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Teachers Strike

Chicago teachers march in downtown Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 17.

Manuel Martinez

Newsletter: Teachers strike - Day 1

Hey there, it’s Thursday! And it looks like I’m not long for this world. Thanks a lot, science. Here’s what you need to know today. (PS: You can have this delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.)

1. How long will the teachers strike last?

That’s the big question being asked now that teachers are picketing outside schools. Negotiations resumed today between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Public Schools, and sources from both sides have indicated they want a short strike.

A source in Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration told the Chicago Tribune that they are optimistic a deal can be quickly reached, but they voiced frustration with the union’s leadership.

“The ball is in their court and they haven’t responded to our proposals on staffing and class size. They aren’t taking this seriously,” the source told the Trib. [Chicago Tribune]

Check out WBEZ’s live blog on the strike for the latest news. [WBEZ]

2. White House official says Ukraine military aid was held up over investigation of Democrats

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters today the release of U.S. military aid to Ukraine was linked to the White House’s demands for an investigation of Democrats. His comments appear to undercut President Donald Trump’s claims there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. [New York Times]

Meanwhile, the House impeachment inquiry today heard from a key witness, Gordon Sondland, who is the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Sondland told House investigators that he was “disappointed” when Trump essentially outsourced diplomacy in Ukraine to Rudy Giuliani, his personal attorney, a move that bypassed normal foreign policy channels.

Sondland said that even though he went along with the president’s wishes, he was unaware of Trump’s plans to pressure Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. [NPR]

You can read Sondland’s opening statement to House leaders here. [NPR]

3. New Brexit deal reached, say leaders of U.K. and EU

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he has reached a new agreement with European Union officials over the U.K’s withdrawal from the pact, commonly known as Brexit. While today’s news marks a breakthrough in negotiations, the deal must go up for a vote in the British Parliament, where approval is anything but certain.

The U.K. is staring down an Oct. 31 deadline to leave the EU, and if no deal is in place by then, Johnson would be forced to ask for an extension in order to dodge economic consequences from a “no-deal” Brexit. [NPR]

4. Turkey agrees to 5-day cease-fire

The announcement comes after Vice President Mike Pence met today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, urging him to end the assault on Kurdish militias in northeast Syria.

The Turkish offensive campaign set off a humanitarian crisis and a dramatic shift in the political power dynamic in the area. Kurdish militias, who had helped the U.S. combat the Islamic State, have allied with an American foe, the Syrian government, which is close to Iran and Russia.

The cease-fire, which will last 120 hours, will allow Kurdish forces to evacuate an area that Turkey wants to use as a “safe zone” to resettle Syrian refugees. [NPR]

The Daily, which airs on WBEZ at 7:30 p.m., explains how U.S. officials predicted the chaos in Syria before President Trump decided to withdraw troops from northern Syria, and how their worst-case scenario turned out to be even worse. [WBEZ]

5. Chicago Police Board to decide whether to fire cop involved in controversial shooting

Police Officer Robert Rialmo fatally shot 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and innocent bystander Bettie Jones, 55, nearly four years ago while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

Rialmo and his defenders say the shooting was justified because LeGrier allegedly swung an aluminum baseball bat at the officer. But the city agency tasked with investigating police misconduct ruled the shooting unjustified, saying Rialmo gave differing statements to investigators.

The Chicago Police Board will decide whether to fire Rialmo tonight. But if the board does decide to boot him from the force, Rialmo can challenge the decision in court. [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Trump’s Miami golf course will host next year’s G-7 summit of world leaders. [NPR]

  • Chicago-area activists held a protest at the U.S. southern border. [WBEZ]

  • U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings of Baltimore, who had a leading role in investigating President Trump, died at age 68. [NPR]

  • Here’s a look at how Illinois residents can get their marijuana records expunged when recreational pot becomes legal on Jan. 1. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

Netflix has long refused to disclose how many viewers watch the streaming giant’s original TV shows and movies, only selectively releasing figures every now and again.

But Netflix buried the figures in a recent earnings report that shows what the most watched shows and movies were between October 2018 to September 2019.

Not surprising, Stranger Things topped the list of TV shows with 64 million views, followed by the angsty superhero series The Umbrella Academy with 45 million views. When it comes to original movies, the Sandra Bullock thriller Birdbox came in No. 1 with 80 million views. [New York Times]

Tell me something good ...

Halloween can’t come soon enough. I’d like to know what’s your favorite candy, sweets or Halloween snacks?

Anne Marcus Hamada writes:

“My favorite Halloween candy MUST be covered in chocolate, milk or dark, but NOT white! I think my all-time favorite from when I was a kid in New Rochelle, NY, would have to be Butterfingers (because I love peanuts and peanut butter!)”

What’s your favorite candy, sweets or Halloween snacks? Feel free to email at or tweet me at @whuntah.

Have a nice night! I’ll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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