UNGA resolution for ‘humanitarian truce’

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Saturday, 28th October 2023

The UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved a non-binding resolution drafted by Arab states Friday calling for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza leading to a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers. In what Arab World says was “the first United Nations response to the war”, the 193-member world body adopted the resolution by a vote of 120-14 with 45 abstentions after rejecting a Canadian amendment backed by the United States. Malta voted for the resolution.

UAE Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh, the Arab representative on the UN Security Council, expressed delight at the result. “A hundred and twenty votes in this kind of geopolitical environment is a very, very high signal of the support for international law, for proportionate use of force, and it is a rejection of the status quo that is currently happening on the ground,” she said. Unlike Security Council resolutions, General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding but Nusseibeh told reporters “they carry incredible weight and moral authority”. She said the 10 elected Security Council members, who serve two-year terms, will take the “moral authority” from the General Assembly and try to break the gridlock on a council resolution.

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: https://thejournal.mt/malta-leading-negotiations-on-gaza-resolution/?fbclid=IwAR0n09KIUz0vQPqdwkfLt8MiBMKeqewwlbA5Tiki-MmaN2qrKZZlSDjL_cI

Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Representative of Malta to the United Nations, addressing the UN General Assembly yesterday

Israel cuts off Gaza’s communications

Israel knocked out internet and communications in the Gaza Strip in stepped-up bombardment Friday night, largely cutting off its 2.3 million people from contact with each other and the outside world and creating a near-blackout of information, as the military said it was “expanding” ground operations in the territory. According to Al Jazeera, explosions from continuous airstrikes lit up the sky over Gaza City for hours after nightfall. The Palestinian telecom provider, Paltel, said the bombardment caused “complete disruption” of internet, cellular, and landline services. Some satellite phones continued to function.

Photo credit: AP/Abed Khaled

US, China agree to work towards an expected Biden-Xi summit

The Washington Post reports the United States and China have agreed to work together toward an expected summit between presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping next month, US officials said on Friday, following hours of meetings between Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi and senior US diplomats in Washington. In the first visit by a Chinese Foreign Minister to Washington since 2018, veteran diplomat Wang Yi also met Biden for an hour, talks that the White House described as a “good opportunity” in keeping lines of communication open between the two geopolitical rivals which have deep policy differences.

Photo credit: Alex Brandon / AP

Maine shooting suspect found dead

Robert Card, the suspect in the mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, that left at least 18 dead and 13 more injured, has been found dead. The news comes after a three-day manhunt spanning several Maine cities. Card is believed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press. A massive manhunt and Wednesday night, authorities urged locals to act with extreme caution.

Case of prominent priest accused of abuse to be reopened

Pope Francis has ordered a review of the Church’s handling of the case of an internationally-known religious artist who was expelled from the Jesuit religious order after being accused of sexual, psychological and spiritual abuse of adult women. Osservatore Romano quotes a statement saying the Pope had asked the Vatican’s doctrinal office to review the case of Father Marko Ivan Rupnik and had lifted any statute of limitations that would apply so that a complete process could take place. About 25 people, mostly former nuns, have accused Rupnik of various types of abuse, either when he was a spiritual director of a community of nuns in his native Slovenia about 30 years ago or since he moved to Rome to pursue his career as an artist. The Jesuit Order acknowledged that he had been banned in 2019 from hearing confessions and leading spiritual retreats.

Daughter’s 25-word name is ‘too long’

A Spanish duke has been told he can’t register the birth of his daughter unless he shortens her 25-word long name. Sofía Fernanda Dolores Cayetana Teresa Ángela de la Cruz Micaela del Santísimo Sacramento del Perpetuo Socorro de la Santísima Trinidad y de Todos Los Santos was baptised on 7th October – but her rule-breaking long name has caused a stir at the Civil Registry. Spanish aristocrat Fernando Fitz-James Stuart, 33, and Sofía Palazuelo, 31, had to learn the hard way that their child’s name cannot be more than “one compound name” and “two simple ones”, El País has reported.

Photo credit: Jose Oliva/Europa Press via Getty

Rugby World Cup 2023 final tonight

New Zealand will squeeze past South Africa in an “incredibly tight” Rugby World Cup final, BBC Sport quotes England’s 2003 World Cup winner Paul Grayson. Tonight’s final in Paris pits New Zealand’s creativity and flair against the physical power of defending champions South Africa. “You might only get two chances in a World Cup final,” Grayson told the Rugby Union Daily podcast. “In the form they have shown you would not bet against New Zealand.” Ian Foster’s side lost their opening game to France but bounced back with three big pool-stage wins before beating Ireland and Argentina in the knockout stage. South Africa also finished second in their pool after a narrow 13-8 defeat by Ireland, before one-point victories over France and England in the knockout stage (live transmission of TVM Sport Channel at 9 pm). Meanwhile, England finished the World Cup in third place with a tense 26-23 victory over Argentina.

Main photo credit: Evan Schneider/UN/Handout via Xinhua

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