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A mystery dog illness and Sam Altman to return to OpenAI: Morning Rundown

A mysterious illness in dogs may be caused by a new type of bacterial infection, according to researchers at the University of New Hampshire.
Sam Altman, then-CEO of OpenAI, in Paris.
Sam Altman, then-CEO of OpenAI, in Paris on May 26, 2023.Joel Saget / AFP via Getty Images file

Israel and Hamas reach an agreement to release 50 hostages. Researchers identify a potential cause of a mystery illness among dogs. And one of the last people to see John F. Kennedy alive describes his meeting.

Here's what to know today.

A deal to release 50 hostages comes with a four-day pause in fighting

A deal has been reached to release some of the hostages kidnapped during last month’s deadly Hamas terror attack in Israel — the most significant diplomatic breakthrough since Oct. 7.

Fifty women and children who have been held captive for more than a month — possibly including three Americans — will be released first over four days in exchange for Israeli-held Palestinian women and children, Qatar said in an announcement. The number of those released will be increased in later stages of the agreement, said Qatar, which worked alongside the U.S. and Egypt to broker the deal.

In return, there will be a four-day pause in fighting to allow for the hostage-prisoner exchanges to take place, a senior Israeli official said before the announcement. More fuel trucks will also be allowed to enter Gaza, along with as many as 300 to 400 trucks carrying humanitarian aid per day. 

Read the full story. 

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More on the Israel-Hamas war

Sam Altman back in, board out at OpenAI

Days after his ouster sparked an employee revolt, Sam Altman will return to OpenAI as CEO, the company announced late last night. And the board that voted to remove Altman from his post will be replaced — with the exception of one member.

Altman’s return should quell what was an all-out revolt by OpenAI employees against his removal last Friday and mark the beginning of the end of one of the most-watched corporate sagas in tech history.

Chuck Todd: Why 2024 has echoes of 1968

From Vietnam to political assassinations to violent clashes in major cities, it’s hard to imagine a presidential election year as turbulent as 1968. Since the rise of Donald Trump and his reactionary populist politics, NBC News’ chief political analyst Chuck Todd wonders whether the U.S. is in for its own 1968 moment in 2024. 

In this week’s analysis, Todd starts with a quote “from one of the great observers (and practitioners) of American politics” and examines the recent evolution of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Then, he considers the future. If Donald Trump wins the presidency in 2024, what would that do to the GOP? And what if Biden wins? Read the full analysis here.

Elon Musk shows no signs of backing down from backlash

In the past six days, X owner Elon Musk has launched a lawsuit against a progressive watchdog organization, engaged with long-debunked conspiracy theories about a pizza shop and boasted about a graveyard of his enemies. Meanwhile, conservative politicians and influencers are showing their unwavering support for him through social media posts and even an attorney general’s investigation.

In other words, Musk is showing no signs of backing down, even as a growing list of advertisers pause ads on X in the wake of a series of articles from Media Matters for America that said major ad campaigns were running next to antisemitic content. Musk and X CEO Linda Yaccarino have said they stand against antisemitism, but a review of posts and hashtags shows that the platform continues to struggle with antisemitism.

Family of woman missing in Guatemala reacts to witness’ account

The family of Nancy Ng, a 29-year-old who went missing last month while on a yoga retreat in Guatemala, isn’t ruling out the possibility that she drowned in a lake after an account from one of the final people to see her. Witness Christina Blazek said through an attorney that she tried to warn Ng of the lake’s rough waters when they were out kayaking right before she disappeared.

But now, Ng’s family has more questions than answers. “Was (Nancy) struggling for a long time?” Ng’s sister Nicky said. “Did Christina hear her scream or yell for help? What was the scope? The circumstances? Did she just disappear?” Another reason they’re hesitant to accept the Blazek’s statement: Ng, they said, knew how to swim.

Today’s Talker: A mysterious illness in dogs may be caused by…

… a new type of bacterial infection, according to researchers at the University of New Hampshire. “Long story short, it’s a weird bacterium that can be tough to find and sequence,” said Dr. David Needle, a pathology section chief at the university. But the finding from UNH’s team isn’t definitive, and scientists aren’t sure yet whether the same bug is making dogs sick across the nation. As the search for answers continues, here are the symptoms to watch for and tips for protecting your dog from illness, especially during the busy holiday season.

Politics in Brief 

Wisconsin maps: Tense opening arguments began in the Wisconsin Supreme Court in a suit challenging the state’s heavily gerrymandered legislative maps. The case’s outcome has the potential to alter the politics of the swing state.

Trump ballot case: The Colorado Supreme Court agreed to hear appeals, both from Colorado voters and Donald Trump, in the ruling against an effort to keep the former president off the state’s 2024 ballot.

DeSantis campaign’s struggles: Leaders of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Never Back Down super PAC met privately to hash out a strategy for fighting Nikki Haley’s rise in the polls. They turned on each other instead

Hunter Biden: A top deputy to David Weiss, the special counsel investigating Hunter Biden, was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee

Staff Pick: One of the last people to see JFK alive

Rep. Roger Williams of Texas has shaken the hand of every president since Harry Truman. “There’s not many people out there who can say that,” he said. But his brief introduction to President John F. Kennedy, on Nov. 22, 1963, when he was 14 years old, still stands out in his mind. Hours later, Kennedy would be dead.

On the 60th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, Williams looks back on that fateful day. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

In Case You Missed It

  • Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, will pay more than $4.3 billion after it pleaded guilty to several charges. CEO Changpeng Zhao will also step down from his post.
  • Comedian Matt Rife responded to backlash against his new Netflix special with a link to “special needs helmets.”
  • Four teens charged with second-degree murder in the beating death of a Las Vegas high school student will be prosecuted as adults.
  • A question posed on a private Facebook page resulted in a retired Boston-area pediatrician being charged this week with raping two children and sparked an investigation spanning several generations.
  • A groom secretly spent a year learning Korean to surprise his wife and her family. The video of his wedding speech went viral.

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Black Friday is a few short days away, but you don’t have to wait to jump on some of the best deals. The shopping editors at NBC Select curated and are constantly updating the best sales that start before the big day, plus some great gift ideas. Check it out:

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

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