5 things to know for October 25: Syria, wildfires, Brexit, impeachment, vaping

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CNN's Nick Paton Walsh reports on the situation in Syria after President Donald Trump tweeted that the US military would continue securing oil fields in Syria.

Posted: Oct 25, 2019 9:20 AM
Updated: Oct 25, 2019 9:20 AM

Pumpkins topped with white stuff? The Texas Panhandle got a jump on winter yesterday with a rare October snowstorm.

Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Syria 

The US is considering making more bold moves in Syria. The Pentagon is weighing deploying tanks or other armored vehicles to the country for the first time to help US troops defend oil fields. This option is on the table not long after a troop withdrawal plan effectively ended an important US alliance with Syrian Kurds and created space for Russia and Turkey to gain more influence in the region. President Trump also suggested yesterday in a tweet that Syrian Kurds consider moving from their homelands in northern Syria to the eastern region that houses the oil fields. That would be a tall order, to say the least. For one, it would entail possibly millions of people uprooting from their homelands to head for a desert hundreds of miles away. Plus, the area near the oil fields is home to an Arab majority, an indigenous population that is unlikely to welcome a sudden influx of Kurds.

2. California wildfires

Several large wildfires exploded in size yesterday in California, leveling buildings and escalating an already dire situation. A brush fire broke out just north of Los Angeles and grew to 3,500 acres in a few hours, prompting thousands to evacuate. Meanwhile, the Kincade Fire tore through 16,000 acres just last night in Northern California. Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's largest utility, said it discovered that one of its high-voltage transmission lines had an outage near where the Kincade Fire later ignited. The utility's CEO says it's too soon to tell what caused the fire or where it started, and an investigation is underway. PG&E has been orchestrating controversial planned power outages to lessen wildfire risks amid high winds and dry conditions. The utility's equipment has been blamed in recent years for igniting catastrophic blazes, including last year's deadly Camp Fire.

3. Brexit

Remember how Brexit was supposed to get done at the end of the month? Well, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has finally conceded that he won't be able to fulfill his campaign promise of an October 31 Brexit date. Now, it looks like the EU may give the UK until the end of January to figure things out. And there's a lot to be done. Johnson's withdrawal plan still faces several hurdles, and he said yesterday that he would give UK lawmakers more time to debate his Brexit deal if they agree to an early general election on December 12. An election would give Johnson a chance to secure a Parliamentary majority and could make approving his Brexit bill easier. Unsurprisingly, many lawmakers are not thrilled with the proposal and think Johnson is trying to, as Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted, "have his cake & eat it."

4. Impeachment inquiry 

Top Republicans are getting more aggressive in their pushback on the House impeachment proceedings. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham introduced a resolution that condemns the impeachment process and claims House Democrats are "denying President Trump basic fairness and due process accorded every American." The resolution also calls on the House to hold a vote to initiate a formal inquiry. Republicans this week have harped on what they see as an unnecessary level of opacity in the impeachment inquiry proceedings. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said that his committee will release transcripts and hold public hearings, but for now, the fact-finding part of the investigation is being done behind closed doors, like a grand jury before a trial.

5. Vaping

A new study finds young people who use flavored tobacco products are more likely to keep using tobacco later. While there are several kinds of flavored tobacco -- cigars, cigarillos, hookah tobacco, pipe tobacco and smokeless tobacco -- the most visible kind right now is e-cigarette pods. Limiting the sale of flavored vape pods has been a big priority for groups trying to fight the rising tide of e-cig use, and in some places, it seems to be working. Another study found that the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, effectively lowered its city's youth tobacco use by restricting sales of flavored tobacco products. Meantime, the FDA announced it is going after vaping company Eonsmoke LLC with a warning letter seeking to remove roughly 100 flavored vaping products from the market.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

NASA's Curiosity rover paused to take a selfie while conducting an experiment on Mars 

Robots: They're just like us!

