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Follow these rules for a great night’s sleep

tatyanaBuzmakova_Krasnova (CC0), Pixabay

Sheets and pillowcases ought to be washed once a week. It’s a good idea to do it on a specific day; that way it becomes part of your routine.

A 60C cycle is best for cottons, particularly if you have an asthma-related condition (anything below this temperature probably won’t kill dust mites).

Duvets should be washed once a year. A single size can usually go in the washing machine but anything bigger will have to be taken to the launderette. Make sure it’s completely dried before using again, if particularly down- or feather-filled. And dry quickly because if not the feathers can go mouldy, which will give a nasty smell you’ll never get rid of. Avoid dry-cleaning duvets because the solvent will leave a residue on the feathers.

Pillows will be filled with either feather, down or synthetic material. See the label for wash instructions, but normally you’ll be able to wash two at a time. Once or twice a year will be enough. Again, dry thoroughly and as quickly as possible to avoid mould. You may notice a difference in the weight post-wash! Pillow protectors are well worth using between washes.

Headboards can take on marks where a greasy head has been in contact. If it’s fabric, spot clean with an upholstery cleaner, but don’t overwet or you could end up with watermarks. If veneer or vinyl, wipe with warm soapy water and dry with a clean cotton cloth.

The space under the bed will get very dusty so pull out everything about once a month, and move the bed to one side to vacuum thoroughly. This will keep moths and carpet beetles away, and the dustmites under control.

Mattresses can end up looking pretty nasty. Unless the label says ‘Do not turn’, turn it over every three months to extend its life (and your comfort). Vacuuming it will make a huge difference to reducing the dustmite population. If you don’t have one already, use a mattress protector (waterproof for young children or anyone with incontinence problems). To remove stains, use a foamy mix of hand-wash detergent. Don’t overwet. Make sure it is completely dry before making up the bed again (use a hairdryer to speed things up). If there are any nasty smells there, sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, leave a few hours then vacuum off.

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What more conflict lies ahead in Gaza?

 

 

A weekly guide to the breaking news for defence of the UK and abroad.

w/c 8th August 2022

 

There has been yet another flare-up in the Gaza Strip after Israeli forces killed the leader of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Khaled Monsour, in an air strike on the refugee camp in Rafah in southern Gaza. This was followed by the arrest and detention of dozens of PIJ members by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

Predictably, PIJ retaliated by launching a barrage of an estimated 200 plus rockets and mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Most of these seem to have been knocked down by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system or fell into open desert. Matters then escalated further when Israel killed another PIJ leader, Tayseer Jabari, who died along with another thirty-one Palestinians over the weekend. The total number of missiles fired in retaliation jumped to some 600.

Interestingly, there was no action taken against Hamas, the de facto governing authority in the Gaza Strip, with whom the Israelis have had numerous clashes in the past. Hamas has been deemed a terrorist organisation by the USA, UK, EU, and various other governments around the world, but it did not engage in this most recent upsurge in violence despite some casualties suffered by its members.

Indeed, Hamas encouraged the PIJ to participate in the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which now seems to have brought peace to the region. But until Israel and the various Palestinian factions agree to a compromise solution to the seemingly endless conflict between them, there is a continuing risk of further outbreaks of fighting. Such a compromise still appears to be a long way off.

China–Taiwan Stand-Off

A weekly guide to the breaking news for defence of the UK and abroad.

w/c 8th August 2022

 

What are we to make of US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and the subsequent rumpus?  Eighty-two year old Pelosi was the first senior representative of the US administration to visit Taiwan over the last twenty-five years and she made the trip in the face of fierce opposition from the Chinese government and even against the expressed wishes of President Biden. Clearly nobody tells her what to do!

The US government’s policy towards China has often been described as one of strategic ambiguity; it officially recognises the Chinese government under President Xi Jinping whilst supporting Taiwan militarily and economically. Others have characterised its policy as one of strategic confusion, and there was much rowing back by White House officials after their Presidents assertion on three separate occasions that if China attempted to invade Taiwan the USA would intervene.

Taiwan is important internationally because it manufacture’s something like eighty per cent of the world’s computer chips. The thought of China gaining control of such a near monopoly does not bear thinking about. It is also of more immediate importance to the US and its allies in the region – _ Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia to name but a few – because it’s at the centre of the inner ring of island nations which is seen to curtail China’s expansionist ambitions.

The Chinese government’s reaction to Speaker Pelosi’s visit has been like that of a baby having a tantrum and throwing all of its toys out of its pram. Military exclusion zones have been declared just off Taiwan, ballistic missiles have been fired into the sea near Taiwan and Japan, naval vessels have patrolled and fighter jets have carried out practice attacks. And, although many commentators are near hysterical in their doomsday predictions, the Taiwanese themselves seem non-plussed.

