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Arab swimmer Adam Maraana will represent Israel at Olympics. Courtesy photo.

Today’s news briefs: Arab-Israeli Olympic swimmer, Hundreds dead in Mecca,

Today’s news briefs include Arab-Israeli Olympic swimmer, Hundreds dead in Mecca, French protests over rape of jewish child, power outage in Ecuador.

Israeli Arab to represent Israel at Olympics

Adam Maraana will become the first Israeli Arab swimmer to represent the Jewish state in the sport at the Olympic Games in Paris. Maraana, 20, a resident of Haifa, is the third Arab citizen to represent Israel in the world’s top sports competition. He won bronze in the 2023 European Under-23 Championship in Dublin in the 50m backstroke, qualified for the Israeli Olympic swim team after tying the national record in the 100-meter backstroke in a competition held at the Wingate Institute in Netanya, reports JNS. Arab countries often forfeit competitions if their opponent is Israeli and it’s not known how the International Olympic Committee would handle such a situation with so much worldwide attention.

Nationwide power outage in Ecuador

The entire country Ecuador, experienced an electrical blackout late Wednesday. It was pinpointed to a transmission. Ecuador’s Minister of Energy Roberto Luque said in a message posted on Twitter, that the failure caused “a cascade disconnection,” leaving the nation without energy service. Since last year, Ecuador has faced an electricity generation crisis that has led to rationing throughout the country as a drought linked to the El Niño weather pattern depleted reservoirs and limited output at hydroelectric plants that produce about 75% of the nation’s power.

Hundreds dead from heat at Mecca Hajj

Hundreds [Editor’s note: as of Thursday 11am it is now over 1,000] of Muslims have died and thousands have been treated for heatstroke while performing the annual Muslim Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, reports CNN. A summer heatwave has seen temperatures of 120 degrees this week. The dead include at least 165 Indonesians, 41 Jordanians, 35 Tunisians and 11 Iranians according to authorities in each country. Sevearl dozen remain missing while others are hospitalized. The numbers could grow exponentially as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the two countries with the most participants, have yet to release their death count. More than 1.8 million people are taking part in this year’s Hajj, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.

Protests in France over rape of 12-year-old Jewish girl

Protests have broken out across France after the rape of a Jewish child in an antisemitic attack. Hundreds of people gathered in Paris Wednesday to demonstrate against Jew-hatred in the wake of the attack that shocked the country over the weekend, local media reported. Three Arab minors were arrested for the attack, during which they allegedly forced the girl to perform vaginal, anal and oral sex, called her a “dirty Jew” and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. “This antisemitic rape is a continuation of a climate hostile to Jews, fueled in particular by irresponsible political declarations,” said the head of Collectif Nous Vivrons (“We Will Live Collective”) ahead of the protest at city hall. The French government released data revealing 75% of rapes in Paris last year were committed by immigrants. The majority of rape victims have been identified as white female tourists from Europe and the United States.

–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice and wire services

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