World this week
Fatah and Hamas reached a deal on Palestinian elections at the Palestinian Consulate in Istanbul, raising hopes the factions can unite after years of animosity as Israel continues to threaten annexation while it normalises relations with Arab nations. The proposal for parliamentary, presidential and national council elections is set to be discussed among all Palestinian factions in a leadership meeting this week, after which a presidential decree to officially announce election dates is expected.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will hold a meeting on October 3, and he is expected to set three dates for Palestinian legislative, presidential, and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) national council elections. "The atmosphere domestically is now very accommodating to hold elections. It enjoys national consensus, including from Islamic parties," Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the PLO's Executive Committee and leader of the Palestine Liberation Front, told Al Jazeera. The consensus is to conduct elections on the basis of proportional representation and with a time frame of six months.
A court in India acquitted top leaders of the governing BJP of any wrongdoing in the destruction by Hindu mobs of the Babri Masjid in 1992. Former Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani, and BJP leaders MM Joshi and Uma Bharti, had denied charges of inciting extremists to demolish the 16th Century Babri mosque in the town of Ayodhya. The demolition sparked violence that killed some 2,000 people. It was also a pivotal moment in the political rise of the Hindu right-wing.
The verdict acquitted 32 of the 49 people charged - 17 had died while the case was under way. The court said there was insufficient evidence to prove the demolition had been planned.
Hindus believe the mosque was built over the birthplace of their deity Lord Ram. Also this week, Amnesty International said it has been forced to halt its India operations due to "reprisals" from the government. The watchdog also accused the government of pursuing a "witch-hunt" against human rights organisations.
Heavy fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh continued for a fourth straight day on Wednesday, with statements from both sides indicating that the flare-up of a decades-old conflict that has killed dozens of people since Sunday was no closer to an end. The president of Azerbaijan said Armenia's withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh was the sole condition to end fighting over the separatist territory. Armenian officials alleged Turkey's involvement in the renewed conflict and said its neighbor's actions "hinder the efforts of the international community to cease the hostilities."
Meeting with wounded servicemen, Azerbaijani President Ilkham Aliyev said Armenia must "unconditionally, completely and immediately leave" Nagorno-Karabakh, which lies within Azerbaijan and has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by the Armenian government since 1994. Russian President Vladimir Putin and France's Emmanuel Macron have called for an immediate ceasefire.
Walt Disney Co. said it is slashing 28,000 workers in its slumping U.S. resort business, marking one of the deepest workforce reductions of the Covid-19 era. The belt-tightening move affects the company's theme-park, cruise-line and retail businesses, Disney said. That includes executives and salaried employees, although 67% of those being terminated are part-time workers. Disney is offering benefits to the workers being eliminated, including 90 days of job-placement services.
It's the latest sign that travel and other experiences will be slow to recover from the pandemic. Disney joins airlines and other travel-reliant businesses in scaling back their workforces. American Airlines Group Inc. has warned that it could furlough 19,000 employees, while United Airlines Holdings Inc. is planning to cut about 12,000.
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