“The United Nations condemns the indiscriminate firing of rockets into civilian areas and calls on Israel to act with restraint,” said a statement issued by Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. “It is of paramount importance to refrain from violence in this tense atmosphere and for parties to work constructively in addressing the underlying issues,” said the statement, which referred to the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel yesterday and this morning. The latest rocket firings are another breach of the ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt in November that brought an end to eight days of violence in Gaza and Israel.Mr. Serry said the renewed violations of the ceasefire risk undermining the ‘understanding’ reached between Israel and Gaza in late November, and unravelling the gradual but tangible improvements achieved since then in the easing of the closure and the security situation in Gaza and southern Israel. “The United Nations will continue to support Egyptian efforts to restore the calm and fully implement the ceasefire understanding as the only viable way to address the unsustainable situation in Gaza.”Meanwhile, over 7,000 refugee families in Gaza will receive financial support from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) to repair and reconstruct homes damaged during the November conflict, with the help of $15.6 million donation by the Saudi Fund for Development. “We are very happy and pleased that only four months after the conflict and the damage or destruction of these shelters, we are able to distribute the cash subsidies to the affected 7,000 refugee families,” said Robert Turner, Director of UNRWA operations in Gaza. “We have never before been able to provide this scale of support for war-damaged refugees’ shelters in such a short time. We are very thankful for this quick and generous donation by the Saudi Fund for Development.”
THE FAMILY of late model Katy French has said it will be left “without a full picture” of the circumstances that surrounded her death in Co Meath in 2007.The statement came on the day that the two people were given suspended jail sentences after pleading guilty to charges of conspiring to supply drugs on the evening that French collapsed, falling into a coma from which she never recovered.Kieron Ducie, with an address at Kilmessan in Co Meath, and Ann Corcoran of Tolka Road, Dublin 3 had pleaded guilty to the charges at Trim Circuit Criminal Court last November.This lunchtime French’s mother Janet noted that the guilty pleas were the first time over five years that the pair had “stopped denying their involvement”.In a statement, the family said they were grateful for the efforts of the Gardaí to “get justice” for Katy’s death, but that they felt “saddened and angry” that a second charge against the pair – of endangerment to the 24-year-old model’s life – was not brought.“The DPP has explained their reasons, and we understand them, even though they are hard for the family to accept,” Janet French said.“We are now left without a full picture of what happened. We would have liked Kieron Ducie and Ann Corcoran to take the opportunity of the court case to give an explanation but they did not.”Only minor amounts of drugs or alcoholThe statement said tests performed on Katy’s body on arrival at Navan Hospital, where she died four days after falling into a coma, showed she had consumed alcohol equivalent to half a glass of wine – which she had taken at her mother’s home – and taken 0.8mg of cocaine, significantly less than any dose that could be considered lethal.“In the majority of reported cases lethal dosages are treatable,” Janet said. “Katy had less than 4 per cent [of] the lethal dosage, yet somehow this resulted in her death.”She added that no cocaine was found on Katy’s person, in her personal belongings or in her car, and that medical examinations showed no physical signs that could be attributed to recent or regular drug use.The statement further stressed that Ducie was not a friend of Katy’s, that she had travelled to Meath only to visit Ann Corcoran who was alone and unwell at the time, and that the family was “deeply hurt” by the way the media had portrayed Katy’s death.They said it was not true that French had been “binge drinking”, as had been claimed, nor that she had taken a “cocktail of drugs”, and that she had unfairly been portrayed as a “poster girl” for drug abuse simply because she had admitted to using cocaine in the past.No formal cause of death was ever established in French’s case.