5 things to know for Nov. 30: Rail strike, Jan. 6, Marriage bill, China, Alzheimer’s
By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
The storm system that spawned damaging tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday is expected to shift east and weaken today. Still, dozens of counties in the region remain under a tornado watch due to the particularly dangerous situation, the National Weather Service said.
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1. Rail strike
The House will vote today on legislation to avert a potentially devastating freight rail strike. . While Congress races to avoid the disaster through a legislative fix, retailers and businesses are scrambling to establish backup plans if the strike of 100,000 union members moves ahead. Some companies are proactively shifting their shipping volume from rail to trucks and are considering changing the timing of orders and shipments. However, retail executives say goods that retailers are counting on for the holidays will mostly not be affected because they are already in stores or at nearby warehouses. On the other hand, the oil-and-gas industry warns that a rail shutdown would spark fuel supply crunches and price spikes.
2. January 6
Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes and fellow group member Kelly Meggs were found guilty of seditious conspiracy Tuesday as a jury reached a verdict in the historic criminal trial of five alleged leaders of the right-wing militia group. The Justice Department alleged that the Oath Keepers conspired to forcibly stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power from then-President Donald Trump to Joe Biden and plotted to attack the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. Rhodes and Meggs face a 20-year maximum prison sentence on the charge of seditious conspiracy. All five defendants were convicted of obstructing an official proceeding, which also carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence.
3. Same-sex marriage
The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to protect same-sex and interracial marriage in a landmark bipartisan vote. The bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act, was supported by all members of the Democratic caucus and 12 Republicans. The final vote was 61-36. “For millions of Americans, this legislation will safeguard the rights and protections to which LGBTQI+ and interracial couples and their children are entitled,” President Biden said in a statement after Senate passage. The bill would require individual states to recognize another state’s legal marriage, although it stops short of setting a national requirement that all states must legalize same-sex marriage. The House will now need to approve the legislation before sending it to Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
4. China protests
A heavy police presence in major Chinese cities has discouraged protesters from gathering since thousands of people took to the streets to protest the country’s tough zero-Covid policy. In what appears to be the first official response to the protests, China’s domestic security chief on Tuesday vowed to “effectively maintain overall social stability.” Some of the boldest protests took place in Shanghai, where crowds called for Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s removal two nights in a row. China’s internet watchdog is now stepping up its regulation of cyberspace as authorities intensify their crackdown on users in China and scramble to scrub any online dissent. Some people in the country could soon be held liable for liking posts deemed illegal or harmful, or for taking screenshots of content related to the protests to preserve them.
5. Alzheimer’s disease
The experimental drug lecanemab appears to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, according to new clinical trial results, but the findings have raised some safety concerns. The results of the trial data showed the drug appeared to slow the progression of cognitive decline by about 27% — but 14% of the trial participants who received lecanemab experienced certain serious adverse events, such as brain swelling and brain bleeding. The Alzheimer’s Association said in a statement that it welcomes and is further encouraged by the full Phase 3 data. Drugmaker Eisai aims to file for approval of lecanemab in the US by the end of March.
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