Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023

U.S. & World and Wisconsin headlines, and today's meme.

Morning Headlines - Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2023

U.S. and World Headlines

Gaza Hostage Deal: What Do We Know?

Fifty women and children held hostage by Hamas and other groups in Gaza since 7 October are to be released in exchange for a four-day ceasefire in a deal brokered by Qatar with the support of the US.

A US official said three Americans would be among those freed, including a girl who turns four this week, and that the first release should come by Thursday.

According to Hamas, Israel will release 150 Palestinian prisoners, all women and children, from Israeli jails and allow hundreds of aid trucks a day to cross the Rafah border with Egypt, providing humanitarian supplies to Palestinians in Gaza.

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US Unemployment Claims Drop By 24,000

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, a sign that U.S. job market remains resilient despite higher interest rates.

The Labor Department reported Wednesday that jobless claims dropped by 24,000 to 209,000. The previous week's total — 233,000 — had been the highest since August. The four-week moving average of claims, which smooths out week-to-week volatility, fell by 750 to 220,000.

The applications are viewed as a proxy for layoffs. They remain extraordinarily low by historical standards, signaling that most Americans enjoy unusual job security.

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COVID, RSV And Flu Cases Rising As Americans Gather For The Holidays

Virus activity is picking up again as millions of Americans crisscross the country for Thanksgiving, taking fewer precautions to protect themselves against illness as concerns about COVID-19 fade away.

Indoor holiday gatherings are expected to fuel a spike in cases of COVID-19, RSV and the flu — and with vaccinations against all three respiratory viruses lagging, health experts worry hospitals could be slammed again this winter.

"The concern here with this vaccination gap is: Could this get worse as the number of transmissions increases from November, December, into January?" Marc Watkins, chief medical officer for Kroger Health, told Axios.

Health officials are urging vaccinations to head off a repeat of last winter's "tripledemic," when particularly nasty RSV and flu seasons collided with a COVID surge.

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Ranking The 2024 Republican Presidential Candidates

The Iowa caucuses are less than two months away, and Republican candidates are preparing their final pitches to voters.

The race for the nomination has been dominated so far by former President Trump. The field has also recently been winnowed by the withdrawal of former Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.).

Another big clash is just around the corner. The fourth debate will happen in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Dec. 6, hosted by NewsNation. The Hill and NewsNation are part of Nexstar Media Group.

Ahead of that, here are The Hill’s current rankings of the candidates vying for the nomination.

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Former NFL Defensive End Marcellus Wiley Accused Of Raping Columbia Student While Attending In 1994: Report

A Columbia University student has accused former NFL defensive end Marcellus Wiley of rape while she was at the Ivy League school in 1994, according to a lawsuit obtained by the New York Post.

The victim’s lawsuit, which was filed in New York Supreme Court under the Adult Survivors Act, claims Wiley, the 48-year-old former ESPN personality, attacked her in the fall of that year while he was starring as Columbia’s running back during his sophomore season.

She stated that Wiley had forced himself on her in a freshman dorm room, did not care for her objections to his actions and took her virginity.

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Wisconsin Headlines

Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Oral Arguments In Legislative District Maps Case

Democrats urged the Wisconsin Supreme Court to overturn Republican-drawn legislative maps on Nov. 21, with conservative justices questioning the timing of the redistricting challenge, while liberals focused on the constitutionality of the current maps and what the process should be for adopting new ones.

The fight comes ahead of the 2024 election in a battleground state where four of the six past presidential elections have been decided by fewer than 23,000 votes, and Republicans have built large majorities in the Legislature under maps they drew over a decade ago.

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Man Sentenced To 6 ½ Years For Distributing Child Pornography

Rajiiv Isree, 32, a Jamaican citizen who was living in Baraboo, Wisconsin, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson to 78 months in prison for distributing child pornography. Isree is likely to be deported following his release from prison, but if he is not, the prison term will be followed by 10 years of supervised release. Isree pleaded guilty to this charge on August 7, 2023.

On July 2, 2022, a 15-year-old girl reported that she had been sexually assaulted by Isree. Further investigation showed that the defendant filmed the assault and sent her a video of it. Law enforcement found additional videos of the defendant engaged in sexual activity with the minor sexually the girl on the defendant’s phone.

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2023 Preliminary Gun Deer License Sales And Harvest Totals Available

Preliminary figures indicate the number of deer hunters in Wisconsin slightly decreased compared to 2022.

As of midnight Sunday, Nov. 19, sales for gun, bow, crossbow, sports and conservation patron licenses reached 774,369. Of that total, 421,525 were for gun privileges only. The year-to-date sales for all deer licenses are down 0.61% from the same time last year.

The number of conservation patron licenses sold to date in 2023 is 1.5% higher than conservation patron licenses sold in 2022.

Of the total licenses sold, 65% were sold online, and 35% were sold in-person by DNR license agents and DNR service centers, which includes private businesses across the state.

Final license sales figures will be available in January, at which time DNR staff will perform a thorough analysis and interpretation.

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Proposal To Give Wisconsin Lawmakers More Leeway Prosecuting Sex Crime

A Republican state lawmaker resurrected a proposal to give prosecutors more leeway in addressing second-degree sexual assaults from the past.

The proposal from Sen. Andre Jacque (R - De Pere) would extend the statute of limitations on prosecuting the crime from 10 to 20 years.

Although the case would be unaffected by any law change, Jacque points to the rape of a UW-Madison student 12 years ago and a dispute over a man's conviction as highlighting the peril of the shorter period in which to prosecute.

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Five Things To Know - Battle For The Axe

Wisconsin-Minnesota will square off in the regular-season finale this Saturday.

Will the Badgers build on their emotional 24-17 overtime victory over Nebraska, which clinched bowl eligibility for the 22nd consecutive season?

Or will Minnesota rise up, become bowl-eligible, and retain possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe for another year in a series that began in 1890?

Based on the fact the teams are 62-62-8 in the longest-played rivalry in Football Bowl Subdivision history, not to mention injury issues on both sidelines, another taut affair is expected.

Here are five more things to know:

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Last Update: Nov 22, 2023 10:52 am CST

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