Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 25, 2023

At least 23 killed during tornadoes in Mississippi, Trump to hold rally in Waco ahead of possible indictment, and more


At least 23 killed during tornadoes in Mississippi

At least 23 people are dead and dozens more injured after a series of devastating tornadoes swept through Mississippi on Friday night, destroying numerous buildings and raining down golf-ball-sized hail on residents. The death toll was confirmed in a tweet by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, which added that four people were also missing. The National Weather Service (NWS) had warned of a tornado near the rural towns of Rolling Fork and Silver City, about 60 miles from Jackson, Mississippi, that was causing significant destruction. The NWS had said in a prior warning, "You are in a life-threatening situation...considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible."


Trump to hold rally in Waco ahead of possible indictment

Former President Donald Trump will hold the first rally of his 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday in Waco, Texas. While the former president has often retreated to Texas as a red state that has shown him significant support, the rally is also coming on the backdrop of the 30-year anniversary of the Waco Siege, when FBI and ATF agents stormed the compound of the Branch Davidian religious cult, resulting in 86 total deaths. Trump's rally will be held not far from the former site of the compound, and the siege is often used by Republicans as an example of government overreach. All of this comes as a possible indictment of Trump by the Manhattan district attorney still looms in the background. 


Los Angeles school district and union reach deal following strike

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) reached a tentative deal with a union on Friday to increase pay by 30 percent for some of the district's lowest-wage workers. The agreement comes following a three-day strike spearheaded by the Local 99 of Service Employees International Union, which represents 30,000 school employees such as cafeteria workers, bus drivers, and custodians. The Local 99 was consistently pushing for a 30 percent raise given the rising cost of living in California, but the LAUSD was unable to come to an agreement prior to the strike. This new deal was achieved with the help of Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, and is likely to be approved by union members. 


Threatening letter with white powder sent to Manhattan DA

A threatening letter containing a powdery substance was discovered Friday at the offices of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, coming as the prosecutor weighs a potential indictment of former President Donald Trump. The NYPD and environmental authorities were able to isolate the letter, officials said, and a spokesperson for Bragg said tests "determined there was no dangerous substance." According to sources for The Associated Press, the letter, addressed to Bragg, said, "Alvin, I am going to kill you," along with other threatening messages. With the Manhattan DA expected to resume work on potential criminal charges against Trump, the former president posted a message on social media saying an indictment could lead to "potential death & destruction."


Pope Francis updates sex abuse law for Catholic Church

The Vatican and Pope Francis on Saturday unveiled new legislation that updates existing rules within the Catholic Church, allowing senior clergymen to be held accountable for covering up sexual abuse within their dioceses. The new guidelines extend previously held accountability clauses over sexual abuse to cover lay leaders of the Church, and also reaffirm the Church's belief that non-consenting adults can also be victims of abuse. The legislation was first drafted in 2019 following a series of sex abuse scandals in the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. It says that all Catholic churches must have a "public, stable, and easily accessible" process for reporting and stopping sexual abuse. 


Kentucky governor vetoes widespread transgender regulation bill

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) on Friday vetoed a controversial bill that would have expanded anti-transgender regulations across his state. The bill, led by Kentucky Republicans, would have, among other things, banned puberty blockers, hormones, and other types of gender-affirming care for children. It would have also prohibited schoolchildren from using restrooms that correspond with their gender identity and stop teachers from using a student's preferred pronouns. Beshear, who is in an election year, wrote in a veto message that the bill allows "too much government interference in personal healthcare issues and rips away the freedom of parents to make medical decisions for their children." He also reaffirmed his belief that the bill would lead to more child suicides. 


At least 19 dead following U.S. airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria

At least 19 people have been killed following continued U.S. airstrikes against Iranian-backed installations in eastern Syria, a Syrian news outlet reported Saturday. The ongoing strikes represent one of the deadliest spouts of violence between the United States and Iran in years, and come as the Americans launched a series of strikes following a drone attack by Iranian militants that left one American dead and several more wounded. The U.S. strikes were reportedly targeting facilities in Syria affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, and killed Syrians along with unidentified foreigners. President Biden had previously warned that the U.S. would "act forcefully" to protect Americans. 


Spanish firefighters working to battle 10,000-acre wildfire

Firefighters in Spain continued working into the weekend to battle the country's first major wildfire of the year. The inferno has spread through Spain's eastern Valencia region, where it has already burned almost 10,000 acres of land and prompted the evacuation of more than 1,500 residents. At least 500 firefighters, supported by 20 anti-fire aircraft, were working to extinguish the blaze, which was reportedly almost under control by Saturday morning. It is unclear exactly how the fire started, however, wildfires have become a major concern in Europe due to an unusually dry winter season, and officials fear a repeat of 2022, when nearly two million acres of land burned across the continent. 


At least 2 dead, 6 missing at Pennsylvania chocolate factory explosion

An explosion at a chocolate factory in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on Friday night left at least two people dead and six others missing, officials said. The explosion occurred at about 5 p.m. ET at the R.M. Palmer Company, about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The cause of the blast is still under investigation, but eyewitnesses said the factory was seen emitting a large plume of smoke and shook houses across West Reading. Video of the incident was caught on security camera, and shows a massive fireball erupting as smoke and debris reign down onto the factory, with West Reading Mayor Samantha Kaag saying the explosion "moved that building four feet forward."


All top seeds eliminated from March Madness tournament

March Madness has indeed become mad. Following a pair of games on Friday, there are no number-one seeds remaining in the tournament, an unprecedented event heading into the Elite Eight of the bracket. Houston, picked by many as the top choice to win it all, was defeated by the fifth-seed University of Miami in a decisive 89-75 victory, which saw the Texas school's chances of winning their first title evaporate. Alabama, the other number one seed remaining in the tournament, was defeated by another number-five seed, San Diego State, in a 71-64 tilt. The other two top seeds, Purdue and Kansas — the latter being last year's champion — had already been knocked out. 


Fighter jets chase aircraft that entered restricted airspace in D.C.
An aerial view of Washington, D.C.
drama in the sky

Fighter jets chase aircraft that entered restricted airspace in D.C.

Thousands march for democracy in Poland
Protesters march in Poland against the government.
A Polish Protest

Thousands march for democracy in Poland

Chuck Todd to be replaced by Kristen Welker on NBC's 'Meet the Press'
'Meet the Press' anchor Chuck Todd.
Out with the old, in with the new

Chuck Todd to be replaced by Kristen Welker on NBC's 'Meet the Press'

Grand jury in Trump documents case to reportedly meet this week
Former President Donald Trump.
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