11.15.2023

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Nov. 15, and we're covering a bipartisan spending bill advancing through the House, a disrupted vital California highway, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

House Passes Spending Bill

House lawmakers, on a vote of 336 to 95, passed a two-part stopgap spending bill yesterday that would extend government funding into 2024. The passage comes ahead of a Friday deadline when current funding for federal agencies is due to expire. The measure now heads to the Senate, which is expected to send it to President Joe Biden's desk by the end of the week. 

 

The short-term extension, known as a continuing resolution and proposed by House Speaker Mike Johnson (R, LA-4), won the support of Democrats but didn't receive backing from the House Freedom Caucus. The bill doesn't include spending cuts or major policy changes. 

 

The stopgap measure splits government spending for federal agencies into two groups. Funding for the first group, which includes veterans' benefits, housing, transportation, agriculture, and energy and water programs, will run through Jan. 19, while funding for the second group, which includes the defense department and other remaining programs, will run through Feb. 2. 

 

Separately, in other Capitol news, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, FL-1) filed a formal ethics complaint against former speaker Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) after Rep. Tim Burchett (R, TN-2) accused McCarthy of elbowing him in the back. 

 

Los Angeles Highway Fire

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced yesterday that damage from a fire beneath Interstate 10 in downtown Los Angeles Saturday would close a 2-mile section of the highway for three to five weeks during repairs. Fire investigators said Monday the blaze was likely the result of arson, though no suspects have been identified. 

 

The 8-acre fire destroyed parked cars and pallet stacks and weakened roughly 100 concrete columns supporting the freeway where it intersects Alameda Street in south LA (see photos). Construction company Apex Development, currently in litigation with the city, held an expired lease to store its materials beneath the highway, a common practice; Apex also had sublet the area to at least five other entities. Over a dozen homeless people were evacuated from the area Saturday. No injuries were reported.

 

The stretch serves roughly 300,000 daily commuters and two of the highest-volume ports in the country. See charts explaining LA's notorious traffic here

 

Indian Workers Trapped

Rescue efforts continue in India as 40 workers remain trapped in an under-construction tunnel that partially collapsed four days ago in the mountainous Uttarakhand state. The cause of the collapse is under investigation. The workers are reportedly safe and receiving oxygen and water via a pipe.

 

The workers are stranded about 500 feet into a large section of a nearly three-mile highway tunnel. After failing to create an access route due to falling debris, rescuers have begun boring horizontally to insert a steel escape pipe measuring nearly 3 feet in diameter into the cavern, which the workers will be able to crawl out through. The timeline for the rescue remains uncertain. See updates here

 

The tunnel is part of the Char Dham highway project, a federal government project connecting key Hindu pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand. The project has faced criticism and raised environmental concerns in the earthquake-prone Himalayan region. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> The 2023 Cricket World Cup semifinal begins today with India taking on New Zealand (More) | Man arrested on suspicion of manslaughter in death of former NHL player Adam Johnson, who died last month after being cut in the neck by a skate during a game in England (More)

> Two more people come forward with claims of misconduct against comedian Russell Brand during his time as a BBC radio host; Brand was previously accused by four women of sexual assault (More)

> US women's national soccer team signs Chelsea FC manager Emma Hayes from Britain to be its next head coach, making her the highest-paid women's soccer coach in the world (More)

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Science & Technology

> Biannual list of world's fastest supercomputers released; Oak Ridge National Lab's Frontier and Argonne National Lab's Aurora systems take top two spots (More)

> Fifth National Climate Assessment released by federal scientific advisory group; study shows the US has experienced a record 25 billion-dollar extreme weather events so far this year, up from three in 1980 (adjusted for inflation) (More)

> Caribbean island of Dominica establishes the world's first marine reserve for endangered sperm whales, banning commercial fishing and large ships across 300 square miles (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.9%, Dow +1.4%, Nasdaq +2.4%); S&P 500 notches best day since April (More) | The consumer price index rose 3.2% year-over-year in October, the lowest annual rate since March 2021 (More)

> US banking regulators testify before Senate Banking Committee over proposal to overhaul how banks gauge risk and how much capital they should hold against potential losses (More) | Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. chairperson responds to lawmaker questions over alleged systemic sexual harassment at FDIC (More

> Home Depot reports Q3 earnings and revenue fell but topped estimates; home improvement chain projects decline in annual sales for the first time since 2009 (More) | Airbnb reportedly acquiring AI startup GamePlanner.AI—launched by Siri cofounder—for $200M (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> At least 40 patients have died at Gaza's al-Shifa hospital according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, as Israel Defense Forces enter facility amid fighting with Hamas (More) | Israeli officials claim Hamas is using the building as a command center (More) | See updates on the war (More)

> Mass shooting suspect accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado, supermarket deemed competent to stand trial; suspect pleads not guilty by reason of insanity (More)

> Six people killed, 18 others injured after tractor-trailer crashes into a charter bus carrying high school students on Ohio's Interstate 70 (More)

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Etcetera
 

National Geographic unveils the year's best pictures

 

Civil War cannonballs, swords found in South Carolina.

 

US Air Force's new "flying wing" bomber takes first flight

 

Iconic bright red 1962 Ferrari sells for record $52M.

 

Nepal bans TikTok to protect social harmony

 

Colombia is sterilizing Pablo Escobar's invasive hippos

 

Outkast's André 3000 to drop solo album, featuring no lyrics.

 

When a horse gets loose on a plane

 

Clickbait: Foreign interference disrupts New Zealand's bird elections

 

Historybook: Articles of Confederation is adopted by Continental Congress (1777); Artist Georgia O’Keeffe born (1887); "Macho Man" Randy Savage born (1952); Two million people protest Vietnam War across the US (1969); Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead dies (1978).

"I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had."

- Margaret Mead

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