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

Extreme fire conditions continue to plague California while tropical moisture brings heavy rain to the South. Meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the weekend forecast.

Posted: Oct 25, 2019 9:10 AM
Updated: Oct 25, 2019 9:10 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.

Cases: 268672

Reported Deaths: 5917
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17928195
Hinds17030337
Harrison14510212
Rankin11315223
Jackson11054193
Lee9109147
Madison8663171
Jones6853120
Forrest6260125
Lauderdale6161196
Lowndes5582123
Lafayette5269101
Lamar508765
Washington4965125
Bolivar4164110
Oktibbeha411585
Panola389881
Pontotoc380460
Monroe3727111
Warren3716103
Marshall360172
Union360165
Pearl River3527106
Neshoba3516158
Leflore3132110
Lincoln308389
Hancock300963
Sunflower294277
Tate281862
Alcorn274055
Pike272984
Itawamba271263
Scott264055
Yazoo258456
Prentiss255454
Coahoma252455
Copiah251549
Tippah251551
Simpson244872
Leake238967
Marion228274
Covington224873
Grenada224673
Wayne216336
Adams216271
Winston208271
George206440
Newton201447
Attala197465
Tishomingo196361
Chickasaw190245
Jasper183138
Holmes172568
Clay168637
Tallahatchie158035
Stone153625
Clarke148762
Calhoun142022
Smith131926
Yalobusha124935
Walthall115438
Greene114929
Noxubee114526
Montgomery112936
Lawrence107917
Carroll106922
Perry105931
Amite102727
Webster98024
Claiborne90125
Tunica89621
Jefferson Davis89330
Benton86923
Humphreys85625
Kemper81220
Quitman7169
Franklin71017
Choctaw64013
Wilkinson60125
Jefferson57321
Sharkey45717
Issaquena1616
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 445909

Reported Deaths: 6896
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson651891049
Mobile32138590
Madison28596223
Tuscaloosa21703276
Montgomery20220336
Shelby19584138
Baldwin17496216
Lee13378109
Morgan12741145
Etowah12196189
Calhoun11626228
Marshall10513126
Houston9097168
Limestone842481
Cullman8363125
Elmore8283112
Lauderdale7986112
DeKalb7935112
St. Clair7915139
Talladega6552112
Walker6068184
Jackson605649
Colbert560194
Blount551794
Autauga544065
Coffee470569
Dale415186
Franklin378150
Russell362816
Chilton348079
Covington344681
Escambia342244
Tallapoosa3184109
Dallas314197
Chambers308575
Clarke307339
Pike267735
Lawrence256958
Marion255763
Winston235243
Bibb224751
Geneva214747
Marengo212031
Pickens201831
Barbour188240
Hale187444
Fayette181230
Butler175960
Cherokee167433
Henry161325
Monroe153521
Randolph148236
Washington144027
Clay131050
Crenshaw126245
Macon124337
Cleburne123627
Lamar121324
Lowndes117636
Wilcox109422
Bullock105829
Perry100518
Conecuh98222
Sumter90828
Greene78323
Coosa64619
Choctaw52224
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