ABC News' Lara Spencer reports the buzziest stories of the day in “GMA” Pop News.
ABC News' Lara Spencer reports the buzziest stories of the day in “GMA” Pop News.
On Friday -- for the first and only time -- Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and his Democratic challenger, former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, will meet face-to-face for a debate less than six weeks before Election Day. Abbott has been governor since 2015 -- the position has no term limits -- and was the state attorney general and a member of the Texas Supreme Court before that.
The number of suicides increased in the United States in 2021 after two consecutive years of declines, new federal data finds. In 2021, there were 47,646 suicides, according to provisional data featured in the report, published Friday morning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. "Suicide is a major contributor to premature death in the United States," the authors wrote.
Ginni Thomas, the wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, appeared in person at the House Jan. 6 committee's offices on Thursday morning for a closed-door interview. Cameras caught Ginni Thomas walking to the conference room around 9:30 a.m. Her meeting ended around 2 p.m. The select committee investigating the U.S. Capitol attack has sought to question Ginni Thomas over her efforts to push state officials to reject the outcome of the 2020 election.
Three children who survived the Robb Elementary School shooting and their parents filed the first federal lawsuit since the May 24 massacre in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 students and two teachers. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Del Rio, Texas, names the Uvalde school district, police force and gun distributors. It also names several public officials including Pete Arredondo, the school district police chief who was fired in August, and Mandy Gutierrez, the former principal of Robb Elementary who has taken on a new role in the school district administration.
President Joe Biden's administration is scaling back his federal student loan cancellation program to protect against legal challenges, including two suits filed this week -- with new guidelines now excluding at least hundreds of thousands of borrowers initially told they qualified for the forgiveness. On Thursday, the Department of Education quietly updated its instructions on who qualifies for the debt forgiveness program of up to $20,000 for some Americans. The new guidance excludes people who took out federal loans that, while they were guaranteed by the government, were technically handled by private banks.
The Texas Rangers, the FBI and several other agencies are investigating after two migrants were shot, one fatally, in a rural county outside El Paso, Texas. A spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) said the Hudspeth County Sheriff's Office notified them of a shooting death on Tuesday and reported that a preliminary investigation shows that a truck with two men inside pulled over and shot at a group of migrants standing alongside the road getting water. A female migrant was also shot but is recovering at a hospital in El Paso, the spokesperson added.
Thousands of nursing home residents and hospital patients across Florida have been evacuated in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian as the storm heads north. As of Thursday afternoon, 45 nursing homes were evacuated -- impacting about 3,500 residents -- as were 115 assisted-living facilities, according to the Florida Health Care Association. Kristen Knapp, senior director of strategy and communication for the FHCA, said most of the nursing homes "are in the low-lying areas where counties had issued evacuation orders."
Florida federal judge Aileen Cannon on Thursday rejected a request from the special master she appointed to review documents seized from former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate to have Trump's legal team verify that the government's inventory log of seized items is accurate. Judge Cannon's ruling again hands yet another process win to Trump's legal team, which will now no longer face the same deadline to state on the record whether they would dispute any of the items listed on the government's detailed inventory. Trump's legal team earlier this week filed a letter under seal raising their objection to the request from special master Raymond Dearie -- even as Trump repeatedly in public statements and interviews has made baseless suggestions the FBI "planted" documents in order to incriminate him.
In Fort Myers, a woman named Halle B. stood outside her wrecked and flooded home and told ABC News' chief meteorologist Ginger Zee about the terrifying ordeal she and her cat, Maui Maui, endured. "And then the water just started coming into the front door and then it just exploded," she said, adding that her refrigerator floated away in the tidal surge from the Gulf of Mexico a little over a mile from her home. "We floated on the bed up to the ceiling," Halle B. said.
A bill to avert a federal government shutdown passed the Senate on Thursday, and will now head to the House with little more than 24 hours until the deadline at the end of the day Friday. The Senate voted 72-25 to advance the stopgap legislation, which will keep the government funded through mid-December -- past the midterm elections -- after some stumbles earlier this week over energy permitting reform. The legislation moved forward after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., agreed to drop the provision -- which was opposed by some progressives and most Republicans -- from the continuing resolution.
