Houthi Rebels Hijack Israeli Ship
Let's begin with the Israel-Gaza Conflict. Houthi rebels from Yemen have hijacked a cargo ship in the Red sea, claiming it as a legitimate target due to its connections with an Israeli businessman. The rebels apparently used a helicopter to take over the Galaxy leadership, with around 22 crew members reportedly on board. Following the capture, the rebels directed it towards a port in Yemen. In a statement, the Houthis said that all ships belonging to the Israeli enemy or that deal with it will become legitimate targets. The ship is believed to be owned by Israeli businessman Abraham Unger, who is listed as being the owner of the company that owns the ship, Rey Car carriers Ltd. The Houthis also recently attacked Israeli positions with long range rockets from Yemen in support of Hamas. They vowed to continue to carry out military operations against the Israeli enemy until the aggression against Gaza stops. The Houthi rebels had previously warned on the 14th of November that they would be targeting Israeli ships in the Red sea, even if they were not flying Israeli flags. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted the fact that it was a legitimate target, saying that this is a ship that left Turkey on its way to India with an international civilian crew, this is not an Israeli ship.
Progress Towards Temporary Ceasefire in Gaza
I've got an update on the conflict in Gaza now, where there are hopes that some of the hostages taken by Hamas on October the 7th might be freed soon in an exchange for a temporary ceasefire. Indirect negotiations involving the United States and Qatar appear to have been making some progress, with Israel's ambassador to the US saying that there's hope that a significant number of hostages could be freed in the coming days. Additionally, the Qatari prime minister said on Sunday that the securing of a deal now only depends on minor practical issues. Meanwhile, lots of attention has been on Gaza's Al-Shifa hospital, which Israeli forces have taken control of. The Israeli military says a Hamas tunnel has been found at the hospital site, though Hamas denies this. Israel also released CCTV footage from the hospital that appears to show hostages, said to be a Nepalese citizen and a Thai citizen being taken into the building by Hamas militants. Health officials say that 31 premature babies in extremely critical condition have been transferred from Al-Shifa hospital and are en route to Egypt. World Health Organization officials conducted an assessment of the hospital and expressed deep concerns about the welfare of patients and health workers and described the hospital as no longer operational due to the lack of clean water, fuel, medicine, food and other essential aid. Over the last six weeks.
Right Wing Javier Milei Wins Argentina Elections
Let's move into Argentina, where ultra libertarian politician Javier Milei has won the country's presidential election by a wide margin, shifting the country considerably to the right from the incumbent center left government with virtually all the ballots counted. Milei has ended up on around 55.7%, while his opponent, incumbent Economy Minister Sergio Massa received 44.3%. Sunday's election was the run off vote and took place a month after the first round, in which Milei actually came second to Massa with 30% compared to 36.8%. Milei, as a self-styled anarcho capitalist, has vowed to chainsaw the political and economic status quo. In fact, the chainsaw became a symbol of his campaign as he often brandished the prop at his campaign rallies. He wants to ditch the Argentine peso and dollarize the economy, close the central bank, slashed the size of government by closing ministries including culture, education, environment and women. He's described climate change as a socialist lie, is anti-abortion and anti-gun control, and is known for railing against what he calls cultural Marxism and also, quote, parasitic, corrupt and political cast.
Milei managed to tap into public anger and frustration at the country's present economic turmoil, which has seen inflation soar to nearly 140% and the poverty rate reached 40%. Having underperformed in the first round, Milei managed to turn things around and picked up endorsements from former president Mauricio Macri and Patricia Bullrich, the candidate for the mainstream centre right alliance that was eliminated in the first round. Speaking to a crowd of supporters following his victory, Milei suggested he would not wait to try and implement his overhaul of the system. He said, I want you to understand that Argentina is in a critical situation. The changes our country needs are drastic. There is no room for gradualism. Massa conceded the race last night and said the responsibility the job to provide certainty and guarantees to the functioning of political, social and economic systems in Argentina is the responsibility of the new president, the elected president and we expect him to do so. Milei's journey from fringe candidate to president has been a remarkable rise, but actually transforming the country in the way he wants to will be a major challenge. Milei's Alliance has no provincial governors, controls less than 40 seats in the 257 seat Chamber of Deputies and just eight in the Senate.
Nicaragua Withdrawn from OAS
In other news, Nicaragua has officially withdrawn from the Organization of American States, or OAS, in a move the United States has called another step away from democracy. The OAS has long been a critic of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, accusing him of silencing his political opposition, human rights abuses, and cracking down on freedom of speech. Among those that have been subject to crackdowns are private universities, the Roman Catholic Church, civil society organizations and political opponents. Ortega, whose wife serves as vice president, was elected to a fourth consecutive term back in November 2021, in an election that the OAS said was not free, fair or transparent and lacked democratic legitimacy. Shortly after this criticism, Ortega moved to leave the OAS by beginning a two year withdrawal process that concluded this month. Nicaragua has been a member of the organization since 1950, but now it's withdrawn. The OAS said it will continue paying special attention to the situation in Nicaragua, and will try to promote respect for fundamental freedoms and respect for human rights.