Israel goes to the polls today to decide their leadership. For a refresher, I’m just going to post a link to a prior article here.
Nearly everything in that article remains relevant. Polls are showing to be very tight between Netanyahu and Gantz, with neither expected to claim a majority. Netanyahu’s effort to avoid trial for corruption charges has failed and that trial will begin in a few weeks, but Gantz has not significantly benefited from that, for two reasons. First, most of the allegations against Netanyahu were known prior to the earlier election and those who disbelieve them have been given no reason to change their mind; second, Gantz has had corruption charges leveled against him by law enforcement as well, with some seeing it as retaliatory and some as evidence of misdeeds.
If the polling bears out, Israel is likely to continue with a hobbled government unless the efforts to form a coalition are more successful this time.
The UK enters its next phase with Brexit this week, with trade talks initiating with the EU. Similar negotiations are expected to simultaneously begin with the US early next week. In preparation for its efforts, the British government is taking a very aggressive position against both potential partners.
The inherent weakness of its position is likely to force capitulation on multiple fronts. Foremost in its concerns about the US negotiation are rumors that the US will seek access to the UK national health care system to offset some of its rising costs for things like medication. The British government has made clear that it considers such demands a poison pill for any trade deal.
In South Korea, one of the early non-China outbreak points for the novel coronavirus covid-19, the city of Daegu has seen a spike in deaths. The rise is attributed to a lack of health services available, not due to any new strain nor any unusually large increase in cases. The Chosun Ilbo is reporting that the hospitals are overstrained and patients are simply not being treated as comprehensively due to lack of available beds. The local government is responding by adjusting their caseload to concentrate on what appear to be the most serious reactions to the virus, in what may be a guide for treatment throughout the world.
Greece is facing a massive influx of Syrian refugees, as Turkey’s Erdogan warns of his intent to process the refugees quickly through his country and into the EU. There are expected to be millions of people sent by Turkey over a short duration of time as the Russian-backed Syrian government presses against the Turkey-backed rebels. The projected number indicates that Turkey may be attempting to take advantage of the conflict by pushing out existing refugees, undermining Greece and the EU’s resources even as Turkey continues to engage in territorial conflicts with its EU neighbor.