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Israel, Hamas reach deal to release hostages, pause fighting: The Morning Rundown, Nov. 22, 2023

Nov 22, 2023

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Israel and Hamas have agreed to a hostage release deal that will see a four-day pause in fighting. And he’s back — less than a week after being fired, Sam Altman is returning as the CEO of OpenAI. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023.

Israel, Hamas agree to hostage release deal, four-day pause in fighting

On Wednesday, Nov. 22, Israel and Hamas agreed to a hostage release deal that will see a four-day pause in the fighting in Gaza — marking the longest break since Israel launched its ground and air assaults against Hamas following the Oct. 7 terrorist attack.

In a statement, the Israeli government said over that four-day period, Hamas would release at least 50 women and children among the approximate 240 people abducted by the group. Hamas also released a statement confirming similar terms.

President Biden released a statement thanking Qatar and Egypt for helping broker the deal, and saying this agreement “will bring home additional American hostages.” A senior U.S. official said three Americans, two women and a girl, are expected to be among those released.

As President, I have no higher priority than ensuring the safety of Americans held hostage around the world.

President Biden

“As President, I have no higher priority than ensuring the safety of Americans held hostage around the world,” Biden said. “That’s why—from the earliest moments of Hamas’s brutal assault—my national security team and I have worked closely with regional partners to do everything possible to secure the release of our fellow citizens.”

Israel said the pause in fighting would be extended for every additional 10 hostages Hamas releases. The deal also includes the release of 150 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, who according to NBC News citing Israeli officials were accomplices in terror offenses.

More humanitarian aid and fuel will be allowed to enter Gaza during the freeze in fighting. According to local reports, the four-day cease-fire will begin Thursday morning. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country’s war against Hamas will not stop following the temporary pause in fighting.

US strikes Iranian-backed group’s facilities in Iraq

The Pentagon confirmed on Tuesday, Nov. 21, that the U.S. conducted airstrikes on two facilities in Iraq used by a militia group linked to Iran. The strikes followed a ballistic missile attack on U.S. forces at the Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq that resulted in minor injuries and damage to the base.

According to the Pentagon, the militant group behind the attack, Kataeb Hezbollah, is backed by Iran.

“Immediately following the attack, a U.S. military AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defense strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iranian-backed militia personnel involved in this attack,” Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said. “This self-defense strike resulted in some hostile fatalities.”

Singh added that the U.S. was able to identify where the attack on U.S. troops originated from quickly as the AC-130 gunship was already in the air at the time and spotted the group of militants launch the missile attack.

The targeted attacks destroyed a Kataeb Hezbollah operations center and command and control node south of Baghdad and marked the first time the U.S. conducted strikes in Iraq; previously, airstrikes were focused mainly in Syria.

According to the Pentagon, since Oct. 17, there have been 66 attacks on U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq; this latest attack marked the first use of a ballistic missile against Americans in the region.

Sam Altman returning as CEO of OpenAI after being fired days ago

In a twist to the AI saga that began last week, Sam Altman will return as CEO of OpenAI, the same company whose board fired him just five days ago. The latest shakeup at ChatGPT’s parent company also includes former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers joining the board.

Hours after Altman was ousted from the company he co-founded, he signed on to lead a new advanced AI research team with Microsoft, the largest investor of OpenAI.

On Monday, Nov. 20, hundreds of OpenAI employees, including one of its co-founders, signed a letter that said if the board did not resign and bring Altman back to the company, they would jump ship to Microsoft.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the return of Altman and co-founder Greg Brockman to OpenAI will ensure the AI startup will continue to “thrive and build on its mission.”

Altman took to “X” overnight and posted, “I love OpenAI, and everything I’ve done over the past few days has been in service of keeping this team and its mission together…with the new board and with Satya’s support, I’m looking forward to returning to OpenAI, and building on our strong partnership with Microsoft.”

3 people dead, 3 missing after landslide in Alaska

At least three people are dead, and three more are missing after a landslide ripped through a fishing community south of Juneau, Alaska, cutting off access to the town and taking out power to dozens of homes.

The estimated 450-feet wide landslide erupted down a mountainside at approximately 9 pm on Monday, Nov. 20, during a rainstorm accompanied by heavy winds near the island community of 2,000 residents south of Juneau.

