Your Daily Brief

November 20th, 2023

Good morning, and happy Monday! Workers at the St. Paul Public Library in Minnesota got quite the surprise last week when a book was returned 104 years overdue. An old book titled Famous Composers was unearthed when someone was going through a relative’s belongings, and there was a 1919 checkout slip inside it. The library no longer charges late fees, so no one will be on the hook for a century’s worth of fines. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Rosalynn Carter: Ex-First Lady passes at 96
  • Argentina: TV pundit is elected president
  • David Letterman: Late Show return on tap
  • UAW: Workers ratify deals with automakers

... and more

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Top Tips

Israel-Hamas deal still in progress

Israel and Hamas are reportedly close to a long-anticipated agreement that would see captives freed and a temporary halt to fighting in Gaza, but no deal has been reached yet.

  • Talks continue: The two sides have been negotiating for weeks, with Qatar and the U.S. involved in negotiations. Reports indicate Hamas would release women and children held hostage, while Israel would release any women and minor Palestinian prisoners. A temporary five-day ceasefire has been discussed to allow humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.
  • More hospital proof: Israel released surveillance camera footage of alleged captives at Al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital. Israel raided the hospital last week and alleged it was a command center for the militant group. Israel has also presented proof of weapons and an underground tunnel at the facility. Hamas and hospital officials have denied Israel's claims.
  • School blast investigated: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk criticized Israel's actions at Al-Shifa and suggested international humanitarian law may have been violated. The U.S. said it is investigating alleged airstrikes on a UN school in Gaza that served as a shelter.

AI CEO's exit shakes tech world

OpenAI fired CEO Sam Altman in a surprise move, but he could be reinstated to his position.

  • Unexpected decision: Altman was dismissed last Friday by the company's board. Several other executives resigned after Altman's exit was announced. The personnel moves caused chaos at the ChatGPT-founding company after the board offered little explanation for Altman's firing.
  • Quick return? Altman was at the company's headquarters in San Francisco yesterday as employees and investors -- including Microsoft -- pushed for his return. If Altman does get his job back, the board is expected to change. Ex-company president Greg Brockman would also be expected to return after quitting in response to Altman's ouster.
  • Worth watching: If Altman does not return -- or even if he does -- he is said to be considering launching a new AI venture. Altman's dismissal reportedly came after internal disagreements about the speed of development he sought with AI tools.

Trump appeals federal gag order

A Washington appeals court will hold a hearing today on former President Donald Trump's gag order in his federal election interference case.

  • The details: Trump is restricted from publicly commenting on special counsel Jack Smith and his staff, court personnel and possible witnesses. Prosecutors have argued Trump's rhetoric could impact people involved in the case. The order is currently frozen pending appeal.
  • The argument: The former president claims the order is unconstitutional and infringes on his First Amendment rights and limits his ability to defend himself as he campaigns for the Republican nomination next year. Legal scholars have expressed skepticism that his bid will be successful.
  • Another order: Trump is battling a separate gag order in his New York civil business fraud case. An appeals judge suspended that gag order last week pending a hearing on its constitutionality.
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Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter died yesterday at 96 at her home in Georgia; she is survived by her husband, former President Jimmy Carter, four children, 11 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. (More)
  • Interstate 10 in Los Angeles is scheduled to reopen today after a fire damaged a large stretch of the highway last week; authorities suspect the fire was caused by arson and are working to identify a person of interest (More)
  • Congressional leaders will attempt to pass a supplemental spending bill that directs new funding to Israel and Ukraine, as well as U.S. border security; financial support for the allied nations was not including in last week’s government funding legislation (More)

World News

  • Argentina elected Javier Milei, an economist and former television pundit, as its new president after yesterday’s runoff election; Milei has drawn comparisons to former President Trump and has vowed to take drastic measures to combat the nation’s economic crisis (More)
  • Militants believed to be Houthi rebels used a helicopter to seize a cargo ship in the Red Sea; the Iran-backed fighters targeted the ship because of ties to Israel. (More)
  • Iceland has told evacuated residents they will likely be unable to return home for months as the nation awaits an anticipated volcano eruption; scientists still believe an eruption near the fishing town of Grindavik is imminent (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • David Letterman is a scheduled guest< /font> on tonight’s episode of CBS’ The Late Show; it will be the first time the former host has appeared on the program since he ended a 22-year run in 2015 (More)
  • Everton was docked 10 table points for violating Premier League financial rules, tumbling down the standings into the relegation zone; the club expressed shock and vowed to appeal the historic decision (More)
  • Sean “Diddy” Combs and Casandra Ventura settled their lawsuit a day after the singer accused the musician and producer of rape during their prior relationship; terms were not disclosed, but Ventura’s attorney previously said Combs offered her an eight-figure settlement (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed out another week of gains last Friday by all closing higher (Dow +0.01%, Nasdaq +0.08%, S&P 500 +0.13%)
  • Ford, General Motors and Stellantis workers all ratified the United Auto Workers’ tentative deals with the major three automakers; the labor union’s new contracts go through 2028 (More)
  • Sugar prices have spiked to a 12-year high worldwide, contributing to food insecurity issues in developing nations; crop damage due to weather events and biofuel production have contributed to shortages (More)

Tips & Tricks

  • Feel Good: A Brooklyn woman decided she wanted to help others as her final act in life; Casey McIntyre, who succumbed to ovarian cancer last week at 38, established a posthumous campaign to buy medical debt and forgive it for those in need – almost $400K has been raised so far
  • Go Deep: An architectural movement called trauma-informed design aims to evolve the construction process for buildings used by people going through difficult periods in their lives; its advocates are working to transform institutions like shelters for the unhoused and transitory lodging for prisoners
  • Tricky Topic: Families will gather all around the country this week for Thanksgiving, and some people visiting home will likely come to the conclusion their aging parents should no longer drive; listen to these experts explain how to begin the conversation with care and compassion
  • Sneak Peek: AMC has released a trailer for Monsieur Spade, a new series starring Clive Owen as Sam Spade, the detective made famous in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon; the series will be released in January
  • Chow Down: Pumpkin pie is the go-to Thanksgiving dessert, but sweet potato pie is a formidable alternate option at your holiday gathering; this easy-to-make recipe is a must-see before Turkey Day
  • Belly Laugh: For years, a family joked that they had managed to take a group photo at Disney World that somehow included director George Lucas in the background; some compelling detective work makes a strong case the Star Wars creator did photobomb them back in 2005
  • Life Hack: The average American sits for close to 10 hours each day, and those sedentary moments can be dangerous to our health; while everyone knows standing is better for your body, experts now say even sleeping is more beneficial than sitting when you need a rest

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Honda recalled 250K vehicles due to engine concerns.

The UK will permit a new sickle cell disease treatment.

… and a spinal implant helps a Parkinson’s patient walk.

A Mexico City woman’s home is a hummingbird hospital.

Examining the mathematical wisdom of playing the lottery.

People are getting entirely too frisky inside of rage rooms.

… while Martha Stewart has canceled Thanksgiving dinner.

France scored a historic blowout win in Euro 2024 qualifying.

Looking Back …

On November 20th: The Nuremberg war crime trials begin (1945); Queen Elizabeth II marries Prince Phillip (1947);  Egypt President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab nation leader to visit Israel (1977); Actor and game show host Richard Dawson is born (1932).

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Friday’s results

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