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  • Axe body spray is on Tumblr now.  Which means congratulations, your Dashboard now smells like a sweaty taint after four days without bathing.

As civilian casualties mounted on Monday in the Israeli ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, Israel’s military reminded the world that it had warned people living in targeted areas to leave. The response from Palestinians here was unanimous: Where should we go?

United Nations shelters are already brimming, and some Palestinians fear they are not safe; one shelter was bombed by Israel in a previous conflict. Many Gaza residents have sought refuge with relatives, but with large extended families commonly consisting of dozens of relatives, many homes in the shrinking areas considered safe are already packed.

Perhaps most important, the vast majority of Gazans cannot leave Gaza. They live under restrictions that make this narrow coastal strip, which the United Nations considers occupied by Israel, unlike anywhere else.

Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain in 2010 called Gaza “an open-air prison,” drawing criticism from Israel. But in reality, the vast majority of Gazans are effectively trapped, unable to seek refugee status across an international border. (Most are already refugees, those who fled from what is now Israel and their descendants.)

A 25-mile-long rectangle just a few miles wide, and one of the most densely populated places in the world, Gaza is surrounded by concrete walls and fences along its northern and eastern boundaries with Israel and its southern border with Egypt.

Even in what pass for ordinary times here, Israel permits very few Gazans to enter its territory, citing security concerns because suicide bombers and other militants from Gaza have killed Israeli civilians. The restrictions over the years have cost Palestinians jobs, scholarships and travel.

Egypt has also severely curtailed Gazans’ ability to travel, opening its border crossing with the territory for only 17 days this year. During the current fighting between Israel and the Hamas militants who control Gaza, only those with Egyptian or foreign passports or special permission were allowed to exit.

Even the Mediterranean Sea to the west provides no escape. Israel restricts boats from Gaza to three nautical miles offshore. And Gaza, its airspace controlled by Israel, has no airport.

So while three million Syrians have fled their country during the war there, more and more of Gaza’s 1.7 million people have been moving away from the edges of the strip and crowding into the already-packed center of Gaza City.

The New York Times, "Havens Are Few, If Not Far, for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip"

As Israeli troops and war planes bombarded Gaza, both sides reported death tolls that made clear Sunday was the deadliest day so far in the war. The Palestinian Health Ministry reported 87 Palestinians had died and the Israeli military said 13 soldiers were dead.

The fighting signaled that what had begun as a limited ground invasion by Israel had moved into a more extensive and costlier phase for both sides.

Most of the Palestinians were killed in an eastern neighborhood of Gaza City called Shejaiya. For the Palestinians, it was the deadliest episode since July 8, when Israel began its offensive, first from the air, which was intended to curb rocket fire against its cities and the danger of infiltration through tunnels running under the border from Gaza into Israel. The Gaza Health Ministry reported that more than 300 people were injured in Shejaiya. Tolls were not available from the refugee camps in central Gaza, where fleeing residents reported a similar Israeli advance, with artillery.

The Palestinian government, which is led by President Mahmoud Abbas of the Western-supported Palestinian Authority and by Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza, in a statement described the killing of Palestinians in Shejaiya as “a heinous massacre” and a war crime.

Two Israeli soldiers were killed in combat overnight, according to that country’s military, and a spokesman, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, suggested that there would soon be an announcement about more casualties on the Israeli side. Earlier, Hamas’s military wing said it had ambushed an Israeli force after luring it into a minefield.

It was not immediately clear whether the growing death toll and increasing pressure on both sides would help or hinder international efforts to forge a cease-fire. Mr. Abbas was expected to meet on Sunday in Dohar, Qatar, with the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Qatari officials to discuss an Egyptian proposal for ending the fighting, according to Palestinian officials. Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas, is also based in Qatar.

The New York Times, "Both Sides Report Deadliest Day in Gaza War"

“I can’t… I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

43-year-old Staten Island resident ERIC GARNER, as a New York City police officer wrapped his arm around his neck and other officers knocked him to the sidewalk, one pushing his head violently into the concrete.  