State troopers said that immediate search and rescue attempts were impossible as the scene was too unstable.

Once rescue efforts were able to get underway, officials said during the initial search, rescue personnel found the body of a girl, and on Tuesday, Nov. 21, they located the bodies of two adults using a drone. The rescue teams are using a cadaver dog and thermal imaging as they try to locate two children and one adult who are still missing.

Officials also warn of the threat of more landslides in the area. Telling residents stranded on the other side of the slide to evacuate by water taxi.

Severe weather threatens holiday travel plans

With Wednesday, Nov. 22, being one of the busiest travel days of the year, severe weather across the country is threatening the Thanksgiving holiday plans of millions of travelers.

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, more than 5,000 flights were delayed, and over 70 were canceled due to a storm system bringing heavy rain, strong winds to the south and northeast, and even some snow farther north.

The National Weather Service warns holiday travelers to be “weather aware.” New York City has issued a travel advisory through Wednesday, Nov. 22, due to the wintry weather — the mayor told travelers to leave extra time.

More than 10 million people have already made it through airport security, outpacing 2019’s pre-pandemic levels. As Straight Arrow News has reported on The Morning Rundown, TSA expects to screen more than 30 million people over the Thanksgiving holiday.

AAA estimates more than 55 million drivers will travel more than 50 miles. As for Thanksgiving Day, most of the country looks to clear up, except the northern Rocky Mountains, which could see some accumulating snow.

Poll: Most voters want to avoid politics at the Thanksgiving table

Millions of Americans will come together with family and friends on Thursday, Nov. 23, to talk about what they’re thankful for, but most say leave the political talk off the Thanksgiving table. According to a Quinnipiac University national poll, 61% of American voters would rather not talk about politics while dining on their stuffing and cranberry sauce.

The poll says the wish for a politics-free dinner was similar across all political affiliations and age groups. The poll, however, found that 29% of voters are looking forward to having a political discussion with family during their holiday feast. It remains to be seen if their loved ones feel the same way.

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ISRAEL AND HAMAS AGREE TO A HOSTAGE RELEASE DEAL THAT WILL SEE A FOUR DAY PAUSE IN FIGHTING – AND — HE’S BACK! LESS THAN A WEEK AFTER BEING FIRED — SAM ALTMAN IS RETURNING AS THE CEO OF OPENAI

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 22ND

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

EARLY THIS MORNING — ISRAEL AND HAMAS AGREED TO A HOSTAGE RELEASE DEAL – THAT WILL SEE A FOUR-DAY PAUSE IN THE FIGHTING IN GAZA. – THE LONGEST BREAK SINCE ISRAEL LAUNCHED ITS GROUND AND AIR ASSAULTS AGAINST HAMAS FOLLOWING THE OCTOBER 7TH TERRORIST ATTACK.

IN A STATEMENT – THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT SAYS – OVER THAT FOUR-DAY PERIOD — HAMAS WILL RELEASE AT LEAST FIFTY WOMEN AND CHILDREN AMONG THE APPROXIMATE 240 PEOPLE ABDUCTED BY THE GROUP.

HAMAS ALSO RELEASED A STATEMENT CONFIRMING SIMILAR TERMS.

PRESIDENT BIDEN RELEASED A STATEMENT – THANKING QATAR AND EGYPT FOR HELPING BROKER THE DEAL —  SAYING THIS AGREEMENT “WILL BRING HOME ADDITIONAL AMERICAN HOSTAGES.”

A SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL SAYS THREE AMERICANS – TWO WOMEN AND A GIRL – ARE EXPECTED TO BE AMONG THOSE RELEASED.

ISRAEL SAYS THE PAUSE IN FIGHTING WOULD BE EXTENDED FOR EVERY ADDITIONAL 10 HOSTAGES HAMAS RELEASES.

THE DEAL ALSO INCLUDES THE RELEASE OF 150 PALESTINIAN WOMEN AND CHILDREN DETAINED IN ISRAELI PRISONS.

MORE HUMANITARIAN AID AND FUEL WILL BE ALLOWED TO ENTER GAZA DURING THE FREEZE IN FIGHTING.

THE STARTING TIME FOR THE HOSTAGES ‘ RELEASE IS EXPECTED TO BE ANNOUNCED WITHIN THE NEXT 24 HOURS.

