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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news.
The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday delayed a vote calling for a halt to hostilities in the Hamas-Israel war and an increase in humanitarian aid, the third such postponement this week. Sticking points reportedly included U.S. reluctance to agree to language calling for a “cessation of hostilities” and a Gaza Strip monitoring mechanism under the authority of the U.N. Secretary General, although President Joe Biden maintained that the United States still supported a resolution in principle. Becky Anderson, Michael Williams, Kevin Liptak and Jennifer Deaton report for CNN.
The U.N. Security Council scheduled a new vote today on the resolution “calling for enhanced humanitarian aid into Gaza and a cessation of hostilities,” reports Leila Sackur for NBC News.
Hamas’s top political leader arrived in Egypt to hold talks about a possible ceasefire with Israel, while diplomats at the U.N. Security Council separately sought to reach agreement on a new version of the draft ceasefire resolution. In Egypt, mediators from Egypt and Qatar sought to broker a Hamas-Israel deal that might involve a temporary ceasefire in exchange for release of hostages taken on Oct. 7. Meanwhile, diplomats at the U.N. Security Council worked separately on a revised draft resolution that they hoped would pass muster with the United States. Another key sticking point was a proposed U.N.-led mechanism for inspecting aid deliveries, which Israel opposed because it left them with no role in searching incoming cargo. Farnaz Fassihi, Patrick Kingsley, Aaron Boxerman and Michael Levenson report for the New York Times.
The number of people killed in Gaza has surpassed 20,000, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry and its government media office. More than 52,600 have been wounded. ABC News reports. “On average, nearly 300 people have been killed each day since the start of the conflict, excluding the seven-day ceasefire,” BBC Verify’s Merlyn Thomas reports, citing data from the Gaza health ministry that WHO officials have said has been generally reliable.
The United Nations and organizations such as Human Rights Watch issued new warnings “saying that almost every household” in Gaza “was facing a severe lack of food and water” because of the near-total blockade of humanitarian aid. Israel accused Hamas of stealing food and water. Liam Stack reports for the New York Times.
UNICEF issued a dire warning today about the lack of safe drinking water in Gaza. The agency gave as an example that recently displaced children in southern Rafah have only 1.5 to 2 liters of water on a daily basis, and that water services were “at the point of collapse.” “For survival alone, the estimated minimum is three liters per day,” the UN agency said in a statement.
Israeli military officials said the Israel Defense Forces had uncovered Hamas facilities in Gaza City, including an underground network used for military purposes. The claims came against the backdrop of ongoing ceasefire negotiations and public statements that Israel intended to continue its military offensive. Wafaa Shurafa, Samy Magdy, and Josef Federman report for the Associated Press.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — REGIONAL RESPONSE
A leader of the Yemen-based Houthi rebels warned that they would retaliate against U.S. warships if the United States continued to interfere with Houthi militias. The United States and allies are conducting joint patrols in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden in response to Houthi attacks on commercial vessels, in what the militant group claims is a response to Israel’s military operations in Gaza. Anna Skinner reports for Newsweek.
The United States and Venezuela reached a prisoner swap agreement, brokered by Qatar, in which the United States released Colombian businessman Alex Saab, a close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, and in exchange received 10 jailed Americans and notorious defense contractor Leonard Francis, known as a “Fat Leonard,” who had been wanted for his role in a large U.S. Navy corruption scandal. “The Maduro government will also release 20 Venezuelan political prisoners and Roberto Abdul, an opposition leader in Venezuela,” Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Genevieve Glatsky and Lara Jakes report for the New York Times. Six of the released Americans had been deemed “wrongfully detained” by the United States, the Times reports.
Poland’s main public television channel went dark on Wednesday after supporters of the former right-wing Law and Justice government took over the channel’s headquarters. The action was part of ongoing efforts to block newly-elected centrist Prime Minister Donald Tusk from assuming control over various state bodies, many of which are full of Law and Justice loyalists who were installed during the party’s eight-year control of government. Andrew Higgins reports for the New York Times.
EU leaders announced they had reached agreement on the key elements of the Pact on Asylum and Migration, intended to revamp migration management in response to increasing numbers of arrivals in recent years. Rights groups and others criticized the deal – which is still provisional and requires approval once the full text is finalized next year – as weakening the rights of asylum seekers and other vulnerable people. The Associated Press reports via NPR.
The Democratic Republic of Congo has extended elections for those whose polling stations did not open on Wednesday, with opposition presidential candidates calling for a rerun of the vote. Throughout Wednesday, “observers flagged delays or failures opening polling stations and other issues, including malfunctioning electronic voting systems and violent attacks,” Ange Adihe Kasongo and Djaffar Al Katanty report for Reuters.
A false rumor that Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy used U.S. aid money to purchase yachts was picked up by members of the U.S. Congress debating military spending. Disinformation researchers tracked the original rumor to a website run by a former U.S. Marine now living in Russia and said that the channels through which it spread were part of a larger pro-Russian propaganda campaign. Olga Robinson, Shayan Sardarizadeh and Mike Wendling report for BBC News.
In a potential challenge to Russian President Vladimir Putin, lawmaker Yekaterina Duntsova submitted paperwork to the country’s Central Election Commission to register as a candidate for the March 2024 presidential election. Duntsova is advocating for peace in Ukraine, telling reporters in Moscow that she seeks a “humane” Russia “that’s peaceful, friendly and ready to cooperate with everyone on the principle of respect.” Still the former journalist’s place in the election is far from certain as she must obtain 300,000 signatures of support from at least 40 Russian regions. The Associated Press reports.
Fueled by the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions, trade between Russia and China surpassed $200 billion during the first 11 months of this year. Russia is turning to China for everything from “cars to computer chips” while Russia has sold oil and natural gas to China at deep discounts. Keith Bradsher reports for the New York Times.
TRUMP-RELATED LEGAL MATTERS
Colorado’s Republican Party said that it will switch from a primary to caucus system in the upcoming presidential nominating process if the state’s Supreme Court ruling holding that Trump may not appear on the ballot stands. Sarah Fortinsky reports for The Hill.
The Colorado Supreme Court justices who ruled that Trump is disqualified for running for office due to the Fourteenth Amendment’s “insurrection clause” have been “flooded” with threats against their physical safety. Ryan J. Reilly reports for NBC News.
President Biden commented on former President Trump’s involvement in an “insurrection” on January 6th. “Whether the 14th Amendment applies or not, we’ll let the court make that decision,” Biden told reporters. “But he certainly supported an insurrection. There’s no question about it. None. Zero. And he seems to be doubling down on it.” The Associated Press reports.
Lawyers for Trump asked the Supreme Court to wait for the federal appeals court’s ruling on presidential immunity before weighing in. The filing came in response to a request by special counsel Jack Smith for the Supreme Court to expedite a decision on the question as part of ongoing litigation involving Trump’s actions challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. Lawrence Hurley reports for NBC News.
A federal judge ruled that Special Counsel Jack Smith can access more than 1,600 communications from Representative Scott Perry’s (R-PA) cell phone as part of the Justice Department’s investigation into efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Perry, a staunch ally of former President Donald Trump, argued that the records were protected from disclosure under the Constitution’s “speech or debate” clause. Judge James Boasberg found that 1,656 of 2,055 records were subject to disclosure. Madeline Halpert reports for BBC News.
A federal judge ruled that Rudy Giuliani must immediately pay two Georgia election workers the $148 million he now owes them. Judge Beryl A. Howell wrote that Giuliani is likely to try to hide his assets to avoid paying the plaintiff’s judgment against him. Rachel Weiner reports for the Washington Post.