10.23.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Monday, Oct. 23, and we're covering the threat of regional conflict in the Middle East, a presidential vote in Argentina, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Israel Widens Strikes

Israeli forces carried out airstrikes against multiple targets in Gaza, two airports in Syria, and a mosque allegedly used by militants in the West Bank over the weekend, stoking fears its two-week-old war with Hamas may spiral into a broader regional conflict. The strikes come as Israeli forces trade fire with Hezbollah militants along the Lebanese border (see maps) and say arms are being delivered to the group via Syria. 

 

In related news, reports suggest Israeli officials found instructions for making cyanide-based chemical weapons on a Hamas fighter killed during the group's Oct. 7 attack on villages in southern Israel. The document was traced to a 2003 al-Qaida manual—it is unclear whether Hamas has the capability to carry out (or is imminently planning) such an attack. 

 

Separately, Israeli officials raised the number of confirmed hostages taken by Hamas to 212. The assessment follows the Qatar-mediated release of two Americans (see previous write-up), the first hostages to be released by Hamas. 

 

The death toll from the fighting continues to rise, including at least 1,400 Israelis and at least 4,600 Palestinians. See updates on the war here.

 

Armita Geravand

An Iranian teenager is reportedly brain-dead after an encounter with the country's morality police enforcing strict dress code requirements earlier this month. Rights groups say 16-year-old Armita Geravand has been in a coma since the Oct. 1 incident, when she was physically confronted by officers on the Tehran metro for failing to wear a hijab. 

 

The case comes roughly a year after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died under similar circumstances (see previous write-up). Amini was stopped while visiting Tehran last September for allegedly violating the hijab requirement and detained, later arriving at the hospital with a severe head injury. Her death sparked months of demonstrations across Iran, leading to the arrest of almost 22,000 people and the deaths of hundreds of protestors.

 

Iranian officials claim Geravand suffered her injuries after fainting due to low blood pressure (they previously said Amini suffered a heart attack). Footage released by state media shows Geravand being carried off a train but not the physical encounter.

 

Chainsaw Politics

The race to become Argentina's next president will head to a Nov. 19 runoff after no candidate secured a sufficient share of the vote in national elections yesterday. Economy Minister Sergio Massa took a surprise lead in the first round, taking over 36% of the vote as of this writing. He will face outsider candidate Javier Milei—a self-described anarcho-capitalist known for wielding a chainsaw at campaign rallies—in the runoff. 

 

Analysts say the race is one of the most pivotal in modern history for South America's third-largest country. With the country mired in an economic crisis, inflation is on track to top 200% by the end of the year, while roughly 40% of the country lives below the poverty line. 

 

The two candidates represent opposite poles of the political spectrum. Massa strongly supports a social safety net, while Milei has pledged to cut social spending and shutter at least half of the country's government agencies.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Philadelphia Phillies top Arizona Diamondbacks 6-1 to take 3-2 lead in NL Championship Series (More) | Texas Rangers top Houston Astros to push AL Championship Series to Game 7 (More)

> Screen Actors Guild and TV and film producers to resume negotiations tomorrow as strike passes 100 days (More) | "Taylor Swift: Eras Tour" film tops box office for second weekend, bringing its total domestic box office haul to $130M (More)

> Sir Bobby Charlton, soccer legend who helped lead England to 1966 World Cup victory, dies at 86 (More) | Betsy Rawls, eight-time golf major winner, dies at 95 (More)

 

Science & Technology

In partnership with EnergyX

> IBM unveils next-generation processor chip for AI applications that performs calculations more quickly while potentially being up to 25 times more energy efficient than existing technology (More)

> Study suggests parasitic worms may have evolved "borrowed" genes from their hosts, which allow them to control their hosts' movements (More) | What are horsehair worms? (More, w/video)

> Research links mass die-off of roughly 10 billion snow crabs in the Bering Sea between 2018 and 2021 to marine heat waves; increased temperatures required the animals to quadruple their caloric intake, resulting in widespread starvation (More)

From our partners: The white gold rush is here. The demand for lithium is projected to 20X by 2040. It’s a key component in everything from EV batteries to smartphones. Now one company patented a way to extract up to 300% more lithium than traditional methods: EnergyX. It’s creating an exciting opportunity for EnergyX investors, including General Motors and POSCO. Now you have the chance to invest alongside industry titans into EnergyX as well. Don’t miss out: Buy EnergyX stock here.*

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower Friday (S&P 500 -1.3%, Dow -0.9%, Nasdaq -1.5%); 10-year Treasury yield hits 5% for first time since 2007 (More)

> American Express reports record revenue for sixth consecutive quarter; revenue increased to $15.4B in Q3 (More)

> Okta shares fall 12% after security software provider announces breach of support system by hackers (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> House Republicans to hear from nine contenders for House speaker nominee at a forum today after Rep. Jim Jordan (R, OH-4) was removed as nominee last week; see candidates for the role here (More

> At least six dead and 16 injured in Ukraine Saturday after Russian missile strike hits mail depot in the eastern city of Kharkiv (More) | See more war updates (More) | Canada withdraws 41 diplomats from India in latest fallout between the two nations over the killing of a Sikh leader on Canada's soil (More)

> Hurricane Norma makes landfall on Mexico’s Baja California peninsula, while Hurricane Tammy makes landfall on the Caribbean island of Barbuda; both storms made landfall as Category 1 hurricanes (More)

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Etcetera
 

See America's abandoned megaprojects (w/video). 

 

Does chicken soup really help when you're sick

 

Mapping New England's best apple cider doughnuts.

 

Compose fridge magnet poetry with an online simulator

 

Find the AI-generated image hidden among the artworks.

 

Academic conference on Taylor Swift debuting in Indiana.

 

GPS-equipped goats are helping to clean up Earth

 

Man dances with 319 wineglasses on his head, breaks record

 

Clickbait: When you come back from vacation, and your house is gone.

 

Historybook: First National Women’s Rights Convention begins (1850); Comedian and "Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson born (1925); Soccer legend Pelé born (1940); Suicide bombings at US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, kills 241 US military personnel (1983); 130 die in Moscow theater hostage crisis (2002).

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing."

- Pelé

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