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Israeli troops and tanks roll into Gaza



Israel said its ground forces had made a big push into Gaza overnight to attack Hamas targets.

The United States and other countries are urging Israel to delay a full invasion; Gaza is reeling from almost three weeks of Israeli bombing triggered by a mass killing spree in southern Israel by Iranian-backed Hamas, which runs the besieged enclave.

Other Iranian-backed groups have since attacked Israel and U.S. forces elsewhere in the region; Western leaders fear that a ground invasion with a high death toll among Palestinian civilians, who have already been killed in large numbers by Israeli air strikes, could spark a wider war.

U.S. President Joe Biden held a call with Netanyahu, discussing “ongoing efforts to locate and secure the release” of Americans believed held hostage by militants in Gaza, the White House said overnight.

Israel said there were 224 hostages. Hamas has threatened to kill some of those it holds, who include many foreign passport holders, but has freed four since Friday. Gaza began receiving a small amount of aid the following day.

The White House said Biden and Netanyahu also discussed safe passage for other foreigners wishing to leave Gaza, a continuous flow of aid into the narrow coastal strip, and a pathway to permanent peace with the Palestinian people.

“The President reiterated that Israel has every right and responsibility to defend its citizens from terrorism and to do so in a manner consistent with international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

The comments reflect a balancing act over U.S. support for Israel’s actions after Biden was criticised for casting doubt on Palestinian casualty figures.

Netanyahu, who has suggested repeatedly that a ground invasion is imminent, told citizens in an address on Wednesday evening: “I will not elaborate on when, how or how many.”

Israeli army radio said the military had overnight staged its biggest incursion into northern Gaza in the current war against Hamas, which Israel has vowed to eliminate.

The military later released video on X showing armoured vehicles crossing the highly fortified barrier from Israel and blowing up buildings “in preparation for the next stages of combat”.

“Tanks and infantry struck numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts,” it said.

Palestinians in Gaza said Israeli air strikes had pounded the territory again overnight and people living in central Gaza, near the Bureij refugee camp and east of Qarara village, reported intensive tank shelling all night.

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Taylor Swift named Time magazine’s Person of the Year



Taylor Swift has emerged victorious in a prestigious competition for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, surpassing stiff contenders such as Barbie, King Charles III, and Sam Altman.

In a surprising turn of events, the globally renowned pop sensation, known for her chart-topping hits and captivating stage presence, has captured the hearts and minds of millions worldwide, cementing her status as a cultural icon.

Swift’s impact extends far beyond the realm of music.

Her relentless advocacy for social causes, from gender equality to LGBTQ+ rights, has resonated deeply with a diverse audience, transcending boundaries and generations. Time Magazine acknowledges her remarkable influence on society, celebrating her not only as an artist but as a force for positive change.

The news of Swift’s triumph has ignited discussions across the globe, sparking debates on the significance of pop culture in shaping the world’s social and political landscape.

Her journey from country sensation to global superstar and activist exemplifies the power of artistry and advocacy to make a profound impact.

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Andrew Forrest demands fossil fuel executives’ accountability at UN COP28



Mining magnate and philanthropist Andrew Forrest made an impassioned call for accountability during a sideline interview at the UN COP28 climate conference.

In an extraordinary outburst, Forrest demanded that fossil fuel industry leaders be held responsible for their contributions to climate change.

Speaking to reporters, Forrest stated, “It’s time for the heads of fossil fuel executives to be on spikes – not literally, of course, but figuratively. We cannot continue to ignore the devastating impact these industries have on our planet. The time for action is now.”

Forrest’s comments come as world leaders gather to address the climate crisis and set ambitious targets for reducing carbon emissions. He emphasized the urgent need for a transition to cleaner energy sources and a shift away from fossil fuels.

The mining billionaire’s outspoken stance has sparked a debate among conference attendees, with some applauding his fervor for climate action and others cautioning against such extreme rhetoric.

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Putin meets Saudi Crown Prince in Gulf visit



Russian President Vladimir Putin embarked on a rapid Gulf visit, meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The leaders discussed regional stability, energy cooperation, and potential arms deals during their whirlwind meeting.

Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia underscores the growing diplomatic ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Both countries have found common ground on various issues, from oil production to efforts to stabilize the Middle East.

One of the key topics on the agenda was energy cooperation. Russia and Saudi Arabia are both major oil producers, and discussions centered on maintaining stable oil prices in global markets. This partnership has been crucial in stabilizing oil markets in the past.

Another significant aspect of the meeting was the discussion of potential arms deals. Russia has been a major arms supplier to Saudi Arabia in recent years, and the leaders likely explored the possibility of further military cooperation.

The visit also aimed to strengthen diplomatic ties and promote regional stability. Putin and Prince Mohammed bin Salman emphasized the importance of dialogue and cooperation in addressing regional challenges.


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