World this week
The US central bank approved another sharp rise in interest rates as it wrestles to rein in fast rising prices. The Federal Reserve said it was raising its key interest rate by 0.75 percentage points. The bank hopes pushing up borrowing costs will cool the economy and bring down price inflation. But critics are worried the moves could trigger a serious downturn.
The latest increase takes the bank's benchmark lending rate to 3.75% - 4%, a range that is the highest since January 2008.
The US's actions come as many other countries also raise rates in response to their own inflation problems, which have been fuelled by a mixture of factors, including higher energy prices as a result of the war in Ukraine.Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell warned that rates were likely to move up again, saying that speculation that the bank might pause was "premature". "We still have some ways to go," he said at a press conference following the announcement.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared headed toward victory Wednesday, with some 85% of the ballots from national elections counted and showing that voters gave him and his far-right allies what looks like a majority in the country's parliament. Votes were still being counted and results were not final. But if preliminary indications were correct, Israel was potentially headed to its most right-wing government, bolstered by a strong showing from the ultranationalist Religious Zionism party, whose members use inflammatory anti-Arab and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.
The initial results pointed to a continued rightward shift in the Israeli electorate, further dimming hopes for peace with the Palestinians and setting the stage for possible conflict with the Biden administration and Israel's supporters in the United States. The early results also showed that Netanyahu had overcome his detractors, who claimed he was not fit to rule while on trial for corruption and have refused to sit with him in government. Netanyahu's partners have promised to help him evade a conviction.
North Korea fired more than 20 missiles Wednesday (Nov. 2), at least one of them in South Korea's direction and landing near the rivals' tense sea border. South Korea quickly responded by launching its own missiles in the same border area. The launches came hours after North Korea threatened to use nuclear weapons to get the U.S. and South Korea to "pay the most horrible price in history" in protest of ongoing South Korean-U.S. military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal.
The White House maintained that the United States has no hostile intent toward North Korea and vowed to work with allies to curb North Korea's nuclear ambitions. The North's barrage of missile tests also came as world attention was focused on South Korea following a weekend Halloween tragedy that saw more than 150 people killed in a crowd surge in Seoul in what was the country's largest disaster in years.
Ethiopia's warring sides agreed to a permanent cessation of hostilities in a conflict believed to have killed hundreds of thousands, but enormous challenges lie ahead, including getting all parties to lay down arms or withdraw. The war in Africa's second-most populous country, which marks two years on Friday, has seen abuses documented on both sides, with millions of people displaced and many near famine.
"The level of destruction is immense," said the lead negotiator for Ethiopia's government, Redwan Hussein. Lead Tigray negotiator Getachew Reda expressed a similar sentiment and noted that "painful concessions" had been made. Exhausted Ethiopians, urged by the parties to "stop voices of division and hate," watched them shake hands. The final, detailed agreement was not made public, but the brief joint statement notes "a detailed program of disarmament" and "restoration of constitutional order" in Tigray.
Elon Musk said that Twitter will not allow anyone who has been kicked off the site to return until it sets up procedures on how to do that, a process that will take at least a few weeks. That would mean people banned from the site for violating Twitter's rules for harassment, violence, or election and COVID-related misinformation will not be able to return before next Tuesday's U.S. midterm elections.
The pledge came after Musk, who took control of the social-media site last week after buying it for $44 billion, said in a tweet that he had met with a handful of civil-society leaders "about how Twitter will continue to combat hate and harassment and enforce its election integrity policies." Those attending the meeting asked Musk not to restore the banned users ahead of the midterms, said Jessica González, an attorney and co-CEO of the advocacy group Free Press who attended the meeting.
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