The truth of the matter is that even for the mighty Peoples’ Liberation Army (PLA), the two million-strong military wing of the Chinese Communist Party, launching an assault across the eighty mile wide Taiwan Strait that separates the island from mainland China is fraught with difficulties and danger. The PLA has neither the doctrine, training, or experience of such an operation, which in the face of predictably fierce Taiwanese resistance would make D Day look like a paddle along the shoreline.

China has never governed Taiwan, which it regards as a wayward province which needs to be brought back into the fold, in modern times. The Taiwanese for their part have no wish to go down the route of Hong Kong and be subsumed by Communist China. This festering sore of a stand-off will persist for some time yet

 

Death of Ayman al-Zawahiri

A weekly guide to the breaking news for defence of the UK and abroad.

w/c 8th August 2022

 

 

One should never rejoice in the demise of a fellow human being but it’s difficult not to agree that Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al’Quaeda, got what was coming to him. The long-serving former second in command to Usama bin Laden met his maker when two US Hellfire missiles slammed into his balcony in Kabul where he was taking the early morning air and now he is no more. Those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword, and few tears will be shed.

That he was a baddy there is no doubt. As second-in-command to Usama bin Laden his fingerprints were all over some infamous terrorist attacks including the suicide boat attack on the American destroyer USS Cole in October 2000 while she was in harbour at Aden. Seventeen US sailors were killed and another thirty-seven injured. And, of course, he was involved in the planning for 9/11.

It took ten years to track down and eliminate bin Laden and eleven years to do the same with al-Zawahiri. Both men were careful in their movements and stayed away from satellite phones and internet communications which might have given away their whereabouts. And yet the US tracked both of them down eventually. In bin Laden’s case they followed the courier he used to deliver messages to his followers back to his lair in Abbottabad in Pakistan. Al-Zawahiri was spotted by agents on the ground in Kabul, or so it seems.

What does this tell us? Well, first, that being an international terrorist militates against living a long and happy life. Most are either killed or captured in the fullness of time, and it tends to be a short career. But, more importantly perhaps, it tells us that there are few hiding places and that the long arm of international justice will get them in the end. It’s not a career path that I would recommend.

Crawford’s International Defence Review w/c 8th August 2022

Death of Ayman al-Zawahiri

 One should never rejoice in the demise of a fellow human being but it’s difficult not to agree that Ayman al-Zawahiri, leader of al’Quaeda, got what was coming to him. The long-serving former second in command to Usama bin Laden met his maker when two US Hellfire missiles slammed into his balcony in Kabul where he was taking the early morning air and now he is no more. Those who live by the sword tend to die by the sword, and few tears will be shed.

What does this tell us? Well, first, that being an international terrorist militates against living a long and happy life. Most are either killed or captured in the fullness of time, and it tends to be a short career. But, more importantly perhaps, it tells us that there are few hiding places and that the long arm of international justice will get them in the end. It’s not a career path that I would recommend.

China–Taiwan Stand-Off

Eighty-two year old Pelosi was the first senior representative of the US administration to visit Taiwan over the last twenty-five years and she made the trip in the face of fierce opposition from the Chinese government and even against the expressed wishes of President Biden.  Taiwan is important internationally because it manufacture’s something like eighty per cent of the world’s computer chips. It is also of  importance to the US and its allies in the region – _ Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Australia because it’s at the centre of the inner ring of island nations which is seen to curtail China’s expansionist ambitions.

The US government’s policy towards China has often been described as one of strategic ambiguity; it officially recognises the Chinese government under President Xi Jinping whilst supporting Taiwan militarily and economically. Military exclusion zones have been declared just off Taiwan, ballistic missiles have been fired into the sea near Taiwan and Japan, naval vessels have patrolled and fighter jets have carried out practice attacks.  This festering sore of a stand-off will persist for some time yet

Gaza

Israeli forces killed the leader of the militant Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Khaled Monsour, in an air strike on the refugee camp in Rafah in southern Gaza. This was followed by the arrest and detention of dozens of PIJ members by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). PIJ retaliated by launching a barrage of an estimated 200 plus rockets and mortar rounds from the Gaza Strip into Israel. And yet, there was no action taken against Hamas which has been deemed a terrorist organisation by the USA, UK, EU, and various other governments around the world. Hamas encouraged the PIJ to participate in the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which now seems to have brought peace to the region. But until Israel and the various Palestinian factions agree to a compromise solution to the conflict between them, the risk of further outbreaks of fighting looms large