced. By that date, the IDF reported that Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other militant groups had fired 4,564 rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, with over 735 intercepted in flight and shot down by Iron Dome. Most Gazan mortar and rocket fire hit open land. More than 280 fell on areas in Gaza, 224 struck residential areas. Militant rocketry killed 13 Gazan civilians, 11 of them children; the IDF attacked 5,263 targets in Gaza.

Between 2,125 and 2,310 Gazans were killed and between 10,626 and 10,895 were wounded. Gazan civilian casualty rates estimates range between 70% by the Gaza Health Ministry, 65% by United Nations Protection Cluster by OCHA, 36% by Israeli officials, The UN estimated that more than 7,000 homes for 10,000 families were razed, together with an additional 89,000 homes damaged, of which 10,000 were affected by the bombing. Rebuilding costs were calculated to run from 4–6 billion dollars, over 20 years.67 Israeli soldiers, 5 Israeli civilians and one Thai civilian were killed and 469 IDF soldiers and 261 Israeli civilians were injured. On the Israeli side, the economic impact of the operation is estimated at NIS 8.5 billion and GDP loss of 0.4%. In February 2005 Israel, the Palestinian National Authority and Islamic Jihad committed to a ceasefire, which according to some marks end to the Second Intifada; some place the end-date earlier in October 2004 Others signal the death of Yasser Arafat in November 2004 and the subsequent rise of Hamas as heralding the end of the major period conflict, the second intifada.

However Palestinian suicide bombings against Israelis continued following the February ceasefire. Schachter, addressing the range of end-date options, pointed to the progressive decrease in suicide bombings starting in 2004 and culminating in an indeterminate end period in 2005. On 17 March 2005 the 13 main Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad agreed to be bound by the February agreement, conditional on cessation of Israeli military operations. Concurrent to the Second Intifada, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon proposed the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2003, approved by the Israeli government in June 2004, the Knesset in February 2005; the unilateral withdrawal plan was executed in August 2005 and completed in September 2005. Nonetheless, the ICRC, the UN and various human rights organizations consider Israel still to be the de facto occupying power due to its control of Gaza's borders, air space and territorial waters; the following year Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian legislative elections.

This outcome surprised Israel and the United States who had anticipated the return of the Fatah opposition to power and, together with the Quartet, they demanded Hamas accept all previous agreements, recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence. When Hamas refused, they cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority. In mid-2006 an Israeli soldier was captured by Hamas in a cross-border raid; the United States and Israel, in response to Fatah moves in October 2006 to form a unity government with Hamas, tried to undo the elections by arming and training Fatah to overthrow Hamas in Gaza. In June 2007 Hamas took complete power of Gaza by force. Israel defined Gaza as a "hostile territory" forming no part of a sovereign state and put Gaza under a comprehensive economic and political blockade, which denied access to a third of its arable land and 85% of its fishing areas, it has led to humanitarian problems in Gaza. The overwhelming consensus of international institutions is that the blockade is a form of collective

Interstate 55 in Arkansas

Interstate 55 is a north–south Interstate Highway that has a 72.22-mile section in the U. S. state of Arkansas connecting sections in Tennessee and Missouri. The route enters Arkansas Bridge over the Mississippi River from Memphis, it travels northward through northeast Arkansas connecting the cities of West Memphis and Blytheville. I-55 continues into Missouri heading to Missouri; the highway overlaps Interstate 40 in West Memphis and has a junction with Interstate 555, a spur route to Jonesboro, in Turrell. For the majority of its routing through Arkansas, I-55 follows U. S. Route 61. I-55 enters Arkansas from Memphis, Tennessee on the Memphis & Arkansas Bridge over the Mississippi River, sharing the bridge with US 61/US 64/US 70/US 79. Shortly after entering the state the highway enters West Memphis, where US 70 exits the route and becomes Broadway Avenue. I-55/US 61/US 64/US 79 form a concurrency with Interstate 40 at exit 5, an overlap that lasts 3.1 miles. The highways split at I-40 exit 277, with I-40/US 63/US 79 continuing west to Little Rock and I-55/US 61/US 63/US 64 running north into Marion.

