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In The News

Gaza’s Dire State, Poland’s Election Shift, 100 Years Of Disney

Photo of protesters with Palestine flags protesting Israel's bombings and siege on Gaza, in the streets of Barcelone, Spain, on Oct. 15

Thousands of people demonstrated on Sunday in the center of Madrid to voice their support to the Palestinian people and condemn Israel's bombings and siege of Gaza.

Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Michelle Courtois

👋 Ćao!*

Welcome to Monday, where Israel and Hamas deny reports of upcoming humanitarian truce in Gaza, Poland’s right-wing ruling party is projected to lose majority, and Disney turns 100. Meanwhile, for Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg, a former Israeli military intelligence operative analyzes how the Israeli Army and Mossad were so thoroughly blindsided by the Oct. 7 attack.



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• Dire conditions in Gaza, Israel confirms nearly 200 hostages: With U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken back in Israel for talks, hopes are slim for a truce after a week of the deadliest conflict in the region in a generation. Some one million Gazans are estimated to have fled south as food and water is running out amid Israel’s total siege and continued air raids. Meanwhile Jerusalem says it has accounted for 199 people held hostage after the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas. Pierre Haski asks if Western diplomacy can contain Israel’s thirst for revenge.

• Illinois man charged for fatally stabbing a 6-year-old boy: An Illinois man was charged with murder and hate crimes after the killing of a six-year-old boy who was stabbed 26 times. The boy’s mother was severely wounded in the attack, which took place on Saturday. Police believe the attack was motivated by the Israel-Hamas war, and that the suspect, who was the family’s landlord, targeted young Wadea Al-Fayoume and his mother for being Muslim.

• Daniel Noboa elected Ecuador’s youngest president: With 52% of the vote, 35-year-old Daniel Noboa became Ecuador’s youngest president following Sunday’s election. Through his center-left ideologies and embrace of liberal economics, Noboa fulfilled the political dreams of his banana tycoon father, who himself ran for presidential election on five different occasions. Here’s a recent piece on indigenous women in Ecuador leading the way on sustainable farming.

• Philippines accuses China of “dangerous maneuvers”: The Philippines has accused China of “dangerous maneuvers” following an incident on Oct. 13 near Thitu Island, in the South China Sea. The Philippines reported that a Chinese navy ship shadowed a Philippines navy vessel and attempted to cross its path. This is the latest of several hostile encounters between the Philippines and China’s maritime personnel.

Afghanistan hit by third earthquake in a week: The Herat province in Afghanistan was hit on Sunday by the third earthquake in one week, leaving one person dead and nearly 100 injured. The first earthquake that hit on October 8th was the deadliest of the three, amassing a toll of 2,053 people.

• South Korea prepares for its largest-ever defense show: Seoul’s biennial International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition opens its doors on Tuesday, with organizers stating that this edition will be the largest ever, including a rare U.S. nuclear-capable bomber. The show is designed to boost South Korean global sales, as the nation aims to become the fourth largest arms exporter in the world.

• Disney turns 100: Today is Disney’s 100th birthday, marking the anniversary of Walt Disney’s distribution deal in 1923 for a series of live action and animation shorts based on Alice in Wonderland. To celebrate, Disney has produced the short film Once Upon a Studio.


“Will the opposition form a government?,” asks Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on its front page, following the results of Poland’s general elections on Sunday. The ruling right-wing Law and Justice party (PiS) appears to have won the most seats with an expected win of 36.6% of the vote, but lost its parliamentary majority. This opens the way for Donald Tusk’s liberal centrist opposition Civic Coalition (KO), which is set to gather 31% of the vote, to form a coalition and seize power in what would be a huge shift in Poland’s political landscape after eight years of PiS rule under leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski.


The Oct. 7 debacle: A first deep dive into Israel's intelligence failures

The blind spots began appearing in the first hours and days after more than 1,200 civilians were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists, who breached the border from Gaza. For Ukrainian news website Livy Bereg, a former Israeli military intelligence operative guides us through the mistakes that allowed it to happen.

🇮🇱 The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) had a long-established defensive perimeter around Gaza, equipped with various means and technologies designed to prevent terrorist attacks or, at the very least, to provide early warning and primary protection prior to the arrival of air forces or mechanized infantry. Despite these robust security measures, in the early hours of Saturday, October 7, hundreds of Hamas terrorists managed to breach the fence at multiple points, infiltrating IDF outposts with relative ease.

🔍 Numerous questions persist, and it appears that multiple systems failed simultaneously. Nevertheless, it is possible to begin assessing the reasons behind these failures. The State of Israel, both in terms of its political and military leadership, held a belief that the existing defense systems around Gaza could effectively respond to a potential incursion by Hamas into the nearby communities. The flaw in this approach was in assuming that Hamas had no intention of launching such a bold operation.

❌ Ultimately, the most significant failure lay in the intelligence domain. The Mossad, Israel's intelligence agency, failed to account for meetings between representatives of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Qatar and Turkey. This lack of awareness extended to the Israeli internal security service, Shabak, which was incapable of detecting the preparatory measures for the terrorist attack. This failure was compounded by the extended duration of the preparations, which allowed numerous individuals involved to remain undercover and undetected.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


$96 million

In its opening weekend, Taylor Swift’s concert film, Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour, earned a massive $96 million in the box office in the United States and Canada, making it the highest grossing start for a concert film domestically. Eras also made about $32 million in international sales, reaching #1 at the box office in the UK, Mexico, Australia, Germany and the Philippines.


“Reconciliation is dead.”

— More than 60% of Australians voted “No” in the referendum this past weekend that asked whether to alter the constitution to recognize the country's Indigenous people. Marcia Langton, one of the main proponents of the referendum, lamented that “it will be at least two generations before Australians are capable of putting their colonial hatreds behind them and acknowledging that we exist.” Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that he accepted his share of blame for the failure of getting Indigenous recognition. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people make up 3.8% of Australia's population, but are not mentioned in the constitution and are the country's most disadvantaged people by most socioeconomic measures.

✍️ Newsletter by Valeria Berghinz, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Michelle Courtois

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AI And War: Inside The Pentagon's $1.8 Billion Bet On Artificial Intelligence

Putting the latest AI breakthroughs at the service of national security raises major practical and ethical questions for the Pentagon.

Photo of a drone on the tarmac during a military exercise near Vícenice, in the Czech Republic

Drone on the tarmac during a military exercise near Vícenice, in the Czech Republic

Sarah Scoles

Number 4 Hamilton Place is a be-columned building in central London, home to the Royal Aeronautical Society and four floors of event space. In May, the early 20th-century Edwardian townhouse hosted a decidedly more modern meeting: Defense officials, contractors, and academics from around the world gathered to discuss the future of military air and space technology.

Things soon went awry. At that conference, Tucker Hamilton, chief of AI test and operations for the United States Air Force, seemed to describe a disturbing simulation in which an AI-enabled drone had been tasked with taking down missile sites. But when a human operator started interfering with that objective, he said, the drone killed its operator, and cut the communications system.

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