Hakeem Jeffries makes history as the first Black lawmaker to lead a major party in Congress. Dozens of tornadoes struck overnight as storms swept through the South. And new minerals, never seen on Earth, were found in a meteorite.
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Hakeem Jeffries elected House Democratic leader
House Democrats elected New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries to lead their party in the next Congress, succeeding Nancy Pelosi. Jeffries will make history as the first Black lawmaker to lead a major party in Congress. Jeffries, 52, who has served in the House since 2013 and is chair of the House Democratic Caucus, marks a generational change in the party after two decades of leadership under Pelosi. “Hakeem Jeffries’ elevation as House Democratic leader is a turning point in the history of the United States Congress,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on the Senate floor Wednesday. Keep reading.
At least 2 dead after wild storms march across the South
More than 20 possible tornadoes slashed through the Southeast, killing at least two people Wednesday and damaging homes as a line of intense weather rolled from Texas to Georgia and as far north as Indiana. In Alabama, a possible early-morning tornado just north of Montgomery killed a 39-year-old woman and her 8-year-old son when a tree fell on their mobile home, authorities said. The boy's father was hospitalized, and several homes and other buildings were damaged, officials said.
Photos: Tornadoes and damaging storms sweep through southern U.S.
What's the weather up to at your house? Check your local forecast.
What everyone's talking about
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House passes legislation to prevent rail strike, provide paid sick leave
The House overwhelmingly passed legislation Wednesday afternoon that would avert a freight rail strike the White House fears could cripple the U.S. economy. Lawmakers also passed a related measure that would provide seven days of additional paid sick leave to rail workers, who don't get any paid sick leave. Both measures now head to the Senate.
What to know: With a Dec. 9 deadline looming, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Tuesday the House was intervening with "great reluctance" but said the prospect of a strike that would cost the economy $2 billion every day made action necessary. Congress, under the Railway Labor Act, has the power to step in and impose a contract on both the unions and the railway companies.
What railroad workers want: Rail workers moved toward a strike over unmet demands for better pay and working conditions after almost three years of unfruitful contract negotiations. In particular, rail workers have cited a lack of sick leave, inability to routinely visit the doctor or tend to family emergencies, and weekslong stretches of being on call.
Lawsuit targets herbal supplement seller after Florida nurse's death
At low doses, kratom has pain-relieving and energy-boosting effects, similar to coffee. At higher doses, it can produce an opioid-like and euphoric state that has led to a steady growth of abuse worldwide, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. And it also can cause seizures, respiratory failure and, at times, death. A Florida family accuses Grow LLC, the Idaho-based manufacturer, of knowing its customers were at risk of addiction, overdose and death but doing little to warn against the danger. Keep reading.
Former billionaire FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried says he's down to $100,000.
Stowaways found on ship after 11-day journey from Nigeria to Spain.
Motorcycle rallies may be driving up organ transplants, study finds.
Closely watched Alzheimer's drug found to slow cognitive decline.
Florida man who killed couple, tried to eat victim's face, found not guilty.
Update on University of Idaho murders: How the community is coping amid deadly stabbings.
World Cup updates: Messi, Argentina clinch berth in knockouts. Follow our live coverage.
Welcome to Earth, space minerals!
Two minerals never seen on Earth were discovered in a gigantic meteorite weighing 16.5 tons, offering researchers possible clues about how the space rocks are formed. The minerals, completely new to science, were found in a 2.5-ounce slice of the El Ali meteorite in Somalia, which was discovered in 2020, the University of Alberta said. Researchers also said they may have identified a third new mineral, though it was still being reviewed. "Whenever you find a new mineral, it means that the actual geological conditions, the chemistry of the rock, was different than what’s been found before," said Chris Herd, curator of the University of Alberta’s Meteorite Collection.
A break from the news
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: The Short List: Hakeem Jeffries, tornadoes, severe weather, freight rail strike, kratom overdose. Wednesday's news.