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April 20, 2018

1. More Palestinian women in Gaza are joining protests as the fourth week of demonstrations begins

“Palestinians have rights and they hope for the right of return.” This, according to spokesperson Asaad Abu Shariek, sums up the motivation behind the Great March for Return movement in Palestine.

Protest organizers dedicated this week’s march to the 37 Palestinians who have been killed since demonstrations began on March 30. This week’s protests have also been called the Women’s March of Gaza. Women’s participation in protests in Gaza has often been discouraged but this Friday’s march included noticeably more women and girls.

Some youth also dubbed it the “Friday of Kites”, citing the kite as a universal symbol of peace. They flew large, handmade kites painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag and sent them over the fence into Israel. The kites bore messages to Israelis, including “We will never leave our land” and “We will return despite the betrayers”.

Leading up to Friday the Israeli military dropped leaflets in Gaza warning Palestinians to stay away from the fence. Their Arabic-speaking spokesman also advised women to stay home and take care of their children. Israel has been condemned by UN human rights experts and human rights organizations for its excessive use of force against Palestinians.

2. Puerto Rico gets power back after island-wide outage

On Wednesday, almost everyone in Puerto Rico was plunged into darkness for more than 24 hours. (We say “almost” because one family had previously installed their own solar power system!) Affecting 3.4 million people, it was the first island-wide blackout since Hurricane Maria swept through in September. By midday Thursday electricity was restored to the same 97 percent of the population, but approximately 40,000 people continue to live without electricity.

Earlier this month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Puerto Rico could have its energy fully restored by the end of May – ahead of hurricane season beginning in June.

3. Farmers in South Sudan develop innovative techniques amidst climate change and hunger

In South Sudan, 90 percent of people depend on agriculture for food and livelihoods. Yet more than 4.8 million people are facing food crisis, exacerbated by factors including climate change and its four-year-old civil war. Some farmers are using innovation to both provide food and to hold on to their livelihoods. Farmers employing these new techniques say they have seen their crop yields and incomes increase.