10 things you need to know today: December 10, 2023

Fighting continues across Gaza Strip as Israeli tanks reach city center, University of Pennsylvania president resigns after antisemitism testimony, and more

Former University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill
Liz Magill, the former president of the University of Pennsylvania, seen during a congressional hearing
(Image credit: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

1. Fighting continues across Gaza Strip as Israeli tanks reach city center

Heavy fighting continued throughout Gaza on Sunday as the battle between Israel and Hamas insurgents raged on. Israeli tanks fought their way into the center of Khan Younis, the main city in southern Gaza, as part of a primary new offensive toward the heart of the strip. Israeli warplanes continued dropping bombs on the area west of the Khan Younis battle. As calls for a cease-fire continue to grow, the United States — Israel's primary backer in the fight — has provided more ammunition to its ally to shore up their offensive. Nearly 85% of Palestinians in Gaza have reportedly been displaced, and the United Nations has claimed there is no safe haven for them to flee to. The Associated Press, Reuters

2. University of Pennsylvania president resigns after antisemitism testimony

The president of the University of Pennsylvania, Liz Magill, resigned Saturday after criticism of her handling of antisemitism on her college's campus. Magill's resignation comes four days after bipartisan backlash of a congressional hearing on the issue of punishment for antisemitism rhetoric at Ivy League schools. During the hearing, Magill appeared to dodge the question of whether students who call for the genocide of Jews should face punishment, causing widespread anger. Her resignation also follows growing anger over her handling of protests on Penn's campus along with accusations of mismanagement. She will remain a tenured member of Penn's staff. The chair of Penn's board of trustees, Scott L. Bok, also announced his resignation. The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer

3. Democrat John Whitmire wins Houston’s mayoral election

Democratic Texas state Sen. John Whitmire was elected mayor of Houston on Saturday, defeating Democratic Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee in a runoff election. A tally from the Harris County clerk showed Whitmire leading Lee by an insurmountable lead of 65% to 35%. "Great cities solve their problems. Together, we can solve our problems. The first way you solve your problem is to admit you have one. And I don't mind telling folks what a great city we have, but we've got great challenges," Whitmire said during his victory speech. Whitmire, who has more than 50 years of experience in public service, had consistently led Lee in the polls. NPR, CBS News

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4. At least 6 dead and dozens injured following Tennessee tornado

At least six people are dead and nearly two dozen were injured after a series of tornados tore through central Tennessee on Saturday. The tornados destroyed buildings and left cars overturned throughout the region. Three people, including a child, died after a tornado leveled Clarksville in northern Tennessee, local officials said. Montgomery County, where Clarksville is located, received the worst of the damage, and county officials said they were in a "search-and-rescue phase" looking for survivors. Storms also whipped through nearby Davidson County and neighborhoods of Nashville, and more than 160,000 Tennessee residents are estimated to be without power. CNN, The Tennessean 

5. Javier Milei to be inaugurated Argentina’s next president

Javier Milei will be sworn in as Argentina's next president on Sunday in a major shift to the right for the economically devastated South American nation. Milei campaigned on a promise to crack down on rampant inflation and poverty while also maintaining his persona as a political outsider. A populist and professed admirer of former U.S. President Donald Trump, Milei will be inaugurated exactly 40 years after Argentina returned to democracy following the end of its military dictatorship. Survivors of that time period told Al Jazeera they were wary of a potential return to a military junta or other form of authoritarianism under Milei. The Washington Post, Al Jazeera

6. Egypt holds presidential election amid the shadow of Gaza war

Egyptians headed to the polls Sunday in a presidential election that is expected to give President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi another six-year term in office. The election is taking place amid the shadow of the war in Gaza, as the country attempts to stop any violence from taking place in Egypt while also battling inflation and a foreign currency shortage that has left the nation struggling economically. Despite his expected electoral victory, al-Sisi has faced growing weariness among the population as his promises of bringing Egyptians out of poverty have fallen short. Critics of al-Sisi say his rampant spending on infrastructure projects has left Egypt with massive amounts of debt. Reuters, BBC

7. Shohei Ohtani signs record-shattering $700M contract with Dodgers

Baseball phenom Shohei Ohtani signed a record-shattering 10-year, $700 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday. This makes Ohtani the highest-paid player in MLB history — and the highest-paid athlete in the history of North American sports. The previous record for a baseball contract was held by Ohtani's teammate on the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout, who inked a $426.5 million deal. Ohtani's contract is also likely the largest in world history, surpassing soccer star Lionel Messi's reported $674 million deal (though details of that contract remain ambiguous). The designated hitter is also an ace starting pitcher and is seen as one of the rare two-way players in baseball. Sports Illustrated, Los Angeles Times

8. Elon Musk reinstates X account of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones

X owner Elon Musk said Sunday he was restoring the account of Alex Jones, a far-right conspiracy theorist known for spreading misinformation online. Musk said that he was reinstating Jones' account after a poll in which 70% of respondents voted to allow him online. "The people have spoken and so it shall be," Musk posted on X, formerly Twitter. Jones is best known for spreading false narratives about the Sandy Hook school shooting and was banned from Twitter in 2018. He filed for bankruptcy last year after being ordered to pay more than $1 billion in damages related to his Sandy Hook conspiracies. Musk had previously promised not to allow Jones back onto the platform. Axios 

9. Mahsa Amini’s family banned from traveling to accept human rights award

Iran has banned the family of Mahsa Amini from traveling to France to receive a human rights award on her behalf. Amini's family was reportedly stopped at the airport while trying to leave the country to receive the European Union's top award for human rights work. Only the family's lawyer was reportedly allowed to leave the country. The posthumous prize was awarded by the EU to Amini after her death in 2022 sparked massive protests across Iran. The 22-year-old died in custody after being arrested and reportedly beaten by the country's "morality police" when she refused to wear a hijab in public, causing widespread anger among Iranian women. The Guardian

10. X-37B space plane to launch atop a SpaceX rocket

The United States military is slated to launch its secretive X-37B space plane on Sunday in what will be the craft's seventh mission into orbit. The unmanned vehicle is scheduled to lift off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center atop SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket, marking the first time the two craft will be used in conjunction. Once in orbit, X-37B will conduct experiments with "space domain awareness technologies and [investigate] the radiation effects to NASA materials," according to the U.S. Space Force. Most of the details around X-37B's missions are not disclosed, so the exact metrics of the experiments remain unclear. It is also unknown how long this mission is supposed to last. NBC News

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