Here’s what we’re talking about heading into the new week:
The big pressure: The Israel-Hamas conflict hits the two-month mark this week and hostilities have ramped up after a week-long ceasefire collapsed. US officials are urging Israel to heed warnings about the mounting civilian death toll in Gaza. “I have personally pushed Israeli leaders to avoid civilian casualties, and to shun irresponsible rhetoric, and to prevent violence by settlers in the West Bank,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. The wave of hate unleased by Hamas’s October assault and Israel’s response is rising faster than governments can react.
The big readout: The Bank of England on Wednesday issues its biannual financial stability report outlining potential risks, with Governor Andrew Bailey holding a press conference to discuss the results. The central bank concluded in July that lenders are in decent shape overall. Sasha Mills, the BOE’s executive director of financial market infrastructure, speaks on a panel Tuesday at the FT crypto and digital assets summit. Crypto in general is coming back from the wilderness as bitcoin prices press toward $40,000 and MPs urge “caution” on a rush toward a digital pound.
The big headache: The Downing Street tree is lit, but can Rishi Sunak manage a merry Christmas as he faces more anxiety from within the Tories over immigration and other hot topics heading into an election year that seems destined to put many MPs’ seats in peril? As Kitty Donaldson reports, getting control over Britain’s borders was a key argument for the 2016 Brexit vote — and Sunak is yet to respond to a key Supreme Court ruling on the Rwanda asylum-seekers plan.
The big shortfall: The fate of Thames Water hangs in the balance, as Philip Aldrick reports. The utility’s parent company may run out of money by April if shareholders don’t pump in more equity. Thames is regarded as too big to fail; its results are due on Tuesday.
The big fan: Who would guess that Keir Starmer was a fan of Margaret Thatcher? But yes — the Labour leader praised the former PM in a Sunday Telegraph article for “setting loose our natural entrepreneurism.” The comments were panned as a transparent bid to curry favor with Tory voters, and Starmer quickly went into reverse, saying his remark “doesn’t mean I agree with what she did.” The big meeting: COP28, the UN’s climate summit, grinds on. On Saturday, Exxon Mobil and Saudi’s Aramco, the world’s largest private and state-sector oil companies, led a pledge by 50 oil and gas producers to cut emissions from their own operations. The pact was part of a blizzard of announcements as countries line up with vows to boost renewable energy and tackle pollution.
The big hearing: Boris Johnson appears before the Covid panel starting Wednesday for what’s expected to be a mea culpa about his actions during the pandemic — but also to lay out how his decisions achieved a key objective of not allowing the NHS to become overwhelmed. He’ll also, the Telegraph reports, say that Britain’s obesity problem made tackling Covid more difficult. The ex-PM narrowly avoided being one of the early Covid fatalities.
The big deal: The takeover of Everton FC by Miami-based 777 Partners is facing increasing scrutiny from Premier League officials studying the investment firm’s suitability, Giles Turner and David Hellier report. It’s unclear which way the league will rule, and when.
ICYM our Big Take: If there was any doubt that the internet is a nasty place, read our feature by Olivia Carville and Margi Murphy on how a group of young women in a New York City suburb, horrified to learn their photographs had been manipulated and posted online, found out how little legal recourse they had — and took matters into their own hands.
And finally, Bloomberg’s Peter Martin join the Big Take Podcast to discuss how US military planners and strategists are laser focused on China’s military capability and the possibility of a Taiwan invasion. Can China’s warfighting capabilities match its building of military hardware? Listen to The Big Take podcast on iHeart, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and the Bloomberg Terminal.
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