11.27.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Monday, Nov. 27, and we're covering the third day of a cease-fire in Gaza, a massive chunk of ice exiting Antarctica, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Hostage Release Continues

Seventeen hostages held in the Gaza Strip were released yesterday, the third group freed during a tenuous four-day cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that was held over the weekend and up to early this morning. In exchange, Israel released 39 Palestinian prisoners. 

 

The Qatar and US-mediated cease-fire began Friday (see previous write-up), with Hamas agreeing to release at least 50 of around 240 hostages abducted during their initial Oct. 7 attack in Southern Israel in exchange for about 150 Palestinian prisoners. The majority is said to be primarily women and children on both sides. As of late yesterday, 43 hostages had been released by Hamas, while around 100 prisoners had been released by Israel. 

 

Among yesterday's group was at least one American—4-year-old Abigail Mor Edan. Reports suggest she was taken Oct. 7, during which both her parents were killed. Also released was 9-year-old Israeli-Irish citizen Emily Hand, who was previously believed to have been killed. 

 

If the cease-fire holds, US officials say they may push for an extension. See updates on the war here

 

Iceberg Adrift

The world's largest iceberg is drifting from the Antarctic Circle toward the Southern Ocean, scientists confirmed late last week. The floating mass sheared from the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf in 1986 but became stuck on the floor of the Weddell Sea. 

 

Labeled A23a, the iceberg is roughly 1,500 square miles in size (five times the land area of New York City) and about 1,300 feet thick (taller than the Empire State Building). Satellite imagery suggested the block had begun moving in 2020 before becoming fully adrift in recent months. 

 

As A23a melts, its effect on sea level increase will be minimal—floating objects displace their own weight in water (see 101), with small differences due to salinity—though researchers say it may threaten wildlife if it runs aground at the nearby island of South Georgia. 

 

Read more about the iceberg's trajectory here

 

Indian Tunnel Rescue

Efforts to rescue 41 trapped Indian workers inside a collapsed tunnel in northern Uttarakhand state enter their third week today, as rescuers mount three separate digging approaches to the enclosed laborers. All of the 41 men are reportedly in good health and receiving regular hot meals, water, and medicine via a small pipe. 

 

The collapse first occurred Nov. 12 amid construction of the three-mile Silkyara tunnel, one part of the government's Char Dham highway project connecting four Hindu pilgrimage sites. Rescuers bored horizontally through a section of nearly 200 feet of fallen rock, coming within 30 feet of the cavern before the drill hit metal girders and malfunctioned late last week. A superheated plasma cutter was airlifted to the region Sunday by the military to clear the broken machine, and slower manual drilling was expected to resume. Two other teams are simultaneously digging from above and from the far side of the tunnel.

 

Officials believe a breakthrough to the trapped men could occur within days. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Public Rec

> Irish author Paul Lynch's novel "Prophet Song" wins prestigious Booker Prize for best English-language novel published in the UK or Ireland (More)

> Screen Actors Guild release complete tentative contract that ended the actors strike (More) | Third woman this month accuses Sean "Diddy" Combs of sexual assault (More)

> Marty Krofft, television producer known for creating children's TV programs "H.R. Pufnstuf" and "Land of the Lost," dies at 86 of kidney failure (More)

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Science & Technology

> Scientists identify almost 200 new CRISPR molecules after searching through databases of rare and unusual bacterial systems; may open new types of gene editing applications in mammals (More) | CRISPR 101 (More)

> Study finds bladder-like cells on resilient plants like quinoa fend off insects and disease, are not used to store water for droughts; findings overturn a century-old theory in plant biology (More)

> Astronomers detect second-most energetic cosmic ray on record; origins of the subatomic particle traveling near the speed of light remain a mystery (More)

 

Business & Markets

> Dow, S&P 500 close up during half-day trading session Friday (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow +0.3%, Nasdaq -0.1%); all three averages end holiday week up, notching fourth consecutive week of gains (More)

> US consumers spend $9.8B in online shopping during Black Friday, up 7.5% year-over-year; Cyber Monday deals to be held today (More)

> Meta (Facebook) was aware of 1.1 million accounts purportedly opened by children under 13 years old in recent years, disabling only a fraction while continuing to collect their data; claims come from newly unsealed court documents (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russia launches largest drone strike of war in Kyiv Saturday, with 74 of 75 drones intercepted; five Ukrainians injured (More) | Five-year-old girl wounded in Thursday Dublin stabbing remains in critical condition; riot arrests rise to 48 (More)

> Derek Chauvin injured in prison stabbing, expected to survive; the former Minneapolis police officer was convicted in 2021 for the murder of George Floyd (More)

> Hundreds killed in flooding amid extreme seasonal rains in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia (More) | Eleven US states under winter weather alerts over the weekend as snow falls across Northern and Central Rockies; Wyoming sees over 2 feet (More)

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Etcetera
 

Unraveling how time travel works in movies.

 

The history of Cyber Monday

 

Gauging faith in the American dream.

 

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade smashes ratings record

 

Scientists discover "wireless" nerve signaling in worms.

 

How the Hmong people celebrate the new year

 

A look at India's artificial glaciers

 

Scientists identify remains of WWII soldier 79 years later

 

Clickbait: NFL star talks trash with sign language, avoids fines

 

Historybook: The Nobel Prize is established (1895); Bruce Lee born (1940); Jimi Hendrix born (1942); Mars 2, a Soviet space probe, is first man-made object to reach Mars (1971); LGBT rights activist Harvey Milk is assassinated (1978). 

"It takes no money to respect the individual."

- Harvey Milk

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