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Israel-Hamas truce and hostage deal to start Friday, says Qatar

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A temporary ceasefire and hostage release deal between Israel and Hamas will take effect on Friday, Qatar’s foreign ministry has said.

The ceasefire, which was supposed to take effect on Thursday morning but was delayed by a day, will begin at 7am local time on Friday and the first hostages will be released at 4pm local time, the foreign ministry in Doha said.

Israeli and Hamas officials said on Wednesday that a deal had been struck under which Hamas would free 50 hostages held in Gaza, in exchange for a four-day truce and the release of 150 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

The first tranche of hostages is to be made up of 13 women and children and the Israeli prime minister’s office confirmed that it had received “an initial list of names” of those to be released.

Majed Al-Ansari, spokesperson for the foreign ministry of Qatar, which has played a key role in mediating the talks, said the delay had been due to “very difficult” discussions over “schematics and details”. But he also said everything was now in place for the deal to go ahead, adding that it was in “nobody’s interest to delay the implementation” of the agreement.

“Until we are given an order to hold fire, our operations are continuing,” said Richard Hecht, a spokesperson for the Israeli military. “Operations against Hamas are continuing in all arenas.”

Here is the FT view of the pause, which comes as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains a long way from his war objectives.

Here’s what else I’m watching today:

  • Economic data: Japan’s October CPI inflation rate data will be released along with it’s S&P Global November PMI data for manufacturing and services.

  • US: Financial markets will close early on the day after Thanksgiving.

Five more top stories

1. Zhongzhi, one of the biggest groups in China’s vast shadow financing market, faces a shortfall of as much as $36.4bn and has warned that it is “severely insolvent” in a letter to investors. The company blamed the shortfall on the departure of “multiple senior executives and key personnel” and the 2021 death of founder Xie Zhikun. Here’s the full story.

2. The World Health Organization has asked China for information on a rise in respiratory illness among children. The request comes after ProMed, the outbreak surveillance network that first alerted the world to Covid, reported cases of “undiagnosed pneumonia” in northern China.

3. US due diligence firm Mintz Group is struggling to secure the release of five local employees detained in China. Eight months after a raid on the US firm’s office in Beijing, the employees were being held by the Beijing public security bureau and being investigated for potential criminal wrongdoing, people familiar with the matter said.

4. North Korea has announced that it is scrapping a package of military confidence-building measures signed with South Korea in 2018. Tensions have increased on the Korean peninsula this week after Pyongyang’s successful launch of its first military spy satellite. Here’s the full story.

5. Dutch far-right leader Geert Wilders and his Freedom party have won the most votes in parliamentary elections dominated by debate around rising immigration in the Netherlands. The victory will send shockwaves through the EU, which has been struggling to absorb migrants from Africa and Asia. Here’s the latest on the shock election result.

News in-depth

Binance founder Changpeng Zhao
Binance founder Changpeng Zhao © Reuters

Under the leadership of its talismanic founder Changpeng Zhao, Binance grew from nothing in 2017 to control almost 60 per cent of the global cryptocurrency market. On Tuesday, US authorities laid out how it got there: putting profit ahead of compliance. But missing from the settlements with the US Treasury, the Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, was an outstanding case from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Observers say the SEC charges are pivotal to the future of Binance.

What we’re also reading . . . 

Chart of the day

The Biden administration is due to introduce rules to isolate China from its electric vehicle buildout as part of an effort to rival China’s technological and manufacturing supremacy in the sector. Car and battery makers still don’t know how Biden will draw the line on China in the tax credit as, given China’s dominance of the EV battery supply chain, measures that are too tight could bring the electric vehicle rollout in the US to a halt.

Take a break from the news

© Abraham Pineda-Jacome/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

After Elon Musk’s SpaceX lost another Starship rocket this week, the FT’s senior business writer Andrew Hill looks at two books on sensible risk-taking and embracing misfires.

Additional contributions from Gary Jones and Gordon Smith

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