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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Oct. 18, and we're covering the battle for the speaker of the House, a deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

House Speaker Standstill 

Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R, OH-4) fell short yesterday in securing enough votes on the first ballot to become the speaker of the House. He won 200 votes in the first round of voting, short of the 217 votes needed to take the gavel. Jordan was nominated last week after House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R, LA-1) withdrew from the race.


Jordan, the founding chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and backed by former President Donald Trump, will face another vote today at 11 am ET. In the first round, 20 Republicans voted for a different candidate, including Scalise, who received seven votes, and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20), who received six. Both Scalise and McCarthy voted for Jordan. All 212 Democrats support House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8). 


It's the second time in the 118th Congress in which the House is struggling to select a speaker, following the historic 15 ballots it took for McCarthy to become speaker in January. The House has been leaderless for two weeks since McCarthy was ousted.


Gaza Hospital Blast

At least 500 people died yesterday after an explosion from an airstrike that struck a hospital in Gaza City, according to Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry. Hamas claimed it was an Israeli airstrike, while the Israeli military said it was not involved in the incident, claiming the blast was from a misfired rocket from a militant group in Gaza known as Palestinian Islamic Jihad (see overview). 


A Hamas official reportedly claimed yesterday the group would release the civilian hostages it took from Israel during a surprise attack Oct. 7, if Israel ceases airstrikes in Gaza. The official also claimed Hamas would release soldiers held hostage if Palestinians held in Israeli jails were released. At least 199 people are being held hostage by Hamas.  


The death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 3,000, with at least 12,500 people injured. At least 61 additional Palestinians have died, with at least 1,250 injured, from clashes in the West Bank. The death toll in Israel remains near 1,400, with close to 4,000 people injured. 


The explosion came ahead of US President Joe Biden's visit to Tel Aviv today as Israel prepares for a possible ground invasion and international calls for humanitarian assistance in Gaza continue. 


See all updates on the war here.


More Semiconductor Restrictions

US officials announced new restrictions on semiconductor exports to China yesterday, the Biden administration's latest strategic attempt at slowing China's advanced chipmaking capacity. Leading American chipmakers Nvidia and Intel—which view China as a major source of growth—saw their shares drop over the news.


China currently leads the world in the construction of new semiconductor factories as it looks to dominate the global market for older, basic chips, which are present in nearly every consumer electronic product, from smartphones to laundry machines. The Biden administration views advanced chips—those with transistor lines smaller than 7 nanometers, 10,000 times smaller than a human hair—as so-called "force multipliers," a foundational technology key to developments in artificial intelligence,  weapons systems, and quantum computing. 


The latest rules expand previous restrictions by increasing scrutiny of "gray zone" chips designed to circumvent the ban, as well as prohibiting exports to China via third parties or subsidiaries. Watch how microchips are made here.

In partnership with EnergyX

The Next Gold Rush


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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> New Mexico prosecutors to bring involuntary manslaughter charges against Alec Baldwin before a grand jury in the 2021 "Rust" shooting case (More)

> Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, and Rory McIlroy are among group of investors purchasing 24% stake, costing $211M, in Alpine Formula One racing team (More)

> Britney Spears reveals in upcoming memoir she had an abortion after getting pregnant with Justin Timberlake's child (More)


Science & Technology

In partnership with hear.com

> Study confirms the largest "marsquake" measured to date, ruling out a meteor impact as the cause of the seismic activity; equivalent to a 4.7-magnitude earthquake, tremors reverberated for six hours (More)

> Common dietary supplement found to reverse declining fertility rates in mice; the molecule, spermidine, has previously been found to increase life span in yeast and worms (More)

> Neuroscientists discover brain circuitry that responds to the texture of fatty foods, drives the urge to consume high-fat substances (More)

From our partners: Two is better than one. A team of top German engineers has unveiled the world’s first hearing aids with dual processing, which means twice the power and clarity. They’re called Horizon by hear.com, and hundreds of thousands have already tried these tiny but powerful devices. Virtually invisible, Bluetooth-enabled, and backed by audiologists everywhere. Learn more and start your 45-day no-risk trial today.


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.01%, Dow +0.04%, Nasdaq -0.3%) as September US retail sales rose more than expected to 0.7% over August (More

> Wyndham Hotels & Resorts rejects unsolicited $8B takeover bid from Choice Hotels International, following breakdown in negotiations (More) | Biotechnology giant Thermo Fisher Scientific to acquire Swedish company Olink for $3.1B (More)

> Goldman Sachs beats revenue and earnings expectations but sees profit drop 33% from a year earlier as it pulls back from consumer lending (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> Ukraine strikes Russian military depot, other sites using US-supplied long-range missiles; marks the first known use of the munitions (More) | Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China as part of Belt and Road Initiative Forum (More)

> India's Supreme Court declines to recognize same-sex marriage, ruling recognition of legal rights must be implemented via the country's parliament (More)

> Belgium police shoot and kill man believed to have shot three people, killing two, hours earlier; officials call initial attack domestic terrorism, say suspect cited the Quran in an online video after the killings (More)

In partnership with EnergyX

How GM Is Securing Its Lithium Supply


The world will need to produce 3.8 million tons of lithium per year by 2035 to meet the demand for electric vehicles. General Motors is turning to one startup to unlock US-based lithium supply: EnergyX. EnergyX’s patented LiTAS™ technology can extract up to 300% more lithium than traditional methods. 

GM led a $50 million funding round in EnergyX earlier this year, and EnergyX is now opening up the opportunity to join them to all investors. Don’t miss out: Become an EnergyX shareholder today.*

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Ranking the world's 40 coolest neighborhoods.


AI Jane Austen gets overrun by spam bots.


… and dissecting covers of modern romance novels.


Could the graffiti artist known as Banksy be revealed?


Construction crews find 19-century shipwreck in Florida


... and a British WWII warship is seen again after 80 years


Vote on which forgotten toy gets a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame.


M&M's debuts Halloween rescue squad to refill empty candy bowls.


Clickbait: A 1981 DeLorean time capsule found; flux capacitor not included.


Historybook: "Moby-Dick" is first published (1851); The US purchases Alaska from Russia (1867); Thomas Edison dies (1931); Astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch conduct first all-female spacewalk (2019); Former Secretary of State Colin Powell dies (2021). 

"Always do your very best. Even when no one else is looking, you always are. Don't disappoint yourself."

- Colin Powell

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