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DeSantis and Newsom lob insults in faceoff; Israel resumes its offensive; judge blocks Montana's TikTok ban

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Hot Off The Wire

Hot Off The Wire is a collection of news, sports and entertainment reports. The program is produced by Lee Enterprises with audio provided by The Asso 
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On the version of Hot off the Wire posted Dec. 1 at 6:30 a.m. CT:

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an alternate reality, the prime-time showdown between California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom and Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis could have been a preview of a 2024 general election debate. Instead, Thursday's 90-minute meeting was a hard-to-explain event that pitted one struggling Republican presidential hopeful against a Democratic rival who may or may not seek the presidency in four years. DeSantis called Newsom “a slick, slippery politician whose state is failing.” Newsom defended California and shifted the discussion to DeSantis’ stagnant 2024 presidential bid. The governors were eager to represent their parties on the national stage as they battled over the economy, pandemic restrictions and President Joe Biden’s leadership and traded personal insults.

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli fighter jets hit targets in the Gaza Strip minutes after a weeklong truce expired, as the war with Hamas resumed in full force. Black smoke billowed from the besieged territory Friday, and Israel dropped leaflets over parts of southern Gaza urging people to leave their homes, suggesting it was preparing to widen its offensive. In Israel, sirens warning of incoming rockets blared at several communal farms near Gaza, a sign that militants also restarted attacks. There were no reports of hits. The renewed hostilities heightened concerns for Palestinians in the tiny coastal enclave as well as about 140 hostages who remain there. Qatar said negotiators were still trying to reach an agreement on restarting the cease-fire.

KHARKIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says the war with Russia is in a new stage, with winter expected to complicate fighting after a summer counteroffensive that failed to produce desired results due to enduring shortages of weapons and ground forces. Despite the setbacks, however, he says in an interview with The Associated Press that “we are not backing down.” Zelenskyy also said he fears the Israel-Hamas war threatens to overshadow the conflict in Ukraine, with competing political agendas and limited resources reducing military aid. And his concerns are amplified by the tumult that inevitably arises during a U.S. election year and its implications for continued aid to his country.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Two Nevada state troopers have died in a hit-and-run while helping another driver and a suspect is in custody. Las Vegas police say the driver was impaired early Thursday morning and faces charges of DUI and reckless driving resulting in death. Police say the troopers were checking on a sleeping driver on the I-15 freeway around 3:30 a.m. when they were struck. The suspect was found hours later. The state police have identified the officers as Sgt. Michael Abbate and Trooper Alberto Felix. Gov. Joe Lombardo says the deaths are a devastating loss for Las Vegas and the entire state. The I-15 was where another trooper was killed in 2021 during a vehicle pursuit.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. George Santos of New York will confront a third effort to expel him from the House on Friday, sensing the vote is likely to be his last and intent on not going away quietly. The first-term Republican could well become just the sixth member of the House to be ousted by colleagues. Of the previous expulsions, three were for disloyalty to the Union during the Civil War and two were for being convicted of crimes in federal court. Santos' challenge to colleagues to take the “hard vote” is an appeal to those lawmakers who worry that a new precedent is being set for the chamber’s harshest punishment.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee have voted to authorize subpoenas for two prominent conservatives who arranged luxury travel and other benefits for Supreme Court justices. But Republicans are challenging the legitimacy of the action and pledging to withhold support for enforcing the legal. The committee chairman, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, pushed through the vote in the meeting’s final moments on Thursday after Republicans had walked out. The vote from the 11 Democrats would authorize subpoenas for Republican megadonor Harlan Crow and conservative activist Leonard Leo. But without bipartisan backing, the subpoenas probably won't be enforced because that would take 60 votes in the closely divided Senate.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has gotten his turn at bringing the holiday spirit to Washington. The president and his wife, Jill, participated in the annual tradition of lighting the National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House. This year's tree is a 40-foot Norway spruce from West Virginia’s Monongahela National Forest. There was a moment's doubt earlier this week about whether Thursday's lighting ceremony would go ahead as planned after the tree was toppled by powerful winds. But it was upright again within hours after the National Park Service replaced a cable that helps secure it.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Britain's King Charles III warned of “a starker and darker world” unless leaders change course during the U.N. climate conference in Dubai.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A federal judge has blocked Montana's first-in-the-nation law banning the video-sharing app TikTok in the state while a legal challenge to the law moves through the courts. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy says the ban “oversteps state power and infringes on the Constitutional right of users and businesses.” The ban had been scheduled to take effect Jan. 1. Montana’s Republican-controlled Legislature made the state the first in the U.S. to pass a complete ban on the app. The ban was based on the argument that the Chinese government could gain access to user information from TikTok. The app's parent company is based in Beijing.

