“Nothing prepares you for Gaza; no amount of UN humanitarian reports, no amount of newspaper articles, no amount of human rights investigations. None of these can adequately convey what the people here are going through; the profound sense of isolation and the sheer scale and depth of the suffering,” said Pierre Krähenbühl, the new Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), on his first official visit to the Gaza Strip.
He underscored the need to lift the seven-year Israeli blockade and end the “illegal collective punishment” unleashed on the population there.
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The Japanese cherry blossom, known as the Sakura in Japanese, is the flower of a cherry tree that is cultivated for its decorative features rather than for cherries (it doesn’t bear fruit). The overwhelming beauty of the cherry blossom bloom has been known and adored for ages. The blooming period is associated with Japanese traditions, culture, aesthetics, and is a bittersweet metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life itself.
The blooming cherry blossoms herald the beginning of the centuries-old Hanami festival – the traditional Japanese custom of picnicking under trees rich with flowering Sakura branches and enjoying this short but striking first breath of spring. The blossoming wave usually starts in Okinawa in January or February and progresses through all of Japan until April or May. The cherry blossom front (Sakura zensen) can be conveniently tracked every year using this calendar.
Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress.