BBC 2024-02-16 18:01:58

Outrage and shock at report of Navalny’s sudden death

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton has posted a tribute to Alexei Navalny on X (formerly Twitter).

“Listen, I’ve got something very obvious to tell you. You’re not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong,” she writes, quoting Navalny from a BBC documentary from 2022.

She also sends her “deepest condolences” to Navalny’s family and to the Russian people for his death.

Fears for patients as Israel hospital raid continues

The Israeli military says its special forces are still inside the Nasser hospital in Gaza as fears grow for patients at the site.

Israel launched what it described as a “precise and limited mission” there on Thursday. The military says it has caught “dozens of terror suspects”.

Hamas dismissed that claim as “lies”. The Hamas-run health ministry said five people died after generators failed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the facility urgently needed fuel.

It said the fuel was vital to “ensure the continuation of the provision of life-saving services”.

Tarik Jasarevic, a WHO spokesperson, said there were now reports that the orthopaedic unit at the hospital, in the city of Khan Younis, had been damaged.

“That obviously reduces the ability to provide the urgent medical care,” he said, adding there were still “critically injured and sick patients” at the hospital.

“More degradation to the hospital means more lives being lost.”

Nasser is the main hospital in southern Gaza, and is one of the few still functioning. It has been the scene of intense fighting between the IDF and Hamas for days.

  • Why are Israel and Hamas fighting in Gaza
  • Jeremy Bowen: Death and Israel’s search for “total victory”

An injured man who had to leave the hospital said the conditions there were dire.

“Since they besieged it, there is no water or food,” Raed Abed told the Associated Press.

“Garbage is widespread, and sewage has flooded the emergency department.”

The hospital’s director, Nahed Abu-Teima, told BBC Arabic the situation inside was “catastrophic and very dangerous”.

The Hamas-run health ministry reported on Friday that the five people who died at the hospital did so after the electricity generators went down and oxygen could not be provided.

The deaths have not been independently verified.

On Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ordered thousands of displaced people who had been sheltering there to leave.

Images, verified by the BBC, showed medical staff rushing patients on stretchers through a corridor filled with smoke or dust.

The IDF believes Hamas has been using hospitals and other civilian bases as shields for military activities.

“We can’t give them [Hamas] a free pass, we have to make sure that they are pursued and hunted down,” IDF spokesperson Lt Col Peter Lerner told the BBC.

He said the military had been making “a huge effort to evacuate people from the hospital in order to get them out of harm’s way”, denying claims that civilians had been targeted.

The IDF said that among those it had captured at the hospital were 20 Hamas members who were part of the 7 October attacks on Israel.

It also said it had found weapons, including grenades, at the facility.

The military is also searching for the bodies of Israeli hostages which it said intelligence suggests might be hidden in the hospital.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said Israeli tanks were targeting the nearby Al-Amal hospital, “resulting in very severe damage in two nursing rooms”.

They wrote on social media that nobody had been hurt.

Intense hostilities have been reported around the hospital recently. The PRCS said it was raided last week after some 8,000 displaced people and patients complied with an order to evacuate.

On Friday, they said that two doctors who were arrested during the raid had been released, while 12 other staff remained in custody.

Israel launched its military offensive after waves of Hamas fighters burst through Israel’s border on 7 October, killing about 1,200 people – mainly civilians – and taking 253 others back to Gaza as hostages.

The Hamas-run health ministry says more than 28,700 people, mainly women and children – have been killed in Israel’s campaign.

Israel is facing increasing international pressure to show restraint but efforts to negotiate an end to the fighting have not yet yielded any results.

A senior Palestinian official familiar with the ceasefire talks told the BBC that the gap between the negotiating parties was still wide and there were disagreements over many of the proposed provisions.

Senior officials from the US, Israel, Egypt and Qatar have been meeting in Cairo this week to try and hammer out a deal.

The official said that the main issue remains the disagreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over what happens the day after the war is over. The US want to rely on a strengthened Palestinian Authority, while Israel is against having a single administration in charge of the West Bank and Gaza.

