Israel Invades Southern Gaza
This week, Israel issued an evacuation notice for Khanyounis, the latest city that Israeli forces are pushing into as part of their incursion into Gaza. For their part, Israelis claim that Khanyounis is a Hamas stronghold and that top commanders are hiding there. Speaking about the evacuation notice, Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees in Gaza, explained that it caused panic, fear and anxiety and that it forced 60,000 more people into shelters that were already overcrowded. Witnesses have claimed that they've seen Israeli military vehicles including dozens of Israeli tanks and armored vehicles, enter the Gaza Strip near the city, with some claiming that they've seen Israeli military vehicles on the main road in Gaza firing bullets and tank shells at cars and people trying to move through the area. As a result of this, UN and US officials have urged Israel to avoid repeating the impact of their operations in northern Gaza. Additionally, a spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, appealed directly to Israel, stating that the Secretary-General is extremely alarmed by the resumption of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. For people ordered to evacuate, there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on.
Netanyahu’s Corruption Trial Continues
Staying in Israel, we discuss Benjamin Netanyahu's ongoing trial for corruption. Yesterday, the trial resumed following a delay caused by the war in Gaza. The delay was granted by the Israeli justice minister. Netanyahu's trial has been delayed fairly frequently, already having first been delayed by the Covid pandemic and then disagreements over issues relating to defence and prosecution. Netanyahu has been charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust. In one instance, the Israeli prime minister is accused of receiving gifts such as champagne and cigars from Hollywood producer Aaron Milchan and Australian businessman James Packer in return for political favors. For his part, Netanyahu has denied wrongdoing and claims that the charges are a witch hunt perpetrated by his rivals. His critics though, allege that he is trying to get around these problems through legislation, with him introducing plans in the last year to overhaul the judicial system, something that could lead to the undermining of judicial independence. If found guilty of bribery, Netanyahu could be sentenced to up to ten years in jail and or a fine per charge for fraud and breach of trust this is only three years.
UK’s Migrant Package
Moving to the UK now, where James Cleverly, the Secretary of State, has announced new measures to reduce migration to pre-pandemic levels. The plans aim to raise the salary threshold for migrants arriving to Britain from £26,000 to £38,000 and to reform the list of jobs where exceptions are made due to shortages and allows companies to pay migrants working in these shortage areas 20% below the going rate. With tougher plans in place, it will be even harder for a British citizen to bring a spouse or dependant to the UK on a family visa. The current minimum income requirement is £18.600. These changes are also likely to hit the health sector hardest, as it's also been reported that Sunak has accepted proposals from the right of his party to reduce the number of visas granted to foreign health and social care workers. These new plans are part of a package of measures pushed by ministers and MPs, after an official estimate of net migration to the UK reached 745,000in 2022, undermining the conservative 2019 commitment to reduce it. These record high numbers were mostly driven by non EU nationals special visa schemes aimed at Hong Kong nationals and refugees under the UK's Ukraine visa scheme. Sunak reacted to these statistics as being simply too high.
Tesla Workers on Strike
Moving to Scandinavia now, where a Danish union has entered Tesla's ongoing labor dispute with dockworkers in Denmark, announcing they'll go on sympathy strike in solidarity with Swedish mechanics in two weeks time. Denmark's largest union 3F, has announced the move to support Sweden's IF Metall union, which is striking over Tesla's refusal to sign a collective agreement where labor conditions are set by employers and unions. Jan Wilson, head of Denmark's 3F union, said IF Metall and the Swedish workers are currently fighting an incredibly important battle when they ask for our support, we take part. Of course, the strike is likely to cause further disruption to Tesla's supply chain, as the US electric car maker won't be able to deliver vehicles to Danish ports and then distribute them via trucks to Sweden. Workers hope the disruption will force Tesla to the negotiating table, with the head of the IF Metall union, saying that the entire model of Sweden's economy is at stake if Tesla refuses to engage. Elon Musk, Tesla's chief executive, has called the strike insane saying I disagree with the idea of unions. I just don't like anything which creates a lords and peasants kind of thing. Other unions in Sweden and Norway, including postal workers delivering Tesla license plates and dock workers unloading vehicles at ports, have also initiated sympathy action.
GTA VI Trailer Leaked
Moving to the game world now. And last week, the developer of the Grand Theft Auto game series, Rockstar Games, announced that they would release the trailer to their new game, Grand Theft Auto six, at 6 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday morning. Following a leak of the trailer, Rockstar decided to release the trailer 15 hours early. The trailer made clear that the title will release in 2025 on PS5 and the Xbox Series X and S. There is no confirmation yet that it will release on PC. Speculation has been rife for the past decade about the development and release of GTA 6, with this teaser trailer providing the first look at the game. GTA 5. The previous title in the series sold 190 million copies worldwide, making it the second highest selling game of all time just after Minecraft. It's estimated that Rockstar has spent around $2 billion on the development of GTA 6, more than ten times what it cost them to make GTA 5. In separate Rockstar news, it's been announced that they've come to an agreement with Netflix, allowing them to offer some of their previous titles through the streaming service. This includes GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas. This will be available from the 14th of December.