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5 things to know Thursday USA News Today

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5 things to know Thursday USA News Today

Editors, USA TODAY
Published 3:53 a.m. ET Oct. 12, 2017

Northern California wildfires: Fierce winds to increase fire danger

Another round of gusty winds is forecast Thursday for parts of North California dealing with devastating wildfires. So far, at least 23 have been killed and more than 3,500 structures have been destroyed in wildfires that began late Sunday. The wind-whipped, fast-moving cluster of blazes ranks among the most destructive fire events in U.S. history as residents remain in a state of shock and major uncertainty. Though winds are expected to decrease late Thursday, the “risk of wildfire ignition and rapid spread will increase this weekend,” AccuWeather meteorologist Evan Duffey said. 

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Congress tees up another $36B in disaster aid

The House on Thursday is set to vote on a $36.5 billion disaster aid package to help states and U.S. territories hit hard by hurricanes and wildfires. The bill includes $18.7 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Disaster Relief Fund and $576.5 million to help fund wildfire recovery efforts in western states. It also includes $16 billion to relieve debts for the National Flood Insurance Program and aid to help low-income residents in Puerto Rico get emergency food assistance. The new bill comes on the heels of a $15.25 billion aid package passed in September, and lawmakers said Tuesday that still more aid will probably be needed.

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Will NFL players heed Goodell’s call to stop anthem protests?

The Carolina Panthers host the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night in the first NFL game since Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a memo saying, “everyone should stand for the national anthem.” The memo came in the wake of continuing criticism by President Trump and his stance of NFL players — and Colin Kaepernick in particular — kneeling for the national anthem to highlight injustice. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he will bench players who do not stand for the anthem. During Sunday’s Colts game, Vice President Mike Pence left the stadium after several San Francisco players knelt during the anthem.

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Asteroid flyby tests NASA’s warning systems

An asteroid will pass pretty darn close to Earth on Thursday, and NASA is using the opportunity to test its planetary defense system. NASA says the asteroid, known as  2012 TC4, will safely pass the Earth at a distance of approximately 26,000 miles.That’s good, because the space rock measures between 30 and 100 feet long, roughly the same size as one that exploded over Russia in 2013 with the force of 20 atomic bombs. Since the summer, NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office has been conducting a drill to see how well its various parts would work together if an asteroid were heading straight for Earth.

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On October 12, an asteroid is going to come very, very close to Earth. Josh King has the story (@abridgetoland).
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MLB playoffs: After Yankees miracle, another winner-take-all Game 5

With the American League’s two division series now in the books, the baseball world’s attention turns to nation’s capital Thursday as the Chicago Cubs face the Washington Nationals  (live, 8 p.m. ET, TBS) for an all-decisive Game 5After being ridiculed nationally for originally deciding not to start Wednesday, Nats pitcher Stephen Strasburg silenced his critics and led his club to a commanding 5-0 Game 4 victory.Wednesday saw the New York Yankees finish an improbable comeback and rally from a 2-0 deficit against the Cleveland Indians, essentially saving their manager Joe Girardi’s job in the process. 

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