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.)

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 895229

Reported Deaths: 9462
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1749772017
Ramsey722701040
Dakota66032572
Anoka62513568
Washington39357355
Stearns32821275
St. Louis28761399
Wright25354211
Scott25329181
Olmsted21750127
Sherburne18478126
Carver1629166
Clay11923103
Blue Earth1126366
Rice11234138
Crow Wing11003122
Chisago974676
Kandiyohi9660106
Otter Tail9611126
Benton8815124
Beltrami801794
Goodhue786596
Douglas7689100
Itasca752796
Mower721349
Winona702756
McLeod694483
Isanti681383
Steele669431
Morrison663479
Becker620873
Polk591684
Freeborn550846
Carlton529474
Nobles521654
Lyon518761
Mille Lacs516573
Nicollet510960
Pine500641
Cass491252
Todd483642
Brown465057
Le Sueur445933
Meeker422357
Martin378143
Wabasha366010
Waseca365132
Dodge351511
Hubbard349848
Roseau307931
Fillmore299115
Wadena298239
Redwood277845
Houston266817
Renville264151
Faribault253032
Pennington247529
Sibley246917
Kanabec241536
Cottonwood225032
Chippewa216342
Aitkin215850
Pope203210
Watonwan194920
Yellow Medicine185423
Rock174728
Swift169322
Koochiching168123
Stevens164511
Jackson159216
Clearwater155720
Marshall151122
Murray150911
Pipestone148329
Lake129824
Lac qui Parle120025
Wilkin119416
Mahnomen104714
Norman10389
Grant9719
Big Stone9365
Lincoln8705
Kittson71523
Red Lake70710
Traverse5996
Unassigned572124
Lake of the Woods5235
Cook3020

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
Montgomery161745
Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
Palo Alto150532
Howard146824
Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
Monona122939
Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
Decatur101913
Taylor98514
Fremont95913
Van Buren93222
Wayne84525
Ringgold76729
Audubon74917
Adams5748
Unassigned480
Rochester
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 21°
Mason City
Clear
31° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 20°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
28° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 20°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 21°
Mild heading into the weekend
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