Another disagreement is over Israel’s aim of completely destroying Hamas, which the US thinks will be difficult to achieve anytime soon.

The US is said to be trying to pressure the two sides to reach a long period of calm to make it difficult for the two sides to return to fighting again.

Trump waiting to hear penalties in New York fraud case

This fraud ruling marks an end to a busy week for Donald Trump.

Just yesterday, he was in New York to attend a hearing in his alleged hush-money criminal case. A trial date has been set for 25 March – his very first criminal trial.

At the same time, over in Georgia, a judge was holding a misconduct hearing for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis, who is prosecuting Trump and others for alleged election subversion.

She has been accused by Trump and his co-defendants of financially benefiting from a romantic relationship with a prosecutor she hired on the case.

This all came after Trump was in Florida on Monday for a hearing in his classified documents case – a date for that trial has been set for May, though that could change. More on all his cases here.

Six ways to experience Tenerife’s best nightlife

Tenerife-based DJ Jairo Delli plans an epic night out on the largest Canary island, from sunset dancing at Monkey Beach to chill hangs at Berlin 89 at Carnival or any time of year.

Tenerife’s lush green island panorama and year-round sunshine make it a perfect wintertime escape – especially during Carnival season when its palm tree-lined streets throb with parades of colourful floats and masked revellers. But Tenerife is a party isle year-round, in large part thanks to its famously epic nightlife and friendly locals.

“The atmosphere here is warm, tight-knit and very charismatic,” said Jairo Delli – a local DJ and electronic music producer whose smooth yet ultra-catchy tech house beats have been a fixture on the Tenerife nightlife circuit since 1997. “And it doesn’t matter what musical genre or part of the island you’re in; you’ll always find Canarians willing to have a good time and good vibes.”

We asked Delli for his insider picks for the island’s best nightlife. “It’s a small island, so you can get around from north to south, easy,” he said. “In the southern part of the island we have San Telmo [Beach], where there’s lots of small clubs and restaurants. Up north, you’ve got the Plaza del Charco [square] which has tons of nightclubs, like Azúcar. And in the Metropolitan area of the island, we can go to Anaga Avenue. There’s a huge variety of nightclubs and Calle La Noria [street].” The night starts late in Tenerife; Delli encouraged partiers to aim for the magic hours between 00:30 and 04:30 – before the queues get too long, coming or going. “Come ready to have a good time,” he said. “Be ready to interact with us.”

To get you there, here are DJ Jairo Delli’s top six places to enjoy Tenerife’s nightlife.

Papagayo Beach Club on party beach Playa de las Americas is one of Delli’s favourite spots for having a great night out (Credit: Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo)

1. Best all-around: Papagayo Beach Club Tenerife 

Delli’s top pick for a raging night out in Tenerife is Papagayo Beach Club Tenerife on Playa de las Américas, one of the island’s most popular party beaches. The beachfront structure’s whitewashed exterior and thatched roofs belie its massive arena-style dance floor, which comes alive each night, lit up in neon hues.

“It’s a nightclub where you’ll feel comfortable and safe, with a very exclusive atmosphere,” said Delli. “The crowd is locals as well as a lot of international tourists. There’s a good variety of music from Wednesday to Sunday, and now they have several different theme parties: electronica, urban music… they really mix it up.”

The club, which is poised for a grand reopening in March 2024 after a brief hiatus for renovations, has been a Tenerife mainstay since 2012, attracting some of Tenerife’s biggest homespun musical talents as well as acts from abroad. When he’s at the thumping club, Delli enjoys taking an interlude at its tony seafood restaurant. “You can have drinks or dinner in peace,” he said.

Website: Av. Rafael Puig Lluvina, 2, 38650 Playa de la Américas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Phone: +34 922 788 916
Instagram: @papagayoclubtf

Party through the sunset and deep into the night at Monkey Beach Club on Playa de Troya, a chic yet laid back nightspot (Credit: Image Professionals GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo)

Just a short walk down the beach from Papagayo Beach Club, on Playa de Troya, find Delli’s number two pick: Monkey Beach Club. “This club is one of my favourites to go to on Sundays until midnight,” he said. “I recommend this one 100% without fail. You can see the best sunset at this beach club. It’s amazing.”

