News Briefing - Monday, October 16th 2023
From US Top News and Analysis
Israel-Hamas war live updates: Iran warns war could expand; China says Gaza offensive is 'beyond self-defense'
The UN Palestinian refugee agency has warned that it will be unable to continue humanitarian operations in the Gaza Strip unless new supplies are allowed into the besieged enclave. Israel's military has been urging residents to move from northern Gaza to the south and has promised to counter Hamas with "an even greater force." The evacuation orders have faced criticism from many humanitarian agencies. After negotiations between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Joe Biden, it was decided to renew water supplies to parts of southern Gaza. The UN has warned that the lack of water and fuel in Gaza has become a matter of life or death. China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has urged Israel to end its collective punishment of Palestinians, saying that "Israel's actions have gone beyond self-defense." Meanwhile, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced that the Senate will swiftly push through a military aid package to help Israel in its fight against Hamas. The US Embassy in Israel is facilitating the departure of Americans and their immediate family members from Haifa to Cyprus.
Rite Aid files for bankruptcy amid slowing sales, opioid litigation
Rite Aid, the American drugstore chain, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in New Jersey as it seeks to restructure and reduce its debt. The company plans to evaluate its retail footprint and close underperforming locations as part of its restructuring plan. To support its turnaround efforts, Rite Aid has secured $3.45 billion in new funding from lenders. The company has been facing challenges such as declining sales, mounting debt, and lawsuits alleging its involvement in the opioid epidemic. In its most recent quarter, Rite Aid reported falling revenue and widening losses. As a result, it lowered its fiscal 2024 outlook and warned of expected losses for the full year. Jeffrey Stein has been appointed as the new CEO and chief restructuring officer, with the aim of strengthening Rite Aid's foundation and positioning it for long-term success.
The UK Labour Party has a Biden-esque economic plan — but it's very different to Bidenomics
The UK's Labour Party, the main opposition party, has laid out its economic platform for the upcoming general election. Labour leader Keir Starmer emphasized investment in clean energy transition, stating that it would create half a million jobs and power economic growth while achieving climate goals. Starmer argued that clean British energy is cheaper than foreign fossil fuels, leading to lower bills and increased competitiveness. The party's Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves, proposed an economic plan known as "securonomics," which focuses on bottom-up growth and echoes U.S. President Joe Biden's economic philosophy. Reeves aims to rebuild Britain and attract business investment in emerging technologies through a new national wealth fund, combining public money with private investment. Additionally, she plans to streamline the planning system to speed up infrastructure projects and unlock £50 billion ($61 billion) of private investment. Labour's proposed national wealth fund draws inspiration from President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act.
From BBC News - Home
Khan Younis: A Gaza city on its knees, now with a million mouths to feed
The city of Khan Younis in Gaza is facing a dire humanitarian crisis as it struggles to shelter and feed the hundreds of thousands of people who have fled there from northern Gaza. The population of the city has more than doubled from 400,000 to over a million overnight as people escape the violence and bombings in the north. Scarce resources such as food, water, and medical supplies are running out fast, and the main hospital in Khan Younis is now serving as a refuge for the injured and sick. Schools and homes are also filled beyond capacity, with people having to share cramped living conditions. The situation is catastrophic, with the city continuing to be bombed and invaded by the Israeli military, and the possibility of starvation and thirst looming. At present, the only way out of Gaza is through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, but it remains closed, leaving one million refugees stuck and waiting for a chance to leave. However, once the crossing does open, chaos and a new humanitarian disaster are likely to ensue.
Polish election: Right-wing ruling party to lose majority - exit poll
Poland's right-wing populist Law and Justice party (PiS) looks set to win the most seats in the country's general election, but is unlikely to secure a third term in office, according to an exit poll. The poll suggests that PiS will win 36.6% of the vote, with the centrist opposition predicted to take 31%. If accurate, this means Donald Tusk’s Civic Coalition has a better chance of forming a coalition and ending PiS’s eight-year rule led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski. The Ipsos poll indicates a 72.9% turnout, the highest since the fall of communism in 1989. "Poland won, democracy has won," Tusk told a large crowd of jubilant supporters. PiS is expected to fall short of the 231 seats needed for a majority and is unlikely to have backing from the far-right Confederation party, which has underperformed.
Huge numbers of A&E waits in Wales not counted for a decade
The true extent of A&E waiting times in Wales has been seriously under-reported for the past decade, according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM). Thousands of hours are missing from monthly figures because of "breach exemptions," which means patients who wait longer for treatment for various reasons are not included. The Welsh government initially disputed the RCEM's claim, but after seeing detailed figures obtained through freedom of information requests to health boards, it changed its position. Once the missing data is taken into account, it suggests that A&E waiting times in Wales are worse than in England. The RCEM is calling on the Welsh government to publish all of the figures.
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Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court will not be allowed to be broadcasted, a judge ruled on Monday. However, the judge did grant permission for five pool photographers to take still photos in the courtroom at the beginning of the proceedings. Several media organizations, including CNN, had requested permission to broadcast the historic arraignment, arguing for the importance of public access. Trump's lawyers had urged the judge to reject the media's request, and the Manhattan District Attorney's office took no position. The arraignment follows a grand jury indictment last week, as part of the Manhattan District Attorney's investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. The charges against Trump have not yet been seen by his lawyers or the public, and he denies all wrongdoing.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman provides insight into Donald Trump's motives for attacking a judge and his family during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Haberman suggests that Trump's aggression stems from his frustration and anger over being arraigned on felony charges. By targeting the judge and his family, Trump aims to delegitimize the legal proceedings against him and undermine the credibility of the judge. Haberman states that Trump feels a deep sense of injustice and has long relied on attacking anyone he perceives as a threat or adversary. This tactic often involves attacking the personal lives and characters of his opponents. Haberman adds that Trump enjoys playing the victim card and believes it helps rally his supporters. This public display of defiance and aggression is also seen as a way for Trump to divert attention away from his legal troubles and maintain control over the narrative surrounding his case. Ultimately, Haberman believes that Trump's attacks on the judge and his family reflect his deeply ingrained instinct to fight back against perceived enemies.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first installment of $2.7 billion from a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. The IMF approved a four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) totaling around $15.6 billion, as part of a $115 billion support package for Ukraine. The program aims to stabilize fiscal, external, price, and financial conditions, support economic recovery, and strengthen institutions as Ukraine rebuilds after the war and progresses towards EU accession. The program will also facilitate more ambitious structural reforms in the country. The EFF loan is significant as it is the first major conventional financing program approved by the IMF for a country involved in a large-scale war. However, there are significant risks associated with the arrangement, according to the IMF, which emphasizes the need for external concessional financing to close fiscal and external financing gaps and restore debt sustainability.