11.29.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Nov. 29, and we're covering the rescue of 41 men trapped in a tunnel for 17 days, a convicted murderer's financial crimes, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Hostage Release Continues

Hamas released a fifth group of hostages to the International Committee of the Red Cross yesterday as part of an extended two-day cease-fire deal between the militant group and Israel. Twelve hostages were released in exchange for Israel's release of 30 Palestinian prisoners. Since the pause in fighting began Friday, 180 Palestinian prisoners, 61 Israeli hostages, and 20 foreign national hostages have been released.

 

Meanwhile, CIA Director William Burns visited Qatar to discuss a broader hostage agreement with officials from Qatar, Egypt, and Israel. The latest talks reportedly include pushing for the release of men and both female and male soldiers; so far, the focus of the hostage release has been women and children.  

 

Separately, the first of three US military planes carrying humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip landed in Egypt yesterday. The aid—about 54,000 pounds of food and medical supplies—will be handed over to the UN, which will distribute the items in Gaza.

 

See updates on the war here.

 

India Tunnel Rescue

All 41 construction workers are free after being trapped inside a collapsed tunnel in northern India for over two weeks. The men were treated at a hospital and are reportedly in good health.

 

The men, reportedly working for $250 per month, were pulled through 187 feet of steel pipe on wheeled stretchers after the rescuers used hand-held drills to break through. The drilling machines had broken down Friday after rescuers had bored horizontally through a section of nearly 200 feet of fallen rock, coming within 50 feet of the cavern. The men were able to survive on food and oxygen supplied through narrow pipes.

 

The landslide-induced collapse first occurred Nov. 12 amid the construction of the three-mile Silkyara tunnel. The tunnel is part of the government's $1.5M Char Dham highway project to connect four Hindu pilgrimage sites. The event has cast a spotlight on environmental concerns in the earthquake-prone Himalayan region. 

 

Murdaugh Fraud Sentencing

Convicted murderer and former lawyer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to 27 years in a South Carolina state prison yesterday as part of a settlement for stealing from 18 of his former clients. The 55-year-old will serve the time concurrently with his double life sentence for the 2021 murder of his wife and son, the central event of a tragic family story now featured in podcasts and TV series

 

Prosecutors originally charged Murdaugh with 101 finance-related crimes—a number reduced to 22 as part of a September plea deal. Riding the century-old reputation of his family's law firm, Murdaugh defrauded nearly two dozen of his clients—who were usually seeking injury compensation—of roughly $12M over a decade by skimming large amounts from their settlement or insurance payouts. Several victims or their relatives gave testimony at the hearing yesterday, as did Murdaugh, who expressed remorse. 

 

Murdaugh, in custody since 2021, is challenging his murder conviction, claiming a court clerk tampered with the jury. See a detailed history of the Murdaugh saga here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Sean "Diddy" Combs temporarily steps down as chairman of Revolt, a music-focused TV network he cofounded in 2013, amid multiple sexual assault allegations (More)

> André 3000 breaks record for longest-duration song ever to chart on Billboard Hot 100 with a 12-minute instrumental track (More) | Mark Cuban to depart "Shark Tank" at conclusion of season 16 (More)

> Georgia, Michigan, Washington, and Florida State lead College Football Playoff rankings heading into conference championship weekend (More) | Group stage of NBA's first-ever In-Season Tournament wrapped last night; see tourney bracket (More)

From our partners: Did your plastic (or metal) make the list? The holiday shopping season is here, and experts at The Ascent have sorted through hundreds of credit cards. These 6 are among the best bonus cards they’ve ever seen.

 

Science & Technology

> Amazon unveils its next generation of custom-built processors for cloud computing and AI training applications (More) | Google turns on geothermal power plant for data centers in Nevada (More

> New study provides conclusive evidence that LK-99—a material that went viral over claims of room temperature superconductivity—is not superconductive (More) | The saga of LK-99 explained (More)

> New imaging technology allows scientists to watch the interaction of up to seven molecules at the same time within a single cell; technique expected to shed light on the origin of various cellular functions (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.3%) as Federal Reserve official signals pause in interest rate hikes likely to continue (More) | Billionaire Charlie Munger, Berkshire Hathaway executive and Warren Buffett's business partner, dies at 99 (More

> Cyber Monday shoppers in the US spent record $12.4B online this year, up 9.6% over last year (More) | US consumer confidence index rises in November after three consecutive months of declines (More)

> US Supreme Court to hear arguments today in case challenging constitutionality of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's in-house judicial system and whether the federal agency can impose fines without a jury trial (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Rep. Robert Garcia (D, CA-42) files privileged resolution on House floor to expel Rep. George Santos (R, NY-3) following House Ethics Committee report accusing Santos of federal crimes; House leaders must schedule vote within two days (More

> Hunter Biden open to testifying in a public hearing before the House Oversight Committee on Dec. 13, lawyer says (More) | Memorial service for former first lady Rosalynn Carter held in Atlanta (More)

> Wife of Ukraine's intelligence chief hospitalized after alleged poisoning (More) | Finland closes eastern border amid surge of Russian asylum seekers (More) | Winter storm slows operations in Ukraine, Russia; see updates on the war here (More)

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Etcetera
 

TSA releases its 2024 Paws-itively Cute canine calendar

 

Compare your tipping behavior to the average American.

 

Explore global data on life expectancy

 

Sports Illustrated accused of publishing stories by AI-generated writers.

 

Take a trip to America's unique gas stations

 

Harvard, University of Florida add courses on Taylor Swift.

 

Venomous snake rescued from energy drink can.

 

Doorbell camera captures runaway Roomba's escape.

 

Clickbait: Child steals forklift, leads police on chase.

 

Historybook: "Chronicles of Narnia" author CS Lewis born (1898); Warren Commission is established to investigate President Kennedy's assassination (1963); Social activist Dorothy Day dies (1980); The Beatles guitarist George Harrison dies (2001).

"All the world is birthday cake, so take a piece, but not too much."

- George Harrison, from "It's All Too Much"

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