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Biden in Israel day after deadly Gaza hospital blast: The Morning Rundown, Oct. 18, 2023

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President Biden arrives in Israel a day after a deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital leads to protests across the Middle East. And prosecutors plan to recharge actor Alec Baldwin in connection to a fatal shooting on a movie set – these stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023.

Biden says hospital blast appears to not be from Israel

President Joe Biden arrived in Israel Wednesday, Oct. 18, a day after a deadly explosion at a hospital in Gaza reportedly killed hundreds and led to protests across the Middle East.  

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Who was responsible for the blast remains in dispute as Gaza authorities blame an Israeli airstrike, while Israel says the explosion was due to a misfired rocket launched by a Palestinian militant group.  

Gaza officials say an estimated 500 people were killed in Tuesday’s, Oct. 17, blast as thousands of civilians were seeking shelter in the hospital at the time.  

The explosion resulted in protests in several nations across the Middle East. Countries including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq have issued statements condemning Israel for the blast.  

Speaking with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Biden agreed it appeared that Israel was speaking the truth.

“I was deeply saddened and outraged by the explosion in Gaza yesterday. And based on what I’ve seen, it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you,” Biden said.

Biden went on to say, “There’s a lot of people out there not sure.”

The president is in Israel to speak to the prime minister about the country’s response to the deadly attack by Hamas that saw 1,400 killed, including 31 Americans, around 4,000 injured, and 200 taken hostage.

He’s also seeking a path for humanitarian aid to reach the citizens of Gaza as Israel continues its retaliatory airstrikes and prepares for a ground operation. According to Gaza officials, more than 3,000 people have been killed and more than 12,500 injured since Israel began its military response.

While in Israel, the president is trying to prevent the war from spreading in the region. Earlier this week, Iran, who is known to back both Hamas and the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, warned that “other multiple fronts will open” if Israel’s airstrikes continue to kill civilians.

In a post on social media Tuesday night, Oct. 17, Iran’s foreign minister said, “Time is over.” 

Hezbollah and Israel have exchanged fire several times since the war with Hamas began.  

A summit hosted by the country of Jordan with President Biden and Egyptian and Palestinian leaders was canceled in the wake of the hospital blast.

Jordan seeks more votes for speaker after losing first ballot

Despite a vote on the House floor Tuesday, Oct. 17, Congress is still without a speaker. House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the GOP’s nominee for speaker, failed to secure enough votes during the first ballot.

Jordan received 200 votes, short of the 217 needed to become the next speaker. He could only afford to lose three Republicans during Tuesday’s, Oct. 17, vote (one Republican congressman was absent), but 20 ended up choosing someone else.

All 212 Democrats voted for Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y.

Jordan didn’t schedule another vote for Tuesday night, Oct. 17, telling reporters he’s got to continue talking to members.

“We got to have a speaker, and it can’t be some deal with the Democrats. The American people don’t want that. They elected Republicans in a majority — a small majority; I get it. But we got 200 votes in the first ballot,” Jordan said.

The next vote on the House floor is set for Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 11 a.m.

Murder suspect among 4 escaped inmates on the run

A murder suspect is among four suspects to escape from a Georgia prison, and two days later, they remain on the loose. 

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office said the inmates got out Monday, Oct. 16, through a damaged window, then cut a fence before getting into a Dodge Challenger that was waiting for them.

In addition to the murder suspect, the other three fugitives were being imprisoned on various charges: one was accused of aggravated assault, another was arrested on firearm and drug trafficking charges, and the fourth was being held by the U.S. Marshalls for an undisclosed charge.

Thirty-eight schools were placed on soft lockdown, meaning outdoor activity was limited as police searched for the escapees.

It was last month when convicted murderer Danelo Cavalcante made national headlines after escaping from a Pennsylvania prison. It took authorities nearly two weeks to capture him.

According to internal emails from the Pennsylvania prison obtained by various news organizations this week, some of the prison staff suspected Cavalcante was planning to escape weeks before he broke out.

Prosecutors plan to recharge Alec Baldwin in fatal ‘Rust’ shooting

Prosecutors in New Mexico are planning to recharge actor Alec Baldwin with involuntary manslaughter in connection to the fatal shooting on the set of the film “Rust” in 2021.

Baldwin’s case will be brought before a grand jury in November.