Monkey Beach Club, with its stunning views of La Gomera Island, is a recently renovated complex of four venues, offering guests the opportunities to enjoy cocktails, beach fare and dancing, all against the backdrop of the club’s upscale tiki hut décor. “The atmosphere is also very Canarian,” said Delli. “Many tourists go there.” He noted that during the day, the dress code starts out casual: “shorts and a polo or a button down with comfortable shoes like sneakers – at night things get a little more formal.”

Website: Av. Rafael Puig Lluvina, 3, 38660 Arona, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Phone: +34922790656
Instagram: @monkeybeachtenerife

The party happens all over the island even in the streets of the island’s capital, like Delli’s pick Tao Tenerife (Credit: Danny Manzanares/Alamy Stock Photo)

3. Best in Tenerife’s Metropolitan Area: Tao Tenerife

When planning a night out in Tenerife, many visitors are drawn to its jumping, atmospheric beach scene. But Delli also likes partying in the island’s Metropolitan area – home to the Anaga Rural Park and Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the nation’s capital. His pick? Tao Tenerife. “This nightclub is also one of my favourites,” said Delli. “It’s located in the Maritime Park area in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, and the atmosphere is very varied, depending on the day and the musical styles. It’s the only nightclub in the Metropolitan area. They always have urban music parties, with international artists and also electronic music.”

Tao Tenerife attracts a hip young crowd and hosts popular “After” parties during Carnival week. 

Address: Av. la Constitución, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Instagram: @taotenerife

Bartender pouring cocktails (Credit: Rafael Elias/Getty Images)

4. Best for Tenerife nightlife regulars: Berlin 89

Further north in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Delli also likes Berlin 89, a retro-style nightclub and casual eatery found on Tenerife’s lively seafront Anaga Avenue. “They have a large terrace where you can have a few drinks in peace and comfort and listen to electronic music inside the club,” said Delli. “The atmosphere is very local.”

Berlin 89’s neon-lit, graffiti-streaked interiors channel underground clubs of the 1980s, and the discotheque hosts no cover Game Over nights on Fridays as well as Halloween and Carnival-themed programming. “We can say that it is of a more mature age range, for the most part – people who continue going out to places like this for years and years,” said Delli.

Website: Av. Francisco la Roche, 9, 38002 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Phone: +34922168287
Instagram: @berlin89club

Tenerife’s nightclubs pulse with house and techno music, but Casablanca Disco Bar also offers salsa dancing lessons (Credit: Browny / Alamy Stock Photo)

5. Best for salsa dancing: Casablanca Disco Bar 

Burn up some of that nightlife energy with a visit to Casablanca Disco Bar – one of Tenerife’s oldest clubs, and a great spot for salsa dancing. “If you want to learn to dance salsa, they give dance classes,” said Delli. “It’s a place where you’ll see a more mature crowd; businesspeople and city officials…. you can enjoy both the terrace and the nightclub, an atmosphere and varied music.” Delli added: “The party starts on Wednesdays”.

Casablanca Disco Bar – a Tenerife mainstay for over 30 years – is located in the bustling San Telmo district, yet its cocktails are reasonably priced: “Around €4 (£3.40), the cheapest. And in terms of music, we can listen to salsa, merengue, urban music, electronic music, all depending on the programming,” said Delli. “And you can dress however you want; you’re at the beach.”

Website: C.C. San Telmo, Av. la Habana, 38650 Los Cristianos, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Phone: +34 72 250 0201
Instagram: @casablancadiscobar

Shisha, a low key vibe and an incredible view make Urban 180 one of Delli’s favourite nightspots when he just wants to relax (Credit: RPdesigns / Stockimo / Alamy Stock Photo)

6. Best for chilling out with a magical city view: Azotea Urban 180°

For those seeking a night out in Tenerife that’s lower energy yet still glamorous, Delli likes Azotea Urban 180°, a club located on the seventh floor of the ritzy four-star Urban Anaga Hotel in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. “To have a good night without so many people and to go listen to music, sit and smoke a shisha, interact with people, that would be Urban,” said Delli of the sophisticated lounge with its shisha bar and sweeping views of the island. “It’s one of my favourite places to go to meet friends, chat, have cocktails and meet people. It’s a magical place”.

