World this week
The UN Security Council adopted its first resolution since the outbreak of the latest hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians, calling for "urgent and extended humanitarian pauses" in Gaza to address the escalating crisis for Palestinian civilians during Israel's aerial and ground attacks. Israel immediately rejected the resolution. The vote in the 15-member council was 12-0 with the United States, United Kingdom and Russia abstaining. The US and UK abstained because of the resolution's failure to condemn Hamas, Russia because of its failure to demand a humanitarian cease-fire.
The final draft watered down language from "demands" to "calls" for humanitarian pauses, and for "the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups." Still, the resolution, which was sponsored by Malta, managed to overcome the serious differences that had prevented the council from adopting four previous resolutions.
Britain's Supreme Court dealt the government a defeat on Wednesday, ruling that its flagship policy to send migrants on a one-way trip to Rwanda is unlawful. In a major blow to one of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak 's key policies, the country's top court ruled that asylum-seekers sent to Rwanda would be "at real risk of ill-treatment" because they could be returned to the conflict-wracked home countries they'd fled. Sunak, who has pledged to stop migrants reaching Britain in small boats across the English Channel, vowed to press on with the plan (with some changes).
Five judges at the supreme court unanimously upheld an appeal court ruling that found there was a real risk of deported refugees having their claims in the east African country wrongly assessed or being returned to their country of origin to face persecution. Sunak said the government would seal a legally binding treaty with Rwanda that would address the court's concerns, and would then pass a law declaring Rwanda a safe country.
Iran has further increased its stockpile of uranium enriched to nearly weapons-grade levels, according to a report by the United Nations' nuclear watchdog seen by The Associated Press. The International Atomic Energy Agency also said that Iran has pushed back against the agency's objections to Tehran's ban on some of its inspectors designated to monitor the country's nuclear program. In its confidential quarterly report distributed to member states, the International Atomic Energy Agency said that according to its assessment, as of Oct. 28, Iran has an estimated 128.3 kilograms (282.9 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 60% purity, which represents an increase of 6.7 kilograms since its September report.
Uranium enriched at 60% purity is just a short, technical step away from weapons-grade levels of 90%. The IAEA report also estimated that as of Oct. 28, Iran's total enriched uranium stockpile was at 4,486.8 kilograms, an increase of 691.3 kilograms since the last quarterly report in September 2023.
Residents of a fishing town in southwestern Iceland left their homes after increasing concern about a potential volcanic eruption caused civil defence authorities to declare a state of emergency in the region. Police decided to evacuate Grindavik, a town of 3,400 on the Reykjanes Peninsula, after recent seismic activity in the area moved south toward the town and monitoring indicated that a corridor of magma, or semi-molten rock, now extends under the community, the Icelandic Meteorological Office said.
The IMO also said after an 800-year hiatus, eruptions on the Reykjanes Peninsula began again in 2021, which may mark a new "eruptive cycle" lasting decades. The western part of Grindavik has sunk by more than a metre (3.3ft) since last Friday (Nov. 10), and continues to do so at a rate of about 4cm (1.6in) a day. Iceland is very used to volcanic activity because it sits over the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Even so, the evacuation of an entire community has not happened in 50 years.
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