Global News Digest – 16th October 2023

Today's world news, in a nutshell.


Israel-Gaza war

Reuters reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his country’s expanded emergency cabinet for the first time Sunday, saying the national unity on display sent a message at home and abroad as the country geared up to “demolish Hamas” in Gaza. The meeting, held in military headquarters in Tel Aviv, began with ministers standing for a moment’s silence in memory of some 1,300 Israelis killed in Hamas’ shock October 7 onslaught.


One million residents of Gaza have been displaced during the past week, since Israel began bombarding the area after the Hamas attacks, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) said. Communications Director Juliette Touma told DW the displaced had been moving “all over the Gaza Strip”. Israel has been urging Gaza’s roughly 2.3 million citizens to move southward, particularly out of Gaza City, as it prepares for a ground offensive.


A group of US senators will travel to the Middle East to encourage Israel and Saudi Arabia to continue talks on normalising relations, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham told NBC’s “Meet the Press”. Graham said he will go to Saudi Arabia and Israel in “coming days” with a group of senators to urge the US-backed deal to move forward after the Hamas attack on Israel upended negotiations. “There’s a desire by both parties to move forward,” on the plan, Graham said.


The United States has said it feared an escalation of the war between Israel and Hamas and the prospect of Iran getting directly involved. Speaking on CBS, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan cited the possibility of a new battle front on the Israel-Lebanon border and added, “We can’t rule out that Iran would choose to get directly engaged in some way. We have to prepare for every possible contingency.” Iran is a long-time backer of the militant group Hamas and of Hezbollah in Lebanon, providing them funding and weapons.
President al-Sisi of Egypt has told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that Israel’s reaction to Hamas’ attack went beyond self-defence and amounted to collective punishment. In televised comments during a meeting with Blinken in Cairo Sunday, Sisi also said he rejects the targeting of any civilians in the ongoing conflict.

Poland

Polish opposition leader Donald Tusk declared the beginning of a new era for his country after opposition parties appeared to have won enough votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election to oust the governing nationalist conservative party. Gazeta Wyborcza says that if the result predicted by an exit poll holds, Law and Justice won but also lost. It got more seats than any other party but not enough to be able to lead a government that can pass laws in the legislature. The Ipsos exit poll suggested that Law and Justice obtained 200 seats. Its potential partner, the far-right Confederation got 12 seats – a showing the party acknowledged was a defeat. It also showed that three opposition parties have likely won a combined 248 seats in the 460-seat lower house of parliament, the Sejm. The largest of the groups is Civic Coalition, led by Tusk, a former prime minister and former EUpresident. It won 31.6 percent of votes.

Ukraine

Russian forces have made gains in their Ukraine offensive, President Vladimir Putin said Sunday, including in Avdiivka, a symbolic industrial hub where fighting has been fierce. Ukrainian forces say they continue to repel Moscow’s troops in the area.

Ecuador

Daniel Noboa, will become Ecuador’s next president after defeating Luisa Gonzalez in a run-off vote on Sunday. The son of a banana baron, the 35-year-old Noboa has promised to to “restore peace” to violence-plagued Ecuador. Gonzalez conceded defeat and congratulated Noboa on his wining 52 per cent of the votes

Afghanistan

Two powerful earthquakes struck Herat province in northwestern Afghanistan early Sunday, jolting a region already hit by three major quakes over the past eight days that have killed more than 1,000 people. According to the US Geological Survey, the epicentre of the magnitude 6.3 and 5.4 temblors struck around 20 miles northwest of Herat City, the provincial capital and a major economic hub near the country’s border with Iran. At least two people died and more than 150 people were injured in Sunday’s quakes.

Sir Michael Caine retires

Veteran British actor Sir Michael Caine has confirmed he has retired from acting after the release of his latest film. The Oscar, Golden Globe and Bafta-winning actor has an extensive filmography. Sir Michael, 90, told the BBC: “I keep saying I’m going to retire. Well I am now. I’ve figured, I’ve had a picture where I’ve played the lead and had incredible reviews… What am I going to do that will beat this? The only parts I’m liable to get now are 90-year-old men. Or maybe 85,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. His announcement comes a month before his novel, Deadly Game, is scheduled for release. Sir Michael has appeared in more than 160 films over a career that has spanned seven decades. In his final film, The Great Escaper which was released on October 6, he plays real-life World War Two veteran Bernie Jordan who escaped from a care home to attend D-Day celebrations in France.

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