5 Things to Know for Nov. 10: Israel, Senate, Suspicious letters, Mortgage rates, School vaccines CNN’s 5 Things brings you the news you need to know every morning. 1. Israel-Gaza violence escalates: The violence between Israel and Gaza has escalated further after the Israeli military unleashed strikes on scores of Hamas targets in Gaza. These strikes came in response to a barrage of rocket fire that was launched from Gaza into Israel, injuring at least four Israeli civilians. The Israeli military said that their strikes targeted Hamas military compounds, rocket launching sites, and a tunnel used for smuggling weapons. 2. Suspicious letters sent to Pentagon: The Pentagon has confirmed that it received two suspicious envelopes at its mail facility. These envelopes were addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson. Preliminary tests indicated that the envelopes contained the toxic substance ricin. The FBI is now investigating the matter. 3. Republicans retain Senate control: In the midterm elections held last week, the Republicans managed to retain control of the US Senate. However, the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives. The final results for some races are still being determined, but the Republicans have secured at least 51 seats in the Senate. 4. Mortgage rates reach seven-year high: According to Freddie Mac, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate has reached its highest level in seven years. The rate now stands at 4.94%, up from 4.83% last week. This increase in mortgage rates comes as a result of rising Treasury yields, which are influenced by expectations of higher inflation and interest rates. 5. School vaccine exemptions: A recent study has shown that the number of children not receiving vaccines for non-medical reasons has increased in several states. This could potentially increase the risk of outbreaks of preventable diseases such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough. The study found that in some states, vaccine exemption rates were as high as 7%. Experts emphasize the importance of vaccination in protecting public health. In focus: Israel-Gaza violence escalates The violence between Israel and Gaza has been escalating over the past few days. On Monday, the Israeli military carried out strikes on multiple Hamas targets in Gaza, including military compounds, rocket launching sites, and a tunnel used for smuggling weapons. These strikes came in response to a barrage of rocket fire that was launched from Gaza into Israel, injuring at least four Israeli civilians. The Israeli military has stated that they targeted these sites in order to neutralize the threat posed by Hamas. However, they have also emphasized that they are not interested in an escalation of violence and seek to restore calm. Hamas, on the other hand, has accused Israel of aggression and warned of further retaliation. The recent violence follows an undercover Israeli operation in Gaza on Sunday, which resulted in the deaths of seven Palestinians, including a Hamas military commander. This operation sparked a wave of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, leading to the Israeli military's response. The situation in Gaza has been tense for months, with a series of protests along the border fence calling for an end to the Israeli blockade. These protests have often turned violent, with clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli security forces. The recent escalation in violence has raised concerns about the potential for a full-scale conflict between Israel and Gaza. In focus: Suspicious letters sent to Pentagon The Pentagon has confirmed that it received two suspicious envelopes at its mail facility on Monday. These envelopes were addressed to Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral John Richardson. Preliminary tests indicated that the envelopes contained the toxic substance ricin. Ricin is a highly toxic compound derived from castor beans. It can be deadly if ingested, inhaled, or injected. The FBI is now investigating the matter and conducting further tests to confirm the presence of ricin. This incident follows a similar case last month, when multiple packages containing potentially explosive devices were sent to prominent Democrats and critics of President Trump. The FBI has arrested a suspect in that case. Security measures at government facilities, including mail screening procedures, have been heightened in recent years following a series of anthrax attacks in 2001. The Pentagon has assured that appropriate measures were taken to safeguard the health and safety of its personnel and that no one was exposed to the substance. In focus: Mortgage rates reach seven-year high Mortgage rates in the US have climbed to a seven-year high, according to Freddie Mac. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage rate now stands at 4.94%, up from 4.83% last week. This increase in rates comes as a result of rising Treasury yields. Treasury yields, which are influenced by expectations of higher inflation and interest rates, have been steadily increasing in recent months. This has pushed up borrowing costs for consumers, including mortgage rates. Higher mortgage rates could potentially impact the housing market by making it more expensive to borrow money to buy a home. However, experts believe that the impact on the market may be limited for now, as the increase in rates has been gradual. In focus: School vaccine exemptions A recent study has found that the number of children not receiving vaccines for non-medical reasons has been increasing in several states. These exemptions, which allow parents to opt out of vaccinating their children for personal or philosophical reasons, could potentially place communities at risk of outbreaks of preventable diseases. The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, analyzed vaccination rates in 18 states from 2009 to 2017. It found that the overall rate of non-medical vaccine exemptions had increased in 12 of these states. In some states, such as Idaho and Utah, exemption rates were as high as 7%. Experts emphasize the importance of vaccination in protecting public health and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines have been instrumental in reducing the incidence of diseases such as measles and whooping cough. However, the recent rise in vaccine exemptions raises concerns about the potential for outbreaks of these diseases. Some states have taken steps to tighten vaccine exemption laws in order to increase vaccination rates. For example, California recently passed legislation that eliminated the personal belief exemption and now requires children to be fully vaccinated before attending school. In conclusion, the escalating violence between Israel and Gaza, the discovery of suspicious letters containing ricin at the Pentagon, the retention of Senate control by Republicans, the increase in mortgage rates, and the rise in school vaccine exemptions are all significant events that are impacting various aspects of society. These developments highlight the ongoing challenges and issues faced by nations and communities around the world.
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