The “30 Rock” actor has said he is not responsible for the death of the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

In a statement Tuesday, Oct. 17, prosecutors said after an “extensive investigation…additional facts have come to light that we believe show Mr. Baldwin has criminal culpability.”

Lawyers for Baldwin responded, calling this a “misguided prosecution,” and saying they will answer any charges in court.

Baldwin could face up to 18 months in prison if convicted.

Online platforms form group to fight fake reviews

A group of popular online travel and shopping platforms have banded together to take on fake reviews. The Coalition for Trusted Reviews will work on best practices for hosting online reviews and sharing ways to identify fake ones.

The group, which includes Amazon, Booking.com, Expedia, Glassdoor, TripAdvisor, and Trustpilot, said it aims to protect access to “trustworthy consumer reviews” worldwide.

Tuesday’s, Oct. 17, launch of the coalition came just months after the Federal Trade Commission proposed a ban on businesses paying for reviews, suppressing honest reviews, and selling fake social media engagement.

According to a 2021 study by the World Economic Forum, fake reviews impact $152 billion in global spending each year.

X testing $1/year fee for new users

Would you be willing to pay to use a social media site? Elon musk is hoping so.

The owner of X has launched a subscription service for his platform. As of now, it’s being tested in only two countries, the Philippines and New Zealand.

The subscription method, called “Not a Bot,” will charge new users a $1 per year fee in order to perform various actions on the web version of the platform including, posting and reposting content, liking posts, and replying to other users.

New X users in those countries who do not pay the fee will only be able to access “read-only” actions like reading posts, watching videos, and following accounts.

According to the company, this is being done to fight bots and reduce spam on the site.

“This won’t stop bots completely, but it will be 1000X harder to manipulate the platform,” Musk posted on X Tuesday, Oct.17.

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PRESIDENT BIDEN ARRIVES IN ISRAEL A DAY AFTER A DEADLY EXPLOSION AT A GAZA HOSPITAL LEADS TO PROTESTS ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST

AND — 

PROSECUTORS PLAN TO RECHARGE ACTOR ALEC BALDWIN IN CONNECTION TO A FATAL SHOOTING ON A MOVIE SET

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18TH.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

THIS MORNING — PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ARRIVED IN ISRAEL– A DAY AFTER A DEADLY EXPLOSION AT A HOSPITAL IN GAZA REPORTEDLY KILLED HUNDREDS AND LED TO PROTESTS ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST.  

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE BLAST REMAINS IN DISPUTE – AS GAZA AUTHORITIES BLAME AN ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE – WHILE ISRAEL SAYS THE EXPLOSION WAS DUE TO A MISFIRED ROCKET LAUNCHED BY A PALESTINIAN MILITANT GROUP.

BIDEN THIS MORNING AGREEING THE ROCKET DOES NOT SEEM TO HAVE COME FROM ISRAEL.

GAZA OFFICIALS SAY AN ESTIMATED 500 PEOPLE WERE KILLED IN TUESDAY’S BLAST AS THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS WERE SEEKING SHELTER IN THE HOSPITAL AT THE TIME.  

THE EXPLOSION RESULTED IN PROTESTS IN SEVERAL NATIONS ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST.

COUNTRIES INCLUDING SAUDI ARABIA, JORDAN, EGYPT AND IRAQ HAVE ISSUED STATEMENTS CONDEMNING ***ISRAEL FOR THE BLAST.

SPEAKING WITH PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU TODAY – PRESIDENT BIDEN AGREED WITH ISRAEL.

“I WAS DEEPLY SADDENED AND OUTRAGED BY THE EXPLOSION IN GAZA YESTERDAY. AND BASED ON WHAT I’VE SEEN, IT APPEARS AS THOUGH IT WAS DONE BY THE OTHER TEAM, NOT YOU.”

BIDEN WENT ON TO SAY QUOTE “THERE’S A LOT OF PEOPLE OUT THERE NOT SURE.”

THE PRESIDENT IS IN ISRAEL TO SPEAK TO THE PRIME MINISTER ABOUT THE COUNTRY’S RESPONSE TO THE DEADLY ATTACK BY HAMAS THAT SAW 1,400 KILLED — INCLUDING 31 AMERICANS, AROUND 4,000 INJURED, AND 200 TAKEN HOSTAGE.

