Extra, Extra

Can the Truce Hold? “Some of the hostages were held in sweltering tunnels deep beneath Gaza, while others were squeezed into tight quarters with strangers or confined in isolation. There were children forced to appear in hostage videos, and others forced to watch gruesome footage of Hamas’s Oct. 7 terrorist attack. They bore physical and psychological wounds.” NYT (Gift Article): Hostages Freed From Gaza Recount Violence, Hunger and Fear. For now, the truce has been extended. One scary thing that might prevent it from holding: Hamas may not be able to find enough hostages to trade. How the truce between Israel and Hamas was extended another day – and why it could end soon. Meanwhile, Blinken is back in the region where he’s pushing two messages to Israel: Be much more careful in your operations and you don’t have months left to get this done. Here’s the latest from CNN, BBC, and Times of Israel.

+ Taking Candy From Babies: “In the blistering heat, CBS News found children in Ghana as young as 5 years old using machetes nearly as big as themselves to harvest the cocoa beans that end up in some of America’s most-loved chocolates. Our team traveled across Ghana’s remote cocoa belt to visit small subsistence farms that supply the U.S. chocolate giant Mars, which produces candies including M&Ms and Snickers.”

+ Scoreboard Watching: “The 2022 rise was mainly due to the waning pandemic, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said Wednesday. But even with the large increase, U.S. life expectancy is only back to 77 years, 6 months — about what it was two decades ago.” At this point, any positive movement is good news. US life expectancy rose last year.

+ Get the Lead Out: “It is the strongest overhaul of lead rules in more than three decades, and will cost billions of dollars. Pulling it off will require overcoming enormous practical and financial obstacles.” Biden administration proposes strictest lead pipe rules in more than three decades.

+ The Gag is on Us: “A New York appellate court has reinstated a gag order prohibiting former President Donald Trump and attorneys from making public statements about the courtroom staff in the ongoing $250 million civil fraud trial.” It takes multiple courts multiple weeks for a narrow gag order. Gag me with a spoon.

+ Temporary Storage: “Forty miles east of downtown Los Angeles, deep in endless suburban sprawl, is a storage facility that at first glance looks entirely unremarkable. A motorized gate, tall, metal fences and video surveillance cameras protect dozens of padlocked storage units. You’d never guess that the NFL’s best rookie lived here for three years when he was in high school. You’d never guess that C.J. Stroud used to open the gate for customers who needed access after-hours. You’d never guess that some of college football’s best known coaches passed through the doors of the Strouds’ cramped, two-bedroom apartment behind the property manager’s office. ‘Bet you’ve never recruited at a storage facility before,’ Kimberly Stroud used to tell them, half amused, half embarrassed.” C.J. Stroud’s path to stardom was anything but smooth.

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