Daily Briefing: 14 American lives lost

President Joe Biden is confirming that U.S. citizens are among the hostages captured by Hamas in this weekend’s attack on Israel. Also in the news: Experts are gathering to discuss Biden’s new plan to relieve student loan debt and House Republicans expect to choose a nominee for the speaker seat.

🙋🏼‍♀️ I’m Nicole Fallert, Daily Briefing author. Is life a simulation?

These are Wednesday’s top stories.

‘This is terrorism’: Biden confirms US hostages held

President Joe Biden said the U.S. stands with Israel after Hamas’ brutal massacre in Israel, condemning the attack as “pure, unadulterated evil” and pledging to support Israel with military aid as war erupts in the Middle East. Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke by phone earlier Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss the situation on the ground.

In the the deadliest attack on Israel in decades, more than 1,000 Israelis and at least 14 Americans were killed Saturday when Hamas militants crashed through the Israeli border along the Gaza Strip and launched a surprise invasion. Israel has responded with attacks on Gaza that intensified with more bombings Tuesday.

  • Quick explainer: What is Hamas? Hamas’ political wing has controlled the Gaza Strip for over a decade, but the group is most known for its many suicide bombings and other attacks on Israel amid the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted decades.

  • Israeli strikes have demolished entire Gaza neighborhoods. Palestinians in the sealed-off Gaza Strip are scrambling to find safety as Israeli strikes demolish entire neighborhoods, hospitals run low on supplies and a power blackout is expected within hours.

  • How did Hamas breach Israel’s Iron Dome? Experts say the quantity of missiles in a mere 20 minutes was too much for the highly effective missile defense system to withstand.

More on the Israel-Hamas War: Our reporter in Israel’s must-read story about an American mom kidnapped by Hamas, these charts explain if the conflict will affect gas prices and the aftermath of a stampede at a Florida college’s Jewish-led vigil. For more updates, sign up for USA TODAY’s Israel-Hamas War Newsletter.

Palestinians leave al-Karama neighbourhood in Gaza City to safer areas on October 11, 2023, as raging battles between Israel and the Hamas movement continued for the fifth consecutive day.

Education Department begins talks over new debt forgiveness plan

The first of several conversations to hash out a new strategy for erasing loan balances en masse continues Wednesday. The negotiators represent different groups who have a stake in student loans, such as borrowers, student loan servicers and colleges and universities. As the process of negotiated rulemaking gets underway, tens of millions of Americans are wrestling with student loan payments for the first time in more than three years. And social media is littered with evidence of confusion about the size of monthly payments. Read more

More news to know now

What’s the weather today? Check your local forecast here.

House Republicans will hold secret vote on a nominee Wednesday night

House Republicans met Tuesday night to hold a candidate forum where prospective speakers made their pitches to fellow GOP lawmakers. Now they’ll hold a closed-door vote on a nominee, but it’s still not clear when lawmakers will hold an official election. But time is of the essence — the ongoing war between Israel and Palestinian militants could pressure lawmakers to pick up the pace and elect a new speaker so the House can act on the war, especially if they need to approve humanitarian aid or other crucial measures. Read more

Asa Hutchinson is staying in the 2024 race

Kicking off a series of town hall forums presented by USA TODAY, the USA TODAY Network and Seacoastonline for Republican presidential hopefuls, former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson took the stage in Exeter, New Hampshire. Hutchinson said Tuesday he will keep up his long-shot presidential bid if only to warn fellow Republicans about the risks of re-nominating Donald Trump. Trump, who holds massive polling leads over all the Republican presidential candidates, often mocks Hutchinson for support that is little more than 1 percent. The next townhall will be on Thursday, Oct. 12 with Nikki Haley. Read more


200+ of the best Amazon Prime Day deals — that expire tonight

Amazon’s October Prime Day came in hot yesterday with thousands of the best deals on basically everything. Prime Day Big Deal Days will officially come to a close tonight, October 11, and we’ll be monitoring all the deals and discounts throughout the day. The Prime Big Deal Days sale is Amazon’s second Prime Day event of 2023. We will be providing live coverage of Amazon’s 48-hour sale so you can snag the biggest deals ahead of the holiday season. Check it out here.

Quick hits

Photo of the day: October means postseason baseball

There are a lot of familiar faces returning to the postseason, particularly in the National League. The Los Angeles Dodgers, led by Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts, and the Atlanta Braves, led by 40-70 star Ronald Acuña Jr., are the current betting favorites to win the World Series. Read more

Atlanta Braves players celebrate a two-run homer by Atlanta Braves' Austin Riley (27) in the eighth inning of Game 2 of a baseball NL Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, Monday, Oct. 9, 2023, in Atlanta.

Nicole Fallert is a newsletter writer at USA TODAY, sign up for the email here. Want to send Nicole a note? Shoot her an email at NFallert@usatoday.com or follow along with her musings on Twitter. Support journalism like this – subscribe to USA TODAY here.

Associated Press contributed reporting.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Israel-Hamas war, Gaza Strip, student loan, House Speaker, 2024 race, Amazon Prime Day, MLB: Daily Briefing

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