Bloomberg - Evening Briefing - Escalating carnage

Bloomberg Evening Briefing

President Joe Biden is set to travel to Israel Wednesday in a show of solidarity with the American ally. Simultaneously, the US is sending an amphibious task force including thousands of Marines to the region. They will join two US Navy aircraft carrier strike groups bound for or already in the Eastern Mediterranean. The massive show of force is an effort to dissuade escalation of the Israel-Hamas war by other nations or parties, and perhaps to prepare for any US intervention should such signaling fail to have the desired effect.

But the carnage on the ground is already escalating. Biden’s trip comes as a hospital in Gaza was blown up Tuesday. Gaza authorities blamed an airstrike by Israel, which has killed at least 2,700 Palestinians in the 10 days since Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis in the attack that triggered the war. Hundreds more Israelis, including the elderly and children, are being held hostage in Gaza. In the hospital explosion, the Gaza Health Ministry said that at least 500 people were killed. Israel said it wasn’t responsible for the attack, blaming it on an errant missile fired by Islamic Jihad. The Pentagon said it didn’t immediately have information about who was responsible. Meanwhile in the south of Gaza, as residents continue to flee the expected invasion in the north, trucks carrying aid from Egypt were unable to cross into Gaza to supply Palestinians running out of water, medicine and food supplies. 

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The diplomatic fallout has been swift. Biden will not visit Jordan after the country canceled plans for a summit with Egyptian and Palestinian leaders, a blow to diplomatic efforts to contain the war. The White House said the decision was made after consulting with King Abdullah II of Jordan and in light of the days of mourning Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced following the destruction of the Gaza hospital.

Biden is considering a supplemental request to Congress of approximately $100 billion that would include defense assistance for Israel and Ukraine alongside border security funding and aid to nations in the Indo-Pacific, including Taiwan. Biden has pledged support for Israel in the wake of the deadly attack by Hamas. Aid for Israel enjoys broad bipartisan support in the US Congress, but Republicans have balked at further assistance to Ukraine in its effort to defend against a Russian invasion that’s estimated to have killed at least 120,000 people.

Toys representing children abducted by Russia during the war in Ukraine in Brussels on Feb. 23. Ukraine said yesterday that it was bringing some of those children home. Photographer: Nicolas Maeterlinck/AFP

News of the aid package came on the same day that House Republicans almost selected far-right member Jim Jordan, who has opposed Ukraine aid, to be Speaker of the House. Jordan, a confidante of Donald Trump who supported his effort to overturn the 2020 election, lost as 20 GOP holdouts withheld support on an initial ballot Tuesday. Republicans later postponed any more speaker votes until Wednesday, a possible sign that Jordan wasn’t able to demonstrate momentum. The House has been paralyzed since the Oct. 3 ouster of Speaker Kevin McCarthy and unable to address an impending government shutdown.

There’s bad news for storied Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs—not to mention its chief executive, David Solomon. The firm posted a second straight quarter of real estate writedowns and a continued dealmaking slump, leaving the firm’s profitability at about half of what it had hoped for. Solomon has been struggling to revive the bank’s stock after retreating from its consumer-banking endeavors and refocusing on core business lines. While the CEO got a nod of support from the board’s lead director last month, he’s been the focus of dissatisfaction among employees for much of the last year. And last month, the firm gutted the leadership ranks of its transaction-banking business over compliance lapses. It was another black eye for one of the firm’s newer forays. Meanwhile, Solomon has decided to forego one of his hobbies and no longer DJ at high-profile public events—a highly visible off-hours persona that drew unwanted scrutiny.

David Solomon DJing in Miami on 2020. Photographer: Craig Barritt/Getty Images

HSBC is blocking staff from texting on their work phones, in the latest fallout from regulatory probes into the industry’s use of unauthorized communication methods. The move comes as financial watchdogs investigate the devices and systems used by traders and dealmakers to share information after high-profile cases of market manipulation at some of the biggest banks on Wall Street.

CVC Capital Partners is preparing an initial public offering. The float would be Europe’s largest of the year and one of the biggest ever by a buyout firm in the region. CVC’s plans come at a precarious time for the listings market, which had begun to splutter back to life before shaky performance from the IPOs of chip designer Arm Holdings and sandal maker Birkenstock Holding.

The last time Vladimir Putin set foot on Chinese soil, he went home with the promise of a “no limits” partnership from Xi Jinping. Less than a month later he launched the invasion of Ukraine. He returned to Beijing on Tuesday in a diminished state, needing the economic support of China and a route out of his self-inflicted political isolation. But what, if anything, will he take home? And what does China get in return?

Vladimir Putin, left, and Xi Jinping at the Third Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Tuesday Photographer: Sergei Savostyanov/AFP

What you’ll need to know tomorrow

This Hotel Feels Like Mars, But It’s Actually Chile

Glittering salt flats. Sky-poking volcanoes. Teal lagoons painted pink with flamingos. These are the wonders that await guests traveling to the resort town of San Pedro de Atacama—an oasis amid the greater Atacama Desert of northern Chile, which is the driest (non-polar) place on Earth. The 51-room Our Habitas Atacama, which opened on Sept. 15, is shaking things up as the most recent opening in a destination that rarely sees them. “The timing for Habitas is bang-on because the Atacama is red-hot right now,” says Harry Hastings, founder of bespoke travel company Plan South America. He says it’s one of his bestselling destinations.

The rooms of Our Habitas Atacama are filled with local textiles, hand-woven rugs, and feature native adobe constructions. Photographer: Isabel Plos

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