By Alexandra Banner, CNN
(CNN) — Snowstorms are bearing down on parts of the US weeks before the official start of winter, which falls on December 21 in the Northern Hemisphere. But on the heels of several scorching months, scientists confirmed that 2023 will still officially be the hottest year on record.
Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
1. Presidential race
Republican presidential candidates will face off tonight in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the fourth primary debate of the 2024 election cycle. The candidates set to take the stage are Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and tech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy. Former President Donald Trump, the dominant front-runner in national and early-state primary polling, will be skipping the event. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden told Democratic donors Tuesday he wasn’t confident he’d be seeking another term if Trump wasn’t running for the White House. The comment offered perhaps the starkest rationale to date for Biden’s reelection decision-making and, according to sources, took senior Biden campaign officials and advisers by surprise.
Israel’s military is reporting intense fighting in southern Gaza as it surrounds the strip’s second-largest city of Khan Younis. Israeli forces on Tuesday also encircled the Jabalya refugee camp, which Israel claims is a Hamas stronghold. The crowded camp has been hit by renewed Israeli strikes in recent days following the end of a weeklong pause in the conflict. US officials expect the current phase of Israel’s ground operation to last several weeks before Israel transitions, possibly by January, to a lower-intensity strategy that narrowly targets specific Hamas militants and leaders. Nearly 16,000 people have been killed in Gaza and more than 60% of homes have been destroyed in the region since October 7, according to the strip’s Hamas-run government.
Around 16 million people were under flood alerts in the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday night as a strong atmospheric river soaked the region. In Portland, Oregon, at least one person died after being swept away in floodwaters, authorities said. The powerful system pummeling the Northwest has already dumped more than 8 inches of rain this week and forecasts show more is on the way: An additional 2 to 4 inches are possible today. The treacherous travel conditions also prompted Amtrak to temporarily suspend all train service between Portland and Seattle due to a landslide.
4. Actors strike
Members of SAG-AFTRA, the Hollywood actors union, ratified a new contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major studios and streamers, the union said on Tuesday. The contract caps a monthslong saga, which included a nearly four-month strike that had paralyzed the industry and raised existential questions over the future of the entertainment business. Hollywood actors and producers reached the tentative deal on November 8 after tumultuous negotiations throughout the year. SAG-AFTRA members voted to ratify the contract this week with about 78% in favor. The union said about 38% of members turned out to vote.
5. Drug shortages
Drug shortages in the US are forcing “impossible choices” for Americans, medical experts told a Senate committee at a hearing Tuesday. The majority of the nearly 200 ongoing shortages — 84% — don’t involve new or novel drugs but rather generics that have been on the market for decades, said Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Generics make up 9 out of every 10 prescriptions filled in the US, so shortages have a big impact on the country’s health. Many of these generics treat cancer. Fludarabine, a reliable drug used as a part of CAR T-cell therapy, is in shortage now, according to the FDA. As with many cancer drugs, it has been on and off the list for years. This forces consumers to “scramble for viable alternatives or they’ll forgo treatment entirely,” Crapo said.
This just in
Suspect in custody following Texas shootings
A suspect is in custody after a string of homicides and shootings across two Texas communities Tuesday left six people dead and three others injured, including two police officers, authorities said. The male suspect has been charged with capital murder and additional charges are pending.
Brenda Lee makes history with Christmas classic ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’
You will get a sentimental feeling when you hear this song! Surprisingly, the beloved holiday jingle topped the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time this week.
South Korean artist uses her own body as a canvas
Whimsical, subversive and mind-bending illusions are Dain Yoon’s specialty.
23andMe is investigating a major hack
Hackers have accessed nearly 7 million profiles of 23andMe customers, a spokesperson for the genetic testing firm told CNN, including some users’ ancestry reports, zip codes and birth years.
Panera hit with another lawsuit over caffeinated lemonade
The chain’s caffeinated lemonade has allegedly caused some cardiac events, according to at least two lawsuits against the company.
Barbie doll commemorating late Cherokee Nation leader sparks debate
A new Barbie doll honors the pioneering Cherokee Chief Wilma Mankiller. But it’s prompting some complicated feelings.
That’s how many page views Wikipedia has received so far in 2023. ChatGPT, the viral AI chatbot, was the most-viewed page on Wikipedia this year with nearly 50 million views, reflecting the world’s interest in artificial intelligence.
“We are out of money — and nearly out of time.”
— White House budget director Shalanda Young, warning that the US will soon be out of money for Ukraine as funding talks remain stalled on Capitol Hill. This comes as Senate Republicans are insisting on making Ukraine funding part of a broader spending package to include money for Israel, Taiwan and the US southern border.
AND FINALLY …
All There Is with Anderson Cooper: A President’s Grief
“You gotta come home, there’s been an accident.” It was 1972 when Joe Biden heard the news that changed his life forever: his wife Neilia and 13-month-old daughter Naomi were killed in a car crash. Decades later his beloved son Beau died of cancer. In this deeply personal interview, President Biden reveals how he has found solace in his grief and learned to search for purpose beyond his pain.
™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.