News Briefing - Wednesday, October 11th 2023
From US Top News and Analysis
Israel-Hamas war live updates: First U.S. weapons arrive in Israel, Biden calls Hamas attack 'sheer evil'
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) has announced that the first plane carrying U.S. armaments has arrived in southern Israel. The IDF stated that the cooperation between the militaries of Israel and the United States is stronger than ever, and their common enemies are aware of this. In response, the al-Qassam armed wing of Hamas launched hundreds of missiles at the Israeli city of Ashkelon. Hamas claimed the attack was in retaliation for the displacement of civilians, and it occurred after the deadline they had given Ashkelon residents to evacuate had passed. Israel announced that it has regained control of the Gaza-Israel border after Hamas launched a surprise attack on southern Israel. As the violence continues, Israel has ordered a complete cutoff of water, electricity, and food to the already impoverished and blockaded population of Gaza. Hamas claims to have around 150 Israeli hostages, and efforts are underway to determine the number of foreign hostages held by Hamas. The death toll from the ongoing conflict has exceeded 1,800, with significant discrepancies in the numbers reported by Palestinian and Israeli health services.
Caroline Ellison took almost 30 seconds to recognize ex-boyfriend Sam Bankman-Fried as testimony begins
Caroline Ellison, the former head of Sam Bankman-Fried's crypto hedge fund, has testified in a criminal fraud case against the FTX founder, admitting that she and her ex-boss defrauded customers, investors, and lenders. Ellison, who pleaded guilty to multiple charges last December, including wire fraud and money laundering, has been cooperating with prosecutors as part of her plea deal. She detailed her crimes in court, stating that she committed fraud, conspired to commit fraud, and engaged in money laundering. Ellison's testimony began on Tuesday and is expected to continue for most of Wednesday. She provided a brief background of her relationship with Bankman-Fried, explaining that they initially met when she was an intern at Jane Street and that they later worked together at Alameda Research, where Bankman-Fried was her boss. Ellison was one of Bankman-Fried's early recruits to the hedge fund in 2017.
China's consumer spending isn't roaring back to pre-pandemic levels yet
Chinese residents have preferred to travel domestically due to economic uncertainty, according to Imke Wouters, a partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman. The firm surveyed affluent Chinese consumers and found that the "casual luxury shopper" was more cautious about the economy. However, when affluent consumers did travel domestically, a significant number chose to visit Hainan. The province is known for its duty-free shopping malls and natural scenery. Tourist visits to Hainan during the latest holiday increased by 15% compared to 2021, showcasing its popularity. China has been focusing on developing Hainan as a duty-free shopping center. Before the pandemic, many Chinese residents traveled to Europe and other countries to buy luxury goods. Although Chinese luxury spending has recovered to 80% of 2019 levels, spending in continental Europe is only about half of pre-pandemic figures. In contrast, tourists from the U.S. and Middle East are spending about 250% more on luxury goods in Europe compared to before the pandemic.
From BBC News - Home
Luton Airport flights suspended after large car park fire
Flights at Luton Airport in the UK have been suspended until afternoon on Wednesday, after a large fire broke out in a car park. The fire caused a "significant structural collapse" within the multi-storey building, leading to damage to an estimated 1,200 vehicles parked within. Two members of airport staff and four firefighters were taken to hospital, while firefighters and police have asked people not to travel to the airport. The airport has stated that its priority is the support of emergency services and the safety of passengers and staff. Footage of the fire showed large flames and smoke billowing from the top floor of the building. It is unclear how the fire started. Luton Airport is the UK's fifth largest, with more than 13 million passengers in 2017.
Birkenstock: Once-uncool sandal maker now worth billions
German sandal maker Birkenstock has seen its shares to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange following an initial public offering (IPO) that priced its shares at $46 per share, valuing the company at roughly $8.6bn. The IPO allowed L Catterton, the private equity firm owned by French luxury giant LVMH, which took a majority stake in the firm in 2021, to bring in nearly $1.5bn. However, Birkenstock plans to retain an 80% stake in the company, a sign that it does not believe its best days are behind it. Over the last decade, Birkenstock has gained a mass following, as a pandemic-era emphasis on comfort stoked growth. It sold around 30 million pairs of shoes last year.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Horseshoe crab wins gold
Laurent Ballesta has won the title of Wildlife Photographer of the Year with his image of a horseshoe crab. The golden marine arthropod is seen in waters off Pangatalan Island in the Philippines, with three small fish tracking its movements in the hope of finding food in the sediment. Ballesta becomes only the second photographer in WPY's history to win the competition twice. The horseshoe crab has survived for more than 100 million years but now faces habitat destruction and overfishing for food and for its blood, which is used in the development of vaccines. In a young marine reserve around Pangatalan Island, the horseshoe crab is getting the protection it needs. Category winners include Carmel Bechler, 17, from Israel, who won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year title, and Juan Jesús Gonzalez Ahumada from Spain, who won the Behaviour: Amphibians and Reptiles category.
From - RSS Channel - App International Edition
Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court will not be broadcast by news outlets, a judge has ruled. However, Judge Juan Merchan will allow some photographers to take pictures in the courtroom before the proceedings. The judge rejected media organizations' request to broadcast the arraignment, but he agreed to permit five pool photographers to take still photos at the beginning of the proceedings. Trump's lawyers had urged the judge to reject the media's request for live cameras. The arraignment is expected to bring the unsealing of criminal charges against Trump, stemming from an investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign to women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with him – allegations that he denies. His lawyers have stated that they will fight to have the charges dropped.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman provided insight into the motivations behind former President Donald Trump's attacks on a judge and his family during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Haberman explained that Trump's attacks were likely driven by a combination of frustration, a desire to delegitimize critics, and a need to deflect attention from his legal issues. Trump had been arraigned on felony charges, and by attacking the judge and his family, he sought to undermine their credibility and portray them as biased. Haberman pointed out that Trump often uses these types of personal attacks as a strategy to shift the focus away from his own legal troubles and onto the character of his opponents. In addition, Trump's attacks may have been driven by his frustration with the judge's decisions or perceived bias against him. Haberman's analysis sheds light on the tactics used by Trump to discredit his critics and regain control of the narrative.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first tranche of $2.7 billion from a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program aimed at supporting its economic recovery. The IMF recently approved a four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) worth around $15.6 billion, forming part of a $115 billion total support package for Ukraine. The program aims to promote stability and recovery, while also strengthening governance and institutions to facilitate long-term growth and Ukraine's path to EU accession. It also supports the implementation of structural reforms. The EFF loan is particularly significant as it marks the first major conventional financing program approved by the IMF for a country engaged in a large-scale war. However, the risks are deemed to be "exceptionally high," according to Gita Gopinath, the first deputy managing director of the IMF, who stressed the need for concessional financing to close funding gaps and restore debt sustainability.