US 64 exits I-55/US 61/US 63 in Marion, continuing west as Old Military Road toward Wynne. Interstate 55 continues to run through farmlands of the Arkansas delta, paralleling Highway 77 until Turrell. In Turrell, I-55/US 61/US 63 meets the southern terminus of I-555, a spur route of I-55 connecting Jonesboro to the Interstate Highway system. I-555/US 63 run north to Jonesboro, while Highway 77 and US 61 become frontage roads for I-55. East of this junction these frontage roads depart I-55, with Highway 77 running near Birdsong and US 61 serving Wilson. I-55 runs northeast to enter Mississippi County, having junctions with Highway 118 to Joiner, Highway 181 to Bassett, Highway 14 near Marie, Highway 181 near Keiser. In Osceola, the route has a junction with Highway 140 near Osceola Municipal Airport. I-55 continues northeast, intersecting minor state highways in rural Mississippi County before a junction with US 61 in south Blytheville. Interstate 55 intersects Highway 18 in Blytheville before exiting town headed due north.

The route has a junction with Highway 150 just before crossing the Missouri state line. Media related to Interstate 55 in Arkansas at Wikimedia Commons

Sesqui 1990

Sesqui 1990 was a festival, staged in February 1990 in the city of Wellington, New Zealand. A spectacular commercial and administrative failure, the Sesqui event has subsequently become an icon of corporate mismanagement within New Zealand popular culture. Billed by promoters as'New Zealand's biggest event ever', the festival was staged in Wellington to mark the New Zealand sesquicentenary celebrations, the 150th anniversary of the 1840 signing of the Treaty of Waitangi; the event was a joint venture between the Wellington Show Association and the Wellington 1990 Trust, a well-funded regional organisation. The Wellington regional and city councils jointly underwrote this event by NZ$1.4 million. The Sesqui festival was planned to include a wide range of cultural and scientific exhibits as well as entertainment events and funfair amusements, it was scheduled to run for six weeks and anticipated to attract 30,000 visitors per day, despite the fact that the population of the entire Wellington region at that time was fewer than 400,000 people.

Several weeks before the festival was due to begin, the media reported that the Sesqui organisers had decided to stage their opening celebration with the opening celebrations of the 1990 New Zealand International Festival of the Arts. Neither the Sesqui organisers nor the Arts Festival organisers were prepared to alter their plans. NZ$150,000 worth of fireworks launched Day 1 of Sesqui 1990; the festival organisers had made a decision to split the event between two venues, one at the Wellington Waterfront and the other at the Wellington Show and Sports Centre in Newtown. Despite the arrangement of a shuttle bus service between these two venues, this decision had the effect of confusing and frustrating potential visitors to the festival, with the result that neither venue attracted visitor numbers beyond an average of 2,500 per day; the organisers had adopted a policy against advertising the daily schedules for musical and other performances taking place at either venue. This policy was based on the assumption that it would encourage visitors to prolong their stay and to make numerous return visits so as not to miss seeing favourite performers.

As a result, a number of popular musicians and other entertainers played to empty houses because the public did not know when or where they were performing. Within days of the opening of the festival, media reports began to suggest. During a heated radio interview, Wellington City Councillor Ruth Gotlieb maintained that it was "every Wellingtonian's civic duty to attend Sesqui." The highest attendance figure was achieved during the final days of the event, when 32,000 visitors took advantage of a decision to waive all entry fees, which were regarded as being excessive. Although planned to run for six weeks, Sesqui 1990 closed after only two weeks with debts in excess of NZ$6.4 million. The collapse of the Sesqui 1990 festival forced a number of small companies, contracted to supply various goods and services to the event into receivership and/or bankruptcy; the Wellington Show Association was liquidated in 1999. Two iconic billboards promoting Sesqui 1990 remained standing for a number of months after the event's premature closure because the organisers could not afford to have them removed.

One of these, featuring an image of gleeful Sesqui visitors, was defaced with graffiti reading "And I laughed and laughed and laughed". The other billboard, a plywood cut-out representing Sesqui mascot "Pesky Sesky" – a sort of anthropomorphic opossum, or sasquatch – had been erected on a rooftop to welcome visitors to the Show and Sports Centre venue, disappeared during a wind storm. Other sesquicentenary events fared better, including the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame, which went on to have a life of its own. Defaced banners advertising the failed Sesqui Carnival - Photographs taken by John Nicholson