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Israel rocked by protest over Supreme Court reform



These reforms would limit the Supreme Court’s power to make rulings on the parliament in a move critics argue will favour conservative and religious groups

Israel’s parliament ratified the first bill of a judicial overhaul sought by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday, following the collapse of last-minute compromise efforts to ease a constitutional crisis that had gripped the country for months.

The approved amendment limits the Supreme Court’s powers to void some government decisions if it deems them “unreasonable,” passing with a 64-to-0 vote after opposition lawmakers abandoned the session in protest, exclaiming “For shame!”

The day’s demonstrations began with police forcibly removing protesters who had chained themselves to posts and blocked roads outside the parliament. By evening, thousands had taken to the streets across the country, blocking highways and clashing with police, leading to the arrest of at least 19 people.

Justice Minister Yariv Levin, a key figure behind the legislative package, portrayed the vote as a “first step” towards creating a more balanced system of government. The broader judicial changes, announced by the government in January after being sworn in, were presented as necessary to address the Supreme Court’s perceived political interventionism and overreach.

However, critics voiced concerns that the amendments would weaken checks on executive authority and potentially lead to abuses of power. The proposed changes sparked months of unprecedented nationwide protests and raised international apprehension about Israel’s democratic integrity.

In response to the vote, a political watchdog group and the centrist opposition leader announced their intention to challenge the law in the Supreme Court.

Prime Minister Netanyahu, addressing the nation on television as protests continued, expressed his willingness to engage in dialogue with the opposition to reach an all-inclusive agreement by the end of November.

“We all agree that Israel must remain a strong democracy, that it must continue protecting individual rights for everyone, that it will not become a state of (Jewish law), that the courts will remain independent,” said Netanyahu.

U.S. President Joe Biden warned Netanyahu that such drastic changes should be only enacted with broad support, or else risk instability in the country.

The crisis deeply divided Israeli society and even affected the military, with protest leaders warning that thousands of volunteer reservists would not report for duty if the government proceeded with its plans. Former military leaders also raised concerns that Israel’s war-readiness could be compromised.

Protests in Jerusalem saw demonstrators blocking highways, being forcefully removed by police using water cannons and other measures. In Tel Aviv, mounted police tried to disperse crowds, while protesters lit small fires on the main highway.

Outside the city, a disturbing incident occurred when a driver rammed into a small crowd blocking a road, resulting in three people being lightly injured. The driver was later arrested by the police.

Internationally, the White House reiterated its call for Israel’s leaders to seek “as broad a consensus as possible” through political dialogue.

The Knesset’s approval had an immediate economic impact, with Tel Aviv’s main share indices tumbling by up to 2.5%, and the shekel sliding 1% against the dollar.

In response to the controversial amendment, opposition leaders pledged to challenge the change, and the head of the Histadrut labour federation threatened to declare a general strike if the government pursued “unilateral” measures.

The situation remains tense as the country grapples with the aftermath of this significant judicial overhaul and its potential implications for Israeli democracy and stability.

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Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?



Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.

Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.

While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.

Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY

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What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry



Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.

The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.

The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.

New Zealand example

Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.

The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.

With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.

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Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’



Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.

The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.

In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.

We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.

Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.

This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.

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