Israel And Hamas Ceasefire Agreement
Israel and Hamas have agreed a four day pause in fighting to facilitate the release of hostages, which if it holds will be the first significant pause in hostilities since the war broke out on October the 7th. Reports say that under the deal, Hamas is expected to release 50 hostages comprising women and children. Plus for every additional ten hostages released, the pause would be extended by another day. If 50 hostages are released, then there will still be just short of 200 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. In exchange, according to a Hamas statement, Israel will release up to 150 Palestinian women and children from its own prisons. The release of hostages and prisoners will take place in batches over the coming days, reportedly beginning on Thursday, as both sides test the durability of the truce. The deal is also expected to allow hundreds of trucks carrying humanitarian aid, medical supplies and fuel into Gaza, which is in a desperate situation after more than a month of siege, intense bombing and a ground invasion by Israeli forces.
The diplomatic breakthrough comes after weeks of negotiations brokered by Qatar with the involvement of the United States and Egypt, and has been welcomed by leaders across the world. US President Joe Biden said he was extraordinarily gratified, and added that the deal should bring home a handful of American hostages. Qatar's prime minister says that he hopes the four day truce will lead to a lasting peace process, saying we hope that it will establish a comprehensive and sustainable agreement that will put an end to the war and the bloodshed, and lead to serious talks for a comprehensive and just peace process. However, any hopes that this might turn into a long term or permanent truce might be overly optimistic. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's mission remained the same, saying in a recorded message we are at war and we will continue the war until we achieve all our goals to destroy Hamas, return all hostages and ensure that no entity in Gaza can threaten Israel. He in fact, argued that the truce will not harm the war effort, but will enable the IDF to prepare for the continuation of the fighting. Meanwhile, a Hamas statement said as we announced the striking of a truce agreement, we affirm that our fingers remain on the trigger and our victorious fighters will remain on the lookout to defend our people and defeat the occupation.
US Airstrikes in Iraq
As part of the wider fallout from the war in Gaza. The United States has carried out a series of strikes against Iranian backed militias in Iraq after close range missiles were launched at US and coalition forces at Iraq's Al Assad air base, American officials said. The US immediately responded in self-defense to the attack by firing on a vehicle, killing a number of militants. Then, US fighter aircraft targeted and destroyed facilities south of Baghdad used by Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iraqi militia with close ties to Iran. Us and allied forces have been targeted dozens of times by groups in Iraq and Syria since the conflict in Israel and Gaza escalated. So far, the US has limited its response to these attacks with just three sets of strikes in Syria. So the US strikes on Tuesday were the first publicly reported ones in Iraq since the recent escalation. The US has around 900 troops in Syria and 2500 in Iraq, with a stated aim of advising and assisting local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of the so-called Islamic State. At least 62 US personnel have suffered minor injuries or traumatic brain injuries in the attacks by Iran backed groups since October the 17th.
North Korean Spy Satellite
South Korea has suspended part of a 2018 military agreement with North Korea after the North launched a spy satellite, an apparent breach of UN Security Council resolutions due to its use of ballistic missile technology. North Korean authorities say the launch on Tuesday was a success, meaning it's North Korea's first satellite in orbit, having had two failed attempts earlier this year. It was also North Korea's first launch since Kim Jong un met with Vladimir Putin at a Russian space facility, where the Russian president promised to help North Korea build satellites. The launch has been condemned by the US, South Korea, Japan and the UN secretary general for violating multiple UN Security Council resolutions on North Korean missile technology. Residents of Okinawa Japan, were told to take cover by the emergency warning system as the rocket passed overhead, though the warning was lifted after the rocket continued on its course. South Korea said the launch violated the 2018 Comprehensive Military Agreement, which was designed to reduce military tension and the two Koreas agreed to completely cease all hostile acts against each other. As such, South Korea says it's suspending part of said agreement, allowing it to restore reconnaissance and surveillance activities along the border.
Thailand Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
Thailand's cabinet has approved legislation to legalize same sex marriage in the country and plans to submit the draft to parliament next month. If successful, Thailand would become the first Southeast Asian nation to legalize same sex marriage and would be only the third Asian nation to do so, after Taiwan in 2019 and Nepal in 2023. The draft bill amends the Civil Code to change the words men and women and husband and wife to individuals and marriage partners, allowing for same sex couples to be able to receive the same rights as heterosexual couples. A government spokesperson said the next step would be to amend the pension fund law to recognize same sex couples. Activists say that despite Thailand having one of the most open and vibrant Lgbt+ communities, its laws and institutions do not reflect the country's changing social values. Past attempts to legalize same sex marriage in Thailand have failed, but the Thai party led government, which took office in August, is making a renewed attempt, having been one of the few parties to pledge to do so at this year's election in May. The bill will be introduced in Parliament on December the 12th and if passed, will go to the Thai king for his approval.