ISRAELI PRESIDENT BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAYS HIS COUNTRY’S WAR AGAINST HAMAS WILL NOT STOP FOLLOWING TEMPORARY PAUSE IN FIGHTING.

THE PENTAGON CONFIRMED TUESDAY THE U-S CONDUCTED AIRSTRIKES ON TWO FACILITIES IN IRAQ USED BY A MILITIA GROUP LINKED TO IRAN

THE STRIKES FOLLOW A BALLISTIC MISSILE ATTACK ON U-S FORCES IN IRAQ THAT RESULTED IN MINOR INJURIES AND DAMAGE TO AN AIR BASE

US OFFICIALS SAY THE IRAN-BACKED MILITANT GROUP- KATAEB (KATIBEHEZBOLLAH –  WAS BEHIND THE ATTACK

SUPER: SABRINA SINGH | DEPUTY PENTAGON PRESS SECRETARY: “Immediately following the attack, a U.S. military AC-130 aircraft in the area conducted a self-defense strike against an Iranian-backed militia vehicle and a number of Iranian-backed militia personnel involved in this attack. This self-defense strike resulted in some hostile fatalities.”

PENTAGON SPOKESPERSON SABRINA SINGH ADDING THAT THE U-S WAS ABLE TO IDENTIFY WHERE THE ATTACK ON U-S TROOPS ORIGINATED FROM QUICKLY AS AN AC-1-30 GUNSHIP WAS IN THE AIR AT THE TIME AND SPOTTED THE GROUP OF MILITANTS LAUNCH THE MISSILE ATTACK.

THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME THE U-S REPORTED AN OFFENSIVE RESPONSE IN IRAQ – PREVIOUSLY AIRSTRIKES WERE FOCUSED MOSTLY IN SYRIA

ACCORDING TO THE PENTAGON – SINCE OCTOBER 17TH – 66 ATTACKS HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED ON U-S FORCES IN SYRIA AND IRAQ — THIS LATEST ATTACK MARKED THE FIRST USE OF BALLISTIC MISSILE AGAINST AMERICANS IN THE REGION.

IN A TWIST TO THE A-I SAGA THAT BEGAN LAST WEEK –

SAM ALTMAN WILL RETURN AS CEO OF OPEN -A-I –-  THE SAME COMPANY WHOSE BOARD FIRED HIM JUST FIVE DAYS AGO.

THE LATEST SHAKEUP AT CHATGPT’S PARENT COMPANY ALSO INCLUDES FORMER SALES-FORCE CO-CEO BRET TAYLOR AND FORMER TREASURY SECRETARY LARRY SUMMERS JOINING THE BOARD.

ALTMAN RETURNS OPENAI 11-22 VO

HOURS AFTER ALTMAN WAS OUSTED FROM THE COMPANY HE CO-FOUNDED, HE SIGNED ON TO LEAD A NEW ADVANCED AI RESEARCH TEAM WITH MICROSOFT – WHICH IS THE LARGEST INVESTOR OF OPENAI.

ON MONDAY – HUNDREDS OF OPENAI EMPLOYEES – INCLUDING ONE OF ITS CO-FOUNDERS — SIGNED A LETTER – SAYING IF THE BOARD DID NOT RESIGN AND BRING ALTMAN BACK TO THE COMPANY – THEY WOULD JUMP SHIP TO MICROSOFT AS WELL.

MICROSOFT CEO SATYA (SOT-TEE-YA) NADELLA (NAH-DELL-UH) – SAYS THE RETURN OF ALTMAN AND CO-FOUNDER GREG BROCKMAN TO OPENAI WILL ENSURE THE AI STARTUP WILL CONTINUE TO “THRIVE AND BUILD ON ITS MISSION.”

ALMTAN TOOK TO X OVERNIGHT – SAYING QUOTE “I LOVE OPENAI, AND EVERYTHING I’VE DONE OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS HAS BEEN IN SERVICE OF KEEPING THIS TEAM AND ITS MISSION TOGETHER…WITH THE NEW BOARD AND WITH SATYA’S  (SOT-TEE-YA’S) SUPPORT, I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO RETURNING TO OPENAI, AND BUILDING ON OUR STRONG PARTNERSHIP WITH MICROSOFT.”