Hurricane Ian developed into the monstrous, devastating storm that meteorologists predicted that it would be. Ian barreled into the southwest coast of Florida as a major Category 4 hurricane before slowing to a crawl as it made its way across the peninsula, causing widespread destruction in its wake. The storm will come to be known as "The Big One" in the Fort Myers area, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters in a news conference Wednesday as the hurricane continued its damage.
At least nine people in Florida died due to Hurricane Ian, according to preliminary reports from local officials. At least six storm-related deaths have been reported in Charlotte County, on Florida's west coast, county commissioner Chris Constance said on CNN. Door-to-door search and rescue efforts are still ongoing and it's unclear how many people may be unaccounted for, he said on Thursday.
Fleeing Hurricane Ian, Kallie Collins, her fiance and four of her children flew out of Tampa Bay on Tuesday hours before the airport halted flights. As the storm headed straight toward their Tampa Bay-area home, the airline allowed them to move up their departure date and evacuate. The family had spent all of its savings, a total $1,100, on hurricane preparations like storage for their valuables and medical supplies for her two children with special needs, Collins said.
Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska was charged Thursday with violating U.S. sanctions, according to an indictment unsealed in the Southern District of New York as part of the United States' efforts to crack down on Russian oligarchs. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate, was among two dozen Russians sanctioned in 2018 by the U.S. Treasury Department as punishment for what Treasury officials called "the Russian government's ongoing and increasingly malign activities in the world." The FBI searched Deripaska's homes in New York and Washington, D.C., last year.
Foods that claim to be "healthy" on their packaging will soon be subject to a new set of labeling guidelines, part of an effort by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help educate consumers on nutrition literacy and align packaging language with current nutritional guidance. The FDA announced the new rules on Wednesday. The proposed update will ensure that food labels with "healthy" content claims are better aligned with current nutrition science, the updated Nutrition Facts label and the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Another coastline known for its sensitivity to storm surge will feel Ian's wrath as the storm system strengthens back into a hurricane and makes another landfall in a vulnerable region. While Ian made a slow crawl through central and northern Florida on Thursday as a tropical storm, its sights will soon be set on the coast of South Carolina -- specifically Charleston, which historically does not do well with storm surge. After exiting into the Atlantic Ocean, the warms waters, combined with the Gulf Stream, could allow Ian to regain strength as it heads toward the South Carolina coast as a Category 1 or even Category 2 storm.
The Uvalde school district superintendent met Thursday with the guardian of a student killed in the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School, after family members of victims and their supporters camped out for almost two days in front the district's administrative building. Brett and Nikki Cross, guardians of 10-year-old Uziyah Garcia, arrived at the school district offices at 7 a.m. Tuesday and have not left since. "We've given them 18 weeks to do something, so now we're not begging anymore—we're demanding," Brett Cross told ABC News earlier in the week.
Arizona Democratic attorney general nominee Kris Mayes and her Republican opponent, Abe Hamadeh, sparred on a debate stage in Phoenix on Wednesday, both agreeing that the differences between them -- on abortion, on the validity of the 2020 election -- were crystal-clear. Mayes said, as attorney general, that she wouldn't prosecute any health care provider who violates a state abortion ban with no exceptions for rape and incest cases, deeming the law unconstitutional under Arizona's right to privacy.
Areas within Lee County, including Sanibel Island and Fort Myers, are facing major damage in the wake of Hurricane Ian. A video posted by Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno Thursday afternoon showed continued flooding across Lee County as well as destruction to roads, including bridges that appear partially sunken. The barrier islands in the county were largely decimated, according to Lee County's Department of Public Safety.
"Hocus Pocus" fans can have a chance to run amok and live out the witchy ways of the Sanderson Sisters in Salem, Massachusetts this Halloween season. The timeworn cottage was recreated to resemble the bewitching and nostalgic home, located in the remote woods of Salem. "We all know that the Sanderson Sisters' story might not have ended when we turned to dust, nor did our shenanigans,” Kathy Najimy, who plays Mary Sanderson in the films, told Airbnb.