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Forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) are poised to capture the last remaining city outside of their control in eastern Libya, after weeks of heavy fighting, bombardment and airstrikes, and after years of siege.
Haftar’s army could wrench Derna from a coalition of local and Islamist fighters known as the Derna Protection Force, formerly known as the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council.
“What remains outside the control of our forces is considered a small combat zone, less than just 10 kilometers squared,” LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari told Reuters earlier this week. “The operations are in their final stages and the fighting is very heavy.”
Last month, Haftar’s forces renewed their offensive “to liberate Derna from terrorists.” Few experts, however, believe the city’s capture will be the end for jihadists in Libya.
“The fight against extremism is only going to be symbolically won by any LNA [Libyan national Army] takeover of Derna, or any other city for that matter,” said Darine El Hage, regional program officer at U.S. Institute of Peace’s Center for Middle East and Africa.
“Indeed, evidence has shown that grievances stemming from heavy-handed military and security measures might make people more susceptible to joining extremist groups,” she told VOA.
Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies based in Washington, said “if the LNA captures Derna and expels jihadists from the city, they will not be finished in Libya.”
“Jihadists already have a presence in the south of the country, among other areas,” he added.
‘Escalating humanitarian crisis’
This week, both the United Nations and the human rights group Amnesty International sounded the alarm over the escalating humanitarian crisis in Derna.
“From the people we have spoken to inside Derna, they have explained that the situation is quite dire,” said Marwa Mohammed, Libya researcher with Amnesty International, in an interview with VOA.
“They’ve had very, very limited supplies that had gotten in, and that includes foodstuffs, medical supplies, fuel, cooking gas,” she said.
Amnesty International had earlier in the week issued a statement on the fighting in Derna, in which the human rights watchdog said unnecessary hardships are being inflicted on ordinary men, women and children by the use of “blockade tactics.”
According to Mohammed, people are afraid to flee Derna “because we do know there are people who are being arbitrarily detained, based on their profile” of being male and from Derna. After that, she said they disappear.
“What we are calling for is the protection of civilians, giving them free access to flee without been profiled,” said Mohammed.
With the Libyan National Army getting set to declare victory in Derna, many observers are pondering whether Haftar is considering something other than his stated goal of freeing Derna from the clutches of terrorists.
“It is difficult to identify one single reason behind the timing of the battle,” said El Hage of USIP’s Center for Middle East and Africa.
“The underlying root causes that allow for radicalization in or outside of Derna, are not won by military victories, at least not for the long term,” she said.
Gartenstein-Ross of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, says the best-case scenario, from a humanitarian and strategic point of view, is for the fighting in Derna to end quickly. If it gets drawn out, he said jihadists will be able to regroup and build their networks.
“Libya will remain a permissive environment until a political entity emerges with the will and capability to deny jihadists the ability to operate,” he said.
An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets, using data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope's K2 mission. The findings, described in a paper published in the Astronomical Journal, showed a planetary system that comprises a star and at least two gas giant planets, each roughly the size of Saturn and located unusually close to one another.
The discovery is significant because it's rare to find gas giants -- like Saturn in the solar system -- as close to their host star as they were in this case. The researchers cannot yet explain why it occurred there, but it makes the finding especially useful because it could help scientists form a more accurate understanding of the parameters for how planets and planetary systems develop.
An international team of astronomers has identified 366 new exoplanets, using data from the NASA Kepler Space Telescope's K2 mission. | NASA
"The discovery of each new world provides a unique glimpse into the physics that play a role in planet formation," said lead author Jon Zink, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar. The findings could be a significant step toward helping astronomers understand which types of stars are most likely to have planets orbiting them and what that indicates about the building blocks needed for successful planet formation, acoording to the study. "We need to look at a wide range of stars, not just ones like our sun, to understand that," Zink said.
The term "exoplanets" is used to describe planets outside of the solar system. The number of exoplanets that have been identified by astronomers numbers fewer than 5,000 in all, so the identification of hundreds of new ones is a significant advance. Kepler's original mission came to an unexpected end in 2013 when a mechanical failure left the spacecraft unable to precisely point at the patch of sky it had been observing for years.
But astronomers repurposed the telescope for a new mission known as K2, whose objective is to identify exoplanets near distant stars. Data from K2 is helping scientists understand how stars' location in the galaxy influences what kind of planets are able to form around them. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Astronomers, discover, possible, exoplanets, telescope, mission, planets
By Dr Anil Batra
The winter comes with its own set of hassles. New moms have to be careful because they have to take care of themselves and their babies. It becomes imperative to protect babies from the harsh season. The immune system of newborn babies is developing, which makes them susceptible to respiratory infections. But, you can take preventive measures to keep your child warm and safe. Newborn babies need extra care until their immune system becomes stronger to protect their bodies from the harmful effects of viruses and bacteria that usually become more active in the winter season. A drop in the temperature can aggravate different processes in the body, therefore, moms need to take extra care of newborn babies during winters.
New moms can follow the given tips to take care of their little ones and protect them from the harmful effects of harsh winds blowing outside.
