Republican debate highlights and new weight loss drug: Morning Rundown

Republican presidential candidates clashed over foreign policy, abortion and descended into personal attacks in last night’s debate. Gazans flee south on foot as Israeli forces intensify their assault. And what to know about Eli Lilly’s newly approved weight loss drug.

 Here’s what to know today.

Key takeaways from the GOP debate

In the battle to be the GOP’s alternative to Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sharpened his case against the former president while former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley responded to hits from businessman Vivek Ramaswamy. Both looked to build momentum during the third Republican presidential debate in Miami, hosted by NBC News, while Ramaswamy, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina fought to keep their campaigns alive. 

In the first minutes of last night’s debate, DeSantis said Trump should answer to voters about a litany of questions, like why Mexico did not pay for the border wall, as he had promised, and why the country “racked up so much debt” during his administration. 

But maybe the most memorable exchange came between Haley and Ramaswamy as candidates addressed whether they would ban TikTok in the U.S. Ramaswamy took aim at Haley, noting her daughter was on the social media platform. Haley responded, “Leave my daughter out of your voice.” She added, “You’re just scum.” 

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Throughout the debate, the candidates also grappled with the Republican Party’s position on abortion, clashed over climate change, China, Medicare and Social Security. Read more key takeaways from a substantive, and at times hostile, debate.

More debate highlights and analysis

Palestinians flee to southern Gaza by the thousands

The number of Palestinians making the mileslong trek on foot to southern Gaza is rapidly increasing as the Israeli military intensified its assault on the center of Gaza City. Yesterday, an estimated that 50,000 Palestinians had moved south, a spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces said.

Those who flee south are not guaranteed safety. Some Palestinians carried white flags, hoping to fend off attacks. Others cradled babies or pushed the elderly in wheelchairs. One person said he walked past decomposing bodies on the roadside. Still, there are others who will not — or cannot — leave. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. is “at a critical stage” of negotiations for a pause in fighting in Gaza of up to three days that would allow for the delivery of more humanitarian aid and the possible release of some hostages held by Hamas, according to two foreign diplomats and a U.S. official. 

Follow our live blog for the latest updates.

U.S. jet conduct ‘self-defense strike’ in Syria

A strike on a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria has been carried out “in response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said yesterday. The attack on the facility, which is being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, is the second time in recent weeks that the U.S. has hit targets in Syria. In yesterday’s statement, Austin stressed that the U.S. is “fully prepared to take further necessary measures” to protect its people and facilities. Here’s what else we know.

SAG-AFTRA and studios reach tentative deal

Hollywood actors are finally heading back to work. SAG-AFTRA, the union representing more than 150,000 film and television performers, reached a tentative deal with top studios yesterday, capping weeks of negotiations said to have been attended at one point by four of the most powerful executives in Hollywood. The deal now heads to the union’s national board for “review and consideration.”

The agreement comes more than a month after the union representing screenwriters reached their own strike-ending deal with studios. The labor stoppages virtually shut down Hollywood, and major studios postponed the release of several completed films.

What to know about Eli Lilly’s newly approved weight loss drug

The FDA has approved Zepbound, a new weight loss drug from Eli Lilly that was shown in clinical trials to help people lose up to 52 pounds in 16 months. The weekly injectable drug is expected to be available shortly after Thanksgiving, joining incleasingly popular weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy. However, it’s unknown how many doses will be available, and the medication’s high cost may be a barrier for some people who are eligible to take it. Here’s what else to know, including how the drug works and the potential risks.

Politics in Brief

China tensions: The U.S. hopes to announce a new commitment from China to stem the flow of fentanyl into the U.S. when President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping meet next week, people familiar with the discussions said. China also expects a commitment from Biden that the White House would not intervene in Taiwan’s independence efforts.

Abortion rights: After a Republicans’ weak performance on Election Day, GOP strategists are urging candidates to “clearly state their opposition to a national abortion ban.”

Trump fraud trial: Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump distanced herself from her father’s financial statements when she took the stand in Trump’s civil fraud trial. Read more highlights from yesterday’s testimony.

Hunter Biden: House Republicans issued subpoenas to Hunter Biden and James Biden, President Joe Biden’s son and brother, in an escalation of an impeachment inquiry into the president.

Staff Pick: Feds eye changes to infant pillows

Months after an NBC News investigation found that at least 25 deaths had been linked to baby loungers since 2015, staff at the Consumer Product Safety Commission have proposed a major redesign of most baby loungers and similar infant cushions. Enterprise reporters Suzy Khimm and Elizabeth Chuck describe the proposed changes — which, if approved, would create the first federal safety requirements for infant loungers. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

In Case You Missed It

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Fire pits are a fun addition to summer bonfires, and in the fall, they’re great for cozy outdoor hangouts. When shopping for a fire pit, experts recommend considering which fuel type works best for your needs and finding a model made of steel or concrete. Take a look at the seven best fire pits to shop.

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