The Cowboys rally past the Seahawks, two lengthy NBA losing streaks continue but one comes to an end, the Red Wings continue to play well, and an NCAA women's college basketball head coach records a milestone victory. Correspondent Mike Reeves reports.

NEW YORK (AP) — A New York appeals court has reinstated a gag order that barred Donald Trump from commenting about court personnel after he disparaged a law clerk in his New York civil fraud trial. The trial judge, Arthur Engoron, imposed the gag order Oct. 3 after Trump posted a derogatory comment about the judge’s law clerk to social media. The post included a baseless allegation about the clerk’s personal life. It came the second day of the trial in New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit. It alleges Trump exaggerated his wealth on financial statements used to secure loans and make deals. The Republican former president denies any wrongdoing.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed the strongest overhaul of lead in drinking water rules in more than three decades. If finalized, it would force most utilities to replace lead water pipes within 10 years. There are more than 9 million lead pipes still in the ground in the United States and they are typically the biggest source of lead in drinking water. Lead is particularly dangerous to young children. It lowers IQ scores, damages their development and can increase blood pressure in adults. The EPA proposal would also force utilities to act more quickly to reduce lead levels and improve how they test for lead.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal officials say they will give investigators a better tool for understanding accidents and close calls between planes. The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it will propose that new planes have cockpit voice recorders that keep 25 hours of sound, up from the current two hours. The idea is to prevent valuable information from being lost. In one case, investigators couldn't hear what American Airlines pilots were doing before they crossed a runway right in front of a Delta jet taking off from JFK Airport in New York. That's because the American Airlines pilots took off for London, and whatever they said to each other during the close call was erased two hours later.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Meta says it has found and disabled thousands of fake Facebook accounts linked to China that were used to spread politically partisan content in the United States before next year’s election. The accounts disclosed Thursday were designed to look as though they were run by everyday Americans. The network reposted content from the right and the left in an apparent effort to inflame political tensions. Meta's executives said Thursday they're guarding against similar efforts to interfere with elections next year in the U.S. and elsewhere. Critics say Meta hasn't done enough to address its role in spreading misinformation and hate speech. California-based Meta hasn't publicly linked the network to China’s government.

LONDON (AP) — Shane MacGowan, the boozy, rabble-rousing singer and chief songwriter of The Pogues, who infused traditional Irish music with the energy and spirit of punk, has died. He was 65. His family said in a statement Thursday that "it is with the deepest sorrow and heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our most beautiful, darling and dearly beloved Shane Macgowan.” The singer died peacefully early Thursday with his family by his side, the statement added. The musician had been hospitalized in Dublin for several months after being diagnosed with viral encephalitis in late 2022. He was discharged last week, ahead of his upcoming birthday on Christmas Day.

Academy Awards enthusiasts won’t have to stay up quite as late to hear the best picture winner in March. The 96th Oscars will begin one hour early, with the official show starting at 7 p.m. Eastern for the first time, ABC said Thursday. The official pre-show will also begin earlier, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. The show has traditionally begun at 8 p.m. Despite various experiments to keep the runtime to three hours, the broadcast has sometimes stretched into the 11 o’clock hour. The 96th Oscars will air live on ABC on March 10 from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Nominations will be announced on Jan. 23.

LONDON (AP) — The first trans-Atlantic flight by a commercial jet powered solely by so-called sustainable aviation fuel has flown from London to New York. The Virgin Atlantic flight aimed to achieve what supporters called “jet zero" to make air travel more environmentally friendly. But large hurdles remain in making the fuel widely available. While governments have long talked about decarbonizing air travel, the transition has been moving at the pace of a dirigible. Sustainable aviation fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by about 70% but is in short supply.

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The North American wolverine will receive long-delayed threatened species protections under a Biden administration proposal. Wednesday’s determination that the species is threatened with extinction follows years of scientists' warnings that climate change will likely melt away the elusive species’ snowy mountain refuges. Wolverines were wiped out across most of the U.S. by the early 1900s from unregulated trapping and poisoning campaigns. About 300 surviving animals in the contiguous U.S. live in fragmented, isolated groups at high elevations in the Northern Rockies. A federal judge in 2022 had ordered President Joe Biden's administration to make a final decision on whether to seek protections that were rejected under former President Donald Trump.

—The Associated Press

About this program

Host Terry Lipshetz is a senior producer for Lee Enterprises. Besides producing the daily Hot off the Wire news podcast, Terry conducts periodic interviews for this Behind the Headlines program, co-hosts the Streamed & Screened movies and television program and is the producer of Across the Sky, a podcast dedicated to weather and climate.

Lee Enterprises produces many national, regional and sports podcasts. Learn more here.

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