11.1.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Nov. 1, and we're covering the death of a senior Hamas commander, JetBlue's federal antitrust trial, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Top Hamas Leader Killed

Israeli officials said a senior Hamas commander, who is believed to have directed part of the militant group's Oct. 7 attack and the kidnapping of more than 220 people in Israel, has been killed after an air raid. The airstrikes were targeting the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, the largest of eight camps in the region (see map), where Israel claimed Hamas militants were hiding. At least 50 people are believed to have been killed from yesterday's airstrikes.


The death toll has risen to at least 8,500 in Gaza and at least 1,400 in Israel. Egypt said its hospitals in northern Sinai and elsewhere would treat injured Palestinians, though the border still appears to be blocked.

 

Fears over a wider Middle East conflict continue to mount as Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed they were responsible for missile and drone attacks targeting a Red Sea shipping port in southern Israel yesterday. The Israeli military intercepted the attack. 

 

Separately, the US Senate confirmed Jacob Lew as the next ambassador to Israel, while intelligence officials warned a Senate committee the Israel-Hamas war could raise the potential for terrorist attacks against Americans.

 

See updates on the war here.

 

Mass Deportations in Pakistan

Millions of undocumented foreigners face deportation from Pakistan today as the government's deadline to leave voluntarily expires. Four million migrants—nearly half of whom are not documented—are from neighboring Afghanistan, where wars and fear of persecution under strict Taliban rule have prompted broad migrations in recent decades.

 

The deportation deadline, initiated early last month, comes amid mounting political and economic issues in Pakistan, including record-high inflation and uncertainty around postponed general elections. Detention centers have been set up around the country to handle the expected hundreds of thousands who did not leave ahead of the deadline. Analysts claim the policy signals growing hostility between the two closely tied countries (read overview).

 

Tens of thousands of Afghans returned to Afghanistan from Pakistan over the last month, including those with documents fearing separation from family. Many Afghans in the country are refugees seeking resettlement in the US, the EU, or elsewhere. 

 

The US v. JetBlue

The US government's antitrust trial over JetBlue Airways' proposed $3.8B acquisition of Spirit Airlines began yesterday in Boston. The Justice Department, along with six states and Washington, DC, argues the merger would limit flight options and result in higher fares, limiting the "Spirit effect" on the market—when Spirit reduces fares on specific routes, it triggers industrywide price reductions of 17% on average, and when it exits a route, fares increase by 30% on average.

 

JetBlue argues the merger is necessary for it to compete with the four largest domestic airlines, which comprise more than 80% of the market, and the merger will allow it to offer lower fares in more areas. The airline has proposed to divest routes to address antitrust concerns, saying it will sell flight slots and gates to ultra-low-cost carriers. Critics argue the merger violates sections of the federal Clayton Act designed to prevent mergers that diminish competition or result in monopolies.

 

If the deal falls apart, JetBlue would need to pay a $470M breakup fee to Spirit and its shareholders. The case follows significant airline industry consolidation in recent years (see visual).

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Texas Rangers top Arizona Diamondbacks 11-7 to take 3-1 lead in the World Series; Game 5 is tonight (8 pm ET, Fox) from Phoenix (More)

> Screen Actors Guild and TV and film producers continue negotiations today with a deal in sight as the actors strike hits 110 days (More)

> Saudi Arabia set to host 2034 FIFA World Cup after Australia declines to submit a bid (More) | Ohio State, Georgia, Michigan, and Florida State top initial College Football Playoff rankings (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meets to review the first application using CRISPR gene-editing to treat severe sickle cell disease; group has until Dec. 8 to make recommendation (More) | The science behind the treatment (More, w/video)

> Researchers uncover mechanism behind some forms of rare but deadly blood clotting following COVID-19 vaccines; patients with condition produce antibodies that stick to certain blood proteins, forming larger structures in blood vessels (More)

> Previously unknown mechanism reveals how sunflowers follow the sun throughout the day; plants grow slightly more on their east-facing side during the day, switching to their west-facing side at night (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow +0.4%, Nasdaq +0.5%); stocks post third consecutive losing month overall, with Dow and S&P 500 marking first three-month losing streak since March 2020 (More) | Federal Reserve expected to keep interest rates steady in today's policy update (More)

> Eurozone inflation drops to 2.9% year-over-year growth in October, the lowest annual growth rate since July 2021 (More) | National Association of Realtors and residential brokers found liable for roughly $1.8B in damages for conspiring to keep home sales commissions artificially high (More)

> Anheuser-Busch beats Q3 revenue expectations; US revenue falls 13.5% amid fallout from Dylan Mulvaney controversy, marking second consecutive quarter of decline in US revenue (More)  

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Politics & World Affairs

> Supreme Court hears two cases considering whether public officials should be held liable for blocking critics on social media; plaintiffs in both cases allege First Amendment violations (More)

> Gen. Eric Smith, the US Marine Corps' highest-ranking officer, reportedly hospitalized following Sunday heart attack; Smith has no four-star deputy due to ongoing block of military promotions by Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) (More)

> Spain's Princess Leonor sworn in during ceremony following her 18th birthday, establishing her as the successor of the country's monarchy (More)

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Etcetera
 

NASA captures image of ghostly cosmic hand

 

... and scary tarantula fangs top October's best science photos.

 

See Forbes' list of world's top companies for women

 

Last operating US prison ship set to close in New York City.

How an 18th-century piece became Halloween's theme song.

 

Watch mesmerizing colorful liquids swirl to classical music.

 

Rare albino deer spotted in Tennessee

 

Robotic romance, ransoms, and more: The life of South Pole Roombas.

 

Clickbait: Illegal in 15 US states, Samuel Adams Utopia returns

 

Historybook: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling exhibited to public for first time (1512); Earthquake and tsunami in Lisbon kill 60,000-90,000 people (1755); Apple CEO Tim Cook born (1960); Bollywood actress and Miss World 1994 winner Aishwarya Rai Bachchan born (1973); Football great Walter Payton dies (1999).

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