Azotea Urban 180° serves its guests stylish, top-shelf craft cocktails, which they can enjoy in exclusive booths or gazing down at the city panorama below. The hip nightspot is a favourite for celebrations any time of year, and is especially fun during Carnival season when it hosts masked afterparties.  

“I can’t tell you much more,” said Delli. “You have to come and find out for yourself. You’re going to have a great time.”

Website: C. Imeldo Serís, 19, 38003 Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Phone: +34 92 204 8137
Instagram: @urban.180

BBC Travel’s The SpeciaList is a series of guides to popular and emerging destinations around the world, as seen through the eyes of local experts and tastemakers.

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The other nations with the Moon in their sights

Five decades on from the last of the Apollo missions, the Moon is once again a target for space exploration. But Nasa no longer has lunar exploration to itself.

The number of astronauts who walked on the Moon hasn’t changed in over 50 years.

Only 12 human beings have had this privilege – all Americans – but that will soon increase. The historical two-nation competition between the US and Soviet space agencies for lunar exploration has become a global pursuit. Launching missions to either orbit the Moon, or land on its surface, is now  carried out by governments and commercial companies from Europe and the Middle East to the South Pacific.

Despite the success of the US Apollo missions between 1969-72, to date only five nations have landed on the Moon. China is one of the most ambitious of the nations with the Moon in its sights.

After two successful orbital missions in 2007 and 2010, China landed the unmanned Chang’e 3 in 2013. Six years later Chang’e 4 became the first mission to land on the far side of the Moon. The robotic Chang’e 5 returned lunar samples back to Earth in 2020 and Chang’e 6, which launches in May this year, will bring back the first samples from the Moon’s far side.

The country’s ambitions don’t stop there. “China is openly aiming to put a pair of its astronauts on the Moon before 2030,” says space journalist Andrew Jones, who focusses on China’s space industry.

“There is demonstrable progress in a number of areas needed to perform such a mission, including developing a new human-rated launch vehicle, a new-generation crew spacecraft, a lunar lander and expanding ground stations,” says Jones. “It is a tremendous undertaking, but China has demonstrated that it can plan and execute long-term lunar and human spaceflight endeavours.”

After being delayed four times, the first Artemis mission lifted off in November 2022 – but Nasa has many rivals for a return to the Moon (Credit: Getty Images)

Not surprisingly, recently announced delays to US space agency Nasa’s own Moon programme Artemis, which has pushed back plans to land astronauts on the lunar surface to September 2026 at the earliest, has produced the phrase “Moon Race” between the US and China.

“I think that China has a very aggressive plan,” Nasa chief Bill Nelson told a media teleconference about the amended Artemis timescale. “I think they would like to land before us, because that might give them some PR coup. But the fact is, I don’t think they will.”

China, of course, may also experience slips in its launch schedule. “China needs a super heavy-lift launcher to start putting large pieces of infrastructure on the Moon,” says Jones. “Its Long March 9 rocket project has undergone changes, so this may delay first missions from 2030 into the early or mid 2030s.”

India became the fourth nation to land on the Moon with the unmanned Chandrayaan-3 in August 2023, which touched down close to the lunar south pole. After its success, the chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced it aims to send astronauts to the Moon by 2040. (Find out more about the mysteries of the lunar south pole and why so many nations want to land there in this feature by Jonathan O’Callaghan.)

In such a crowded field, the big question is who will become the next major global player in the next phase of lunar exploration

Meanwhile, Japan’s Slim (Smart Lander for Investigating Moon) mission recently placed its Moon Sniper lander on lunar soil to become the fifth nation on our nearest neighbour. The Japanese space agency, Jaxa, is also nearing the end of negotiations to put a Japanese astronaut on the Moon as part of the US Artemis programme.

