October 25, Wednesday, 2023

1. US leaders are calling for humanitarian pauses in Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip to allow for international aid to reach civilians, but they say they oppose a general ceasefire. Palestinian authorities say the number of people killed in the bombardment has risen to nearly 5,800. So far 1,400 Israelis have been killed, most of them in the initial attack on October 7. Hamas is still holding 220 people hostage.
2. In a landmark ruling, Japan’s Supreme Court has decided that requiring people to undergo surgery to remove their reproductive functions when they wish to officially change gender is unconstitutional. A person who was recorded as male at birth but now identifies as a woman asked a family court to allow a gender change without surgery, claiming that enforcing it would violate their human rights and the Constitution.
3. The start of 2024 is still a couple of months away. But a traditional ceramics maker in southern Japan is hard at work producing figurines for the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese zodiac. Amakusa ceramics are designated as one of Japan’s traditional crafts. One porcelain maker in Reihoku, Kumamoto Prefecture, started turning out miniature dragons in early September, using locally procured stones as a base material.