Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad chiefs discuss ‘victory’

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Thursday, 26th October 2023

Al Jazeersa quotes a statement by Hezbollah saying the head of Lebanon’s Hezbollah armed group has met top Palestinian armed group leaders from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, discussing what their alliance must do to achieve an “all-out victory” over Israel. The statement said Wednesday’s meeting involved Hezbollah’s Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hamas deputy chief Saleh al-Arouri and Islamic Jihad chief Ziad al-Nakhala, without mentioning the location. “The leaders tackled latest developments since the start of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood and the events that followed on all fronts, including the confrontations across the border between Lebanon and the occupied Palestine,” Lebanese state media Al-Manar quoted the statement as saying.

Israel-Hamas war already affecting regional economies

The raging war between Israel and Hamas is already battering the economies of nearby countries, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)told a Saudi investor forum on Wednesday. Daily Trust quotes Kristalina Georgieva saying, “You look at the neighbouring countries – Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan – there the channels of impact are already visible.” She was speaking at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Georgieva spoke one day after Wall Street warned the war could deal a heavy blow to the global economy, especially if it draws in other countries. Georgieva pointed out that uncertainty is a killer for tourist inflows, investors and insurance and increases  the risks of even more refugees in countries that are already accepting more.

Photo credit: Fayez Nureldine / AFP

‘Starvation as a weapon’ against civilians in Gaza

Oxfam has described the situation in Gaza as “horrific” with millions being “collectively punished in full view of the world”. The Guardian quotes Oxfam saying, “There can be no justification for using starvation as a weapon of war. World leaders cannot continue to sit back and watch, they have an obligation to act.” The UK-based charity noted under international humanitarian law it is strictly prohibited to use starvation as a “method of warfare”. Israel has imposed a “total blockade” on the Strip and it has exhausted its supplies of food, water. and fuel.

Photo: Oxfam

Meloni calls for a more lenient EU stability pact

Il Tempo reports Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has called on the European Union to focus more on growth than on stability in drafting its new fiscal rules, saying investments in defence and aid to Ukraine should be stripped from deficit calculations. The EU’s fiscal rules, suspended since 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are due to return next year with amendments now being negotiated by governments.

A child costs an Italian family €500 a month

A child costs Italian couples almost €500 a month – precisely €462 – a figure which is also perceived as increasing by 15 per cent compared to just a year ago. It is the Findomestic Observatory that takes stock of the concerns of Italians in this period of economic and geopolitical turbulence. The high costs of supporting a child discourage people from starting a family, and it is no coincidence that they are cited in every survey that tries to understand the reasons behind the demographic winter that Italy has been experiencing for years. The Observatory highlights that among those who do not have children today, four out of 10 do not even intend to have them.

Staunch Louisiana conservative elected House speaker

The New York Times says Republicans unanimously elected Mike Johnson as House speaker on Wednesday, eagerly elevating a deeply-conservative but lesser-known leader to the major seat of US power and ending for now the weeks of political chaos in their majority. Johnson, 51, of Louisiana, swept through on the first ballot with support from all Republicans anxious to put the past weeks of tumult behind and get on with the business of governing. He was quickly sworn into office, second in line to the presidency. ”The people’s House is back in business,” Johnson declared after taking the gavel.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Nathan Howard

Trump fined $10,000 for violating court gag order

CNN says former US President Donald Trump was fined $10,000 (€9,500) for violating a gag order (an official order not to discuss a legal case) during a court appearance in a New York fraud trial Wednesday. Trump allegedly told one of Judge Arthur Engoron’s clerks during a trial break: “This judge is a very partisan judge, with a person who’s very partisan sitting beside him, perhaps even much more partisan than he is.” Engoron, who is overseeing Trump’s civil fraud trial, called Trump’s statement a “blatant” violation of his gag order. It is the second time Trump has violated the gag order. Just last week, Trump was fined $5,000 (€4,700) for violating the order for the first time after leaving a social media post online maligning the judge’s principal law clerk. Judge Engoron has already found Trump and his business fraudulently inflated and deflated the value of properties depending on whether he was dealing with investors or tax authorities.

Photo credit: Stephanie Keith/Bloomberg

Main photo credit: Fayez Nureldine / AFP

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