Biden: Hamas releases four-year-old American hostage.

President Joe Biden confirmed on the 26th that a four-year-old American girl was among the 13 hostages released by Hamas on the third day of a temporary ceasefire and pledged to make efforts to free all hostages.

In an emergency speech to the nation that day, President Biden said, “Abigail, a 4-year-old girl, is one of the 13 hostages released from Gaza today,” and “She is currently safely in Israel.”
President Biden expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders, including the governments of Qatar, Egypt, and Israel, saying, “She is grateful that she can return.”

President Biden emphasized, “We look forward to the release of other American hostages and will continue to make every effort to secure the release of additional Americans. We will not stop our efforts until all hostages return home safely.” He said, “My team and I have been in close contact with the governments of Qatar, Egypt, and Israel and have been working to negotiate. We spoke with Qatar yesterday to pressure Abigail’s release, and we will soon meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.” “I plan to talk on the phone as well,” he added.

“My goal is to extend the temporary ceasefire to allow for the release of additional hostages,” he confirmed. “Our goal is to continue this ceasefire beyond tomorrow so that more hostages can be released, and humanitarian aid can reach Gaza.” “We know this is a day-by-day, hour-by-hour approach, and nothing is guaranteed.”

President Biden said, “Israel agreed to extend the ceasefire further on the condition that 10 hostages be released per day, and I hope this is not the end. I expect the ceasefire to continue as long as the hostages are released.”

Regarding the hostages’ situation, he added, “I understand that an elderly American woman is in need of immediate medical attention and has been ordered to receive hospital treatment in Israel.”

On this day, Hamas released 13 hostages, including Abigail Ethan, an American girl who had just turned 4 years old. Abigail lost both of her parents and was taken hostage during a Hamas airstrike on Israel on October 7, and celebrated her 4th birthday while in captivity on the 24th.

Previously, Israel and Hamas agreed to a four-day ceasefire and the release of 50 Israeli hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas released 13 Israeli hostages and 11 foreigners on the 24th, the first day of the ceasefire, and 13 Israelis and 4 foreigners on the 25th, the second day.

Israel also released 78 Palestinians imprisoned in its prisons over the past two days as agreed to a ceasefire.

Montgomery County provides support for surveillance.

Montgomery County, Maryland, will reimburse the cost of installing surveillance cameras (CCTV) in residential and commercial areas with high crime rates.

The Montgomery County Police Department announced on the 15th that in order to lower the crime rate, it will provide subsidies of up to $250 for homes and up to $1,250 for businesses to cover the cost of installing surveillance cameras.

The support budget was set at $255,000.

The county government expects to install up to 1,000 surveillance cameras with this cost.

Applicants can apply through the Montgomery County Police Department website (

1 in 9 households in New York state “worried about meals”

One in nine households in New York state was found to be suffering from food shortages.

According to the 2020-2022 ‘Food insecurity’ report recently released by the Federal Department of Agriculture, 870,000 households in New York State are facing food shortages.

The food insecurity rate among all households in New York State is 11.3%. This is an increase from the food insecurity rate of 10.8% recorded between 2017 and 2019 and is 0.1% higher than the national average.

In the case of New Jersey, 8.8% of all households were found to be experiencing food shortages to the point where they were worried about eating every day, which was lower than the national average. However, it was found to be an increase of 1.1% from 2017 to 2019, indicating that countermeasures against this are urgently needed.

Food insecurity refers to a condition in which a person cannot secure sufficient and nutritious food for normal growth and development due to the lack of goods such as money.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that 14.7 million households, or 11.2% of the entire U.S. population, are worried about eating meals every day.

In particular, the rate of food insecurity among racial minorities such as blacks and Hispanics, as well as minority groups such as women and children, was found to be increasing every year.

By state, Arizona had the highest food insecurity rate at 11.6%, while Minnesota had the lowest food insecurity rate at 7.1%.

Robbery with a handgun targeting students.

Caution is required after a robbery occurred targeting students leaving school in Ellicott City, Howard County.

