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Beto O’Rourke, Jussie Smollett case, Tesla unveils its Model Y SUV: 5 things to know Thursday

Editors, USA TODAY
Published 3:41 a.m. ET March 14, 2019 | Updated 5:08 a.m. ET March 14, 2019

Senate to vote on Trump’s border wall emergency

Senate lawmakers face a key vote Thursday: whether to uphold or reject President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to build his proposed border wall. Trump made the move in February to free up billions of dollars for the wall, with most of the money coming from the Pentagon. Four Senate Republicans say they will side with Democrats to support a resolution to rescind it, making a defeat nearly certain. Because the House has already approved the resolution against the emergency, the measure’s OK the Senate would send the matter to the president’s desk. But Trump could sign the first veto of his administration, and it’s unlikely House Democrats would be able to garner enough GOP support to override it. Win or lose, the vote will be a test of Trump’s power.

O’Rourke to announce White House run?

After months of intense speculation, Beto O’Rourke is widely expected to announce that he’s running for president in 2020 on Thursday. O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat who was narrowly defeated by Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2018 midterms, is viewed by some Dems as a “young rock star.” In a December Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll, 11 percent of likely Democratic caucus-goers said O’Rourke, 46, was their first choice for president — putting him behind only former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The former congressman told Oprah Winfrey last month that his decision to run for the White House will come down to his family: his wife Amy and his three children, Ulysses, Molly and Henry.  


At an event in El Paso, Beto O’Rourke says he’ll make a 2020 announcement soon after reports suggest he will not challenge John Cornyn for Senate.
Mark R Lambie, El Paso Times

Jussie Smollett to appear at court hearing

Jussie Smollett, the ‘Empire’ actor accused by Chicago police of staging a fake hate crime for personal profit, is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on 16 felony charges. On Jan. 29, Smollett claimed he was attacked in the middle of the night on a downtown street by masked men shouting homophobic and racist abuse. Police alleged he had paid two friends more than $3,000 to stage the attack as a ploy to boost his profile and get a raise in salary. He was later charged with 16 counts of disorderly conduct stemming from the alleged false police report. In a hearing Tuesday, Smollett’s legal team said they “welcome” cameras in the courtroom “so (the public) can see evidence and lack thereof” as prosecutors present their case.


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Tesla to unveil new Model Y SUV

Tesla founder Elon Musk on Thursday will unveil the all-electric car maker’s next vehicle —  the Model Y compact SUV — at an event in Los Angeles. Musk tweeted that the Model Y will be about 10 percent larger than the Model 3 sedan and will “cost about 10 percent more & have slightly less range for same battery.” With Model 3 orders often selling for more than $50,000, that could put a typical Model Y in the $55,000 range. It will share the same platform as the Model 3 to save costs and will feature normal doors – not the falcon-wing doors of the Model X SUV, Musk tweeted. Here’s what this Model 3 owner says about whether her yearning has been fulfilled.


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‘Major blizzard,’ hurricane-like winds to rake Plains

A powerful storm is unleashing a ferocious mix of snow, rain and wind across the central USA through Thursday. “Winds will rival what’s seen in a Category 1 hurricane,” said meteorologist Ryan Maue. The worst weather is forecast for the Plains, from Texas up to the Dakotas, with AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski warning of a “major blizzard” that will produce “massive drifts.” On Wednesday, Dallas was hit by a 78-mph wind gust, and Pueblo, Colorado, unofficially recorded its lowest air pressure ever. The storm system is officially classed as a bomb cyclone, caused by a rapid, steep pressure drop over 24 hours.


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Bonus: Pizza for $3.14? It’s possible on Pi Day

March 14 — the fourteenth day of the third month, 3/14 — is Pi Day, an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), which is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. The trillion-digit ratio is rounded to 3.14.  Pi Day, not to be confused with January’s Pie Day, also has turned into a day with lots of deals like these on pizza, pastry and pot pies

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