‘Trump of Argentina’ wins presidential election

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Monday, 20th November 2023

Javier Milei, a volatile far-right libertarian who has vowed to “exterminate” inflation, has been elected President of Argentina. With nearly 95 per cent of votes counted, Milei, nicknamed El Loco (the madman) and who is often compared to Donald Trump and Brazil’s former president Jair Bolsanaro, had secured nearly 55.8 per cent of the vote compared to his rival’s 44.2 per cent. Milei’s rival, the centre-left finance minister Sergio Massa, conceded defeat on Sunday night. Massa said he had called Milei to congratulate him on his victory and would retire from frontline politics. Pro-Milei activists posted videos of celebrations on the streets of Buenos Aires as they rejoiced at the triumph of their 53-year-old leader, who they describe as an economic visionary poised to lead Argentina out of one of the country’s worst economic crises in decades. Milei’s win drew congratulations from other South American leaders, including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and Bolsanaro who had championed his campaign and has promised to attend his inauguration. A few minutes after Milei’s victory was made official, the US ambassador to Buenos Aires, Marc R. Stanley, “rejoiced with him and with the Argentine people” and published a photo of him shaking Milei’s hand under the US and Argentine flags. Milei will take office on 10th December.

Trump wins over Biden in NBC poll for the first time

For the first time, former US President Donald Trump has surpassed President Biden in a national general election NBC News survey. Donald Trump, who has been edging out President Biden in a trove of recent national surveys, eked out a slim lead over his successor – 46 to 44 per cent – and strikingly eclipsed the incumbent among younger voters. A staggering 70 per cent of younger voters said they disapproved of Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Hamas conflict. Overall, 40 per cent of registered voters approved of the president’s performance in office, compared to 57 per cent who disapproved – marking the lowest approval rating recorded by NBC for Biden during his time in the White House.

Zelensky fires the commander of the Medical Forces

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has fired the commander of the Medical Forces Command, Tetiana Ostashchenko. According to local media, Ostashchenko was fired following repeated requests to do so from Ukrainian paramedics and volunteers. MP Solomiia Bobrovska said in July that the Medical Forces Command had not purchased any first aid kits in 2023 and that those provided through international aid had not been properly checked. “We need a totally new level of medical support for our soldiers,” Zelensky said in a speech to the nation.

Photo credit: Europa Press/Contacto/Kirill Chubotin

China ready to work for peace in the Middle East

China is willing to work to help “restore peace in the Middle East as soon as possible” and “to rapidly cool the situation in Gaza”, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in his opening speech in Beijing on the occasion of the meeting with a delegation of foreign policy officials from Arab and Muslim-majority countries, which was surprisingly announced on Sunday. Those present include the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Indonesia, Egypt, and Palestine, as well as the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Hissein Brahim Taha. The Palestinian Authority, which is internationally recognised, controls parts of the occupied West Bank but has no control over Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas, the latter being classified as a terrorist organisation by the US, the EU, Germany, and others.

Photo credit: AFP

Europe prepares to send aid to  Gaza from Cyprus

Preparations are underway to use Cyprus as a launching pad for European countries to send humanitarian aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Cyprus is already home to a command centre used by 21 countries to evacuate their citizens from crisis areas. The government of Cyprus said Israel will not oppose the plan to use this facility to dispatch aid, so long as its officials could check what is loaded onto ships. The main technical barrier is that the only port in Gaza has not been fully functional since the beginning of Israel and Egypt’s blockade of the strip in 2007. One proposal involves creating a floating, temporary port off the coast of Gaza. The Red Cross said it is in talks with the Cypriot government and can move quickly.

Photo credit: DW

IDF shares footage of ‘Hamas tunnel under al-Shifa Hospital’

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has shared footage of what it said was a Hamas tunnel underneath the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza. Hamas maintains a network of tunnels in Gaza but denies that they are located under hospitals or other civilian sites. “IDF troops exposed a 55-metre-long terror tunnel 10 metres deep underneath the al-Shifa hospital complex,” the Israeli military said on social media on Sunday. The IDF statement said its forces found weapons and munitions inside the tunnel, which led to a blast-proof door but did not provide further information on what was beyond the door. Israeli troops and security forces, he explained, “are continuing to discover the route of the tunnel”.

Photo credit: IDF

8 dead in raid on Indonesian hospital in Gaza

Palestinian media say at least eight people have been killed at an Indonesian hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, with Israeli forces reportedly shelling and surrounding the medical facility. Among the victims were patients and people seeking shelter. Local news reports say that the hospital lacks power and that Israeli forces are shooting anyone who tries to leave the facility.

Premature babies evacuated from al-Shifa hospital

More than 30 premature babies have been evacuated from Gaza’s largest hospital and are now in the south of the territory. The UN has described the besieged al-Shifa hospital as a death zone, days after Israeli troops stormed the medical complex, looking for a command centre of the Islamist militant Hamas group. Meanwhile, a UN team said Sunday that 291 patients were left at Gaza’s largest hospital after Israeli troops had others evacuate. Those left included 32 babies in extremely critical condition, trauma patients with severely infected wounds, and others with spinal injuries who are unable to move. The team was able to tour Shifa Hospital for an hour after about 2,500 displaced people, mobile patients, and medical staff left the sprawling compound, said the World Health Organisation, which led the mission. “Patients and health staff with whom they spoke were terrified for their safety and health, and pleaded for evacuation,” the agency said, describing Shifa as a death zone.

Photo credit: WHO

‘13,000 dead in Gaza – more than 5,500 minors’

The government of the Islamist movement Hamas announced today that 13,000 people have been killed in Israeli bombardments on the Gaza Strip since the war began on 7th October. Among the deaths recorded so far there are more than 5,500 minors and 3,500 women, it said. Furthermore, 30,000 people were injured, a figure unchanged from the day before.

Main photo credit: The New York Times

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