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5 things to know for September 27: Whistleblower, Syria, Legionnaires’, El Paso, snow

A new study about the number of birds dying off is alarming. But fear not. There are things you can do, from your own backyard, to stop global bird loss.

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. Whistleblower complaint

The allegations contained in the much-discussed whistleblower complaint released yesterday are explosive. It accuses President Trump of abusing his powers “to solicit interference” from Ukraine in the 2020 election and the White House of trying to cover it up. White House officials, allegedly disturbed by Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, tried to “lock down” all records of the call, including the word-for-word transcript, the complaint alleges. Democrats started a formal impeachment inquiry this week based on what’s in the complaint.

Trump later lashed out at the person who provided the whistleblower with info about his phone call. Trump said whoever did that “is close to a spy,” and then he added what some people took as a veiled threat: that in the old days, spies were dealt with differently. The identity of the whistleblower remains publicly unknown, but his or her safety was raised yesterday when acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the House Intelligence Committee about the complaint. CNN’s Stephen Collinson lays out how a week that was supposed to be filled with drama at the United Nations turned into America’s latest impeachment melodrama.

2. Syria

Syria is once again accused of launching a chlorine attack against its own citizens. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the attack by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad happened on May 19. It’s unclear how many people may have been killed or wounded in the attack. Pompeo said it was part of the Assad regime’s campaign of violence in Idlib province, which has killed more than 1,000 people. Idlib is the last stronghold of the rebels who have battled Assad’s forces for years. The Trump administration ordered retaliatory strikes against Syrian regime targets in 2017 and 2018 after reports of chemical weapons attacks by Syria.

3. Legionnaires’ disease outbreak

There’s an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in North Carolina, and it’s connected to a state fair. There are 25 confirmed cases, the state division of public health says, including one death. The source of the outbreak is under investigation, but many of the patients reported attending the NC Mountain State Fair earlier this month. Airborne droplets from water rides at the fair are being looked at as a possible cause of the outbreak.

4. El Paso mass shooting

The Texas Walmart where 22 people were killed could reopen in November. A company spokeswoman said construction work at the El Paso store is “progressing smoothly,” and Walmart is aiming for a reopening on November 6. Construction crews have been renovating the property since the shooting in August. An area of the store will be dedicated to the shooting victims. The mass shooting at the store was one of the deadliest attacks against Latinos in the US.

5. Weather

Fall officially began this week, but it’s already winter in parts of the Rocky Mountain states. A big winter storm will blast its way through the northern Rocky Mountains this weekend. The early season snow event could be “historically significant,” the National Weather Service office in Great Falls, Montana, says. From 15 to 36 inches of snow are predicted, with even higher tallies in the mountains. Blizzard conditions are predicted, too, since winds will be as strong as tropical-storm-force, with gusts at hurricane-force. Winter storm warnings will be in effect for parts of Montana from this evening until Sunday night.


Hips don’t lie

The halftime show at next year’s Super Bowl will be a hip-shaking affair, now that Jennifer Lopez and Shakira are signed up to perform.

Welcome to the (royal) family

Looks like there’s going to be another royal wedding. This one will involve Princess Beatrice, who is marrying a property tycoon next year.

Less likely

Facebook without the likes? It could happen. The social media giant will soon start rolling out a test in Australia that’ll hide the likes.

Right place, right time

A teen football player in Ohio lifted a car to save his trapped neighbor. What have you done for the folks in your ‘hood lately?

Mark was here

It took decades, but someone finally found Mark Twain’s signature in a cave he helped make famous in “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.”


Quiz time

According to the Anti-Defamation League, which hand signal is now a hate symbol?

A. Peace sign

B. Thumbs up

C. “OK” symbol

D. “Hang loose” or the shaka sign

Play “Total Recall,” CNN’s weekly news quiz, to see if your answer is right.



The number of letters a Maine woman said she got from United Healthcare in just five days


Who left the barn door open?

Looks like cows popping up on the road in New Hampshire is a thing. Thankfully, these kids are around to herd them up. (Click to view.)

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