1. Death toll in Gaza reportedly tops 8,000 The death toll in the Gaza Strip has topped 8,000 as the war between Israel and Hamas drags on, Gaza’s Health Ministry said Sunday. The figure represents by far the largest number of Palestinians killed in the decades of conflict between Palestine and Israel, and comes as the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is expanding its ground operations in Gaza. Israeli officials continued urging civilians in Gaza to move to the southern area of the region, as the majority of the conflict has been contained to the strip’s northern portion. While communications were previously knocked out of Gaza by Israel, the country has begun restoring internet service to the strip, somewhat lifting the blackout that had been imposed. The Associated Press, Al Jazeera
2. Mike Pence drops out of presidential raceFormer Vice President Mike Pence ended his 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday. Pence made the announcement during remarks at the Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Summit in Las Vegas, stating that he was dropping his bid for the White House because “it’s not my time.” The former vice president has been consistently sitting at the bottom of the polls and has struggled to raise money for his campaign. While Pence has had a public falling-out with his old boss, former President Donald Trump, following the events of Jan. 6, 2021, the latter said on social media that Pence should endorse him after exiting the presidential race. Politico, The Wall Street Journal
3. UAW and Stellantis reach tentative agreement as GM strike expandsThe United Auto Workers (UAW) reached a tentative agreement with Stellantis on Saturday to end their strike against the automaker. The deal is a mirror of a similar agreement reached between UAW and Ford this past week, and reportedly includes additional concessions beyond what had initially been discussed. This includes significant pay and wage increases as well as new products for an idled assembly plant in Illinois. While Ford and Stellantis have now preliminarily ended their strikes, UAW’s walkout against General Motors remains in place, and was expanded Saturday to additional plants after negotiations with the other two companies didn’t move the needle at GM. CNBC, The Washington Post
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4. Death toll in Mexico rises following Hurricane OtisAt least 39 people have died in Mexico after Hurricane Otis made landfall in the country this past week, officials said Saturday. At least 29 men and 10 women have been killed after the powerful Category 5 storm reached the shores of Acapulco in Guerrero state. Carrying wind speeds of nearly 165 miles per hour, Otis destroyed large swaths of the popular resort city, with a preliminary report stating that more than 220,000 homes were impacted. Multiple hospitals also reported flooding, making care for the injured more difficult as the death toll is expected to continue rising. The area’s local airport was also damaged but has resumed service. CNN, CBS News
5. Russia claims to have shot down 36 Ukrainian drones Russia shot down 36 Ukrainian drones over the Black Sea and Crimean Peninsula on Saturday night, according to the country’s defense ministry. The ministry wrote on social media site Telegram that anti-air defense systems “destroyed 36 Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles over the Black Sea and the northwestern part of the Crimean Peninsula.” A fire was also reported to have broken out at an oil refinery near where the drones were said to have been shot down, though a cause was not specified. Both Russia and Ukraine have been trading blows aerially, as the latter continues using drones to beef up its counterassault against the Russian invasion. Ukraine itself said it had shot down five Iranian-made drones on Sunday. The Associated Press
6. Starlink to provide communications support in GazaSpaceX owner Elon Musk said Saturday that he would offer his company’s Starlink satellite service to support internet access for “internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza.” The Gaza Strip has faced rolling blackouts since this past week, and while Israel has begun to restore internet to portions of the region, it opposes the usage of Starlink, saying it could fall into the hands of violent insurgents. “Hamas will use [Starlink] for terrorist activities. There is no doubt about it, we know it, and Musk knows it,” Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Karhi added that the Israeli government would “use all means at its disposal to fight this.” The Times of Israel, Haaretz
7. Appeals court temporarily upholds California assault weapons ban A U.S. appeals court ruled Saturday that California’s longstanding ban on assault rifles would remain in place while the state appeals a lower court decision ruling the ban unconstitutional. The three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court temporarily blocked the ban from being overturned, saying that it must remain in place while California’s attorney general reviews his options. The ban, which has been in place for more than 30 years, was ruled unconstitutional earlier this month by a district judge who said it was a violation of the Second Amendment to “keep and bear arms.” The attorney general and Democratic lawmakers have vowed to continue challenging this ruling. Reuters
8. Fighter jets intercept civilian aircraft near Biden’s Delaware homeA North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) fighter jet was scrambled Saturday after a civilian aircraft entered restricted airspace around the Delaware home of President Biden, NORAD said. NORAD, responsible for protecting the skies of North America, responded to reports of a civilian aircraft in the restricted space around 2:25 p.m. local time, it said in a statement. The aircraft was directed out of the airspace using a series of flares and landed safely at a nearby airport, NORAD said. The airspace is restricted because Biden is in Delaware this weekend, and the Secret Service said there were “no impacts to the protectee’s movements as a result of this incident.” Delaware News Journal
9. ‘Friends’ star Matthew Perry dies at 54Matthew Perry, an iconic 1990s actor best known for portraying Chandler Bing on the sitcom “Friends,” died in Los Angeles on Saturday at the age of 54. The Los Angeles Police Department reportedly responded to Perry’s Pacific Palisades home and found the actor unresponsive in his hot tub. Officials said no foul play was suspected, and that Perry is likely to have drowned. Beyond becoming a household name for his role on “Friends,” Perry was an outspoken advocate for drug addicts and had documented his own struggles with drug dependency for much of the early 2000s. He additionally helped open up a rehab center in Malibu that bore his name. Los Angeles Times
10. ‘Saturday Night Live’ and Christopher Walken spoof political landscape’Saturday Night Live’ apparently felt that President Biden needed more cowbell, as Christopher Walken made a surprise return to the live sketch show on Saturday to help spoof today’s frigid political landscape. Playing the spirit of Halloween in the show’s cold open, Walken helped Biden, played by Mikey Day, deliver a Halloween message along with the new speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, played by Michael Longfellow. Biden had previously been portrayed in the show by James Austin Johnson, also known for his impression of former President Donald Trump. The show was helmed by first-time “SNL” host Nate Bargatze. Variety