Thursday Afternoon Update: Syria-Turkey Death Toll Rises, Fetterman Hospitalized, Legendary Composer Dies At 94

This article is a companion piece to today’s Morning Wire Afternoon Update. To listen to the podcast version, click here.

Syria-Turkey Death Toll Rises

The death toll in Turkey and Syria has exceeded 20,000 people, that’s according to The New York Times today. More than 100,000 are now homeless as aftershocks continue, and at least three Americans are believed to have been killed. Three days in, the rescue efforts continue despite significant logistical barriers.

State Department Reveals Balloon Details

The U.S. State Department said today that the Chinese balloon shot down by the Biden administration is believed to have had antennas likely capable of collecting communications. Imagery from flybys of the balloon showed that the aircraft “was clearly for intelligence surveillance and inconsistent with the equipment onboard weather balloons.”

The House passed a unanimous bipartisan resolution this morning condemning China for its “brazen violation of United States sovereignty.” The resolution also demands more information from the Biden administration about the incident.

Fetterman Hospitalized

Senator John Fetterman (D-PA) was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday evening and remained there overnight after feeling lightheaded at a Democrat Senate retreat. The development comes after Fetterman suffered a serious stroke while on the campaign trail last year, which raised concerns about his overall health. His team says there’s no evidence of a new stroke.

Another NJ Council Member Shot Dead

For the second time in a week, a local New Jersey GOP council member has been shot dead. Milford Borough Councilman Russell Heller was killed Wednesday, just seven days after Sayersville Councilwoman Eunice Dwumfour was also shot. Authorities do not believe the two tragedies are related. Cops found the suspected shooter nearby, dead in his car from a suspected self-inflicted gunshot wound around three and a half hours after the slaying.

Southwest Airlines COO Apologizes For Holiday Chaos

Southwest Airlines COO Andrew Watterson apologized in remarks prepared for a Thursday hearing, saying that he and fellow executives “messed up” amid the company’s holiday travel meltdown. Southwest canceled some 16,700 flights between December 21 and December 31, even as severe winter weather subsided in the days after Christmas.

Burt Bacharach Dead At 94

Legendary composer Burt Bacharach, known for numerous hit songs such as “I Say a Little Prayer” and “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” passed away Wednesday at the age of 94 in Los Angeles. A spokesperson said his death was due to natural causes.

To listen to the audio version of this podcast, click here. And for more in-depth discussion of the biggest stories of the day, listen to the latest full episode of Morning Wire every morning.

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