In first, Syrian woman gives birth in Israeli hospital

Lazar Berman

For the first time, a Syrian refugee gave birth in an Israeli hospital on Sunday. The woman, a 20-year-old nurse, came across the border alone, and gave birth to a healthy 3.2-kilogram (7 pound) boy.

When the woman felt the baby coming, she was stuck in her home near Quneitra, with no access to a Syrian hospital and no medical care in the town. So she decided to take a huge risk for the sake of her unborn child, and made her way to the border.

“I feared for the baby’s welfare if the birth went through complications at home,” she said. “To my joy, the Israeli army saw I was suffering from terrible pains, and picked me up and transferred me to the hospital.”

When the IDF found her on the border Saturday night, she was already in labor. They brought her to Ziv Medical Center in Safed, where many of the dozens of Syrian medical cases brought into Israel are treated.

Since she came across the border with no family, midwives at the hospital took their place, holding her hands and coaching her through the birth. “At the end of the birth she thanked everyone and hugged everyone with joy,” one of the nurses said.

“The team of Israeli midwives and doctors treated me with sensitivity and respect,” noted the mother.

“She received warm and embracing care from the entire birthing staff,” said Mira Eli, a nurse in the birthing room at Ziv, “just like every mother needs — and even more.”

Read more at The Times Of Israel

Let there be light! Thanks to large mirrors, winter sun finally shines on Norwegian town

STAVANGER, Norway — Residents of the small Norwegian town of Rjukan have finally seen the light.

Tucked in between steep mountains, the town is normally shrouded in shadow for almost six months a year, with residents having to catch a cable car to the top of a nearby precipice to get a fix of midday vitamin D.

But on Wednesday faint rays from the winter sun for the first time reached the town’s market square, thanks to three 183-square-foot (17-square-meter) mirrors placed on a mountain.

Cheering families, some on sun loungers, drinking cocktails and waving Norwegian flags, donned shades as the sun crept from behind a cloud to hit the mirrors and reflect down onto the faces of delighted children below.

TV footage of the event showed the center of the crowded square light up a touch, but not as if hit by direct sunlight. Still, residents said the effect was noticeable.

“Before when it was a fine day, you would see that the sky was blue and you knew that the sun was shining. But you couldn’t quite see it. It was very frustrating,” said Karin Roe, from the local tourist office. “This feels warm. When there is no time to get to the top of the mountains on weekdays, it will be lovely to come out for an hour and feel this warmth on my face.”

Read more at The Washington Post