(CNN) — The South and Southern Plains are bracing for a severe thunderstorm outbreak today that could possibly bring baseball-size hail and tornadoes packing winds of at least 111 mph. Officials in the region have issued strong safety warnings for the severe threat area, which encompasses 45 million people from Texas to Alabama.
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1. Ohio toxic train
Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, will get the opportunity today to address the operator of a train that derailed while carrying toxic chemicals in their community nearly one month ago. The EPA has ordered Norfolk Southern to meet with residents to answer questions about long-term health effects following the wreck. Last month, Norfolk Southern — which was also ordered to fully clean up the site — backed out of a town hall with local officials, citing threats against its employees. In addition to mounting frustrations among residents, workers’ unions are saying some crews involved in the cleanup have also reported symptoms. However, the EPA and local government officials have repeatedly said their tests show the air quality in the area is safe and the chemicals should dissipate.
Eli Lilly, one of the biggest players in the US insulin market, announced a series of price cuts on Wednesday that would cap out-of-pocket insulin costs at $35 for many people with diabetes. “Insulin costs less than $10 to make, but Americans are sometimes forced to pay over $300 for it. It’s flat wrong,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Wednesday, calling the announcement “a big deal.” Although insulin is relatively inexpensive to make, the cost has been a problem for many Americans for years. At least 16.5% of people in the US who use insulin report rationing it due to the cost. At the same time, demand for insulin has grown significantly as diabetes has become the fastest-growing chronic disease in the world, a 2022 study found.
3. Gas prices
The average cost of a gallon of gas in the US stands at $3.37, according to AAA, down from $3.50 a month ago. That decline led many companies to end fuel surcharges, a move that has been met with mixed reactions. Fuel surcharges that were added in response to skyrocketing energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine went directly to ride-share drivers and were meant to help soften the blow of high gas prices. Beginning last March, Uber riders were paying an extra $0.45 or $0.55 in fees per trip and an additional $0.35 or $0.45 for Uber Eats food delivery, depending on the location. Lyft riders were paying a $0.55 surcharge per ride. Amazon also tacked on a $5 fuel and inflation surcharge on some merchants. The removal of surcharges means consumers have fewer fees — but it also means drivers will have less of a cushion to pay for gas.
SpaceX and NASA launched a fresh crew of astronauts on a mission to the International Space Station early this morning. The mission kicks off a roughly six-month stay in space where the crew will carry out science experiments and maintain the two-decade-old station. The launch marked the second attempt to get this mission, called Crew-6, off the ground. The first launch attempt was called off on Monday due to what officials said was a clogged filter. The vehicle is carrying two NASA astronauts, a Russian cosmonaut and an astronaut from the United Arab Emirates. It’s expected to spend about one day maneuvering through space before linking up with the space station.
The Biden administration has approved an estimated $619 million potential arms sale to Taiwan, including hundreds of missiles for F-16 fighter jets, in a move that will likely further inflame already heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing. The administration formally notified Congress on Wednesday of the proposed sale of F-16 munitions and related equipment. A State Department official said the potential sale is “consistent with the Taiwan Relations Act and our longstanding One-China policy,” wherein “the United States makes available to Taiwan defense articles and services necessary to enable it to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability.” In response, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson issued a statement today urging the US to cease military contacts with Taiwan and end the arms sales.
Ex-Navy pilot says he saw UFOs that did things his plane could not do
Watch this former Navy fighter pilot tell CNN about his unit’s experience with a UFO in 2015. He also shared video of the encounter.
Guy Savoy, lauded as world’s best chef, loses Michelin star
His renowned restaurant in Paris received some sour news that it’s been downgraded to two Michelin stars.
‘Stranger Things’ is coming back — as a stage play
Nerds, assemble! Fans bracing themselves to say goodbye to “Stranger Things” after its final season are getting excited about this London stage play.
Aaron Rodgers is keeping everyone in the dark about his NFL future
The Green Bay Packers quarterback recently embarked on a “darkness retreat” that he said would help him find inner peace of mind as he decided on his future in the NFL. Here’s what we know about his looming decision.
Japan just found 7,000 islands it didn’t know it had
With an incredible discovery like this, it’s no shocker that several territorial disputes are already underway.
Alex Murdaugh’s defense to deliver closing arguments in his murder trial
Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorneys will deliver their closing arguments today in his murder trial as they seek to raise reasonable doubt about whether he killed his wife and son in 2021. The stranger-than-fiction case has brought national attention — and TV documentaries — as people following the case await a ruling. The prosecution delivered its closing arguments Wednesday, saying Murdaugh was the only person who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill them — and that his lies afterward betrayed him. Murdaugh, on the other hand, has flatly denied killing his wife and son.
That’s the average mortgage rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate loan. A year ago it was 3.89%. While rates had been trending downward after hitting 7.08% in November, the current rates are causing home buyers to pull back even as the spring home buying season should be heating up.
“[The collision] was due to tragic human error.”
— Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, commenting after authorities arrested a station manager on Wednesday in connection with the train collision in Greece that left at least 38 people dead. The two trains involved in the fatal crash were traveling on the same track for many kilometers before the incident occurred, state-owned public broadcaster ERT reported.
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Fish loves to greet his favorite diver and bring her gifts
This friendly fish developed a unique bond with a diver over several years. Watch their adorable interaction. (Click here to view)
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