Morning Headlines - Friday, Oct. 20, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin trending headlines, and the meme of the day.

Morning Headlines - Friday, Oct. 20, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Five Takeaways From Biden’s Oval Office Address

President Biden addressed the nation from the Oval Office Thursday evening.

The main topics of the 15-minute speech were the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and the war in Ukraine.

The Middle East has entered a horrific new phase since Hamas killed about 1,400 Israelis in a surprise attack on Oct. 7. Israeli reprisals have killed around 3,800 Palestinians.

A ground invasion of Gaza by Israel could come at any moment.

On Ukraine, polls show American public commitment to the war wavering as the price tag for aid keeps rising.

Biden’s speech was also delivered against a backdrop of dysfunction on Capitol Hill, where the House has been without a Speaker since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was ousted on Oct. 3.

Here are the main takeaways from Biden’s speech.

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Ground Invasion Looms As Israeli Tanks Line Up On Gaza Border

Columns of Israeli tanks massed on the Israel-Gaza border and thousands of soldiers readied themselves for battle today as an invasion of the war-torn enclave appears imminent.

Tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers and scores of tanks and armoured vehicles are now positioned on the border - ready for a ground assault on the Gaza Strip where 203 hostages are being held captive by Hamas terrorists.

The massing of artillery and men at the border comes after heavy machine gunfire was heard along the border in the early hours of this morning.

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Jordan Presses Ahead With Speaker Fight Despite Growing Pressure To Drop Out

Republican Rep. Jim Jordan is pressing ahead with his speaker bid despite facing stiff opposition from within his own party and no clear path to win the gavel.

The House, now going on 17 days without a speaker, is gearing up for another showdown on the floor Friday with a third speaker vote expected, the latest sign that the Ohio Republican is not backing down even though he lacks the 217 votes needed to secure the speakership. There have been two failed votes so far.

In a news conference Friday morning, Jordan made it clear he has no plans to abandon his bid.

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Surging Mortgage Rates Hit 23-Year High

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate this week climbed to 8%, reaching that level for the first time since 2000.

The milestone arrives after months of rate increases. As recently as last April, the 30-year fixed mortgage rate stood below 5%.

An aggressive series of interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve since last year has pushed up the 10-year Treasury bond yield, which loosely tracks with long-term mortgage rates.

The Fed has increased interest rates to fight elevated inflation, attempting to slash price hikes by slowing the economy and choking off demand.

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Two WhatsApp Accounts On One Phone: Meta's New Solution For Users

Numerous corporate offices have embraced WhatsApp for their internal communications, appreciating its comfort and convenience. The challenge of distinguishing between personal and professional conversations has persisted for some time.

In a recent announcement, Mark Zuckerberg unveiled a practical solution to this issue. He shared a Facebook post featuring a screenshot of WhatsApp's account switching feature, along with a caption that anticipates the forthcoming ability to manage two WhatsApp accounts within a single app on one's phone.

The caption of the post reads, "Switch between two accounts on WhatsApp. Soon you'll be able to have two WhatsApp accounts on one phone within the app."

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Wisconsin Headlines

Kwik Trip Confirms System Outage As Cyberattack

Kwik Trip provided an update on its IT system outage that has been plaguing the company for nearly two weeks.

The company confirmed Thursday evening it was a "cybersecurity incident," but says there is no indication that customer payment card information was involved.

Officials did not share the source of the cybersecurity incident.

The Kwik Trip Rewards app and website are still offline.

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Pandemic Brings Telehealth Boom To Rural Wisconsin, But Barriers Linger

Marshfield Medical Center family nurse practitioner Brianna Czaikowski says telehealth appointments are a game-changer for some patients. But in serving a mostly rural community, Czaikowski often fights spotty connections and miscommunication when providing virtual care.

“They feel a lot that I’m talking over them, which sometimes I probably am because (of) the delay,” said Czaikowski, a doctor of nursing practice and pediatric urology specialist who sees patients as far away as Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. “You’re not getting that full connection.”

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BLS Data: State Reaches Record Number Of Jobs For Third Month In Row

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) job totals for the month of September 2023, which showed Wisconsin's total non-farm jobs hit another record high of 3,017,800. This is 34,500 more jobs than a year ago and an increase of 8,300 over the previous month.

Preliminary employment estimates for September 2023 showed Wisconsin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.1%. The total labor force grew by 5,400 and employment decreased by 1,800 over the month. The state's total labor force participation rate increased to 65.8% during that time.

Nationwide for the month of September, the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 3.8%, 0.7 percentage points above Wisconsin's rate, and the national labor force participation rate of 62.8% was 3 percentage points below the state rate.

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Wisconsin Suicide And Crisis Lifeline Receives $17M In Federal Funds To Expand Services

Wisconsin's suicide and crisis hotline will expand its services thanks to new federal investments, Gov. Tony Evers announced.

The 988 Wisconsin Lifeline is receiving nearly $17 million in grants to help the program reach more people and raise awareness about its offerings. The service answers 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline calls, texts and chats from Wisconsin-based phone numbers and locations.

Specifically, the funds will be used to create more jobs within the 988 Wisconsin Lifeline workforce, build connections among organizations that serve those experiencing mental health or substance use emergencies, and raise statewide awareness of the service.

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Update: Officer Involved Critical Incident Investigation In Fond Du Lac, Wis.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) is continuing to investigate an officer involved critical incident in the City of Fond du Lac, Wis. that occurred on the morning of Saturday, October 14, 2023.

At approximately 5:55 a.m., officers with the Fond du Lac Police Department and deputies with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Office responded to a disturbance involving weapons on the 500 block of Drury Place in the City of Fond du Lac. Upon arrival, Deputy Sheriff Blaine Evans, 5 years of law enforcement service, encountered Kyle Massie, age 34, inside a vehicle. Shortly after the vehicle was located, gunfire was exchanged between Deputy Evans and Massie. Massie sustained injuries and first aid was rendered, but Massie was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Fond du Lac Sheriff’s Office Canine Iro was shot and seriously wounded during the incident. Iro is continuing to receive critical care at a veterinarian hospital.

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Last Update: Oct 20, 2023 7:42 am CDT

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