Walmart wants robots in its stores to scan shelves and mop up spills

Wait ... maybe the robots are becoming too much like us.

Google is getting better at deciphering your awkward search queries

At least do us the courtesy of seeming confused, Google.

7 snorkeling grandmas spot venomous sea snakes and helped scientists

They call themselves the "Fantastic Grandmothers," and they help document and photograph things for researchers. Stupendous!

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time! 

Lebanese protesters sang this song to a toddler who was frightened by the crowd of people surrounding his mother's car.

A. The ABCs song

B. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright"

C. "Baby Shark"

D. "The Wheels on the Bus"

Play "Total Recall," CNN's weekly news quiz, to see if your answer is correct.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$2 billion

The estimated cost of damages wrought by a series of tornadoes that tore through the Dallas area last weekend. At that price point, the outbreak is the costliest in the state's history

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Our music, and what we say lyrically couldn't be more different, but the outcome was much the same ... offering a room full of people a few minutes of joy in a crazy world."

Christian recording artist TobyMac, paying tribute to his son Truett McKeehan, 21, who died Wednesday

TODAY'S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

The rat race 

Yesterday, we mentioned the story about scientists training rats to drive tiny little cars, and we would be remiss if we didn't provide you with that video. It's our duty. (Click here to view.)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 14372

Reported Deaths: 693
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds95924
Lauderdale71358
Madison69422
Scott63010
Neshoba58937
Jones56622
Forrest52338
DeSoto5036
Leake40012
Rankin3856
Holmes38524
Jackson30313
Copiah2904
Attala28415
Newton2564
Monroe25225
Leflore25130
Lincoln25024
Harrison2477
Lamar2315
Yazoo2274
Pearl River20631
Pike20311
Adams19015
Lowndes1899
Noxubee1736
Washington1667
Warren1597
Bolivar15411
Wayne1540
Oktibbeha15411
Jasper1524
Smith14511
Covington1431
Clarke13818
Kemper13611
Chickasaw13012
Lafayette1274
Lee1245
Carroll11511
Coahoma1144
Marion1149
Clay1084
Winston1051
Lawrence1021
Simpson950
Hancock8711
Wilkinson859
Yalobusha855
Grenada853
Itawamba847
Montgomery811
Union805
Sunflower783
Jefferson Davis772
Marshall773
Tate741
Tippah7111
Claiborne692
Panola643
Calhoun634
Webster611
Humphreys587
Amite561
Tunica533
Walthall520
Perry503
Prentiss423
Jefferson400
Choctaw342
Stone300
Pontotoc293
Tishomingo280
Franklin282
Tallahatchie261
Quitman250
George211
Benton150
Alcorn141
Greene91
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 16530

Reported Deaths: 591
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2124112
Jefferson1712100
Montgomery154134
Tuscaloosa67813
Marshall6689
Lee53332
Franklin5147
Shelby48419
Tallapoosa41864
Butler39213
Chambers34924
Madison3184
Elmore3137
Walker2991
Baldwin2819
Etowah24411
Dallas2443
DeKalb2413
Morgan2311
Coffee2241
Lowndes22210
Sumter2136
Autauga2053
Houston1884
Bullock1833
Pike1790
Colbert1612
Russell1590
Marengo1556
Lauderdale1532
Calhoun1523
Hale1517
Choctaw1488
Wilcox1347
Barbour1321
Clarke1292
Randolph1257
Marion11911
St. Clair1161
Pickens1014
Talladega1003
Dale990
Chilton971
Cullman960
Greene924
Limestone870
Winston820
Covington771
Jackson752
Crenshaw722
Bibb711
Henry712
Macon712
Washington666
Blount581
Escambia493
Lawrence460
Geneva400
Conecuh351
Coosa351
Monroe352
Perry350
Cherokee342
Clay272
Lamar210
Fayette130
Cleburne131
Unassigned00
Tupelo
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Columbus
Overcast
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Oxford
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