Gaza war enters ‘long and hard’ second stage

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Sunday, 29th October 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Israeli military unleashed the second phase of the war as they pressed ground operations against Hamas militants in Gaza. Times of Israel reports that, addressing a news conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said Israel’s aims for the war were clear: “destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities and returning the hostages home”. He added that the war will be “long and hard” but Israel is ready as it is “our second war of independence”. The Health Ministry in Gaza said the number of people who died in the enclave has now crossed the 8,000 mark, half of whom were children.

UN Security Council to meet on Monday

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will meet on Monday following Israel’s expanded ground operations in Gaza, reported news agency Reuters, citing diplomats. The United Arab Emirates asked the UN security council on Saturday to meet “as soon as possible” following Israel’s communication blackout across Gaza and its expanded ground operation. Earlier, two draft resolutions proposed by Russia and the US on the ongoing war had failed to pass at the UNSC. The resolution was not adopted because permanent council members Russia and China vetoed it. The Russian resolution wasn’t adopted because it failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes.  The US and UK voted against, and nine countries abstained.

In the meantime, Malta is working closely with the other nine non-permanent, elected Member States of the UNSC on a text for a resulution they hope can garner consensus and address the dire situation on the ground in Gaza. The move came on Malta’s initiative after repeated failures to pass resolutions on the Israeli war on Gaza at the UNSC. Read more:

Photo credit: Bebeto Matthews/AP Photo

Mahmolud Abbas calls for emergency Arab summit

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has, meanwhile, called upon the leaders of Arab countries to convene an emergency summit to halt “this cruel aggression against the Palestinian people and their cause, address regional and international challenges, and work towards enabling Palestinians to stay in their land and ending the occupation”. Al Jazeera says that, during a meeting of the PLO Executive Committee, Abbas called on the international community to exert pressure on Israel to halt the Palestinian bloodshed, adding that the people of Gaza were facing “genocidal massacres by Israel in full watch of the international community”.

Pope says it’s “urgent” to guarantee governance roles for women

Addressing a big gathering of Catholic bishops and laypeople on Saturday, Pope Francis said it was “urgent” to guarantee fuller participation of women in Church governance positions and called for research on allowing women to be deacons to be released within a year. After a month of closed-door debate, Francis’ Synod of Bishops on the future of the Catholic Church ended late Saturday with the approval of a 42-page text on a host of issues that will now be considered at a second session next year. CBS News notes none of the proposals is binding, as they are merely offered for Francis to consider. Each paragraph passed with the necessary two-thirds majority, but the ones involving women and priestly celibacy obtained the most “no” votes.

Photo credit: CNS/Vatican Media

Trump on Pence’s 2024 Presidential race exit

The Olympian quotes former President Trump saying his former vice president should endorse him. “People are leaving now and they’re all endorsing me,” Trump said at an event in Las Vegas, referring to Republican candidates exiting the 2024 presidential race. Pence was Trump’s former running mate for both his 2016 and 2020 campaigns and strongly stood by the former President throughout the majority of his four-year term. However, when Pence refused to help overturn the 2020 election for his former boss, their relationship soured. Pence announced he was dropping out of the 2024 presidential primary race Saturday. “It’s become clear to me it’s not my time,” Pence said during a speech at the Republican Jewish Coalition Conference.

Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Friends’ Matthew Perry dies at 54

Matthew Perry, one of the stars of smash hit TV sitcom “Friends”, was found dead at his home Saturday, US media reported. He was 54. Law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times Perry was found unconscious in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home by first responders. They were unable to revive him. Perry was best known for his portrayal of the wise-cracking Chandler Bing on NBC’s wildly popular show, which ran for 10 seasons from 1994 to 2004. Perry had battled for years with addiction to painkillers and alcohol and attended rehabilitation clinics on multiple occasions.

Photo credit: NBC/Getty Images

South Africa world rugby champions

South Africa has confirmed itself as world rugby champions, beating New Zealand 12-11 in the final played in Paris last night. For the Springboks it is the fourth world title – a record, after the historic one won at home in 1995, that of 2007 and the previous one in 2019. All of South Africa’s points were scored by Pollard from a set piece, while the All Blacks – who played for a long time with one man down following the dismissal of their captain, Sam Cane, in the first half, scored a try through Beauden Barrett, unconverted, and two kicks with Mounga.

Main photo credit: AFP

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