Gaza truce extended by two days, Qatar says
More now on the extension to the truce, which was due to expire after today but Qatar says has now been extended by two days.
A Hamas official has just told Reuters news agency in a phone call that the temporary truce will have “the same conditions as in the previous truce”.
The current truce sees one hostage freed by Hamas in exchange for the release of three Palestinians detained in Israel, and has seen 39 Israeli hostages released in exchange for 117 Palestinian prisoners.
We haven’t yet heard from Israel on the extension of the truce.
- Families have been informed by the Israeli government that a further release of hostages will take place later on Monday
- As part of the Israel-Hamas deal, 39 Israeli hostages in Gaza have been released so far with 117 Palestinians freed from Israeli jails
Cop28 host UAE planned to promote oil deals during climate talks
Leaked briefing documents for meetings with governments contained ‘asks’ from state oil firm
Cop28 begins on Thursday and will be run by Sultan Al Jaber, who is the chief executive of the national oil company Adnoc as well as the UAE’s climate envoy. This dual role has been criticised as a conflict of interest, and climate summit veterans said the new revelations undermined trust in Al Jaber’s presidency of Cop28, potentially threatening a successful outcome.
The Guardian reported recently that Adnoc had the largest net zero-busting expansion plans of any company in the world and that state-run oil and gas fields in the UAE had been flaring gas almost daily despite having committed 20 years ago to a policy of zero routine flaring. Adnoc questioned the figures behind the report but did not provide its own figures.
France: 6 teens go on trial over 2020 teacher beheading
Samuel Paty was killed by a suspected Islamist after showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammad to his class. Five teenagers are charged with identifying the teacher to his killer for payment.
Paty, a 47-year-old history and geography teacher, was stabbed and then beheaded near his secondary school in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine by an 18-year-old suspected radical Islamist, who was identified as Abdoullakh A.
The assailant, a Russian-born Chechen refugee, was shot dead by the police soon after the attack.
The teens — aged 14 to 15 at the time — face charges of criminal conspiracy and false accusation, with possible sentences of up to 2.5 years.
South Korean city turns to matchmaking to boost low birth rates
Against the backdrop of Christmas songs, 100 South Korean men and women gathered at a hotel near Seoul dressed in their best with name tags hanging on their clothes, hoping to find love. They were participants at a mass blind dating event hosted by Seongnam city, an attempt by the local government to reverse a falling birth rate in a country where the popularity of marriage and enthusiasm towards parenthood have nosedived.
Incoming New Zealand gov’t to abandon anti-smoking laws
New Zealand’s incoming conservative government will jettison world-leading measures to stub out smoking, new Prime Minister Christopher Luxon confirmed Monday, in a move described by health campaigners as a “huge win for the tobacco industry”.
Unveiled under former prime minister Jacinda Ardern, the so-called “generational smoking ban” aimed to prohibit the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2008.
Praised by public health experts and anti-smoking advocates, a suite of near-identical measures were recently announced in the United Kingdom.
China launches criminal probe into ‘insolvent’ shadow bank
Beijing police have begun a probe into the wealth management unit of Zhongzhi Enterprise Group, the authorities said over the weekend. The announcement comes just days after the company told investors that it is “severely insolvent.”
According to a statement posted on Saturday, police suspect Zhongzhi of “illegal crimes” and have enforced “mandatory criminal measures” against a number of suspects, including one surnamed Xie. The founder of the group, Xie Zhikun, died of a heart attack in December 2021, but his nephews hold key posts in the group, according to Chinese state media.