Other countries – such as Israel, South Korea and numerous member states of the European Space Agency (Esa) – have also placed robotic spacecraft into lunar orbit. Nasa recently announced that the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) would provide an airlock for Gateway, its planned lunar orbiting space station for the Artemis missions.

The reasons for going vary: from scientific knowledge and technological advances to the prospect of accessing potentially useful lunar resources and political or economic value. The UK space industry, for instance, was extremely robust during the recession.

But in such a crowded field, the big question is who will become the next major global player in the next phase of lunar exploration. It will no longer be the sole preserve of national space agencies; commercial companies also want a piece of the lunar action.

India’s lander Chandrayaan-3 touched down on the Moon’s surface in August 2023, and India has vowed to send astronauts there in future missions (Credit: Getty Images)

Although China launched the first commercial mission to the Moon in 2014, the small privately funded Manfred Memorial Moon Mission was a microsatellite (61cm x 26cm x10cm) for a lunar flyby built by LuxSpace in Luxembourg. America’s first planned commercial lunar mission, however, was much more ambitious.

In January this year, Astrobotic, a company based in Pittsburgh, launched Peregrine Mission 1. It was to be the first US spacecraft to land on the lunar surface since Apollo 17 in 1972. Unfortunately, a “critical loss of propellant” shortly after launch meant that it had to return home without landing and burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere above a remote part of the South Pacific Ocean.

As a result, the upcoming US commercial mission, Intuitive Machines IM-1, which launched on 15 February and intends to place its Nova-C lander on the Moon, has been bumped up from second to potentially first place.

We are seeing that [space launch] economy start to catch up because the prospect of landing on the Moon exists – Steve Altemus

“As partners in advancing lunar exploration, we understand and share the collective disappointment of unforeseen challenges,” says president and CEO of Intuitive Machines, Steve Altemus. “It is a testament to the resilience of the space community that we continue to push the boundaries of our understanding, embracing the inherent risks in our pursuit of opening access to the Moon for the progress of humanity.”

The US declared the Moon a strategic interest in 2018. Does Altemus see his commercial mission as the beginning of a lunar economy? “At the time, no lunar landers or lunar programs existed in the United States,” he says. “Today, over a dozen companies are building landers, which is a new market. In turn, we’ve seen an increase in payloads, science instruments, and engineering systems being built for the Moon. We are seeing that economy start to catch up because the prospect of landing on the Moon exists. Space is an enormous human endeavour and it will always contain a government component because they have a strategic need to be in space. But there’s room now, for the first time in history, for commercial companies to be there.”

In recent years India has also seen a boom in space start-ups such as Pixel, Dhruva Space, Bellatrix Aerospace and Hyderabad’s Skyroot Aerospace, which launched India’s first private rocket in 2022.

It has been more than 50 years since the last Apollo astronauts walked on the lunar surface (Credit: Nasa)

In October 2023 an Australian private company, Hex20, announced a collaboration with Skyroot Aerospace and Japan’s ispace, which will attempt its second robotic lunar landing at the end of this year. The collaboration aims to stimulate demand for affordable lunar satellite missions.

But when it comes to the Moon, footprints and flags on the ground still generate the biggest headlines. The four astronauts who will go into lunar orbit on Artemis II – Nasa’s Christina Hammock Koch, Reid Wiseman and Victor Glover plus Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen – all feature in London’s immersive Moonwalkers show.

You might also like:

  • The mysteries of the Moon’s South Pole
  • The next footsteps on the Moon
  • What did Apollo do for us?

Written by British filmmaker Chris Riley and actor Tom Hanks (who famously played astronaut Jim Lovell in the Apollo 13 movie), it highlights the collective Nasa effort required to put astronauts on the Moon and looks ahead to Artemis doing the same.

I recently watched the show sat alongside an upcoming guest on the Space Boffins podcast: former Nasa Apollo flight director, Gerry Griffin. Afterwards he described the Artemis programme as “wonderful”.

“I’m worried about the funding,” he says. “It’s going to always be a problem.”

But Griffin is optimistic and full of confidence in its astronauts. “We got the best. They are really, really good. But we’ve got to get going. It’s time we get back.”

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