AT LEAST THREE PEOPLE ARE DEAD AND THREE MORE ARE MISSING AFTER A LANDSLIDE IN ALASKA THAT CUT OFF ACCESS TO A REMOTE FISHING COMMUNITY AND TOOK OUT POWER TO DOZENS OF HOMES.

THE SLIDE – ESTIMATED TO BE 450-FOOT-WIDE – ERUPTED DOWN A MOUNTAINSIDE MONDAY NIGHT – DURING A RAINSTORM ACCOMPANIED BY HEAVY WINDS IN THE TOWN OF TWO THOUSAND PEOPLE SOUTH OF JUNEAU.

SEARCH CREWS FOUND THE BODY OF A GIRL AND TWO ADULTS.

RESCUE TEAMS ARE USING A CADAVER DOG AND THERMAL IMAGING TO TRY AND LOCATE TWO CHILDREN AND ONE ADULT WHO ARE STILL MISSING…

OFFICIALS ARE WARNING OF THE THREAT OF MORE LANDSLIDES IN THE AREA. TELLING RESIDENTS CAUGHT ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SLIDE TO EVACUATE BY WATER TAXI.

WITH TODAY BEING ONE OF THE BUSIEST TRAVEL DAYS OF THE YEAR — SEVERE WEATHER ACROSS THE COUNTRY IS THREATENING THE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY PLANS OF MILLIONS OF TRAVELERS.

ON TUESDAY — MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND FLIGHTS WERE DELAYED — ALMOST 30 CANCELED — DUE TO A STORM SYSTEM BRINGING HEAVY RAIN AND STRONG WINDS TO THE SOUTH AND NORTHEAST — AND EVEN SOME SNOW FARTHER NORTH.

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IS WARNING HOLIDAY TRAVELERS TO BE “WEATHER AWARE.”

NEW YORK CITY HAS ISSUED A TRAVEL ADVISORY THROUGH TODAY DUE TO THE WINTRY WEATHER — THE MAYOR TELLING TRAVELERS TO LEAVE EXTRA TIME.

ALREADY MORE THAN 10 MILLION PEOPLE HAVE MADE IT THROUGH AIRPORT SECURITY — OUTPACING 2019’S PRE-PANDEMIC LEVELS

AS WE HAVE REPORTED ON THE MORNING RUNDOWN —  THE TSA EXPECTS TO SCREEN MORE THAN 30 MILLION PEOPLE OVER THIS THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY PERIOD.

AND TRIPLE-A ESTIMATES MORE THAN 55-MILLION*** DRIVERS WILL TRAVEL OVER 50 MILES.

AS FOR THANKSGIVING DAY ITSELF —  MOST OF THE COUNTRY LOOKS TO CLEAR OUT — WITH THE EXCEPTION BEING THE NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAINS — WHICH COULD SEE SOME ACCUMULATING SNOW.

FINALLY THIS MORNING – MILLIONS OF AMERICANS WILL COME TOGETHER WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS TOMORROW TO TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY’RE THANKFUL FOR – BUT MOST SAY LEAVE THE POLITICAL TALK OFF THE THANKSGIVING TABLE.

ACCORDING TO A QUINNIPIAC UNIVERSITY NATIONAL POLL – SIXTY ONE PERCENT OF AMERICAN VOTERS WOULD RATHER NOT TALK ABOUT POLITICS WHILE THEY ARE DINING ON THEIR STUFFING AND CRANBERRY SAUCE.

THE POLL SAYS THE WISH OF A POLITICS-FREE DINNER WAS SIMILAR ACROSS ALL POLITICAL AFFILIATIONS AND AGE GROUPS.

THE POLL HOWEVER SAYS TWENTY NINE PERCENT OF VOTERS “ARE” LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING A POLITICAL DISCUSSION WITH FAMILY DURING THEIR HOLIDAY FEAST.

IT JUST REMAINS TO BE SEEN IF THEIR LOVED ONES WILL FEEL THE SAME WAY.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS WEDNESDAY.

YOU CAN NOW CONNECT WITH THE MORNING RUNDOWN IN  A VARIETY OF WAYS — INCLUDING BY SUBSCRIBING TO OUR PODCAST AND SIGNING UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER.

JUST VISIT SAN DOT COM SLASH RUNDOWN TO FIND OUT MORE.

THE MORNING RUNDOWN WILL RETURN ON FRIDAY.

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