Gaza-Israel » Relief groups are hopeful that a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas will hold as aid workers hope to spend the next several days trucking supplies into Gaza.
With that cease-fire scheduled to start this morning, the Foreign Minister of Qatar, Majed Al Ansari, said of the first hostages Hamas would release,
ANSARI: They will be 13 in number, all women and children, and those hostages that are from the same families will be put together within the same patch.
Qatar mediated the negotiations with Hamas agreeing to release 50 of the more than 200 captives it’s holding during the cease-fire.
Meantime, families of those hostages continue to hope and pray. Efrat Machikawa told Fox News on Thursday that she was missing five family members.
MACHIKAWA: We’re just holding ourself as strong as we can, knowing that we will be happy for anyone that comes alive out of this hell.
Some Americans are among the people abducted from Israel during the October 7th terrorist attack.
Pope accuses Israel » Pope Francis is facing controversy over one word some claim he used in a meeting with Palestinians.
WORLD’s Josh Schumacher has more.
JOSH SCHUMACHER: The word is genocide. And several Palestinians say he used it in a private meeting with them to describe Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza. (The Pope met Wednesday with family members of civilians in Gaza.)
But a spokesman for the Vatican denies that.
Francis also met privately with family members of Israeli victims taken hostage by Hamas last month.
Later at a public address in Saint Peter’s Square, he called on Christians to pray for peace on both sides saying, “This is not war. This is terrorism.”
That statement drew criticism from the Council of the Assembly of Italian Rabbis. They say the Pope is drawing a false equivalency between Hamas terror attacks and Israel’s military response.
For WORLD, I’m Josh Schumacher.
South Korea: Russia helped with North Korea satellite » South Korea has concluded that North Korea likely has Russia to thank for its successful launch of a spy satellite this week.
U.S. authorities have suspected that Russia was providing military technology to Pyongyang in exchange for ammunition for its war in Ukraine. And officials in Seoul now reportedly believe that Moscow did in fact help the North launch the satellite after two failed attempts earlier in the year.
China mystery illness » In China, another mystery outbreak is taking hold, flooding hospitals throughout the country with sick children. WORLD’s Christina Grube has more.
CHRISTINA GRUBE: The medical surveillance service ProMed confirmed the respiratory endemic on Tuesday, calling the illness an undiagnosed pneumonia that's targeting children.
The service was also the first to raise global concern around COVID-19 in China.
Authorities in China pointed to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions and the circulation of known pathogens like the flu and RSV.
The World Health Organization is pressing China to share more information about the new outbreak.
For WORLD, I’m Christina Grube.
Kentucky town evacuation » In rural Kentucky, authorities have evacuated the town of Livingston after a train derailed, spilling burning sulfur.
The EPA says burning sulfur can release sulfur dioxide which can cause respiratory issues.
One evacuee said they still have very few answers.
EVACUEE: It was really scary because we don't know, how long is this? This could be tonight. It could be three weeks. Who knows? Our homes are empty. People are scared. There's elderly people with oxygen. People needed medicine, if they didn't bring it. It's just a scary situation all way round.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear has declared a state of emergency in Rockcastle County.
Trump challenges Biden in new message » The first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses are still more than 50 days away, but armed with new polling data former President Trump has his sights set squarely on President Biden.
TRUMP: So if crooked Joe wants to turn this election into a question of which candidate will defend democracy and freedom, I say bring it on. Let’s go, Joe. Bring it on.
That from a new video Trump released this week.
For the first time this year, an average of recent polls show Trump leading Biden outside the margin of error.
Three polls released within the past few days, surveying more than 10,000 registered voters in total show Trump ahead by more than 4 points.
Back Friday » Today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Roughly 130 million people plan to buy Christmas gifts today.
That’s according to the National Retail Federation. But the group’s president Matthew Shay told WFSB it’s getting hard to compare holiday shopping forecasts to those from decades past.
SHAY: Because back then we know that consumers really did start their shopping much later in the holiday season.
But in November and December the NRF expects consumers to spend 3 to 4 percent more than the same time last year, almost $970 billion dollars in total.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: Culture Friday with Katie McCoy. Plus, Listener Feedback for November.
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