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5 things to know for Oct. 19: Israel, House speaker, Covid-19, Pollution, UFOs


By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

(CNN) — An artificial intelligence innovation recently deciphered one word from the famously indiscernible 2,000-year-old Herculaneum scrolls. The documents, which were burned in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, would crumble if anyone attempted to unroll them and were considered to be nearly illegible — until now.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

1. Israel

Egypt has agreed to allow the first aid trucks into Gaza as anger rises globally over Israel’s siege of the isolated enclave in response to the brutal Hamas attacks. The relentless bombardment of Gaza by Israel and a pileup of crucial aid in the region has sparked growing protests across the Middle East. Nearly 3,500 people have been killed in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials, with the World Health Organization saying conditions are “spiraling out of control” for millions now trapped in the enclave. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is expected to deliver an Oval Office address later tonight to make the case for sustaining wartime aid to both Israel and Ukraine as public opinion regarding US assistance has been mixed.

What can President Biden’s trip to Israel tell us about the future of this conflict? Listen to CNN’s podcast “Tug of War” as Nic Robertson explains.

2. House speaker

Rep. Jim Jordan failed to win the House speakership for a second time on Wednesday. Jordan fared worse in the second vote, with 22 Republicans voting against him, compared to the 20 who did not support him in the first vote earlier this week. The loss raises serious questions over whether the Ohio Republican has a viable path forward as he confronts steep opposition among his colleagues. Despite the defeat, Jordan has vowed to stay in the race. The House could hold a third vote for speaker as soon as this afternoon, though no vote has been officially scheduled yet. For comparison, it took former Speaker Kevin McCarthy 15 rounds of voting in January to secure the gavel.

3. Covid-19

The price of the lifesaving Covid-19 medication Paxlovid will more than double in the coming months, drugmaker Pfizer announced Wednesday. The change in list price comes as the US transitions from a system in which the government purchased the medication and provided it free to everyone to a more traditional commercial marketplace. The list price, before insurance, will be $1,390 for a five-day course, Pfizer said. That’s 2.6 times higher than the $530-per-course price paid by the US government, which provided Paxlovid free to patients during the pandemic. Covid-19 vaccines also increased in price as they went through a similar transition to a commercial market, rising about fourfold to between $115 to $130 per dose.

4. Pollution

A group of Republican-led states and industry groups are asking the Supreme Court to block President Biden’s “good neighbor” pollution rule. The regulation aims to cut down on harmful smog and air pollution that wafts across state lines. For instance, if one state generating ozone and smog through its coal-fired power plants sends these pollutants into another neighboring state, it could be in violation of the rule. In their application to the Supreme Court, the GOP-led states and industry groups say the plan finalized by the EPA threatens the reliability of the nation’s electric grid. The high court will likely ask for a response from the EPA before taking action.

5. UFOs

The US government is receiving dozens of reports of unidentified anomalous phenomena, more commonly known as UFOs, each month, senior Pentagon official Sean Kirkpatrick told CNN. The office established to investigate the incidents has received approximately 800 reports of unidentified objects to investigate as of April, up from 650 reports in August 2022, Kirkpatrick said. The vast majority are benign objects such as balloons or drones, but some may be the result of America’s adversaries trying to spy on the US, he added. Most sightings and observations come from near restricted military airspace, a report released Wednesday found, likely a result of the additional sensors and radar around the facilities.


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That’s the new price of a premium ad-free Netflix plan in the US after the streaming giant increased the cost by $3 on Wednesday. Netflix stock surged following the price hikes and an announcement that the company saw a boost of over 8 million subscribers last quarter.


“All children need to see themselves in stories and it is extremely unsettling to consider a world in which they don’t.”

— Scholastic, a leading publisher of children’s books, issuing a statement as dozens of laws and pending legislation in the US target LGBTQ titles and books that discuss racism. Ahead of many Scholastic book fairs planned across the nation, the company said elementary schools can choose whether or not to feature a curated collection of “titles we support even as they are the most likely to be restricted.”


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