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Damage in Israeli air base after Iran attack

Israeli army footage of what it says is the damage caused by the Iranian attack on the Nevatim Air Base, which was launched late Saturday in retaliation for a deadly air strike widely blamed on Israel that destroyed its consular building in Syria's capital early this month. AFP

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Six months of bloodshed: The toll on Gaza’s children

The bloodiest ever Gaza war which broke out over six months ago has taken an appalling toll on children. NGO Save the Children estimates that some 26,000 children have been killed or injured in the war, 17,000 have been orphaned, according to UNICEF, and 1 in 3 children under two years old in northern Gaza is suffering from acute malnutrition. In total, at least 33,207 people have been killed in the besieged Palestinian territory in Israel's retaliatory campaign for the October 7 attack, according to Hamas-run Gaza's health ministry. The unprecedented Hamas raid on southern Israel resulted in the deaths of 1,170 Israelis and foreigners, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures. AFP

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Gazans struggle to secure flour for daily bread

"I spent the night on Kuwait Roundabout to secure this bag of flour", says a Palestinian in Gaza City carrying a bag of flour he managed to get from an aid truck. A UN-backed report warned that half of Gazans are experiencing "catastrophic" hunger, with famine projected to hit the north of the territory unless there is urgent intervention. AFP

Student athletes practice during a workout with Dallas Carter High School girls track and field coach Lauren Cross (right) at the Sha’Carri Richardson Track at John E. Kincaide Stadium in Dallas, Texas, on May, 6, 2024. (AFP)

Sha’Carri Richardson, the pride of Dallas with Olympic gold medal in sight

Lauren Cross looked around the four-lane running track at David W Carter high school in Dallas and tries to sum up what her goddaughter, world 100m champion Sha’Carri Richardson, means to this community.“Sha’Carri is a representation of each and every girl to step on this track. All the foundation starts here on this track. So if she can do it, then you can do it,” said Cross.As she speaks, a small group of young athletes go through their paces despite the wind buffeting the track in this green suburb of the sprawling Texan city.On this Monday in May, the track team has been given a day off after their exertions the night before in the Texas state championships in Austin.Richardson left her mark on that event a few years ago, as the host of trophies in a cabinet in the corridor of the high school prove.Things have moved fast for the 24-year-old since then. After being thrown off the USA team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 for using marijuana, she achieved a breakout 100m title at the 2023 world championships in Budapest, with a remarkable run from the outside lane complete with extravagant nails and a celebration to match.That victory has made Richardson one of the favorites for the 100m gold at the Paris Olympics this year and she continues the buildup to those Games at the Prefontaine Classic meet in Eugene on Saturday.“When she came out here, she was so tiny, she was the smallest one.” recalled Cross, who coached her from 2014 to 2018 and is still in charge of the school’s track team.“But she was the fastest I knew coming in. She always wanted to lead at the front of any race. She always wanted to prove that you can run with the top girls. That was one of the biggest things that I liked about her. She led by example.”Track was a safe havenRichardson endured a chaotic childhood and was raised by her aunt and grandmother after her biological mother proved incapable of doing so, but she always knew that whatever else was happening in her life, the track offered a safe haven.When she was barred from the Tokyo Games, she said she had used the drug to deal with the death of her mother a few days before the Olympic trials.Two years later, she clocked 10.65sec to win the world championships gold and become the fifth fastest woman at 100m in history.Roxxi Sutton, a student at David W. Carter, met Richardson in November last year, after her triumph in Budapest.“She’s a big inspiration. I look up to her because she made it far. And she overcame a lot of things. We came from where she came from. So it’s like, if she can do it, we can too. And I know already I can.”Although she is now based in Florida, Richardson’s exploits were marked by her school district in Dallas, which renamed the track, situated a few hundred yards from the high school on the other side of the I-20 highway, after her.The sprinter is a huge source of pride in this largely Black area of southern Dallas.On a strip of track at the high school, a little girl was running with a group of bigger girls, watched carefully by her mother. “It feels good to have my seven-year-old out here running. You know, trying to get where Sha’Carri is,” said the mother, ShoLand Williams.“She comes from here. She ran from here. She’s African American. And hey, that’s where we are. So yes, I do teach her about it. And I show her the races and she loved watching every race.”Je’Miracle Guillory, an 18-year-old member of the high school’s track team, told AFP Richardson was “an example”.“She’s a great role model. A wonderful runner. She’s consistent. No matter who’s against her she’s always going to do her best.“And she’s always positive. No matter how hard it gets. She always like get up and do it again and again.”There’s more though: “I like her style. She has beautiful nails, beautiful hair. She don’t have to pretend, she’s just her. And I like that part.”

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