HE’S ALSO SEEKING A PATH FOR HUMANITARIAN AID TO REACH THE CITIZENS OF GAZA AS ISRAEL CONTINUES ITS RETALIATORY AIRSTRIKES AND PREPARES FOR A GROUND OPERATION. ACCORDING TO GAZA OFFICIALS, MORE THAN 3,000 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED AND MORE THAN 12,500 INJURED SINCE ISRAEL BEGAN ITS MILITARY RESPONSE.

WHILE IN ISRAEL, THE PRESIDENT IS TRYING TO PREVENT THE WAR FROM SPREADING IN THE REGION.

EARLIER THIS WEEK – IRAN – WHO IS KNOWN TO BACK BOTH HAMAS AND LEBANESE TERRORIST GROUP HEZBOLLAH – WARNED THAT “OTHER MULTIPLE FRONTS WILL OPEN” IF ISRAEL’S AIRSTRIKE CONTINUE TO KILL CIVILIANS.

IRAN’S FOREIGN MINISTER TWEETED LAST NIGHT “TIME IS OVER.”

HEZBOLLAH AND ISRAEL HAVE EXCHANGED FIRE SEVERAL TIMES SINCE THE WAR WITH HAMAS AGAIN.

A SUMMIT HOSTED BY THE COUNTRY OF JORDAN WITH PRESIDENT BIDEN AND EGYPTIAN AND PALESTINIAN LEADERS WAS CANCELED IN THE WAKE OF THE HOSPITAL BLAST.

DESPITE A VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR TUESDAY – CONGRESS IS STILL WITHOUT A SPEAKER.

JIM JORDAN – THE HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN — AND —  THE GOP’S NOMINEE FOR SPEAKER – FAILED TO SECURE ENOUGH VOTES DURING THE FIRST BALLOT.

JORDAN RECEIVED 200 VOTES – SHORT OF THE 217 NEEDED TO BECOME THE NEXT SPEAKER.

JORDAN COULD ONLY AFFORD TO LOSE THREE REPUBLICANS DURING TUESDAY’S VOTE – BUT 20 ENDED UP CHOOSING SOMEONE ELSE.

ALL 212 DEMOCRATS VOTED FOR MINORITY LEADER HAKEEM JEFFRIES.

JORDAN DIDN’T SCHEDULE ANOTHER VOTE FOR TUESDAY NIGHT – TELLING REPORTERS HE’S GOT TO CONTINUE TALKING TO MEMBERS.

“WE GOT TO HAVE A SPEAKER AND IT CAN’T BE SOME DEAL WITH THE DEMOCRATS. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DON’T WANT THAT. THEY ELECTED REPUBLICANS IN A MAJORITY — A SMALL MAJORITY, I GET IT. BUT WE GOT 200 VOTES IN THE FIRST BALLOT.”

THE NEXT VOTE ON THE HOUSE FLOOR IS SET FOR THIS MORNING AT 11 AM.

A MURDER SUSPECT IS AMONG FOUR SUSPECTS TO ESCAPE FROM A GEORGIA PRISON — AND TWO DAYS LATER — THEY REMAIN ON THE LOOSE.

THE BIBB COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE SAID THE INMATES GOT OUT MONDAY THROUGH A DAMAGED WINDOW – THEN CUT A FENCE – BEFORE GETTING INTO A DODGE CHALLENGER THAT WAS WAITING FOR THEM.

IN ADDITION TO THE MURDER SUSPECT – THE OTHER THREE FUGITIVES WERE BEING IMPRISONED ON VARIOUS CHARGES – ONE ACCUSED OF AGGRAVATED ASSAULT, ANOTHER ARRESTED ON FIRARM AND DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES, AND THE FOURTH WAS BEING HELD BY THE US MARSHALLS FOR AN UNDISCLOSED CHARGE.

THIRTY EIGHT SCHOOLS HAVE BEEN PLACED ON SOFT LOCKDOWN – MEANING OUTDOOR ACTIVITY WAS LIMITED AS POLICE SEARCH FOR THE ESCAPEES.

