10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2023

Israel and Hamas reach deal to free 50 hostages, House panel subpoenas prosecutor in Hunter Biden investigation, and more

A man holds a sign with Israeli hostages
A man holds a sign with pictures of captured Israeli hostages in Tel Aviv
(Image credit: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP via Getty Images)

1. Israel, Hamas reach deal to free 50 hostages

Israel and Hamas announced Wednesday they would observe a four-day cease-fire in Gaza to permit a prisoner swap. Under the deal, the Palestinian militant group will release 50 hostages — all women and children — out of the 240 people it seized during its deadly Oct. 7 surprise attack in Israel. In exchange, Israel agreed to release 150 Palestinian women and teenagers from its jails. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his war Cabinet that after the brief truce the fighting would resume and continue "until we achieve our goals," which include ousting Hamas from Gaza. Hamas said it would keep its "hands on the trigger." The Guardian, The Jerusalem Post

2. House panel subpoenas federal prosecutor in Biden inquiry

House Republicans issued a subpoena Tuesday to a federal prosecutor demanding he answer questions about the Justice Department's investigation into Hunter Biden, President Joe Biden's son. House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wrote in a letter to senior federal prosecutor Lesley Wolf that "it is clear that you possess specialized and unique information" the committee needs. Wolf is the latest in a series of people House Republicans have subpoenaed in their sprawling impeachment investigation into the president. Wolf is deputy to David Weiss, the U.S. attorney for Delaware who is in charge of the Hunter Biden case. Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers have accused prosecutors of giving Hunter Biden special treatment. The Associated Press

3. Tearful Trump executive says he left over legal troubles

Jeffrey McConney, the former controller of the Trump Organization, gave emotional testimony Tuesday in former President Donald Trump's civil fraud trial, saying he left the company he "loved" because of its seemingly relentless legal troubles. McConney is a co-defendant in the state's $250 million civil suit accusing him, Trump, two of Trump's sons and the company itself of a fraud scheme that inflated the value of key properties to secure favorable loans. "I just wanted to relax, and stop being accused of misrepresenting assets for the company that I loved working for," he said in response to his attorney's questions about his retirement. CBS News

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4. Sam Altman to return to OpenAI

Sam Altman has agreed to return to ChatGPT-maker OpenAI after his firing last week by the company's board triggered a revolt by employees and investors, who demanded his return as CEO. Former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor will lead a board replacing the one that fired Altman. The drama exposed a power struggle between Altman, who has been the face of the rapid commercialization of generative artificial intelligence, and board members concerned about AI's safety risks. After his firing, Altman had agreed to lead a team at OpenAI backer Microsoft. He now says he will return to OpenAI and work on "building on our strong partnership" with the software giant. The Washington Post, The Associated Press

5. Storm expected to disrupt Thanksgiving travel

A storm is expected to hammer the Northeast with heavy rain, snow, ice, and powerful wind gusts up to 50 miles per hour on Wednesday, disrupting Thanksgiving travel. The Interstate 95 corridor from Virginia to Massachusetts could get hit especially hard. Slowdowns are expected as the storm pushes in from the central United States and gets supercharged when moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico collide in the Northeast, according to data from Accuweather. The winds could be powerful enough to break tree limbs and down power lines. Accuweather

6. Binance founder Changpeng Zhao pleads guilty, resigns

Changpeng Zhao, founder of cryptocurrency exchange Binance, pleaded guilty to money laundering charges on Tuesday. He will pay a $50 million fine and resign as CEO as part of a deal with the U.S. Justice Department. Prosecutors are seeking an 18-month prison sentence. Binance itself, which is the world's largest crypto exchange, also pleaded guilty in the case and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines and restitution. The company also agreed to let the government appoint a monitor to oversee its operations. Zhao won't be able to have any involvement in the company until the monitor has been on the job for three years. The New York Times, Bloomberg

7. Georgia judge declines to revoke Trump co-defendant's bond

Fulton County, Georgia, Superior Judge Scott McAfee refused Tuesday to revoke the bond of a co-defendant of former President Donald Trump in his election racketeering case. Prosecutors had argued that the co-defendant, Harrison Floyd, should be jailed for making what they described as threatening and intimidating social media posts about witnesses. McAfee said posts mentioning election worker Ruby Freeman didn't amount to outright threats, and comments regarding a state official and former co-defendant Jenna Ellis were no more than minor violations against communicating witnesses. "I read these as seeing more that someone is wanting to defend his case in a very public way," McAfee said. USA Today

8. North Korea says it launched spy satellite

North Korea claimed Wednesday that it put a spy satellite into orbit in its third attempt after two failed launches earlier this year. The success of the mission was not immediately independently confirmed, but international observers have questioned whether the satellite is advanced enough to provide valuable military information. Still, the United States joined other nations in condemning North Korea's launch of the rocket that carried the satellite, which National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said "raises tensions and risks destabilizing the security situation." The United Nations has banned North Korea from launching satellites, arguing that Pyongyang uses the missions as cover for advancing its missile technology. NPR

9. Deadly landslide hits outside Alaska fishing town

A landslide tore through a dense mountainside forest in southeast Alaska, killing a girl and two adults and leaving three other people missing. Search and rescue crews scoured the area for the missing people using heat-sensing drones and a cadaver-sniffing dog, although the ground remained too unstable for a large rescue mission, authorities said Tuesday. The landslide stretched about 140 yards wide near Wrangell, a fishing community with about 2,000 inhabitants. It cut access and power to about 75 homes, three of which were directly in its path, according to a preliminary survey. CNN, The Associated Press

10. Louisville bank shooter sought to provoke tighter gun laws

A man who fatally shot five people at a Louisville bank in April indicated in personal writings that he was driven partly by anger over what he considered lax gun laws, according to a police report made public Tuesday. The man, who was shot and killed by police at the scene, wrote about his struggles with depression and how easy it was for him to buy an AR-15 rifle and ammunition in Kentucky, which has no "red-flag" laws. "These people did not deserve to die, but because I was depressed and able to buy [guns], they are gone," the man, Connor Sturgeon, wrote six days before the shooting at the Old National Bank where he worked. Louisville Courier Journal, The Washington Post

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