PA could play ‘central role’ in Gaza, Antony Blinken tells Mahmoud Abbas

Stay informed with free updates

Good morning. US secretary of state Antony Blinken told the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas that the US saw the PA as “playing a central role” in any post-Hamas government in Gaza, a US official said.

The official was speaking after Blinken held talks with Abbas in the occupied West Bank yesterday during his second trip to the region since Israel declared war on Hamas, the Palestinian militant group.

But Abbas said the PA would only assume power in Gaza, which Hamas has controlled since 2007, as part of a “comprehensive political solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to the Palestinians’ official Wafa news agency.

Blinken’s Middle East tour, which has also involved meetings in Tel Aviv, Amman and Baghdad, came as the Arab world and some western capitals stepped up calls for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. Both Israel and the US have rejected the calls. Read the full story.

Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:

  • Economic data: S&P Global October services purchasing managers’ index data is set to be released for the EU, France, Germany and Japan.

  • China: President Xi Jinping and premier Li Qiang are expected to meet the Australian prime minister at the end of the latter’s three-day state visit to the country.

  • US: Former president Donald Trump is due to testify in the civil fraud trial in which he and his family businesses are accused of manipulating asset values.

Five more top stories

1. Elon Musk’s artificial intelligence start-up xAI has released its first AI model, as the tech billionaire looks to take on OpenAI, Google and Meta with a sassy chatbot that is tightly integrated with X, formerly Twitter. Grok, the new AI system, has “real-time access” to information from X, Musk said.

  • More tech news: Amazon, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet look set to pour billions into cloud computing capacity to serve the growth of generative AI.

2. Exclusive: Gallup, the polling and consulting group, is pulling out of China, making it the latest foreign company to retrench from the country amid whipsawing geopolitical tensions. In a notice seen by the FT, the Washington-based advisory group advised customers that it would move some projects outside the country, while others would be cancelled. 

3. Exclusive: The world’s most prestigious consulting firms have frozen US starting salaries for new graduates, as a war for talent that sent pay soaring after the pandemic gives way to tougher competition for jobs. McKinsey and BCG are among the firms holding salaries at 2023 levels for undergraduate and MBA students taking up positions next year, according to people familiar with the matter.

4. Two polls yesterday showed Joe Biden trailing Donald Trump as concerns over the economy and splits within the Democratic party over the Israel-Hamas war drag down the US president’s 2024 re-election prospects. The polls came a year before the 2024 vote, as America appears to be heading for a close presidential rematch.

5. Turkey’s main opposition party has ousted its longtime leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu following his comprehensive loss against Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a presidential election earlier this year. Members of the Republican People’s party voted yesterday to replace Kılıçdaroğlu with veteran lawmaker Özgür Özel, who vowed to shake up the organisation’s strategy ahead of local elections scheduled for March next year.

News in-depth

Scallops are Japan’s most exported food product, worth about ¥91bn last year © Mei Choo Teo/Alamy

For the past month, the Japanese government has exhorted the public to consume at least five scallops daily to help draw down stocks that have piled up after China banned imports of the delicacy in August. But investors said Beijing’s ban — which was introduced after Japan began releasing filtered water from the Fukushima nuclear disaster — could deliver an unexpected boost for the industry by creating a national champion.

We’re also reading . . . 

  • Why the young should go to the office: Apart from dating, there is no better education in human behaviour, writes Janan Ganesh.

  • How to hire the best for less: New research suggests workers will accept lower pay at environmentally sustainable firms.

  • Lunch with the FT: CNN’s former chief executive Jeff Zucker discusses the future of the US cable news channel — and sharing dining tips with Steve Martin.

Chart of the day

Japan's price-to-book ratios are low compared with US and Europe

It is rare, anywhere in the world, that the head of an exchange would so openly try to reform the behaviour and complacencies of companies listed on it. But Hiromi Yamaji, the former Nomura banker and head of the Japan Exchange Group, is exerting extraordinary influence to unlock corporate value in Japan. He explained his plan in an interview with the FT.

Take a break from the news

Van Gogh in Auvers-sur-Oise: The Final Months is the Musée d’Orsay’s supremely enjoyable show on the artist’s last, productive weeks. Jackie Wullschläger reflects on an unforgettable exhibition in Paris.

Vincent van Gogh, ‘Garden in Auvers’
Vincent van Gogh, ‘Garden in Auvers’ (June 20 1890)

Recommended newsletters for you

Working It — Everything you need to get ahead at work, in your inbox every Wednesday. Sign up here

One Must-Read — The one piece of journalism you should read today. Sign up here

Leave a Comment