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5 things to know for September 27: Kavanaugh, China, North Korea, Google, meth

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Posted: Sep 27, 2018 9:41 AM
Updated: Oct 2, 2018 8:40 AM

Tired of this reality? Facebook released a fancy new VR headset that doesn't even require a PC to work. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Brett Kavanaugh

Today is the day. After what seemed like an eternity of debates and accusations and counter-accusations, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the woman accusing him of sexual assault decades ago, Christine Blasey Ford, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee starting at 10 a.m. ET. Both have prepared written testimony (Ford's is here; Kavanaugh's is here). Many are making comparisons with Anita Hill, who in 1991 accused then-SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment, which he denied. Today's hearing comes a day after another accuser -- the third on the record -- came forward to say Kavanaugh displayed sexually aggressive behavior during high school parties. The bottom line? What happens today matters -- for the Supreme Court, for #MeToo, for both political parties, for the upcoming midterm elections, for everyone. You can watch it all live on CNN and CNN.com.

2. China

The relationship between the US and China is pretty tense right now, so any little action between the two countries is going to be a bit dramatic. This week, the US Air Force conducted two bomber flights into areas considered sensitive by the Chinese military, namely the South and East China seas and through an area China calls its Air Defense Identification Zone. Think of it like walking through a neighbor's lawn to get somewhere else -- except the neighbor's lawn is rigged with military-grade security equipment. Meanwhile, President Trump rubbed some salt in the diplomatic wound. In an unrelated news conference yesterday, he claimed China is trying to interfere in November's US midterm elections. Why? Because, according to him, China isn't happy with his tough trade tactics and wants to hurt his political power.

3. North Korea

Looks like there will be a sequel to June's United States-North Korea summit. Next month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea again to start making arrangements for President Trump and Kim Jong Un to meet. Trump said yesterday that the summit will happen "fairly quickly" and that North Korea has the potential to be an economic power. The announcement of Pompeo's trip, his fourth to North Korea, came just weeks after Trump canceled a trip the top US diplomat had planned for August. At the time, Trump said there hadn't been enough progress on denuclearization.

4. Google

What is Google's "Project Dragonfly?" The mysterious code-named plan came up yesterday during a Senate committee hearing, at which several major tech and telecom execs testified about a potential federal law to regulate data privacy. Project Dragonfly is widely rumored to be a search engine project for China that would block sensitive websites and search terms in accordance with Chinese censorship. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Google employees have taken issue with the plan. The company was tight-lipped during the hearing, though, and did not confirm nor deny the link between the code name and the project.

5. Methamphetamines

While the opioid epidemic continues to ruin lives across the country, another monster is growing. States like Oklahoma are experiencing a troubling increase in methamphetamine activity. Experts say Mexican cartels are one of the reasons for the rise because they bring in cheaper and purer forms of the drug. In fact, over the past eight years, there has been a nearly tenfold increase in the amount of methamphetamine seized by US Customs and Border Protection. It's probably no coincidence the number of overdose deaths in Oklahoma has risen as well.

HAPPENING LATER

Will he or won't he? 

The Kavanaugh hearing isn't the only big thing going down in Washington. Today is also supposed to be the day President Trump meets with Rod Rosenstein. The deputy attorney general is widely rumored to be on the chopping block, but in the last few days Trump has been back and forth on it. Will they meet? Will Rosenstein get the boot? Stay tuned.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

UK postal service to environmental campaigners: Please stop mailing empty potato chip bags

Worst. Love letter. Ever. 

One of China's space labs will fall to Earth in 2019 

They're gonna need a pretty big net. (That's how space works, right?)

Scientists may have uncovered a new whale species that lived millions of years ago 

Frankly, the more we can learn about whales, the better.

This café in Korea looks like an actual cartoon 

So, when you're bleary-eyed and jonesing for your morning coffee, walking into a completely different realm of existence won't be confusing at all.

500 food experience worth traveling for

No. 1: The Waffle House 0.2 miles from the front door.

TODAY'S NUMBER

80,000

The number of American deaths caused by the flu and its complications last winter alone, according to the CDC. Last year's flu season was the deadliest in four decades. Now's the time to get your flu shot.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Everybody looks at you as a monster, and I regretted it since the moment it happened."

Ian Ritch, the father who lost track of his autistic son last weekend during a visit to a park in Gastonia, North Carolina. Six-year-old Maddox Scott Ritch is still missing, and his father says he is consumed by guilt.

AND FINALLY

RUDE! 

Don't you hate it when you're just enjoying your big friendly kayaking adventure and a seal slaps you with an octopus? (Click here to view.)

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