10 things you need to know today: November 19, 2023

US reportedly brokering Israel-Hamas deal to pause fighting and free hostages, Argentina heads to the polls in key presidential election, and more

A couple holding an Israel flag walk past a protest wall
A deal to release Israeli hostages and pause fighting in Gaza is close but not finalized
(Image credit: Gil Cohen-Magen / AFP via Getty Images)

1. US reportedly brokering Israel-Hamas deal to pause fighting and free hostages

The United States is reportedly brokering a deal between Israel and Hamas that would see a temporary pause in fighting in exchange for the release of Hamas-held hostages. While it was reported Saturday night that the three sides had officially come to an agreement, officials from all three parties later denied that a deal had been tentatively reached. The Washington Post first reported that a five-day pause in the conflict could come within the next few days. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there were "a lot of incorrect reports" about a potential deal that would see the release of some of the 240 Israeli hostages but that negotiations were ongoing. The Washington Post, The Times of Israel

2. Argentina heads to the polls in key presidential election

Argentines are heading to the polls Sunday to vote in a presidential runoff election that could see the economically maligned country shift right. The election will pit the center-left economic minister Sergio Massa against far-right libertarian and populist Javier Milei. The 53-year-old Milei often draws comparisons to Donald Trump and is himself a known admirer of the former U.S. president. Milei's popularity has risen amid Argentina's continually flailing economy, which has seen record rates of poverty and inflation topping 140%. Massa's role as the economic minister has drawn criticism as inflation grows, and combined with Milei's steadily climbing popularity, he could have a tough challenge ahead of him at the ballot box. NPR, The New York Times

3. At least 30 premature babies evacuated from Gaza hospital

At least 30 premature babies were evacuated from Gaza's Shifa Hospital on Sunday, Palestinian medical officials said. The babies were moved from Shifa, the largest and main medical facility in Gaza, and will be transferred to a hospital further south. From there, the babies will be moved to Egypt, officials said. The move comes after Israeli officials said they would allow the babies to be evacuated from the hospital, which has had its electricity, food and other supplies cut off amid a battle raging outside its walls. The power blackout led to incubators for the premature babies being shutdown, forcing medical staff to quickly find a way to get them out. The Associated Press, Al Jazeera

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4. France tests long-range ballistic missile to boost nuclear defenses

France successfully tested a new long-range ballistic missile in an effort to shore up its nuclear-defensive capabilities, the country's defense ministry said Sunday. The missile was fired from a testing site in the Landes region in southwest France and landed in the Atlantic Ocean "hundreds of kilometers from any coastline," officials said, though an exact location was not given. The missile, known as an M51.3 projectile, did not carry a nuclear warhead, and the test was performed as a show of the "lasting credibility of France's oceanic deterrence in coming decades," the defense ministry said. The new missile is expected to enter military service around 2025. Reuters, AFP

5. 261 Georgia congregations defect from United Methodist Church over LGBTQ divides

The North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church (UMC) voted Saturday to accept the resignation of hundreds of its congregations over a split on LGBTQ+ issues. The UMC voted to allow 261 congregations throughout Georgia to leave the church by the end of 2023. The decision was made over differences in belief "related to the practice of homosexuality or the ordination or marriage of self-avowed practicing homosexuals," the UMC said in a statement. The 261 churches leaving the UMC account for a large percentage of the nearly 700 congregations throughout Georgia. This follows a pattern of churches throughout the country splitting over the UMC's LGTBQ+ stance, and more than 6,000 have disaffiliated since 2019. CNN, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

6. University of Wisconsin condemns neo-Nazi march through Madison

The University of Wisconsin-Madison condemned a neo-Nazi march that occurred Saturday in the college's city. A group of nearly two dozen people waving swastikas, chanting antisemitic slogans and wearing shirts that read 'Blood Tribe' marched through Madison, the state capital that also contains the university's flagship campus. In a statement, UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said she was "horrified to see these symbols here in Madison. Hatred and antisemitism are completely counter to the university’s values." Campus officials were reportedly not notified of the march ahead of time, and law enforcement from Madison and the university are reportedly continuing to monitor the situation. NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

7. School accused of forcing Native American boy to cut hair

A Kansas elementary school is being accused of forcing an 8-year-old Native American boy to cut his long hair. In a letter sent by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the group said that the Girard School District's policy against long hair for boys violates federal laws. The district reportedly forced the Native American boy to cut his hair after he grew it out for cultural reasons. The boy is a "member of the Wyandotte Nation and wears his hair long in accordance with his Native American faith and culture," the ACLU said. The district had allegedly threatened to send the boy home in the future if he did not cut his hair. The Associated Press

8. Dozens of workers stuck in collapsed tunnel in India

Officials trying to reach 41 workers trapped in a tunnel in India were reportedly attempting to create new rescue plans Saturday. The workers have been trapped in the tunnel, located in Uttarakhand state, for the past eight days after a landslide caused the entrance to collapse. Rescue teams had been attempting to use a drill to cut through the collapsed rock. They have so far reached about 100 feet into the debris, but efforts to reach the workers have still been unsuccessful. Reports are indicating that rescuers are considering alternate plans to reach the trapped workers, including the use of drilling vertically into the rock and digging alternate escape tunnels. The Associated Press, CNN

9. Taylor Swift postpones concert following fan death

Pop icon Taylor Swift decided to postpone her Saturday night concert in Brazil after the death of a fan the prior day. "The decision has been made to postpone tonight’s show due to the extreme temperatures in Rio," Swift wrote on Instagram. "The safety and wellbeing of my fans, fellow performers and crew has to, and always will, come first." Soaring temperatures in Rio de Janeiro caused concerns over Swift's concert, after the mercury reached 95 degrees Fahrenheit. The decision to cancel the concert came after 23-year-old Ana Clara Benevides Machado died during the singer's tour. Fans had complained that they weren't allowed to bring water into the facility. Time

10. 'Joe Biden' performs panda diplomacy during 'Saturday Night Live'

President Joe Biden faced a formidable opponent during this week's cold open of "Saturday Night Live," the giant panda Tian Tian. Biden, played by Mikey Day, was continually upstaged during the live sketch by the panda, portrayed by Bowen Yang. The sketch was a spoof of Biden's recent meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. "Sure, we made agreements about communications, fentanyl, climate change, but most importantly, we got the thing America really needs right now: more pandas," Day said as Biden. Much of the media circus in the lead-up to the meeting was focused on the giant pandas at Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo, which have since been returned to China. The Hollywood Reporter

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