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Home » 10 Things You Need To Know Today: November 18, 2023

10 Things You Need To Know Today: November 18, 2023

1. At least 32 dead following Israeli airstrikes in southern GazaAt least 32 people were killed following a series of airstrikes in southern Gaza on Saturday, Palestinian medical officials said. The strikes occurred early in the morning, and destroyed a series of apartments in Gaza’s highly populated city of Khan Younis, officials said. In addition to the 32 dead, at least 23 more were injured. Israeli officials have been warning Palestinians in Gaza to relocate amid their continued bombing campaign following the attack by Hamas on Oct. 7. While Israel previously told residents to move south, prolonged bombing in the region could force people to relocate again. This includes most residents of Khan Younis, a city with an estimated population of 400,000. Reuters, Al Jazeera

2. Colorado judge rules Trump engaged in insurrection but can remain on ballotFormer President Donald Trump engaged in an insurrection against the United States but will be allowed to remain on the 2024 presidential ballot in Colorado, a judge ruled Friday. Judge Sarah B. Wallace dismissed a lawsuit arguing that Trump shouldn’t be allowed to remain on Colorado’s ballot due to the 14th Amendment, which prevents those who engage in insurrection from holding office. However, while Wallace declared that Trump did engage in an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, she ruled that the 14th Amendment did not apply to the office of the president. Wallace wrote that there was “scant evidence” to disqualify Trump via the 14th Amendment, despite his incitement of the insurrection. Politico, The New York Times

3. New SpaceX rocket launches second test flight Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully launched its Starship rocket on its second test flight on Saturday before the vehicle exploded mid-flight. Starship, the largest rocket ever built, was propelled into orbit using SpaceX’s Super Heavy booster system, launching from a facility near Boca Chica, Texas. The unmanned vessel flew for about seven minutes and successfully separated from its Super Heavy boosters. After controllers lost data with SpaceX, the rocket’s onboard computers intentionally destroyed the ship, a safety feature that automatically occurs in the event that the flight veers off-course. NASA is investing $4 billion into Starship’s development with the intent of using the vehicle to carry astronauts to the moon during the upcoming Artemis program. CNBC, CNN

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4. Numerous companies pull X advertising after Elon Musk’s antisemitic postA slew of high-profile companies have pulled their advertising from the social media site X following a post from company owner Elon Musk that was widely deemed to be antisemitic. Apple, IBM, Oracle and Comcast have all relinquished their advertising dollars from X, formerly known as Twitter, as have large entertainment brands such as Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount and Lionsgate. The move comes after nearly universal condemnation of Musk after he agreed with an antisemitic post on X saying that Jewish people supported “hordes of minorities” and encouraged “hatred against whites.” Musk replied to the post, saying it was the “actual truth.” The Washington Post, CNBC

5. GOP candidates converge in Iowa for evangelical Christian forumA trio of Republican presidential candidates put their campaign sparring aside on Friday to participate in a Christian evangelical forum in Iowa. Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy sat together for a “family discussion” at the Family Leader Thanksgiving Family Forum. The right-wing forum is organized by Bob Vander Plaats, a high-profile Iowa Republican who has previously endorsed a number of winners in the state’s caucuses. Ramaswamy, a Hindu, was asked more directly about his faith than DeSantis and Haley. Both Ramaswamy and DeSantis, though, shared stories about their wives previously having miscarriages. Former President Donald Trump was invited to the forum but didn’t attend. The Associated Press, NBC News

6. VA halts foreclosures on veterans for 6 monthsThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is halting foreclosures for six months for veterans who have taken out VA loans, a department spokesperson said Friday. “Helping veterans and their families stay in their homes is a top priority at VA,”  VA Press Secretary Terrence Hayes said, adding that mortgage providers should “pause foreclosures of VA-guaranteed loans through May 31, 2024.” The decision by the VA comes following an investigation by NPR which found that thousands of veterans who took VA-issued forbearances during the Covid-19 pandemic are now at risk of losing their homes. At least 6,000 veterans who took out a Covid forbearance are currently in the process of having their homes foreclosed on. NPR

7. Liberia’s president concedes defeat, paves way for peaceful transfer of powerLiberian President George Weah conceded defeat to his challenger Joseph Boakai on Friday, paving the way for a rare peaceful transfer of power in the often-maligned African country. Weah called Boakai to congratulate him, saying in a statement that his opponent “is in a lead that we cannot surpass.” Weah referred to Boakai, a former vice president, as the country’s president-elect and urged Liberians “to follow my example and accept the result of the elections.” Weah said that he will step down this coming January. Liberia’s president was praised for quickly conceding the election in a country that has seen civil wars and previous political leaders killed. The Associated Press, CNN 

8. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman fired by company’s boardSam Altman, the CEO of artificial intelligence giant OpenAI, was ousted by his company’s board on Friday. In a post on its website, OpenAI said Altman’s firing “follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board.” The move marks a fall from grace for one of the most high-profile figures in the early days of the AI boom, whose OpenAI created the now commonly used ChatGPT bot. Beyond the company’s immediate statement, it is unclear what directly led to Altman’s firing. OpenAI’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati, will serve as interim CEO, the company said. The New York Times, The Verge

9. Former first lady Rosalynn Carter enters hospiceFormer first lady Rosalynn Carter has entered hospice care at her home in Plains, Georgia, her grandson said Friday. The wife of former President Jimmy Carter and her husband are “spending time with each other and their family,” her grandson said in a statement. The former first lady, 96, was previously diagnosed with dementia this past May. Rosalynn Carter’s entrance into hospice comes nine months after the former president also began receiving hospice care. At 99, Jimmy Carter is the oldest living former president and also the longest-living president in American history. The Carters married in 1946 and have four children and 12 grandchildren. ABC News

10. Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and singer Cassie settle alleged abuse lawsuitRapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and singer Cassie reached a settlement in the latter’s lawsuit just one day after she had accused Combs of rape, sex trafficking and abuse. In a statement released by her lawyers, Cassie said she had “decided to resolve this matter amicably on terms that I have some level of control,” a statement echoed by lawyers for Combs. Details of the pair’s settlement were unclear. Cassie filed the lawsuit on Thursday in New York, alleging that Combs began abusing her in 2005. This includes allegations that Combs raped her, drugged her and also forced her to have sex with male prostitutes. Rolling Stone