According to the County Police Department, two-gun robberies occurred around 3 p.m. on the 8th about a mile east of Centennial High School and Burley Manor Middle School in Ellicott City.

Armed robbers committed robbery targeting students returning home after school. One student was robbed at gunpoint in the 9700 block of Riverside Circle, and just five minutes later, another student was robbed on nearby Gwynn Park Drive. Fortunately, there were no injuries.

The suspects, whose faces were obscured, were reportedly male and female and fled in a silver Hyundai sedan. Authorities are investigating the incident, believing it may be related to a carjacking attempt that occurred in Columbia an hour earlier on the same day.

The police said, “It appears that two robberies and one carjacking that occurred within a short period of time are related,” and added, “We have strengthened patrols to ensure the safety of students on their way to and from school.”

The county office of education announced the seriousness of the armed robbery, the type of crime, and safety rules, and asked students and parents to pay attention.

Biden’s granddaughter’s security car was almost stolen.

While car thefts have increased rapidly in the capital city of Washington DC this year, President Joe Biden’s granddaughter’s security vehicle was almost stolen by assailants.

According to the Associated Press on the 13th, agents protecting President Biden’s granddaughter Naomi Biden fired guns after discovering three gunmen trying to force open the door of a security vehicle around midnight the night before. The unmarked security SUV was parked, and no one was in it.

The security guards saw three gunmen breaking the window of the SUV, and one security guard fired a gun, but no one was hit, the security office said in a statement. The security office explained that there was no threat to the person being protected. The three gunmen fled.

AP reported that bodyguards were with Naomi during her visit to Georgetown in Washington, DC. Georgetown is a popular shopping area and wealthy neighbourhood, and is considered a safe neighbourhood in Washington, DC.

This year in Washington DC, incidents of car theft or breaking car windows and stealing items from cars have increased significantly. There have been about 6,100 vehicle thefts so far this year, double the number of last years, and more than 750 cases of carjacking, where a car is forcibly taken even when the driver is present, have been reported.

Last month, Rep. Henry Cuellar’s car was stolen by gun-toting robbers, and on the 10th, a police car with police markings was stolen from a university. As vehicle thefts soared, the city and police announced on the 1st that they would provide Apple Air Tag, a lost-and-found tracking device, to residents in areas where crime has rapidly increased.

516 companies bankrupt due to high interest rates.

The wind of ‘quiet bankruptcy’ is blowing in the United States. Despite the good performance of some companies, the number of companies that are shutting down without notice is also rapidly increasing. It is said to be the largest bankruptcy in the U.S. market in nearly 10 years.

According to Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Global, an American financial information company, on the 5th, 516 American companies had filed for bankruptcy as of the end of September this year. This is a 96% increase compared to the number of companies (263) that filed for bankruptcy during the same period last year.

In particular, this number is higher than the same period in 2020 (518 places) when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and is considered the highest since 2010.

The explanation is that one year after each company took measures to reduce costs, such as mass layoffs, due to the economic downturn that began in the second half of last year, more and more companies are unable to survive and are going bankrupt.

Joe Davis, chief economist at Vanguard Group, said, “The interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to be prolonged, and companies that can no longer benefit from cost reductions will have no choice but to seek the Chapter 11 bankruptcy card.”

In particular, as the bankruptcy phenomenon worsened last month, concerns are growing that the fourth quarter of this year will be a graveyard for companies. Last month, Rite Aid, the largest pharmaceutical chain in the United States, shocked the market by filing for bankruptcy, unable to cover debts amounting to $3.3 billion.

Walgreens, a powerhouse in the drugstore industry, once attempted to acquire the company, but the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) exercised its veto over monopoly concerns, and the company was unable to withstand the economic downturn.

Shift, an online-based used car sales platform that rapidly expanded during the pandemic, also recently filed for bankruptcy under Article 11 of the Bankruptcy Act. Due to accumulated deficits, cash reserves had fallen to rock bottom, and it was decided that there was no way to infuse funds anymore, so the company went through liquidation procedures.

