Monday, November 20, 2023

11/20 WAKE-UP CALL: Former First Lady Rosalyn Carter Mourned

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter passed away at the age of 96 on Sunday, and is being remembered not only for her life as a devoted wife and mom, but for her political activism. The first lady with the longest marriage on record - 77 years - was sometimes referred to by her husband's aides as 'co-president,' because of her holistic involvement in President Jimmy Carter's decision making as he led the nation. She is said to have defined the modern role of the First Lady. She viewed herself not just as a figurehead and accessory to her husband, but as an activist with significant influence.

President Biden and the Obamas join former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton among those celebrating the former first lady. Biden - a longtime friend of the family and an early endorser of Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential campaign - posted a statement to X Sunday, saying Mrs. Carter 'walked her own path, inspiring a nation and the world along the way.' 'On behalf a grateful nation, we send our love to the entire Carter family and the countless people whose lives are better, fuller, and brighter because of Rosalynn Carter,' he added.

➤REPORT: HOSTAGE DEAL IN THE WORKS: Hostage negotiations aimed at producing a multi-day ceasefire in return for the release of some of the estimated 240 people believed held by militants in Gaza were progressing Sunday but a deal remained uncertain, officials said. "The sticking points, honestly, at this stage are more practical, logistical, not really something to present the call-off of the deal," Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, who has been involved in the talks, said at a news briefing.

Reports of various deals for the release of dozens of women and children have been circulating for weeks, but thus far only four hostages have been released and one rescued. Still, Deputy U.S. National Security Advisor Jon Finer said Sunday the talks had reached a "very sensitive" stage. He said the fate of the hostages remains an "incredibly high priority" for President Joe Biden and his entire administration.

➤JOURNALISTS DEATH TOLL NOW 48: The head of a prominent media institution in Gaza and two other journalists were killed during the weekend in Israel's offensive in the territory, their relatives said on Sunday, adding to the dozens of reporters who have died in the six-week conflict. The military, who have been carrying out an operation at the medical complex over the last week, said it had found a long passage below the ground of the Gaza City hospital. Israel has long claimed the hospital - which is the largest in the Palestinian enclave - functions as a command complex for Hamas, with a network of tunnels running deep below used for both ammunition storage and planning. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the weekend deaths raised to 48 the number of journalists and media workers it had confirmed killed in the region since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel and the subsequent Israeli offensive.

➤MUSK'S STARSHIP EXPLODES: The second launch of SpaceX's uncrewed Starship rocket, the largest and most powerful craft on Earth, went farther than the first attempt in April but exploded after about 12 minutes into flight. The Starship, which lifted off about 8:04 a.m. ET from SpaceX’s private Starbase site in Boca Chica, Texas, near Brownsville on the Gulf of Mexico, had a stage separation and reached space. But ground crew lost communications with the rocketship after nine minutes, reported. That's an improvement over the previous Starship test flight, in which several of the spacecraft's engines failed and exploded about four minutes after its launch.

➤DIDDY QUICKLY SETTLES: Diddy and Cassie have reached a settlement, one day after the singer accused the music mogul of rape, sex trafficking and physical abuse in a lawsuit. The parties said Friday that a resolution had been reached in the case in a release sent by attorney Douglas Wigdor; they did not disclose a settlement amount. Casandra Ventura, known professionally as singer Cassie, filed a sex trafficking and sexual assault lawsuit Thursday against ex-boyfriend Sean "Diddy" Combs in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, according to court documents obtained by USA TODAY.

LATEST POLL NOT GOOD FOR BIDEN: Donald Trump for the first time has surpassed President Biden in a national general election poll from NBC News. The former president eked out a slim lead over his successor — 46% to 44% — and strikingly eclipsed the incumbent among younger voters, the poll released Sunday found. “In 2019, 2020, when Trump was president, he trailed [Biden in] all of [NBC’s polls],” NBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki explained on “Meet the Press.”

Among younger voters ages 18 to 34, Trump emerged on top 46% to 42% over Biden. For context, younger voters broke for Biden by around 26 points in the 2020 election. Only 31% of young voters approve of Biden’s job performance, down starkly from 46% in September, the poll shows. Feeding this trend appeared to be backlash over Biden’s handling of Israel-Hamas war, an issue that has splintered the Democrat Party.

➤CALIFORNIA DEMS SAY PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS WHO BROKE RULES WILL BE 'HELD ACCOUNTABLE': The chair of the California Democratic Party vowed repercussions Sunday for members who took part in a raucous pro-Palestinian demonstration that forced an early halt to meetings the night before. “Any delegates who actively participated in or aided the furtherance of those activities or events in violation of our party’s code of conduct will be held accountable,” Chair Rusty Hicks told party members gathered for a convention in Sacramento. Protesters demanding a cease-fire in Gaza overwhelmed security guards and poured into the convention center on Saturday evening, leading the party to cancel planned caucuses.

