10 things you need to know today: January 21, 2024

Palestinian death toll reportedly passes 25,000, top Biden adviser to travel to Egypt and Qatar for hostage talks, and more

Body bags laid in the street in Rafah, Gaza
In addition to the 25,000 dead in Gaza, an estimated 62,000 have also been wounded
(Image credit: Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images)

1. Palestinian death toll reportedly passes 25,000

More than 25,000 Palestinians have died in the Gaza Strip during the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, officials from Gaza's health ministry said Sunday. An additional 62,000 Palestinians have reportedly been wounded. This far and away marks the deadliest moment in the Israel-Palestinian conflict in decades and comes as Israel has continued to push for the total destruction of Hamas. However, it appears that an end to the fighting is not on the horizon, as Hamas continues to hold dozens of Israelis hostage and daily bombardments of the Gaza Strip by Israel continue. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls for a two-state solution, saying it is not currently feasible. The Associated Press, Reuters

2. Top Biden adviser to travel to Egypt and Qatar for hostage talks

A senior adviser to President Joe Biden will visit Egypt and Qatar this week to try and reenergize the countries to help secure the release of Israeli hostages held by Hamas, Axios reported Sunday. Brett McGurk, a National Security Council coordinator, will visit the region for the second time in a month, where he will meet with top intelligence ministers from both countries. Egypt's intelligence service was a key mediator in prior negotiations, and the Biden administration is hoping to bring them in for additional talks this time around. The trio of countries are continually pushing Israel and Hamas to try and find a proposal that would eventually end the war. Axios, The Wall Street Journal

3. At least 25 people reportedly killed during market shelling in Ukraine

At least 25 people were killed in Ukraine on Sunday during a shelling of the Russian-occupied city of Donetsk, the region's leader said. Denis Pushilin, who was installed by Russia to oversee the occupying forces, said the strike also injured an additional 20 people. Alexei Kulemzin, the Russian-installed mayor of Donetsk, said the shells fell on a busy area of the city filled with a number of shops and markets. Pushilin claimed the attack was perpetrated by Ukrainian forces, though Ukraine's military has not commented on the shelling. Moscow claimed the attack was carried out "with the use of weapons supplied by the West," though this has not been verified. BBC, Reuters

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

4. Haley questions Trump’s mental capacity after he confuses her with Nancy Pelosi

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley questioned former President Donald Trump's mental stability on Saturday after he confused her with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times. "Trump is at a rally and he’s going on and on, mentioning me several times as to why I didn’t take security during the Capitol riots. Why I didn’t handle Jan. 6 better," Haley said during a rally in New Hampshire. "I wasn’t even in DC on Jan. 6." Haley added that when "you’re dealing with the pressures of a presidency, we can’t have someone else that we question whether they’re mentally fit to do it." The two GOP candidates have been sparring ahead of the New Hampshire primary. CNN, The Hill

5. North Korea expresses willingness for Putin to visit country

North Korea's state news agency said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin could soon visit their country. The invitation comes as the two authoritarian states have been working closer together, causing concerns among Western nations of an enhanced alliance. North Korean officials said Putin's visit would create "a new multi-polarized international order." The Russian president reportedly "expressed his willingness to visit [North Korea] at an early date" and thanked North Korea for the invitation. Putin last visited North Korea in 2000. North Korea has reportedly been selling weapons to Russia to use in their war against Ukraine, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited Russia last year to shore up support. Politico, Bloomberg

6. Thousands protest in Germany against the country’s far-right

More than 100,000 people marched in cities across Germany on Saturday to protest the rise of the country's leading far-right party. Anger toward the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party began brewing after it was revealed that members of the far-right faction discussed implementing mass deportations of migrants. Opponents labeled the plan a vestige of the Nazi era and took to the streets in numerous cities. At least 35,000 people marched in Frankfurt, many carrying banners saying, "Defend democracy — Frankfurt against the AfD." Similar protests were also seen in the cities of Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dortmund and Nuremberg. A large demonstration in Berlin is also being planned for Sunday. The Guardian, CNN

7. Cold temperatures cause deadly chills across much of the US

Large swaths of the United States continue to experience deadly winter weather this weekend as dangerously cold temperatures take hold over much of the country. At least 89 people have died over the past week due to the weather, according to a CBS News tally, including 25 deaths in Tennessee alone. Many of the coldest temperatures were seen in traditionally moderate climates across the South; Louisville, Kentucky, saw a high of just 5 degrees Fahrenheit, while Atlanta reached just 21 degrees. Single-digit temperatures were also seen in states throughout the Midwest and New England. Dangerously cold temperatures are expected to continue into the coming week before a gradual warm-up. CBS News, The New York Times

8. NASA reestablishes contact with Ingenuity helicopter on Mars

NASA was able to reestablish communications with its Ingenuity helicopter on Mars two days after it lost its signal, the agency said Saturday. The helicopter's signal was lost last Thursday during a "quick pop-up vertical flight" to test its systems, NASA said. The Ingenuity was shown to have ascended to an altitude of 40 feet before the signal was lost. After a few days of trepidation, though, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote on X that contact with Ingenuity had been reestablished after a Martian rover performed "long-duration listening sessions for Ingenuity's signal." NASA said it was reviewing the data to understand why Ingenuity went offline for a time. NPR

9. Ravens and 49ers advance in NFL playoffs

The Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers advanced to their respective conference championship games on Saturday with a pair of wins. The Ravens were able to easily dispatch the Houston Texans 34-10, with Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson going 16 for 22 passing with two touchdowns. The 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in a heart-stopping 24-21 match that featured a star effort from 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey and quarterback Brock Purdy. The final two divisional games take place Sunday, with the Detroit Lions playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs taking on the Buffalo Bills. Sports Illustrated

10. 'Saturday Night Live' returns to mock Trump’s courthouse appearances

"Saturday Night Live" returned following its holiday hiatus Saturday with host Jacob Elordi and musical guest Reneé Rapp. The show's cold open featured James Austin Johnson back in his role parodying former President Donald Trump. Johnson spoofed Trump's ongoing legal troubles and headline-making courtroom behavior, saying that 2024 would see him either "go to jail, be president, or frankly, 'The Purge,'" a reference to the horror franchise where all crimes are legal for a day. Johnson also made mention of Trump's dominating win in the Iowa caucuses and the poor performance of Ron DeSantis, saying he "went to 99 counties but bitch couldn’t win one." The Hollywood Reporter

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us