Garner died at the scene; seconds before, he complained as the officers tried to arrest him for “breaking up a fight,” according to eyewitnesses.

God damn it.

(via the New York Daily News)

“We did warn you — do not fly in our sky. …a plane has just been downed somewhere around Torez, it lays there behind the ‘Progress’ mine. …And here is the video proving another ‘bird’ falling down. The bird went down behind a slagheap, not in a residential district. So no peaceful people were injured.”

Quote attributed to the VK.com account of pro-Russian commander IGOR STRELKOV, soon after the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight 17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew; the plane is believed to have been shot out of the sky with a missile.

VK.com is the Russian version of Facebook; the post was deleted after the plane was revealed to have been a civilian plane, not military.

And now Putin has blood on his civil warring hands.

A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday by a surface-to-air missile, American officials have confirmed. The plane was traveling at about 30,000 feet, according to tracking information from a military spy satellite. The satellite was unable to detect where exactly the missile was fired.

Military and intelligence analysts are using mathematical formulas, high-speed computers and other sensors to try to pin down the missile’s point of origin. Other analysts will work with the Ukrainian authorities to recover and analyze pieces of the missile and the aircraft to help determine what kind of missile was fired, the officials said.

The plane — Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — crashed and burned in an eastern Ukraine wheat field near the Russian border, in an area roiled by fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces. There were no known survivors. Ukrainian officials immediately called the crash an act of terrorism.

The furiously unfolding investigation centered on Ukrainian separatists or Russian troops as the missile operators. The Ukrainian authorities said they had intercepted communications that indicated separatist involvement. But the reason for the attack — whether it was a deliberate strike or a tragic accident — was unknown.

“What we still don’t know is what were they thinking,” one official said.

“This is truly a grave situation,” said Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. of the United States, speaking in Detroit. “It’s important we get to the bottom of this sooner than later because of the possible repercussions that can flow beyond from this, beyond the tragic loss of life.”

Ukraine’s president, Petro O. Poroshenko, called for an immediate investigation and asked the Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, to send experts to assist. “I would like to note that we are calling this not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act,” Mr. Poroshenko said.

Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, said, “If it transpires that the plane was, indeed, shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must be brought to justice.”

The New York Times, "Malaysian Jet Brought Down in Ukraine by Missile, U.S. Officials Say"

Jose Antonio Vargas, who has chronicled in minute detail the twists and turns of his life as a Filipino living illegally for years in the United States, was detained by the Border Patrol for most of the day on Tuesday and then released with a notice to appear before an immigration judge.

The detention of Mr. Vargas, probably the most high-profile leader of the immigrant rights movement, posed an awkward dilemma for the Obama administration. The surge of Central Americans, including many children, crossing the border illegally — saying they are fleeing criminal violence at home — has made all decisions about immigration politically fraught, and administration officials were keenly aware that the backdrop to their decision to release Mr. Vargas was a border where thousands of migrants are being held.

Mr. Vargas was detained at a Border Patrol checkpoint in the airport of this city in the Rio Grande Valley before he was to board a flight to Houston, on his way to Los Angeles. In a terse statement, Department of Homeland Security officials said they had released Mr. Vargas because he had no prior immigration or criminal record. They said their focus was on deporting immigrants who posed security threats.

It was the first time Mr. Vargas, who has been living without papers in the United States since 1993, had been arrested by immigration authorities. Lawyers assisting him said that they would seek to have the action against him suspended, and that it was unlikely he would be deported.

Mr. Vargas insisted that he never intended to be detained when he came to South Texas. But he and his supporters wasted no time turning his arrest into a day of high drama, using it to publicize their cause on social media and at a news conference in front of the Border Patrol station where he was held.

“I was released today because I am a low priority and not considered a threat,” Mr. Vargas said by telephone shortly after his release. “I would argue that the 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country are not a threat either.”

The New York Times, "Immigration Advocate, Detained on Texas Border, Is Released In Visa Case"