IT WAS LAST MONTH – WHEN CONVICTED MURDERER DANELO CAVALCANTE MADE NATIONAL HEADLINES AFTER ESCAPING FROM A PENNSYLVANIA PRISON — IT TOOK AUTHORITIES NEARLY TWO WEEKS TO CAPTURE HIM.

ACCORDING TO INTERNAL EMAILS FROM THE PENNSYLVANIA PRISON OBTAINED BY VARIOUS NEWS ORGANIZATIONS THIS WEEK —

SOME OF THE PRISON STAFF SUSPECTED CAVALCANTE WAS **PLANNING TO ESCAPE WEEKS BEFORE HE BROKE OUT.

PROSECUTORS IN NEW MEXICO ARE PLANNING TO RECHARGE ACTOR ALEC BALDWIN WITH INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER IN CONNECTION TO THE FATAL SHOOTING ON THE SET OF THE FILM “RUST” IN 20-21.

BALDWIN’S CASE WILL BE BROUGHT BEFORE A GRAND JURY IN NOVEMBER.

THE “30 ROCK” ACTOR HAS SAID HE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF THE FILM’S CINEMATOGRAPHER HAYLNA HUTCHINSON.

IN A STATEMENT TUESDAY – PROSECUTORS  SAY AFTER AN EXTENSIVE INVESTIGATION QUOTE “ADDITIONAL FACTS HAVE COME TO LIGHT THAT WE BELIEVE SHOW MR. BALDWIN HAS CRIMINAL CULPABILITY.”

LAWYERS FOR BALDWIN RESPONDED – SAYING THIS IS A MISGUIDED PROSECUTION AND THEY WILL ANSWER ANY CHARGES IN COURT.

BALDWIN COULD FACE UP TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON IF CONVICTED.

A GROUP OF POPULAR ONLINE TRAVEL AND SHOPPING PLATFORMS HAVE BANDED TOGETHER TO TAKE ON FAKE REVIEWS.

THE COALITION FOR TRUSTED REVIEWS WILL WORK ON BEST PRACTICES FOR HOSTING ONLINE REVIEWS AND SHARING WAYS TO IDENTIFY FAKE ONES.

THE GROUP — WHICH INCLUDES AMAZON, BOOKING DOT COM, EXPEDIA, GLASSDOOR, TRIPADVISOR AND TRUSTPILOT — SAYS IT AIMS TO PROTECT ACCESS TO “TRUSTWORTHY CONSUMER REVIEWS” WORLDWIDE.

TUESDAY’S LAUNCH OF THE COALITION CAME JUST MONTHS AFTER THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION PROPOSED A BAN ON BUSINESSES PAYING FOR REVIEWS, SUPPRESSING HONEST REVIEWS AND SELLING FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ENGAGEMENT.

ACCORDING TO A 2021 STUDY BY THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM — FAKE REVIEWS IMPACT $152 BILLION IN GLOBAL SPENDING EACH YEAR.

FINALLY THIS MORNING — WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO PAY TO USE A SOCIAL MEDIA SITE? ELON MUSK IS HOPING SO.

THE OWNER OF X HAS LAUNCHED A SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE FOR HIS PLATFORM –

RIGHT NOW IT’S BEING TESTED IN ONLY TWO COUNTRIES — THE PHILIPPINES AND NEW ZEALAND.

THE SUBSCRIPTION METHOD – CALLED “NOT A BOT” – WILL CHARGE NEW USERS A ONE-DOLLAR PER YEAR FEE IN ORDER TO PERFORM VARIOUS ACTIONS ON THE WEB VERSION OF THE PLATFORM INCLUDING POSTING AND REPOSTING CONTENT, LIKING POSTS AND REPLYING TO OTHER USERS.

NEW X USERS IN THOSE COUNTRIES WHO DO NOT PAY THE FEE WILL ONLY BE ABLE TO ACCESS “READ-ONLY” ACTIONS LIKE — READING POSTS, WATCHING VIDEOS AND FOLLOWING ACCOUNTS.

ACCORDING TO THE COMPANY — THIS IS BEING DONE TO FIGHT BOTS AND REDUCE SPAM ON THE SITE.

MUSK POSTING TO X — “THIS WON’T STOP BOTS COMPLETELY, BUT WILL BE A THOUSAND TIMES HARDER TO MANIPULATE THE PLATFORM.”

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS WEDNESDAY.

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WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!