Want to catch up with the news quickly? Here are the top stories from Thursday, October 26, 2023.
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1. Who is Mike Johnson, the MAGA Republican now elected as House Speaker?
GOP Rep. Mike Johnson has been elected as the new speaker of the House of Representatives, bringing with him a staunch anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion, and anti-democracy record. The Louisiana Republican has voted against the Equality Act and the Respect for Marriage Act, among numerous other pro-equality bills.
Johnson is also the conservative representative who filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in 2020 to overturn President Joe Biden's victory in in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Michigan. He was one of 125 Republicans who signed onto the filing, despite having insufficient evidence to prove their claims of widespread voter fraud.
2. U.S. calls for "humanitarian pauses" in Israel-Hamas conflict
The Biden Administration is pushing for "humanitarian pauses" in the conflict between Israel and Hamas so that aid can be distributed to Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Over 7,000 Palestinian civilians have been killed since Israel began its retaliatory airstrikes, while also cutting off Gaza's access to food, water, electricity, and fuel.
Despite President Joe Biden urging Israel to do “everything in its power to protect innocent civilians,” U.S. officials have avoided using the word "ceasefire" in their calls for aid to be distributed. The U.S. also vetoed a resolution last week at the U.N. Security Council calling for humanitarian pauses.
3. Gaza crisis deepens as Israel refuses to allow fuel for hospitals
United Nations aid agencies have been forced to drastically reduce their presence in Gaza after running out of fuel, which is needed to power hospital generators and water treatment plants. Israel has cut off Gaza's access to food, water, electricity, and fuel since the conflict began.
Israel has also refused to let in emergency fuel, making hospitals unable to care for the estimated 1,000 patients receiving kidney dialysis treatment in Gaza, as well as 130 premature babies in incubators.
"What we are seeing in the Gaza Strip is unprecedented. Two million people are being strangled. Gaza is being choked with very, very little assistance that is coming from outside," Juliette Touma of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, told the BBC. "We're the largest humanitarian organisation and we are on the verge of stopping operations. We are being banned from undertaking the mandate that was entrusted to us by the UN General Assembly. All we're asking to do is to be able to do our work
- UN Sounds Alarm on 'Risk of Genocide' Against Palestinians ›
- Palestinians Lament Israeli Airstrikes Endangering Civilians in Gaza: 'We're Not Hamas' ›
- Palestinians Fear Another Exodus Is on the Horizon: 'They Would Rather Die in Gaza Than Move' ›
- Queering the Map in Gaza: LGBTQ+ Palestinians Pay Tribute to Deceased Loved Ones ›