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DEAL!: Associated Press: "Israel and the Hamas militant group agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday to end eight days of the fiercest fighting in nearly four years, promising to halt attacks on each other and ease an Israeli blockade constricting the Gaza Strip. ... The deal was brokered by the new Islamist government of Egypt, solidifying its role as a leader in the quickly shifting Middle East after two days of intense shuttle diplomacy that saw U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton race to the region. Under the agreement, Egypt will play a key role in maintaining the peace."
ANY CEASE-FIRE IS BETTER THAN NO CEASE-FIRE: Washington Post: "The cease-fire pact appeared to fall short of the grand bargain that both sides had hoped to reach. But it headed off, at least temporarily, an Israeli ground invasion of Gaza that could have unleashed a broader regional war. ... A draft agreement circulated at the news conference and scheduled to be discussed over the next day called for an easing of Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. That has been a key Hamas demand in return for ending its rocket attacks on Israel, but neither side had yet committed to the more durable truce."
THE TOLL: New York Times: "The Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza said the Palestinian death toll after a week of fighting stood at 140 at noon. At least a third of those killed are believed to have been militants. On the Israeli side, five Israelis have been killed, including one soldier."
NATE SILVER NAILED IT: President Obama was apparently feeling a little punchy today while sparing the lives of Cobbler and Gobbler, two 40-pound turkeys that were given the traditional Thanksgiving pardons. "Once again, Nate Silver completely nailed it," Obama joked about the would-be-meals that were selected by an online survey to receive the presidential pardons. "The guy's amazing, he predicted these guys would win." Video.
JACKSON OUT: Politico: "Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. is resigning his seat in Congress after a protracted absence due to what he described as mental health issues. ... Jackson Jr. has spent the last several months in and out of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota battling what doctors described as bipolar disorder. At the same time, Chicago newspapers have reported that the Justice Department is investigating Jackson for alleged campaign finance violations."
THE GREAT TWINKIE SAGA CONTINUES: Bloomberg: "Hostess Brands Inc. must consider a 'liquidation scenario' after mediation with its bakers’ union failed to avert a shutdown that may eliminate more than 18,000 jobs, the judge overseeing the Twinkie maker’s bankruptcy said. Chief Executive Officer Gregory Rayburn told U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Drain that 15,000 Hostess workers will be fired today to allow them to start collecting unemployment benefits. The company is seeking Drain’s permission to close so it can begin asset sales that a financial adviser estimated may yield about $1 billion."
OVER-THE-COUNTER BIRTH CONTROL: Associated Press: "No prescription or doctor's exam needed: The nation's largest group of obstetricians and gynecologists says birth control pills should be sold over the counter, like condoms. Tuesday's surprise opinion from these gatekeepers of contraception could boost longtime efforts by women's advocates to make the pill more accessible. But no one expects the pill to be sold without a prescription any time soon: A company would have to seek government permission first, and it's not clear if any are considering it. Plus there are big questions about what such a move would mean for many women's wallets if it were no longer covered by insurance. Still, momentum may be building."
MORE TROUBLE IN BENGHAZI: Washington Post: "Libya’s deputy interior minister says gunmen assassinated the security chief of the eastern city of Benghazi overnight. Omar al-Khadrawi says National Security Chief Col. Farag al-Dersi was shot dead while returning from work on Wednesday. The country’s second largest city has witnessed a series of assassinations and car bombs over the past months by unidentified assailants targeting mainly security officials who worked under the rule of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi."
SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN: Associated Press: "Jurors awarded nearly $777,000 Tuesday to a former 'The Price is Right' model who claimed she was discriminated against by producers because of her pregnancy. Brandi Cochran, 41, said she was rejected by the game show's producers when she tried to return to work in early 2010 after taking maternity leave. ... In their defense, producers said they were satisfied with the five models working on the show at the time Cochran sought to return. A second phase of the trial will determine whether Cochran should be awarded punitive damages. Cochran's attorneys had asked for more than $8 million, City News Service reported."
SLATE DOES THANKSGIVING:
Brow Beat: You’re Doing It Wrong: Thanksgiving
XX Factor: A Lazy Woman's Guide to Thanksgiving
Double X: You’re Dividing the Chores Wrong
Holidays: What Not To Buy on Black Friday
The Spectator: The Unbearable Whiteness of White Meat
Holidays: In Praise of the Small Thanksgiving
Have a safe and happy holiday. Your afternoon host is off until Monday but, until then, tell your friends to subscribe, or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.