After debuting on the Nasdaq market through a special purpose acquisition (SPAC) listing in 2020, Shift enjoyed unprecedented growth as online vehicle sales gained attention during the pandemic. However, there is analysis that financing has become difficult as the used car market cooled last year, and interest rates rose. Among these, Shift acquired competitors such as Fair and Calotts to increase its market share in the industry, but this resulted in lowered resilience.

Regarding the rapid increase in bankruptcies, Matt Osborne, head of Cornerstone Research, said, “Compared to last year, we are already seeing more than twice as many ‘mega-level bankruptcies’,” and added, “The pace of bankruptcies is increasing rapidly in the retail, service, and manufacturing sectors.” I pointed it out. He added, “In particular, the increase in operating costs due to inflation, the burden of debt service due to rising interest rates, the blow from the pandemic, and the decrease in consumer demand are combined to create a worst-case scenario.”

The economic recovery is slowing, and the number of companies at risk of going bankrupt within a few months is increasing due to the debt burden caused by interest rate hikes.

According to Forbes, the long-term debt of Curate Retail, a video-based commerce chain, has reached $5.268 billion, raising the prospect that it will not be able to survive for several months. Petco, the largest dog supply chain in the United States, has debt of $1.628 billion.

Following this, retail chains Joan Store ($976 million) and Far fetch ($917 million) is also being mentioned. According to S&P Global, as of September this year, consumer goods companies had the most bankruptcies with 64, followed by healthcare with 63.

The healthcare industry, which has been recording accumulated losses due to a decrease in patients since the pandemic, is also undergoing large-scale restructuring.

Envision Healthcare, which once had about 17,000 medical personnel, has gone through bankruptcy proceedings. Babylon, a digital health company, also suspended operations in August.

U.S. graduate schools may provide free tuition.

U.S. universities are moving to provide free graduate school tuition following the undergraduate program.

Spring Hills University, a private university in Alabama, recently announced that it would implement a policy of waiving graduate school tuition for those who earn an undergraduate degree over a four-year period, starting from the freshman year of the fall semester next year.

According to this announcement, freshmen at Spring Hills University can attend graduate courses without paying tuition if they complete their undergraduate courses with a grade point average of 3.0 or higher. In addition, Spring Hills University plans to provide similar benefits to current undergraduate students, but the details have not yet been confirmed.

Spring Hills University’s free graduate school tuition policy is interpreted as a strategy to attract new undergraduate students and retain current students. While many small, private universities are having difficulty attracting new students, Spring Hills University plans to emphasize the fact that it is possible to obtain a graduate degree for free as a strategy to overcome this problem.

The number of students enrolled at Spring Hills University plummeted from 1,501 in 2018 to 963 in 2021. Ultimately, the university strengthened its efforts to attract students, including cutting tuition in half from $41,868 to $21,100 two years ago. However, as the number of students continued to decline and there was no significant effect, the university came up with a new strategy that would allow students to obtain a graduate degree without paying tuition after graduating from undergraduate school.

Education experts point out that simply lowering undergraduate tuition cannot solve the problem of attracting students. In addition, experts believe that the fact that undergraduate enrolment has decreased while graduate school enrolment has increased due to the COVID-19 incident means that more universities may introduce graduate school tuition exemption policies for promotional purposes to attract undergraduate students.

In addition, since graduate school classes are often conducted online, fixed costs do not increase significantly as more students are added, which is also cited as a reason why the free graduate school tuition policy may be expanded.

Honolulu Council Proposes Bill to Attract Film Companies

The Honolulu City Council proposed a bill to attract film companies (Bill 59, proposed by City Councilman Ogi Tulba). The goal is to revitalize the economy by attracting the film industry.

Attracting a production company will soon lead to jobs for workers in Hawaii’s media-related industries and college graduates.

Between 2017 and 2022, Hawaii’s film industry generated approximately $400 million annually and more than 4,200 jobs, Star-Advertiser reported.

