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Israel’s lawmakers are today set to vote on the first bill in prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s judicial overhaul. Netanyahu, who had emergency surgery to have a pacemaker fitted on Sunday, plans to be out of his hospital bed and ready to attend the vote.
The reforms, which were proposed in March but shelved after heavy protests, would limit the ability of the country’s courts to halt government legislation. Other proposed reforms include transforming how judges are appointed. Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition sees the changes as essential in taming an overly activist left-wing judiciary.
Demonstrations against the reforms have drawn large crowds of up to 100,000 to Tel Aviv over the past few days. Israel’s biggest union, Histadrut, has said it will “not hesitate to act” if a compromise cannot be found. Some of Israel’s biggest businesses, including the country’s tech sector, have also promised to strike.
The country’s military leaders have warned the protests may do deep damage to the armed forces after roughly 10,000 military reservists said they would stop volunteering if the reforms were passed.
Here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:
Economic data: Germany reports retail sales for last month, while S&P Global has its manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ indices for France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US.
Macron in the Pacific: French president Emmanuel Macron begins his tour of the region this week with a visit to the French territory of New Caledonia.
Taiwan: The island has started its annual Han Kuang military drills to test the country’s resilience to an attack. This year’s exercises are the largest ever, and will temporarily close the capital’s airport.
Five more top stories
1. Exclusive: Billionaire donors are starting to go sour on Ron DeSantis over his interventionist policies. Ken Griffin, head of hedge fund Citadel, is said to be uneasy over the Florida governor’s crackdown on teaching and Nelson Peltz, of investment firm Trian Partners, is unsure about his stance on abortion. Both men were expected to be major backers of DeSantis in his challenge to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination. Read the full story.
2. US banks are trying to refile their financials to avoid footing the bill for Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse, saving them ten of millions of dollars. After both SVB and Signature Bank collapsed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation planned to pay for the bailouts by taxing uninsured deposits over $250,000. Since then an unusually high number of banks have refiled their year-end reports to show significantly less uninsured accounts. More detail here.
3. Spain grapples with political uncertainty after its election ends in deadlock as neither the right nor left were able to easily form a government. The centre-right People’s party gained the most votes, but is unable to secure a majority with its ally, the Vox party. The political wrangling to form a government could stretch on for weeks or months. Read about how the night unfolded here.
4. China’s finance regulator has been courting some of the world’s largest buyout groups including Blackstone, Carlyle and KKR to keep investing in the country. Financial authorities held a first-of-its-kind symposium with groups that manage US dollar funds on Friday, and the ministry of commerce met representatives from foreign companies. Here’s why Beijing is trying to lure foreign investors.
5. Russia’s actions in its war on Ukraine are casting a shadow over a summit with African leaders in St Petersburg this week. A Kenyan official called Moscow’s move to quit an export deal for Ukrainian grain a “stab in the back . . . that disproportionately impacts countries in the Horn of Africa already impacted by drought”. Here’s more ahead of Thursday’s gathering.
The Big Read
China’s military is waging what defence experts call a grey zone campaign, increasing its presence closer to Taiwan one step at a time while remaining below the threshold of what could be considered an act of war. For all the global attention on the prospect of a potential invasion, some fear Beijing’s so-called salami-slicing tactics are slowly changing the status quo.
We’re also reading . . .
Rise of AI: Just as Google changed the way we think, the advent of AI will force us to reinterpret human intelligence.
Barbie: As the corporate culture wars intensify, Barbie, and its owner Mattel, may have found a way to win.
Chinese games: Casual game Eggy party by developer NetEase has become a viral hit in China. That has worried market leader Tencent.
Chart of the day
The $1.4tn US junk loan market has been hit by 120 downgrades in the quarter to June, amounting to $136bn. Companies that loaded up on this type of debt when borrowing costs were ultra-low during the pandemic face daunting repayments amid much higher interest rates.
Take a break from the news
Oppenheimer director Christopher Nolan sits down with Christopher Grimes for Lunch with the FT to discuss streaming, Hollywood strikes and why his new atomic bomb biopic is a “cautionary tale” in the age of AI.
Additional contributions by Tee Zhuo and Benjamin Wilhelm
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