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Spotify layoffs and the Supreme Court reviews Sackler family immunity: Morning Rundown

In today’s newsletter: Israel orders mass evacuations as it pushes into southern Gaza. The Supreme Court will decide whether the Sackler family can be protected from future lawsuits. And scientists puzzle over what’s causing severe respiratory illness in dogs...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

Here’s what to know today.

Israel’s offensive expands into Gaza’s south

The Israeli military announced it was expanding its ground assault against Hamas to all of the Gaza Strip, following the collapse of the truce deal that saw more than 100 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners freed.

Israel’s push into southern Gaza will raise new fears for the masses of civilians crowded into the area, many of whom fled bombardment and battles in northern Gaza at Israel’s urging. It is now warning residents to evacuate specific neighborhoods, but Gazans say there is no guaranteed safe place to go. Meanwhile, pressure is growing from the U.S. to do more to protect civilians.

Beyond Gaza, there were four attacks yesterday on commercial vessels in the Red Sea that the U.S. believes were launched by Iran-backed rebels in Yemen, as well as three drones shot down by an American warship responding to the strikes.

Follow our live blog for updates.

Read more on the Israel-Hamas war:

Supreme Court tackles Sackler family liability in opioid settlement 

The Supreme Court will examine the Biden administration’s objection to the bankruptcy reorganization of opioid maker Purdue Pharma, which includes a provision that protects the Sackler family from future lawsuits. The Supreme Court put a hold on the deal in August, after the Sackler family had agreed to pay around $6 billion to settle opioid-related claims, but only in return for a release from liability in any future cases against them. 

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The justices are expected to look at whether the bankruptcy court has the right to protect the Sackler family from claims made by opioid victims. Purdue made billions from OxyContin, a widely available painkiller that fueled the opioid epidemic.

The company’s tactics in marketing the drug came under scrutiny in recent years after thousands died from opioid overdoses. The Sackler family has not had any involvement in the company since 2019.

George Santos’ expulsion was the latest in a series of historic events for the House this year 

Former Rep. George Santos gets into a car, surrounded by photographers and camera crews.
Former Rep. George Santos departs the Capitol after being voted out of Congress on Dec. 1, 2023. Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House of Representatives entered its final month of 2023 by taking the step to expel one of its own members, now former Rep. George Santos, for just the third time since the Civil War. Santos fabricated much of his biography and faces a 23-count federal indictment of alleged crimes, to which he has pleaded not guilty. Santos responded to the historic vote by bolting through the Capitol doors and taunting his colleagues, saying they “just set a new, dangerous precedent” that could come back to bite them, before driving off.

The expulsion was the latest in a tumultuous year for the House, as the Republican-led chamber began the year requiring 15 attempts to elect Kevin McCarthy as speaker, the most since 1860. Months later, it became the first House in U.S. history to overthrow its speaker midsession.

Ukraine battles itself, Russia and a shift in the world’s attention

Ukraine is battling more than the Russian army.

After nearly 2 years of grueling war, it’s now grasping for the world’s attention in the shadows of the conflict in the Middle East. And with its much-vaunted counteroffensive fizzling into the snow, with little to show for months of planning and billions in allied military support, Kyiv is also beset by growing internal wrangling. Staring down a long and difficult winter, Ukraine is fighting on multiple fronts.

How the suspect was identified in the killings of 4 men in Los Angeles County 

LAPD

Police arrested Jerrid Joseph Powell in connection with the killings of four men in four days in Los Angeles County. Three of the victims were homeless men who were killed while sleeping in different locations throughout the city. The fourth was a Los Angeles County employee, whom the attacker followed home and robbed before he killed him.

Here’s a timeline of how the killings unfolded.

What’s causing severe respiratory illnesses in dogs? 

Vets are trying to figure out what’s causing an outbreak of severe respiratory illness in dogs, how widespread it is, and how many previously healthy pups have become seriously ill or died.

The current surge has been spreading in areas of the U.S. and Canada over the last year. This outbreak is different from garden-variety respiratory illness, experts say, because of the number of cases that are leading to pneumonia. Veterinarians say there could be a number of reasons for the uptick in cases of atypical canine respiratory disease, including declines in vaccination rates.

Today’s Talker: Fans say the legal spat between Hall & Oates feels like a divorce……after it was revealed last month that Daryl Hall was suing his bandmate John Oates. Court filings and a hearing shed some light on why the soul-pop duo were having difficulties, which revolved around the sale of their joint business venture. Hall has accused Oates of committing “the ultimate partnership betrayal” and many are wondering if this may be the end of the pair. 

Politics In Brief

Super PAC shakeup: Never Back Down, the main super PAC backing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ presidential campaign, installed its third chief executive officer in less than two weeks.  

Election 2024: Ron DeSantis made the final stop of his campaign in Iowa over the weekend, completing a longtime campaign pledge of touring all of Iowa’s 99 counties. 

Donald Trump: An excerpt from the book “Swamp Monsters” by NBC News reporter Matt Dixon tells the tale of how Trump’s team lobbied Roger Stone to persuade the former president not to attack Ron DeSantis in his home state. 

Staff Pick: It’s time for Coach Prime

Head coach Deion Sanders gives a pregame interview before a game in Boulder, Colo.
Head coach Deion Sanders.Dustin Bradford / Getty Images

The Colorado Buffaloes’ season may have ended with a whimper, but head coach Deion Sanders’ audacity and tenderness as a coach have been nothing short of endearing, particularly for Black Buffaloes fans, new and old. This season, Sanders “represented a joy, a power, a strength of bravado that just sort of trickles down into who we see ourselves personally,” one fan told reporter Curtis Bunn. His influence has been so palpable this season that Sports Illustrated named him “Sportsperson of the Year.”- — Michelle Garcia, NBC BLK editorial director

In Case You Missed It

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About the author

Baba Voss

A Prolific Writer, Vast In Series of Publications Basically on Politics, Entertainment, Sport, Life Style, Fashion, Business, Technology, Health, History etc.

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