Hamas Says It Cannot Release Hostages Before Ceasefire


On October 27, 2023, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a vote of 120 in favor, 14 against, and 45 abstentions. The resolution calls for an immediate and lasting humanitarian ceasefire, the provision of essential supplies and services to all civilians in the Gaza Strip, the protection of civilians and international institutions, the withdrawal of Israeli orders for the evacuation of northern Gaza, and the condemnation of all violence against Palestinian and Israeli civilians.

In a statement on October 27, Hamas said it would not release the Israeli prisoners it holds until a ceasefire agreement is reached. The group also said that it would continue its rocket attacks on Israel until its demands are met.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said on October 27 that it would be expanding its ground operations in the Gaza Strip. The IDF said that it was targeting underground Hamas infrastructure in a "significant" way.

As of October 27, the latest round of violence between Israel and Hamas has killed more than 8,830 people.

Elon Musk's Vision for X: Aiming at Dating and Digital Banking Platform


According to Business Insider, in a recent video call with X employees, Elon Musk outlined his vision for the platform. He said that by 2024, X will be a mature dating app and digital bank.

Musk has said that he wants to make X a one-stop shop for financial services. "I mean everything financial," he said. "Money, securities, whatever. It's not just sending a friend $20. You don't even need a bank account."

Musk believes that these new features will be available by the end of 2024. He said that users will be "blown away" by the power of X.

However, there are challenges to transforming X into a "super app." First, Musk will need to convince people why they need such a platform. Second, he will need to build trust in X's financial handling.

Cathie Wood Slams U.S. Government Data as 'Misleading'


Cathie Wood, the founder of Ark Investment Management, took aim at U.S. government data on October 26, saying that it is "misleading" and does not accurately reflect the state of the economy.

Wood's comments came in response to data released by the U.S. Commerce Department that showed that real GDP grew at an annualized rate of 4.9% in the third quarter, beating expectations.

"The U.S. government statistics do not seem to be capturing how weak the economy is," Wood wrote on the social media platform X. "Many companies have reported shocking revenue weakness. UPS's current parcel volume growth in the U.S. is not as strong as it was during the 2007-2009 financial crisis. After declining for nearly two years, it fell by about 11% last quarter."

Wood also warned that if her prediction that prices will collapse and squeeze profit margins is correct, businesses will not only be forced to lay off workers, but also to adopt artificial intelligence and other automation technologies to save margins.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has previously predicted that a "severe recession" is coming if the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, commented on Wood's post, saying "interesting."

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal on October 27, core inflation rose in September, but not enough to prompt the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week. Inflation has moderated in recent months, and Fed officials are expected to keep rates steady at their meeting next week.

Pfizer Suffers Market Winter: Factory Closures, Declining Paxlovid Revenue

File Photo/NBD

Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that made billions of dollars from COVID-related vaccines and drugs, is now facing a revenue slump as the pandemic recedes.

On October 27, Pfizer announced that it would close two factories in North Carolina: the Kit Creek manufacturing facility and the Durham clinical manufacturing facility. The company said the closures were part of its previously announced cost-cutting plan. Pfizer will continue to operate its largest facilities in North Carolina, including two in Sanford and one in Rocky Mount.

In addition, Pfizer has cut its full-year revenue outlook by 13% to a range of $58 billion to $61 billion. The company is also planning to implement a $3.5 billion "cost adjustment plan."

IMF Predicts Germany to Surpass Japan in 2023


According to a report by Bloomberg on October 24, Japan's economic rank in the world is under threat as the Japanese yen continues to depreciate.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that Germany's nominal gross domestic product (GDP) will reach $4.43 trillion in 2023, surpassing Japan's estimated $4.23 trillion. The prediction comes as the dollar-yen exchange rate is nearing the 150-yen mark, and the euro-yen exchange rate is approaching 160 yen, a level not seen since 2008.

Japanese media acknowledge that GDP is heavily influenced by exchange rates, and the actual ranking will depend on exchange rate movements before the end of the year. However, Japan's economic growth has been sluggish for years. As economic size is closely linked to international influence, Japan's prominence will decline further if it is overtaken by Germany.

Japanese policymakers are currently considering details of a new economic stimulus package. Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on October 23 that the stimulus package would include extending energy subsidies to help ease the cost of living burden caused by Japan's worst inflation in decades. He also said the government would take steps to ensure that wage growth continues, and would implement some form of tax cuts.

Editor: Alexander