➤MEMPHIS SHOOTING SUSPECT DEAD FROM SELF-INFLICTED GUNSHOT WOUND AFTER KILLING 4: A suspect in Tennessee died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot while on the run early Sunday after he allegedly killed four and seriously injured a fifth victim during a deadly outbreak of domestic violence on Saturday night, police said.

Officers found Mavis Christian Jr., 52, in his car during a manhunt following the shootings at three locations in Memphis that left three women and a teenage girl dead and critically wounded another teen girl.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Goodfellas actor Suzanne Shepherd passed away on Friday (November 17th) at the age of 89. In addition to Goodfellas, Shepherd starred in movies such as Mystic Pizza, Requiem for a Dream, and Lolita. She also played Mary DeAngelis on 20 episodes of The Sopranos. Her Sopranos costar Ray Abruzzo paid tribute to her on Instagram Saturday (November 18th). “Sad to hear of the passing of Suzanne Shepherd. A force of nature. Actress, teacher. Played Carmella’s mother on Sopranos and Karen’s mother in Goodfellas,” he wrote.

Russell Wilson lobbed a go-ahead, 15-yard touchdown pass to Courtland Sutton with 1:03 to go, and the Denver Broncos held on for a 21-20 win over the visiting Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night. Sutton leaped for a catch in the back left corner of the end zone and landed with both feet in bounds. It marked the first touchdown for Denver (5-5), which had settled for five field goals before that play. Wilson completed 27 of 35 passes for 259 yards and the game-winning touchdown. The Broncos won the turnover battle 3-0 and secured their fourth consecutive victory.

Joshua Dobbs completed 20 of 32 passes for 221 yards, one touchdown and one interception for Minnesota (6-5). Dobbs also rushed for a touchdown for the Vikings, whose five-game winning streak ended. Dobbs relied on his legs to increase the Vikings' lead to 17-9 with 7:55 to go in the third quarter. After he could not find an open receiver, he saw an opening and sprinted up the middle for a 10-yard score.

🏈NFL BILLS 32 JETS 6: Robert Saleh made headlines in October when he said the Jets’ defense has “embarrassed” a number of top quarterbacks this season. But it was the Jets (4-6) who were embarrassed during the 32-6 blowout loss to the Bills (6-5). Hardly anything went right for the Jets all game long and the Bills offense was the catalyst for ending their two-game losing streak. Gang Green had 155 yards of total offense. The Bills scored over 25 points for the first time since its 37-3 win against the Commanders in Week 3. Buffalo’s defense also did its part by forcing four turnovers with cornerback Rasul Douglas registering two of them [an interception and a fumble recovery].

🏈BROWNS REPORTEDLY SIGNING FORMER RAVENS SUPER BOWL MVP QB JOE FLACCO: The Cleveland Browns are signing former Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco. Flacco visited with the team and will reportedly sign with the practice squad with the expectation that he'll join the active roster. Flacco joins the Browns after starting quarterback Deshaun Watson sustained a season-ending fracture to his throwing shoulder.

🏈DALLAS COWBOYS' DARON BLAND TIES NFL MARK WITH 4TH PICK-SIX: With his fourth interception return for a touchdown on the season, Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland matched something done by only three other players in NFL history. "Honestly, it hasn't hit me," Bland said. "I feel like I'm really just kind of doing my job. That kind of stuff, I feel like I've been doing. I've felt like myself, so it's not really ever hit me because it feel like it's just another day."

🏈49ERS FEAR ALL-PRO S TALANOA HUFANGA HAS A TORN ACL: The 49ers won big against the Buccaneers on Sunday but came away with significant concerns around All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga. Hufanga left the game with a non-contact injury after planting his right leg in pass coverage. After the game, he was in the San Francisco locker room on crutches and wearing a knee brace. Head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Hufanga "most likely" sustained a season-ending torn ACL. Hufanga will undergo testing to confirm the severity of his injury.

Bronny James is still not ready to make his debut with USC, but he warmed up with his Trojans teammates for the first time on Sunday afternoon, marking another milestone in his return after he experienced cardiac arrest earlier this summer.bBronny, the son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, was with No. 16 USC and warmed up normally before the Trojans' 81-70 win over Brown on Sunday at the Galen Center.

Right-hander Aaron Nola and the Phillies agreed to a seven-year contract on Sunday, the team announced, as Philadelphia locked up its longtime rotation stalwart after nearly three weeks of inactivity in the MLB free agent market. The club didn't announce the deal's value, but sources say it is worth $172 million. The 30-year-old Nola has spent all 10 years of his professional career with the Phillies, who took him with the seventh pick in the 2014 draft and promoted him to the major leagues barely a year later.

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