FirstFT: Joe Biden To Visit Israel In Show Of Solidarity – WorldNewsEra

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President Joe Biden plans to visit Israel tomorrow to show solidarity and try to influence the conduct of its war against Hamas, the US has said, as concern mounted over a humanitarian crisis in Gaza and a possible regional escalation of conflict. Speaking after meetings with senior Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv, Secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US president would be “coming here at a critical moment for Israel, for the region and the world” and would reaffirm the US’s “solidarity with Israel and our ironclad commitment to its security”. Blinken also said that at Washington’s request, the US and Israel had agreed to “develop a plan” for humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza, “including the possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm’s way”. He added: “It is critical that aid begin flowing into Gaza as soon as possible.” Biden’s trip was announced after a US-led effort to allow aid into the Gaza Strip faltered yesterday, amid what the UN has described as a mounting humanitarian crisis. John Kirby, the US National Security Council spokesperson, said that after visiting Israel Biden would travel to Amman to meet the leaders of Jordan and Egypt, and would also meet Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, during a one-day trip to the region. A spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces said it was unclear whether Biden’s visit would affect the timing of any of its military operations. Officials in Washington estimate that 500 to 600 US nationals remain trapped in Gaza. Pressure is also growing to free hostages held in the enclave, who include Americans and other foreign nationals. Khaled Meshaal, a former Hamas leader, said the group was holding 200 to 250 captives while Israel yesterday increased its estimates of the number of hostages being held in the Gaza Strip to 200. Here are the latest updates from the war. Utopia destroyed: Tens of thousands of Israelis have fled the “Gaza envelope” after Hamas’s attack, with Kfar Aza’s kibbutzniks unsure when they will feel safe enough to return. Egypt’s fears: Alarm is mounting in Cairo that the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza will increase pressure on it to accept an exodus of Palestinian refugees. Hamas funding: Israeli authorities have ordered dozens of cryptocurrency accounts to be closed and seized millions of dollars in crypto assets as they step up longstanding efforts to cut the militant group’s digital financing. US arms support: Israel’s war on Hamas is straining a US defence sector already under pressure to arm Ukraine and replenish depleted Pentagon stocks. Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today: Politics: The US House of Representatives will vote on whether to confirm Republican representative Jim Jordan as the speaker of the house, after Kevin McCarthy was ousted earlier this month. Here is the latest on the election. Economic data: US retail sales are expected to have moderated while homebuilder confidence is expected to fall as high mortgage rates slow sales. Company results: Financial groups Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Bank of New York Mellon report earnings before the bell. Lockheed Martin, Johnson & Johnson and Albertsons also report quarterly earnings ahead of the market opening. Air carrier United Airlines will report after the bell. Vladimir Putin in China: Russia’s president has arrived in Beijing for his first visit since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine last year. Putin will meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping and attend an infrastructure summit tomorrow. Don’t miss the first issue of our new Central Banks newsletter today. Chris Giles will use his nearly 20 years of experience as the FT’s economics editor to provide weekly insights on interest rates and monetary policy. Sign up here if you’re a premium subscriber or upgrade your subscription. Five more top stories 1. Donald Tusk is on track to secure power in Poland, with the former European Council president and his partners securing victory over the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party in parliamentary elections. PiS remains the biggest party in the lower house but failed to secure enough seats to form a majority. Here’s more on the EU’s most significant election this year. Opinion: For now, pro-European Poles have reason to celebrate, but a true test of the country’s democratic health will be an orderly transfer of power, writes Ben Hall. Go deeper: Polish voters showed up in unprecedented numbers at the ballot box to secure a stunning victory for opposition parties, with participation estimated at 73 per cent. 2. Exclusive: Goldman Sachs chief executive David Solomon has decided to stop DJ-ing at high-profile events following criticism that his hobby created a distraction from his work leading the Wall Street firm, according to people with knowledge of the decision. What started as a colourful side hustle that softened Solomon’s public image became a lightning rod for criticism of him inside Goldman from bankers disgruntled over strategic mis-steps and lower pay. 3. Two Swedes were shot dead in Brussels in an attack authorities have linked to terrorism. The terror threat alert in the Belgian capital was raised to its highest level, the first time this has happened since Islamist terrorist attacks in 2016 killed 35 people. The shooting took place after thousands of Swedes had arrived in Brussels for a Euro 2024 football match. The gunman was killed during a shootout with police. 4. EU regulators will seek tougher concessions from airlines looking to merge in order to ensure fair competition, the bloc’s new antitrust commissioner has said. In his first interview since taking up the role, Didier Reynders said Brussels would ask airlines to ensure slots are allocated to rivals on routes with competition concerns. Read the full interview here. 5. Donald Trump is willing to testify in the UK in his lawsuit over a dossier that alleged he had links to Russia, he told London’s High Court in a written witness statement yesterday. The former US president is suing Orbis Business Intelligence over the notorious dossier compiled by its co-founder, former MI6 spy Christopher Steele. The dossier made headlines globally in early 2017 and included lurid allegations about Trump’s conduct in a Moscow hotel. Trump and Israel: Donald Trump is facing fierce rebukes from across the US political spectrum for criticising Benjamin Netanyahu in the wake of the Hamas attacks. US politics: Federal filings show that Trump and Biden have raised far more money for their election campaigns in the third quarter than their rivals. The Big Read It was science fiction writer Isaac Asimov who first mooted the idea of space solar power in his 1941 short story “Reason”. In reality, however, it has long been dismissed as too costly and technologically challenging to be commercially viable. But as the sense of urgency over the threat of climate change grows and the economics of space evolve, governments around the world are reconsidering its potential. We’re also reading . . .  Opinion: Compassion for innocent people suffering on all sides of this conflict is not just the moral position — it is also the only practical way forward, writes Gideon Rachman. War disinformation: Amateurs rushing to document atrocities in Israel and Gaza must not spread darkness where they intend to shed light, writes Bellingcat’s Giancarlo Fiorella. Geopolitical risk: Companies are increasingly seeking out former diplomats, politicians and civil servants to boost political expertise on their boards. Chart of the day Inspired by tales of celebrities’ dramatic weight loss, a new generation of drugs such as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy, Ozempic and the soon to be launched Mounjaro from Eli Lilly are becoming more popular. Analysts predict demand for these anti-obesity treatments could have a seismic impact on consumer behaviour and the packaged food and drinks market. Take a break from the news The Celebration Tour is a hit-laden trip through the career of the best-selling female singer ever, a reminder of why Madonna is the “queen of pop”. Delayed due to a serious bacterial infection the singer suffered from, London’s O2 Arena has become the first port of call for the two-hour show, reviewed by pop critic Ludovic Hunter-Tilney. Additional contributions from Tee Zhuo and Benjamin Wilhelm

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