The Blangeard administration has recommended several amendments to Bill 59 to express its goal of ‘attracting film production more clearly.’

For example, it involves installing a film production facility on a site of at least 10 acres over a period of five years, and the system for issuing a certificate of completion from the city’s Planning and Permitting Department.

It also includes establishing a 20-year building value exemption for production companies if they promote the economic expansion of the film and digital media industries on Oahu.

Andrew Kawano, director of the city’s Office of Budget and Finance, expressed hope that Proposition 59 would bring meaningful development to film studios on Oahu.

He then pointed out that Oahu’s current film studios are underdeveloped compared to other states or foreign countries, and raised the alarm that there is a risk that the film industry itself will disappear if appropriate measures are not taken.

Director Kawano added that even during the 20-year property tax exemption period, land tax will continue to be levied.

Zorya Skinner, director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT), said that based on the results of a 2016 survey, a study was completed to verify that Hawaii was a necessary location for film production.

He went on to explain that, despite this, it was difficult to realize due to the high cost and advised that government-level measures such as Bill 59 would be needed to ease the financial burden on film companies.

Meanwhile, Director Skinner informed that the University of Hawaii has officially proposed the development of a private film production facility to the University of West Oahu.

According to the university’s website, the site is surrounded by Farrington Highway, Kual Kai Parkway, UH West Oahu, and Hawaii Tokai International University and is approximately 34 acres in size.

State University recruited developers until October 13th and plans to announce the successful bidder on December 15th.

Immigration Barriers for Highly Skilled Workers Lowered

The White House is scheduled to announce an executive order related to artificial intelligence (AI) next week, and it is reported that it may include contents such as easing immigration barriers for personnel in the AI field.

The Washington Post (WP) reported on the 25th, citing multiple sources, that the White House is expected to announce such an executive order on the 30th.

There is a possibility of easing immigration barriers for high-skilled workers to advance technology in the AI sector in the United States.

As the U.S. tech industry continues to call for easing immigration barriers for engineers and high-skilled workers, the Department of Homeland Security announced on the 23rd that it is proposing changes to the related visa (H-1B) program.

One source said the State Department is also planning to roll out a new visa program targeting AI talent, and government agencies are expected to assess the current AI workforce size. The executive order is also expected to include language that would allow the federal government to use its position as a major consumer to evaluate advanced AI models before federal government employees use them.

The evaluation of large language models (LLMs) purchased by the federal government is expected to be led by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which announced a system for AI risk management this year.

In addition, it may include requests to federal government agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and intelligence agencies to evaluate how to use AI technology to strengthen cyber defense.

The executive order is expected to be based on the voluntary commitments of 15 companies, including Open AI, Google, Adobe, and NVIDIA. The agreement, concluded last month, includes a request to develop technology that can identify AI-generated images and to share safety-related data with the government and academia.

LA Homeless Tent Villages Demolished One After Another

As the infamous homeless tent villages across LA are being demolished one after another, it is being evaluated that LA Mayor Karen Bass’s homeless measures are gradually becoming effective.
A homeless tent village that had been located on Venice Boulevard near the 405 Freeway in the Mavistar area for over 10 years was demolished on the 24th.

Some of the homeless tent villages in this area belong to the city of LA, while others are divided into Culver City City Council areas, so it has been difficult to remove the tent villages. Therefore, in this area, incidents such as drug abuse by homeless people, drug dealing, and fires continued to occur, causing damage to residents.

However, as part of the LA city government’s ‘Inside Safe’ program, this camp was eventually demolished, and about 50 homeless people received housing support.

The ‘Inside Safe’ program is one of the measures to respond to the homeless crisis that began in December last year and aims to immediately move homeless people in LA to hotels and motels. Additionally, this program is designed to prevent homeless people from dying on the streets, provide mental health treatment for the homeless, eliminate tent cities, provide long-term housing for the homeless, and improve the hygiene of homes for all LA residents.

Previously, on the 11th of this month, the city of Los Angeles demolished a homeless tent village near Virgil Middle School located in Koreatown.