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Hard Numbers: Short sellers made bank ahead of Hamas attack, Sunak hits bottom over immigration, Spotify slashes workers, fresh violence in India’s Manipur, US envoy charged with helping Castro

FILE PHOTO: New Israeli Shekel banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken November 9, 2021.

FILE PHOTO: New Israeli Shekel banknotes are seen in this picture illustration taken November 9, 2021.


862 million: Did some stock market investors know about Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack ahead of time? A new report alleges an unusual pattern of short-selling of Israeli securities in the weeks, and even hours, leading up to the deadly rampage. In one example, short sellers of stock in Leumi, Israel’s largest bank, reaped profits of $862 million by dumping stock between Sept. 14 and Oct. 5.

25.4: Don’t pull out that head of lettuce just yet, but British PM Rishi Sunak’s popularity among his own Tory Party has crashed to record lows. His net approval rating is now negative 25.4 points, and roughly three in five Tories who supported the party in 2019 say they are still with the party, with many eyeing Nigel Farage’s far-right Reform UK party instead. Conservative voters are angry with Sunak for failing to stop a record wave of asylum-seekers arriving in the UK.

17: “Music for everyone,” yes, but not jobs for everyone. Music streaming giant Spotify has slashed 17% of its workforce — some 1,500 people — in a move to try to turn an annual profit for the first time since it was founded in Stockholm in 2006.

13: At least 13 people were killed in the latest round of violence in the northeastern Indian state of Manipur, where ethnic clashes since May between the majority Hindu Meitei ethnic group and the predominantly Christian Kuki-Zo minority have killed at least 180 people and displaced tens of thousands. Earlier this year, PM Narendra Modi drew criticism for failing to react swiftly to violence in Manipur.

25: Did a former top US diplomat in Latin America use his 25-year-long career to promote the interests of the Cuban government? The FBI thinks so. Manuel Rocha, a former US ambassador to Argentina and Bolivia, has been arrested on suspicion that he was serving the Castro regime while officially working for los Yanquis.


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