By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
(CNN) — Parents are being urged to delete or temporarily disable their children’s social media apps to prevent them from seeing disturbing videos emerging from the Israel-Hamas war. The recommendation comes in advance of the horrifying possibility that Hamas terrorists will post executions of hostages on social media to garner international attention.
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Israel is “conducting a large-scale strike” on Hamas targets in Gaza, the Israel Defense Forces said today, as the conflict entered a sixth day. Officials in the region say Israel has amassed 300,000 reservists near the Gaza border as it readies for a huge mobilization of troops. For comparison, this amounts to roughly the combined number of reservists across the entire US military. Meanwhile, concern is growing within the Pentagon over the potential need to stretch its increasingly scarce ammunition stockpiles to support Ukraine and Israel in two separate wars, according to multiple US defense officials. But officials are racing against time as Hamas militants are holding as many as 150 hostages in Gaza, where a humanitarian crisis is rapidly spiraling.
The war between Israel and Hamas is unlikely to have a significant impact on the global economy, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Wednesday. “While we are monitoring potential economic impacts from the crisis [in Israel], I’m not really thinking of that as a major driver of the global economic outlook,” she told delegates at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Stock markets around the world have largely brushed off the conflict, with Wall Street posting gains Tuesday partly boosted by a fall in oil prices. IMF chief economist Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas said it is still too early to assess how the war could affect economic growth in the region and the rest of the world. But for now, the IMF sees better odds that central banks will manage to tame inflation without tipping the global economy into recession.
3. House speaker
House Republicans picked Rep. Steve Scalise as their nominee for speaker on Wednesday — but the Louisiana Republican is still scrambling to find the votes needed to win the gavel. If all current members are present and voting on the floor, Scalise would need 217 votes to win the speakership and can only afford to lose four Republican votes. However, several lawmakers are looking to throw a wrench into the current majority leader’s speaker plans, saying they will instead vote for Rep. Jim Jordan, who ran against Scalise for the nomination and lost. The floor vote for the next House speaker could occur as soon as today, but it remains to be seen whether Scalise was able to wrangle enough support from within his conference overnight.
4. Labor strikes
Negotiations between Hollywood studios and SAG-AFTRA — the union representing about 160,000 actors — have been suspended. “Conversations are no longer moving us in a productive direction,” the major studios said in a statement Wednesday. According to the studios, the union’s latest offer “included what it characterized as a viewership bonus that, by itself, would cost more than $800 million per year — which would create an untenable economic burden.” Separately, an additional 8,700 autoworkers joined the picket lines Wednesday, hitting Ford’s largest factory. Similar to the actor’s strike, negotiations remain stalled between the United Auto Workers and the nation’s largest auto manufacturers.
5. Junk fees
President Joe Biden on Wednesday unveiled new efforts to crack down on junk fees — the hidden or misleading fees that “companies sneak into your bill to make you pay more,” Biden said. The Federal Trade Commission specifically unveiled a proposed rule that would ban the fees across multiple industries and require companies to show full prices upfront, preventing event ticketing companies, hotels and lodging companies, apartment and car rental agencies, and more from levying surprise or unexpected service charges. The Biden administration also announced $2 billion in savings and $140 million in consumer refunds from previous crackdowns on junk fees.
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That’s around how many Americans have federal student loans, collectively amounting to $1.6 trillion of debt, according to the National Student Loan Data System. Now that payments have resumed following a pandemic-related pause, some Americans tell CNN that they are trimming their budgets, taking fewer trips and cutting back on discretionary purchases to pay their student loan bills.
“History will judge them.”
— Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, slamming Corporate America’s lackluster response to the terror attacks on Israel. The ADL leader quoted Martin Luther King, Jr as he pleaded for more companies to speak out against the violence: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
AND FINALLY …
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