Good morning, and TGIF! Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Deadly storm socks and soaks West Coast
At least two people died after a major storm system — perhaps the strongest to hit California in five years — pummeled the coast on Thursday, causing mudslides, rockslides and flooding. The storm was disrupting lives and operations up and down the state. Dozens of roads were closed in the northern half of the state, including parts of Interstate 5 near the Oregon line. Precautionary evacuations brought on by fear of mudslides began early Friday in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendora, where the foothills were stripped bare by a major wildfire earlier this year. Read more in NEWS.
2. House passes bill to avoid government shutdown
Shutdown averted? The House narrowly passed a massive spending bill on Thursday night to keep the government running for another two days — just in time to give the Senate a chance to approve its own legislation. Some Democrats, however, pushed back against the so-called “Cromnibus” bill because of certain concessions wanted by the Republicans. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelos publicly slammed it, calling its loosening of financial regulations "a ransom and a blackmail" and saying that she's "enormously disappointed" that the White House is accepting its inclusion in the spending measure. Read more in POLITICS.
3. ‘Abhorrent’: CIA chief defense agency but not tactics
CIA Director John Brennan held a rare press event Thursday to talk about the Senate’s highly anticipated report on the spy agency’s interrogation tactics after 9/11. While Brennan stressed that CIA officers were acting under Bush administration guidance that harsh techniques were legal, he added that some officers went too far. The techniques included waterboarding, sleep deprivation and “rectal feeding.” "In light of the fact that these techniques were abandoned seven years ago, however, my fervent hope is that we can put aside this debate and move forward to focus on issues relevant to our current national security challenges," Brennan said. Read more in NEWS.
4. Model and actress Beverly Johnson: Bill Cosby drugged me
The famed fashion icon is the most high-profile woman so far to publicly accuse Cosby of drugging and attempting to sexually assault her in past decades. Johnson, now 62, wrote in an essay in Vanity Fair magazine that the comedian had invited her to his home to read for a part for his show in the mid-1980s. That’s when she claimed Cosby drugged her "with the intention of doing God knows what." Cosby’s attorney has called previous accusations “lies.” Read more in NEWS.
5. Eric Garner’s daughter stages ‘die-in’
The death of Staten Island man Eric Garner during his arrest in July is still reverberating across New York and the world. His daughter, Erica Garner, staged a “die-in” on the street Thursday night where her father was videotaped gasping for air while being taken down by police. Earlier in the day, Congressional staffers walked out of their jobs in a symbol of solidarity with protests taking place in the streets. A rally is planned in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, and is expected to attract more crowds protesting police brutality and racial profiling. Read more in NEWS.
And now this ...
Gamers, get giddy: Sony is marking the 20th anniversary of the PlayStation with a special-edition console. Here's a peek: