10.26.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, Oct. 26, and we're covering a deadly mass shooting in Maine, a powerful Pacific storm, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Breaking: A mass shooting at multiple locations in Lewiston, Maine, has left at least 22 people dead and injured as many as 60 people. Officials say the death toll is expected to rise, with the suspect at large as of this writing late Wednesday evening. This is a breaking story, see updates here

Johnson Grabs Gavel

Rep. Mike Johnson (R, LA-4) was elected House speaker yesterday, 220-209, ending a weekslong stalemate over who would replace ousted former speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20). The vote came after three consecutive candidates—Reps. Steve Scalise (R, LA-1), Jim Jordan (R, OH-4), and Tom Emmer (R, MN-6)—were nominated by a majority of the GOP caucus but fell short of securing a majority for a full House vote (previous write-up). 

 

Johnson was a lower-level member of House Republican leadership prior to the speaker race, having entered Congress in 2016 and currently serving as the GOP conference's vice-chair (helping plan and organize day-to-day House party operations). The 51-year-old Johnson, regarded as a social conservative (see background), spent roughly two decades practicing constitutional law before running for office. 

 

One of Johnson's first tasks will be to navigate a potential government shutdown—a short-term deal extended federal funding until Nov. 17. 

 

Otis Batters Acapulco 

The Mexican resort town of Acapulco was without power or communications and partially submerged under floodwaters yesterday after Hurricane Otis arrived in the early morning hours. A Category 5 storm, Otis is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Eastern Pacific on record. 

 

The intensity of the storm caught both the city and meteorologists by surprise. As late as Tuesday, computer models predicted the system would reach peak winds of 70 mph. Instead, Otis rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane, with winds reaching 165 mph over the course of half a day. Researchers pointed to the combination of a warm patch of water, the storm's compact size, and a ventilating effect from the jet stream (hurricanes 101). 

 

As of this writing, no deaths have been reported. See footage from the storm as it made landfall here.

 

Ground Invasion Delayed

Israel has reportedly agreed to delay its anticipated ground invasion of Gaza to allow the US time to deploy air-defense systems to protect US troops in the Middle East. US officials are concerned Israel's invasion could cause an uptick in militant groups targeting American forces in the region; at least 13 such attacks have occurred in Syria and Iraq in the past week. Israel hasn't disclosed the timeline of its ground invasion but said it would delay its plans until at least later this week. 

 

The delay also gives Israel and the US additional time to negotiate the release of hostages held by Hamas and for humanitarian aid to reach Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas has so far released four hostages since capturing 222 people from Israel during its Oct. 7 attack. 

More than 6,500 people have died and 17,400 injured in Gaza, while more than 1,400 have died and more than 5,400 injured in Israel. See updates on the war here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Dollar Flight Club

> The 2024 Tour de France route won't finish in Paris for the first time in the race's 120-year history; the finish line will instead be in Nice to avoid interfering with the Summer Olympics in Paris (More)

> Actor Jonathan Majors' assault and harassment case heads to trial Nov. 29 as a New York judge rejects the defense's motion to dismiss (More)

> Richard Roundtree, film and television actor best known for portraying titular role in "Shaft" movies, dies at 81 of pancreatic cancer (More)

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Science & Technology

> New neural network gives generative AI platforms the ability to incorporate newly learned words into existing vocabulary and use them in new contexts; advance is considered a key step toward mimicking human cognition (More)

> Fly study reveals neurons in the brain, which promote reward-seeking behavior, actively inhibit neurons responsible for assessing and avoiding punishment; results shed light on how dopamine affects risk versus reward decision-making (More)

> New studies find Mars' liquid-metal core is 30% smaller than previously believed and is surrounded by a surprise magma outer layer; analysis came from seismic measurements made by NASA's InSight probe (More)

 

Business & Markets

> United Auto Workers and Ford tentatively agree to four-year labor deal; pending approval by union leadership; deal would end six-week strike at Ford while negotiations continue with GM and Stellantis (More)

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.4%, Dow -0.3%, Nasdaq -2.4%); Nasdaq posts worst day since February (More)

> Meta (Facebook) exceeds Q3 expectations and posts 23% year-over-year revenue growth, fastest growth rate since 2021 (More) | IBM exceeds Q3 expectations on stronger revenue growth (More

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Former President Donald Trump fined $10K for violating a limited gag order in civil fraud trial in New York, called to the witness stand over said violation (More

> First major snowstorm of the season drops up to a foot of snow in Montana; snowstorm forecast to spread across northern Cascades, Rockies, and North Dakota this week (More)

> Opening statements begin in trial of the captain of a dive boat that caught fire in 2019 and killed 34 people on board; Captain Jerry Boylan has pleaded not guilty to a felony charge of misconduct or neglect of a ship officer (More)

 

In-Depth

> Rehabilitating Lahaina

Reuters Graphics | Staff. Explore a visually rich deep dive on how local and federal agencies are working to remove the remnants of toxic debris and ash in Hawaii following the August wildfire that claimed at least 99 lives and razed the historic town of Lahaina. (Read)

 

> Confessions of a Tableside Flambéur

Eater | Adam Reiner. A former fine dining server reflects on how the flambé, once a hallmark of French haute cuisine, evolved into an impressive tableside spectacle that carries the risk of going terribly wrong. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Visit an online museum of the early internet

 

Scientists reconstruct possible face of a sacrificed Incan girl.

 

... and low Amazon water levels reveal 2,000-year-old faces.

 

The top travel destinations to visit this winter.

 

A preview of Mexico's Día de Muertos events.

 

Dolly Parton to launch "Rockstar" album in movie theaters.

 

Looking back on 100 years of the jungle gym

 

New York man trapped inside jewelry store vault overnight.

 

Clickbait: Hundreds of witches trade brooms for paddles.   

 

Historybook: Erie Canal opens (1825); Women’s rights leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton dies (1902); Hillary Clinton born (1947); Hattie McDaniel, first Black Academy Award winner, dies (1952); Last known natural case of smallpox detected (1977).

"The best protection any woman can have is courage."

- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

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