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10 things you need to know today: October 26, 2022

Fetterman and Oz meet in a potentially crucial Senate debate, House progressives retract letter calling for negotiations with Russia on Ukraine, and more


Fetterman, Oz square off in potentially key Senate debate

Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Mehmet Oz faced off Tuesday in their only debate in the Pennsylvania Senate race, which could decide which party controls the Senate. Fetterman — the state's lieutenant governor — hit back at Oz's questioning of his health after a May stroke, saying his doctor believes he's "fit to be serving." Oz deflected allegations he promoted dubious health products on The Dr. Oz Show, saying he is proud of his former TV show. Fetterman said he would vote for a law restoring Roe v. Wade's abortion protections. Oz said he wants the issue left to the states. Independent write-in candidate Everett Stern dropped out and endorsed Fetterman, saying he didn't want to be a "spoiler."


Liberal House Democrats withdraw letter calling for Ukraine negotiations

The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Tuesday retracted a letter urging President Biden to seek a "rapid end" to the war in Ukraine. The call for Biden to negotiate directly with Russia prompted a backlash from other Democrats, who said the 30 House signatories were undermining support for Ukraine just as its forces are driving Russian troops out of occupied areas. The withdrawal of the letter was a setback for Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a leading House liberal who has expressed interest in a party leadership job. Jayapal said the letter was drafted several months ago and was mistakenly "released by staff without vetting."


Rishi Sunak vows to lead U.K. through 'profound economic crisis'

Britain's new prime minister, Rishi Sunak, vowed Tuesday to guide the country through "a profound economic crisis," but warned it could take some "difficult decisions." Sunak said in his first speech as prime minister that he would restore confidence in the Conservative government, which has been shaken by scandals that brought down Boris Johnson and a controversial tax-cut plan that rattled markets and sent the British pound plummeting under Liz Truss, who resigned under pressure after just six weeks. Jeremy Hunt, picked by Truss earlier this month as she tried to calm markets, will stay on as finance minister. Sunak said Truss' government had made mistakes in a "noble" effort to boost economic growth, and he was elected "in part to fix them."


St. Louis police release details on school shooting

St. Louis police on Tuesday said the 19-year-old gunman who killed two people and wounded several others Monday at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School had an AR-15-style rifle, more than 600 rounds of ammunition, and more than a dozen high-capacity magazines. St. Louis Police Commissioner Michael Sack said the suspect, Orlando Harris, was a former student at the school. He died after barricading himself inside a third-floor classroom and fighting a gun battle with officers. Investigators found a handwritten note in Harris' car. One passage said: "I don't have any friends. ... I've been an isolated loner my entire life. This was the perfect storm for a mass shooter."


Russian judge rejects Brittney Griner's appeal

A Russian court on Tuesday denied WNBA star Brittney Griner's appeal of her conviction on drug charges. Griner can still take her case to Russia's highest appeals court, but her lawyer, Maria Blagovolina, told NBC News that Griner is "quite pessimistic" her conviction will be overturned. The two-time Olympic gold medalist had hoped the judge in Tuesday's hearing would reduce her sentence, but that didn't happen. Griner played basketball in Russia during the WNBA's off-season. She was arrested at a Moscow airport in February with vape canisters containing cannabis oil in her luggage. She was convicted in August and sentenced to nine years in prison, with a $16,301 fine.


Hope Hicks interviewed by Jan. 6 committee

Hope Hicks, once a trusted adviser to former President Donald Trump, met Tuesday with members of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, NBC News and Axios report. She had previously met with the panel for an informal discussion. Hicks was reputedly a close Trump confidante and a key counselor during the months the committee is examining. She left the White House six days after the Jan. 6 riot by a mob of Trump supporters trying to block the certification of President Biden's election win over Trump. Hicks reportedly had pushed back against Trump's false claim that the election was stolen from him through voter fraud.


L.A. police investigate source of leaked racist audio

Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore announced Tuesday that his department has opened a criminal investigation into whether leaked audio that included racist comments by ousted L.A. City Council president Nury Martinez was recorded illegally. The LAPD said last week they were not investigating the matter because no one had filed a complaint, but Moore said participants in the meeting, which included three council members and then-Los Angeles County Federation of Labor leader Ron Herrera, asked the department on Friday to look into "the illegal recording of their private conversation." The leaked audio caused a backlash that resulted in the resignations of Herrera and Martinez, who first stepped down from her leadership role then resigned as a council member.


Israel raids suspected bomb lab, killing 5 Palestinian gunmen

Israeli forces conducted a raid targeting a group of Palestinian gunmen calling themselves the Lions' Den, blowing up an alleged bomb lab and killing five Palestinians in a firefight, Israel's military said Tuesday. Twenty other Palestinians were wounded, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. The overnight raid in the old city of Nablus was one of the deadliest in the West Bank in 2022. Television footage showed flames and smoke rising in the night sky over Nablus. The army said it used shoulder-launched missiles. Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip protested with a general strike, waving Palestinian flags and burning tires in the streets.


5.1-magnitude earthquake rattles San Francisco Bay area

A magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck California's San Francisco Bay area on Tuesday. The temblor, felt widely around the Bay Area, was centered about four miles deep, 12 miles east of downtown San Jose. It rattled buildings and shook windows, but caused no damage. "This is the biggest earthquake since Napa in the Bay Area," said Richard Allen, director of UC Berkeley's Seismology Lab. That quake was a 6.0. It injured more than 100 people and damaged buildings — typical of a quake that strong. California and Nevada have, on average, five 5.0 to 6.0 earthquakes per year. A magnitude 7.0 earthquake will cause widespread destruction.


Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter dies at 68

Former Defense Secretary Ash Carter died unexpectedly Monday after a "sudden cardiac event," his family said in a statement on Tuesday. He was 68. Carter's family said he had "devoted his professional life to the national security of the United States and teaching students about international affairs." Carter served as the 25th U.S. defense secretary, from February 2015 to January 2017, during the last two years of former President Barack Obama's second term. He was responsible for several successful initiatives. His family noted that he "launched the successful campaign to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria, opened all combat positions to women, and forged new connections between the Department of Defense and the nation's technology community."


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