Keep the temperature warm in the baby's room: Use a portable heater in the baby's room to keep the temperature warm. The air becomes dry due to the excessive use of a heater. Therefore, keeping a humidifier to balance the moisture levels.
Apply moisturizer: The baby's skin is very sensitive and the harsh, dry, and cold air can make the skin dry. Therefore, apply a good moisturizer to keep it soft and smooth. Choose a moisturizer made of milk cream and butter, especially for children. This will keep the skin of your baby soft.
Massage: Massage is important to keep your baby's skin soft and healthy. Massage helps to improve the blood circulation in the body that helps in boosting strength. Use a natural oil to massage the body of your child. Make sure the room is warm where you massage the baby.
Massage helps to improve the blood circulation in the body that helps in boosting strength. | Photo by Khoa Pham on Unsplash
Avoid using heavy blankets: You can comfort your baby by laying a light blanket to keep your baby warm. Avoid using a heavy blanket to cover your baby during winters because your baby would not be able to move his arms and legs while sleeping. In this process, your baby may pull it up on its face and this can cause respiratory distress. Thus, use a light blanket and keep the room temperature optimum.
Dress your baby comfortably: Choose comfortable dressing for your baby. Avoid wrapping your baby in thick sweaters, gloves, and socks. This will restrict its movement and he/she will become irritable. Choose clothes depending on the room temperature. The clothes should cover his/her baby but should not restrict movement. You can use light gloves and socks to cover your hands and feet to keep your baby warm at night.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding is the most important activity that can keep your baby healthy. Breast milk consists of required nutrients and antibodies that will enhance the immune system of your baby and will protect him/her against diseases. During breastfeeding your baby will feel warm and cosy that will also give him comfort.
Avoid using a heavy blanket to cover your baby during winters because your baby would not be able to move his arms and legs while sleeping | Flickr
Maintain proper hygiene: Mothers should be careful when handling newborn babies in winters. You will be the first point of contact for your baby. Therefore, make sure you keep yourself clean and healthy. Wash your hands before handling your baby. Germs can easily enter your baby's body through your dirty hands. Therefore, make sure you wash your hands or sanitize them before attending to your baby. Also, ask visitors to wash their hands.
Take care outdoors: If you want to take your child outdoors make sure it is not freezing temperature. Take your child out for fresh air only if the temperature is not too cold and remember to cover your baby properly before taking them out. Taking your baby out will help to give fresh air and will improve their health.
Common issues that may arise in newborn babies during winters:
Winter brings flu and other viruses that can easily spread and affect anyone. Common issues that may arise in newborn babies during winters include the following:
- Skin allergies
- Digestive issues
Parents can take care of their newborn babies from various diseases that may affect them in the winters in the following ways:
* If your baby suffers during the winter season, you should consult a pediatrician.
* You can give a homemade solution if your baby suffers from a cold. Check with the doctor and you can only give a saline solution or nasal drops.
* Keep your baby well hydrated. Keep breastfeeding your baby and also give water if necessary.
* Cuddle your baby lovingly and give him warmth along with other precautions.
* In the first winter, you can take preventive measures to take care of your little ones and keep them safe. Maintain proper hygiene and keep your house warm. Avoid visitors if your child is not feeling well.
It is not necessary to give a bath to your baby every day. You can bathe your baby after 2-3 days in winter. | Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash
How often to give a bath to your baby in winter?
It is not necessary to give a bath to your baby every day. You can bathe your baby after 2-3 days in winter. You can sponge bathe your newborn every other day in winter. Check the temperature of the room before giving a bath to your baby. The room temperature should be warm and comfortable for your baby. Check the temperature of the water. Make sure the water is not too hot or cold. The temperature of the water should be right for the body of your baby. Check the temperature by touching the water with your elbow or wrist. Use mild soap and shampoo to bathe your baby in winter. Also, apply oil and moisturizer to the skin to keep it soft and prevent skin allergies. (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Winter, care tips, newborn, baby, hygiene, breastfeeding, blanket
Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurrana has confessed his love for the popular Spanish series 'Money Heist' and has paid homage to his favourite character 'Professor' played by Sergio Marquina. In a fun take, the star paid homage to the famed 'Professor' character, launching the #IndiaBoleCiao Fan Contest allowing fans to capture and share their love for the series. Ayushmann is also seen singing his own rendition of the classic 'Bella Ciao' on the piano.
Ayushmann said: "Over time, I've become a huge fan of 'Money Heist' and it's rightfully found a prominent place in pop culture. Getting to work on this unique project has been special given my fondness for the series as well as the 'Professor'."The Bollywood actor feels disappointed as the Netflix show is coming to an end as the the final five episodes of 'Money Heist Part 5: Volume 2' will premiere on December 3 on Netflix. Ayushmann added: "The characters give us an immersive experience and you feel completely invested in their journey throughout the series. While I'm super excited for the finale, it's definitely disappointing that this heist is coming to an end." (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: money heist, pop clture, bella ciao, professor, volume 2, netflix, Ayushmann Khurrana