10 things you need to know today: December 5, 2023

1. Southern Gaza fighting escalates

Israeli forces intensified their ground and air assault in southern Gaza on Monday in a new phase of their war against Hamas. The United Nations warned that the fighting was forcing civilians already displaced from northern Gaza to flee again, creating “an even more hellish scenario.” “For people ordered to evacuate, there is nowhere safe to go and very little to survive on,” said a spokesperson for U.N. Secretary General António Guterres. Israeli forces set up a checkpoint outside Khan Younis, Gaza’s second largest city, on a road previously identified as an evacuation route, adding to the confusion for fleeing civilians. A communications blackout also hampered humanitarian workers. The Washington PostNBC News

2. GOP debate field is down to 4

Four Republican presidential candidates — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — qualified for the fourth GOP primary debate in Alabama on Wednesday, the Republican National Committee said Monday. Front-runner Donald Trump will stay away again. Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) dropped out after the third debate. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, who failed to qualify for the last two Republican forums, suspended his campaign Monday, criticizing the party for “clubhouse debate requirements” he said reduced competition “months before the Iowa caucuses.” Vice President Mike Pence, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, former Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) and businessman Perry Johnson bowed out earlier. AxiosPolitico

3. Netanyahu corruption trial resumes

An Israeli court on Monday resumed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial, after a pause in non-urgent cases due to the conflict started by Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 surprise attack. Netanyahu didn’t attend the hearing, which focused on procedural issues, but he might testify in his own defense next spring. Netanyahu has been on trial since 2020 on allegations he did political favors for a businessperson in exchange for lavish gifts, and offered favorable regulations to media moguls for positive news coverage, The New York Times reported. Netanyahu denies the allegations and has rejected calls from critics to resign. The New York Times

4. White House warns Ukraine aid running out

The White House on Monday urged Congress to approve more military and other aid for Ukraine. “We are out of money — and nearly out of time,” Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, wrote in a letter to leading lawmakers. She said allowing the flow of U.S. aid to stop would “kneecap” Ukraine as it fights invading Russian forces. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) has expressed support for more Ukraine aid but a significant number of Republicans in the House and Senate insist on linking the assistance to new spending on border security. Axios

5. Justices appear split on Purdue Pharma deal

The Supreme Court justices appeared split Monday on whether to uphold a Purdue Pharma bankruptcy deal that includes $6 billion from the Sackler family, which owned the company, but shields them from future lawsuits for fueling the opioid crisis. Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted that the states included in the settlement, which would use part of the money for addiction treatment programs, and tens of thousands of families directly affected by the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin “overwhelmingly approve of this settlement.” Justice Elena Kagan also questioned why the government would try “to blow up the deal” all sides support, although she asked whether the bankruptcy process should be used to shield wealthy people from lawsuits. The Justice Department argues it shouldn’t. Los Angeles TimesThe New York Times

6. Divers find remains of 5 airmen in sunken Osprey

U.S. and Japanese military divers found a large part of the fuselage of a U.S. Osprey aircraft that crashed during a training flight in southwest Japan, the U.S. Air Force said Monday. The divers found the bodies of five of the U.S. tilt-rotor aircraft’s eight crew members inside the submerged wreckage. Search teams have been looking for the crew members and the wreckage since the aircraft went down last week near the small island of Yakushima; they had found the remains of only one crew member, Air Force Staff Sgt. Jacob Galliher, 24, before Monday. The Air Force declined to identify the five people whose bodies the divers found. CBS News

7. Business economists say recession unlikely

Most business economists believe the U.S. economy can avoid a recession next year despite high interest rates, according to a survey released Monday by the National Association for Business Economics. The Federal Reserve has raised interest rates from near zero to more than 5.25%, the highest level in roughly two decades, to slow the economy and bring inflation down to the central bank’s 2% target. Only 24% of the 38 surveyed economists said they thought the slowdown would result in a recession. “While most respondents expect an uptick in the unemployment rate going forward, a majority anticipates that the rate will not exceed 5%,” Ellen Zentner, president of the association and chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a statement. The Associated Press

8. UK government moves to curb migration

The British government on Monday announced measures to curb high levels of legal migration as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak faces pressure to reduce new arrivals, which hit a record of 745,000 in 2022. Home Secretary James Cleverly said that figure was “far too high,” and the changes could bring it down to 300,000 migrants a year. The measures include a one-third increase in the minimum salaries migrants must earn in a skilled job. Immigration has been a hot political issue for more than a decade and fueled the 2016 vote to exit the European Union. Lawmakers in Sunak’s Conservative Party have criticized him for his record on the issue ahead of elections expected next year. The opposition Labour Party is far ahead in polls. Reuters

9. Boston tourist dies in Bahamas shark attack

A shark killed a 44-year-old tourist from Boston while she was paddleboarding near a beach resort in the Bahamas on Monday, the Royal Bahamas Police Force said in a news release. The woman and a male relative were paddling away from shore when the shark attacked her. “The victim suffered significant trauma to the right side of her body,” police said. The male relative wasn’t hurt in the incident, which occurred near a resort on the western end of New Providence Island, where the capital, Nassau, is located. A 26-year-old Mexican woman who was swimming with her 5-year-old daughter off Mexico’s Pacific coast was killed in a shark attack on Saturday near a play platform 75 feet from the beach in Melaque. CNNUSA Today

10. Volcanic eruption death toll rises in Indonesia

Search crews found more bodies on the dangerous slopes of Indonesia’s Mount Marapi volcano on Monday, bringing the presumed death toll from a weekend eruption to 23. Eleven hikers had been confirmed dead a day earlier. Emergency workers have recovered five bodies, but 18 people presumed dead were too close to the spewing hot gases and ash for crews to reach them safely. More than 50 climbers have been rescued. A new burst of volcanic ash on Monday briefly halted the search. Under an eruption alert, climbers were barred from getting closer than 1.8 miles from the peak, but authorities said some climbers and locals might be stranded above the permitted level. The Associated Press

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