Gaza latest » Israel released another group of Palestinian prisoners just hours ago after Hamas freed additional Israeli captives on the eighth day of the temporary cease-fire.
Israel agreed to hold its fire as long as Hamas continued to release hostages. And U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham says,
GRAHAM: This is sort of a strategy by Hamas to drag it out. The Americans, I hope and pray they all get out, but they’ll be the last to go. And as every day drags on, there’s mounting pressure on Israel to restrict their military operations.
The Biden administration is now ramping up public pressure on leaders in Tel Aviv … to do more to restrict civilian casualties in Gaza. Israel pledged that whenever the cease-fire ended, its military would finish the job and eradicate Hamas.
Secretary of State Tony Blinken said the U.S. supports that mission, but
BLINKEN: Israel has the most — one of the most sophisticated militaries in the world. It is capable of neutralizing the threat posed by Hamas while minimizing harm to innocent men, women, and children. And it has an obligation to do so.
He said that means, in part, clearly designating locations in southern and central gaza where civilians “can be safe and out of the line of fire.”
DeSantis-Newsom debate » Two White House hopefuls faced off in a debate last night on Fox News, but not a presidential debate.
HANNITY: Let me start by introducing both Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom is not currently running for president, but his interest in the office is an open secret.
The showdown between two of the nation’s most prolific governors was a clash of two very different leadership philosophies
Or as Gov. Newsom put it, “night and day” different.
NEWSOM: You want to roll back hard-earned national rights — on voting rights, on civil rights, on LGBTQ rights, on women’s rights...
DeSantis hit Newsom on California’s taxes, gas prices and more.
DESANTIS: We have a 50-year low in the crime rate. In the last 10 years, we’ve had a 45 percent decline in homelessness. California’s had a 45 percent increase in homelessness. We back the blue.
For DeSantis, the debate was a chance to tout his conservative policy record off the crowded GOP stage. And many analysts believe Newsom is positioning himself as his party’s fallback option should President Biden end his reelection campaign for any reason.
Social-media censorship » Lawmakers are digging into alleged efforts by government officials to censor free speech and silence some Americans on social media.
GOP Congressman Jim Jordan chairs the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.
JORDAN: One of the most egregious forms of the weaponization that this subcommittee has worked to expose is the coercion of social media companies by the federal government.
Lawmakers heard testimony from three journalists Thursday including Michael Shellenberger:
SHELLENBERGER: The scope, power, and lawbreaking of the censorship industrial complex are even worse than we had realized back in March.
Shellenberger co-authored the so-called Twitter files last year. He described leaked internal documents seeming to show that government officials pushed the company to target alleged misinformation.
Republicans claimed to have new evidence that the Biden administration pressured Google to censor Americans on YouTube though some Democratic lawmakers disputed that.
Fauci to testify on COVID response » And House lawmakers are set to hear from Anthony Fauci about the origins of COVID-19 and the government’s response to it. WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER: A panel of lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee will grill Fauci early next month.
During the pandemic, he was the government’s highest-ranking infectious disease expert and served as chief medical adviser to President Biden.
Members of the Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic plan to press Fauci on what he knew about so-called gain-of-function research at a laboratory in Wuhan, China. Such research can make viruses more potent for the purpose of laboratory studies.
The FBI believes COVID-19 escaped from the Wuhan lab.
Lawmakers also want to question Fauci about any role he may have played in trying to discredit the lab leak theory regarding its origin.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
Trump gag order » An appeals court in New York says a gag order on former President Donald Trump is back in place.
The decision reinstates a directive that barred Trump from commenting about courtroom staff in a civil fraud trial against his family business. The initial gag order came after Trump criticized a law clerk in the case.
An appeals court had previously suspended the order while Trump’s appeal against it played out.
States: Foster rule would violate rights » Nearly twenty states are fighting the Biden administration on a new proposed foster system rule they say would violate the First Amendment rights of Christians. WORLD’s Christina Grube reports.
CHRISTINA GRUBE: The administration has proposed a new rule that would force foster parents to address children by their self-chosen name and pronouns and to let them dress according to their self-identified genders.
Foster parents who don’t comply would be considered unsafe placements.
Attorneys general from 19 states drafted an open letter to the Department of Health and Human Services this week saying the rule would discriminate against Christian homes and ultimately harm children in the foster care system.
The coalition also noted a 2021 Supreme Court decision barring the government from discriminating against foster parents for their beliefs on gender.
For WORLD, I’m Christina Grube.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Culture Friday with John Stonestreet. Plus, Angel Studios’ movie The Shift.
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