The U.S. government is making an intense effort to persuade Israel and Hamas to resume negotiations so they can once again pause hostilities and exchange more prisoners for hostages, a White House spokesman said on Sunday.

“We are still working it really hard, hour by hour, to see if we can get the sides back to the table and see if we can get something moving,” John F. Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator at the White House National Security Council, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We would like that to happen today. But honestly, I just don’t know.”

In appearances on several Sunday talk shows, Mr. Kirby emphasized that Hamas was to blame for the breakdown in talks, saying that it had not lived up to the terms of its original agreement to begin handing over captives held in Gaza.

He said Hamas had failed to produce a list of women and children who could be released in addition to the 105 hostages who were freed during the original pause in fighting. Among those still held are eight or nine Americans. Osama Hamdan, a representative for Hamas in Lebanon, said on Sunday that negotiations over the hostages would not resume until the Israeli assault stopped.

Israel has since resumed its attacks on Hamas, and Mr. Kirby urged it to avoid civilian casualties, while crediting its forces with making efforts to do so. He said Israeli authorities had been open to U.S. advice about how to make their assault more precise.

“We believe that they have been receptive to our messages here in terms of trying to minimize civilian casualties,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” He noted that Israel had published a map directing civilians to what it said were safe zones.

“There’s not a whole lot of modern militaries that would do that, I mean, that is, to telegraph their punches in that way,” he said. “So they are making an effort.”

President Biden and his administration have sought to straddle a careful line nearly two months after the Oct. 7 terrorist attack in which Hamas killed an estimated 1,200 people in Israel and took about 240 more hostage. While supporting Israel’s right to defend itself, the administration has also sought to restrain Israel from what it believes would be going too far in its response.

That led to criticism from both the left and the right on Sunday, as some Republicans complained that Mr. Biden’s team was trying to hold Israel back, while some liberal Democrats complained that it was not doing that enough.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, singled out Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III. In a speech on Saturday, Mr. Austin warned that Israel should protect civilians in Gaza and prevent violence against Palestinians by Jewish settlers in the West Bank, because otherwise “you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat.”

Speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Mr. Graham castigated Mr. Austin, a retired four-star general who fought in Iraq. “He’s so naïve; I mean I just lost all confidence in this guy,” Mr. Graham said.

“If we were attacked like this, which we were on 9/11, if somebody called for us within two months to have a cease-fire against Al Qaeda, we’d have laughed them out of town, we’d have run them out of town,” Mr. Graham added. “Secretary Austin is telling Israel things that are impossible to achieve.”

Mr. Graham said his solution to the hostage impasse would be to threaten Iran, the sponsor of Hamas. “I would go to Iran and say listen, you need to tell Hamas to let these hostages go,” he said. “If you don’t, you’re going to start paying a heavier price.”

On the other side of the ideological spectrum, Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington, said on the same program that the Biden administration had a responsibility to stop Israel from killing so many civilians.

“The United States cannot be backers of this kind of indiscriminate bombing — that is my firm belief,” she said. “We should have conditions on military aid in the same way that we do for every other country.”

While the White House blamed Hamas for the breakdown in hostage talks, Ms. Jayapal faulted Israel.

“Qatar has said that Hamas is still at the table,” she said, referring to the Persian Gulf emirate that has served as the intermediary for the talks. “Israel should still be at the table. In fact, some of the Israeli hostages are saying that Israel should still be at the table, because this is complex negotiation and it doesn’t happen unless both sides are willing to come to some kind of an agreement.”

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting.

Woman arrested after str*pping and pressing her b@re body against sacred tree

A woman has been arrested after she allegedly posed naked on a sacred tree in Bali, Indonesia.


Luiza Kosykh was arrested by authorities in Bali after being accused of pressing her body against an ancient weeping paperbark.


The 700-year-old wood, in Bayan Village in the Tabanan Regency, is located on the grounds of a temple and is considered sacred by many locals.


Tedy Riyandi, the head of Denpasar Immigration Office, has confirmed the arrest.


The alleged act has caused an uproar with locals.


Woman arrested after str*pping and pressing her b@re body against sacred tree


Writing on Instagram on April 11, activist Ni Luh Djelantik said: “To all foreigner who disrespect our land, Bali is our home, not yours!


“For those who feel cool for rejecting Israel, wake up and see your homeland being destroyed.


“Does anyone want to donate clothes? Our breasts are sticking to the holy tree.


“And again, a foreigner poses inappropriately in our holy place. Let them understand, beloved.”


The activist pointed out this wasn’t the first time such an event had taken place.



“You know, we have to perform the Guru Piduka ceremony again after last year Mbok also reprimanded a naked foreigner who climbed the 700-year-old Holy Tree located in Pura Babakan, Adat Bayan Village, Desa Tua District, Marga, and then they were deported.”


The activist then began to call people out on the online platform, adding: “Bali is our home. Not yours. Do you think you’ll look cool taking naked picture on our holy trees?


“Go back to your country if you can’t respect our tradition and culture!”


They then called on local individuals to act to protect local sacred sites, continuing: “Thank you for protecting the dignity of Bali and the honour of the Balinese people.”

$23m Abacha loot should be used for pressing needs like ASUU strike - House of Reps member, Dachung Musa Bagos

Dachung Musa Bagos, a lawmaker representing Jos south/Jos east at the house of representatives has said that the recovered $23 million Abacha loot should be channelled into settling the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).


Recall that Abubakar Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, had said the recovered loot, which is tagged ‘Abacha-5’, has been earmarked for the completion of the Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan expressway and the Second Niger Bridge.


Speaking during an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday August 24, Bagos said the national assembly was not carried along in the disbursement of recovered loot.


He further stated that as a representative of the people, he has to argue where those funds should be channelled to. 


The lawmaker said; 


“This is my third year in the national assembly, we have never discussed any of the recovered loot. We just sit down and we hear that the executive recovered loot and allot the same to projects that they so desire.

“We believe that when we discuss these issues at the national assembly, [and] we appropriate those funds according to the needs of Nigeria, it is going to go a long way; not just the executive looking at it and alloting it to what they feel it should be. The constitution has given us that right.

“We have pressing needs. Like now, ASUU has been on strike and the government is trying to settle those issues.

“As a representative of the people, if I have to argue where those funds should be channelled to, I will say, ‘why can’t you channel part of this fund to ASUU so that most of the youths that are at home would go back to school?’

“But some of the areas we feel that the executive is channelling those funds are not the immediate needs of Nigerians.”

Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following

A man has recounted the horrific abuse he was subjected to as he detailed his “kito” experience. 


He revealed that he was burnt with a hot iron by his attackers because they couldn’t extort him. They then tortured him, filmed it, and sent the video to his parents to make them pay for his release. 


Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following


He said his parents ended up paying N450K for his release after the men kept him for two days.


He revealed that he was helpless at the time and prayed for a second chance at life.


His story led others to share their kito experience.


A kito is a person who pretends they belong to the LGBTQ community on social media and dating apps. After building an online rapport with someone, they plan a date. However, this is just a ruse to extort or physically harm their date.


Read the victim’s story below.


Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following

Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following

Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following

Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following

Man shows horrific injuries inflicted on him with hot pressing iron following


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