10.21.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Oct. 21, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the first hostages freed from Hamas, a high-speed jet stream on Jupiter, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

You share, we listen. As always, send us feedback at [email protected].

One Big Headline
 

American Hostages Freed

Hamas freed two American hostages yesterday to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Gaza as part of a Qatar-brokered deal between the US and Hamas. The hostages—a mother and daughter from a Chicago suburb—are the first to be released since Hamas took nearly 200 people back to Gaza after its surprise Oct. 7 attack in Israel. The Israeli government confirmed the news, saying the Americans were taken to an Israeli military base.

 

The news comes as US President Joe Biden yesterday requested a $106B emergency funding package from Congress, which primarily includes aid for Israel and Ukraine. Of the total funding sought, $61B is earmarked for Ukraine, $14.3B for Israel, and roughly $9B for humanitarian efforts for Israel, Ukraine, and Gaza. See full breakdown here.

 

Shipments of humanitarian aid, which have been stalled on Gaza's southern border with Egypt as part of Israel's full siege of the region, are expected to begin moving into the enclave by this weekend. Biden said 20 trucks have been permitted to move through the Rafah crossing as part of a deal with Israel. 

 

Meanwhile, Israel began evacuating about 23,000 residents from the town of Kiryat Shmona near its northern border with Lebanon amid constant cross-border clashes with Iran-backed Hezbollah, which has ties to Hamas. 

 

The death toll in Gaza has risen to at least 4,100; the death toll in Israel stands near 1,400. See all updates on the war here

Quick Hits
 

House Republicans remove Rep. Jim Jordan as House speaker nominee.

The removal, by a closed-door vote, comes after Jordan (R, OH-4) failed to secure the gavel in the third round of voting Friday. He received 194 votes, down from 199 in the second ballot and 200 from the first. All House Democrats continued to back House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8). House Republicans will restart the speaker nominee process Monday.

 

Trump adviser Kenneth Chesebro takes plea deal in Georgia election case.

Chesebro is the third person to plead guilty in the Fulton County, Georgia, 2020 election interference case. He pleaded guilty to reduced charges, faces five years of probation, and agreed to testify in future cases. Chesebro's guilty plea came as jury selection for his trial was underway. He is one of 19 codefendants charged in the election interference case.

 

James Webb discovers massive jet stream over Jupiter's equator.

The jet stream spans more than 3,000 miles and is traveling at roughly 320 mph—about twice the speed of a Category 5 hurricane on Earth. The discovery of the jet stream from images captured by NASA's James Webb telescope gives scientists insight into how Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere works.   

 

Trump fined for violating gag order in civil fraud trial in New York.

A judge fined former President Donald Trump $5K for not removing a post on Truth Social in which Trump made inflammatory remarks toward the judge's law clerk. Trump had been ordered to remove the post earlier this month. Trump and members of his family face a $250M lawsuit over financial fraud allegations from New York Attorney General Letitia James. 

 

US soldier who crossed into North Korea charged, held by US military.

Travis King, 23, has been charged with desertion and also faces charges for other alleged crimes, including assaulting officers, unlawfully possessing alcohol, and possessing sexual images of a child. King was returned to the US after crossing the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea.     

 

Astronomers detect radio signal that took 8 billion years to reach Earth.

The flash of radio waves, first discovered in June 2022, is the oldest known instance of a phenomenon known as a fast radio burst, or FRB. Fast radio bursts are typically a millisecond long and come from an unknown origin. The latest detected fast radio burst lasted less than a millisecond and released the amount of energy equivalent to the sun's total energy emission over 30 years.

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Humankind
 

Three-year-old girl breaks record for youngest person to visit all US national parks. (More)

 

Stranger surprises 8-year-old girl battling cancer with tickets to see singer JVKE, who shares a special moment with the young girl onstage. (More, w/video) 

 

Amazon delivery driver helps a teenage boy secure his tie for homecoming. (More)

 

West Virginia high schoolers stick together to direct their own marching band after they were left without a band director. (More)

 

Long John Silver's employee sifts through trash to help a man find his missing dentures, rewarded with $1K from a kindness program. (More

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Anne S. in Merced, California.

 

"My stroke and cancer survivor 78-year-old husband was doing his daily walk down to the corner and back, painfully and stubbornly, as he can only take a 6" step at a time. We live on a residential road, which unfortunately experiences dangerous 60 mph traffic. Yesterday, I was about to go look for him as he had been gone a bit longer than usual. Just as I was getting to the front door, a strange man rang my doorbell ... There, on the corner of my lawn, was my husband, lying on the ground with two other men hovering over him."

 

"... My husband had fallen, we will never know how, and landed face up and head first about three feet into the street ... These three strangers, three separate men in separate cars, stopped to help pick him up, incredibly dazed and bleeding from a 2" head wound, stayed with us until our local hero firemen arrived, and then upon their advisement, until the ambulance arrived ... I cannot thank these three angels for taking the time out of their lives to help our lives."

 

What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us here.

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Americans are expected to spend a record $12.2B for Halloween this year
> US household wealth up 37% from 2019 to 2022, the largest increase on record.

> US Fish and Wildlife Service declares 21 species are now extinct. See them here.

 

Browse 

The world's 50 best bars in 2023

> How to see this weekend's Orionid meteor shower.

> You can now buy a 1985 Domino's delivery spaceship

See photos of NICU babies in Halloween costumes.

Uber Eats' 2023 trends—and the most unique delivery requests.

 

Listen 

> Is it possible to stretch time and make a single week feel like two?


Watch 

> How to overcome your mistakes

> A spy octopus helps its friend hide from a shark

> Meet the man in India who builds the world's wackiest vehicles, including in the shapes of a giant burger and a stiletto.

> ... and the woman who poisoned 600 men with her makeup in 17th-century Italy

 

Long Read 

> Inside NBA star Ja Morant's 18-month downfall. 

> How soccer goalkeepers see and hear the world differently.

 

Best of the Week: See photos of last Saturday's Ring of Fire eclipse.

 

Historybook: USS Constitution first launched (1797); Inventor Alfred Nobel, founder of Nobel Prizes, born (1833); Actress Carrie Fisher born (1956); Guggenheim Museum opens to the public (1959); Poet and novelist Jack Kerouac dies (1969); Kim Kardashian born (1980).

"You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow."

- Carrie Fisher

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