Israel calls for UN chief to resign

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Wednesday, 25th October 2023

The New York Times quotes Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, on Tuesday calling on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to resign, accusing him of “expressing an understanding” for the “terrorism and murder” of Hamas’ 7th October attacks on Israel. In comments to the UN Security Council earlier Tuesday, Guterres called for an immediate cease-fire and decried “clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza”. He said Palestinians had been subjected to decades of occupation, before adding: “It is important to also recognise the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.” Ambassador Erdan took the social media platform to say Guterres’ comments meant he was “not fit to lead the UN”. The UN chief’s remarks also angered Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who cancelled a planned meeting with Guterres after the clash.

Fuel shortage could halt Gaza Strip operations

Al-Hurriya reports the UN agency that looks after Palestinian refugees said it could be forced to halt operations in the Gaza Strip unless fuel is delivered to the territory. “If we do not get fuel urgently, we will be forced to halt our operations in the Gaza Strip as of [Wednesday] night,” UNRWA said on X, formerly Twitter. Aid groups in Gaza have sounded the alarm about the lack of fuel for vital services such as hospitals that rely on generators. Some 600,000 internally-displaced people in more than 150 shelters depend on assistance from UNRWA.

Photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90

Brussels draft plans to avoid pharmaceutical shortages

The European Commission presented a series of measures Tuesday to prevent future medicine shortages, including the immediate launch of a voluntary EU-wide solidarity mechanism for medicines. The move comes following reports last winter of stockouts among pharmacies, with France’s medicines safety agency recording over 3,700 reports of stockouts or risks of stockouts. “For this winter, we’re immediately setting up a new voluntary solidarity mechanism,” the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides told Euronews on Tuesday. “This will enable any Member States facing shortages to seek support from other Member States that may be able to share medicines if they have a sufficient supply,” she said

Poland’s opposition parties form coalition

In a substantial shift in Poland’s political landscape, opposition parties have resolved to form a coalition, promising to alter the trajectory of Poland’s future policies and governance. Warsaw Times says their decision to form a coalition government unfurls after a general election that saw them secure a majority of votes. United against the ruling party, these parties aim to embody their shared ideologies and policies, constructing a collective front in the face of political adversity. Donald Tusk, the opposition leader and former president of the European Council, has been nominated for prime minister. Tusk has already expressed his readiness to collaborate with the conservative president, urging swift decision-making to meet the Polish people’s expectations.

Photo credit: AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski

Ukraine clears final hurdle for EU accession talks

According to Kyiv Post, the Ukraine Parliament has passed a law that strengthens financial controls on politically-exposed persons, marking an important step towards opening accession negotiations with the European Union. This law is the final piece of a seven-part reform puzzle that Ukraine has been diligently assembling since securing its EU candidate status in June 2022. The European Commission will conduct a critical evaluation of Ukraine’s progress in November, when the Commission releases its annual enlargement report examining Ukraine’s reform efforts, gauging the country’s readiness to join the EU alongside other prospective members like Moldova and Georgia. President Zelenskyy has been a vocal advocate for swift progression towards EU membership.

US House speaker: third Republican nominee quits

Washington Post says the third Republican nominee for US House speaker in two weeks dropped out on Tuesday after failing to find enough support to win the gavel, plunging the paralysed lower chamber of Congress deeper into crisis. House Majority Whip Tom Emmer had narrowly won an internal Republican ballot to replace ousted speaker Kevin McCarthy – but quit hours later amid a backlash from the right wing of the party led by former president Donald Trump. Congress has been at a standstill and unable to address multiple global crises, as well as the fast approaching threat of a government shutdown, since McCarthy’s historic dismissal in a far-right rebellion on the 3rd October.

Photo credit: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Sipa USA

Putin’s not dying, Kremlin says

Politico reports the Kremlin has brushed off claims that Russian President Vladimir Putin is ill, after speculative media reports that he’d suffered a cardiac arrest. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also dismissed speculation that Putin has used body doubles to cover for him in public appearances. “Talk of Vladimir Putin’s health problems is another canard,” Peskov said, adding that “everything is fine with him”.

Photo credit: AFP via Getty Images

Polish bishop resigns after priestly sex party scandal

A Polish bishop, whose diocese was reportedly the scene of a sex party organised by priests at which Polish media say a male prostitute collapsed after taking erectile dysfunction pills, has resigned, Vatican Radio has announced. The statement did not give a reason for the resignation of Bishop Grzegorz Kaszak, saying only that the Pope had accepted it. Kaszak’s diocese in southwest Poland has been engulfed in scandal since reports emerged in September of an orgy at the home of a priest in the town of Dabrowa Gornicza.

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