Daily Briefing: ‘A blow against hate’

President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, a major milestone in the fight for gay rights. Ten years have passed since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Also in the news: A destructive winter storm is marching across the United States.

👋 It’s Jane Onyanga-Omara and Steve Coogan with Wednesday’s news. Did you see last night’s meteor shower? The Geminds are one of the biggest of the year.

Now, here we go with Wednesday’s news.

Biden signs landmark bill protecting same-sex, interracial marriage

President Joe Biden signed historic legislation Tuesday protecting same-sex marriages nationally, marking a major milestone in the fight for gay rights that follows a seismic change in the nation’s attitudes. At a White House ceremony, Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act, making it the law that all states recognize same-sex and interracial marriages. “Today, America takes a vital step toward equality, toward liberty and justice, not just for some, but for everyone,” Biden said. The new law will protect same-sex marriages if the Supreme Court were to overturn the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision, which in 2015 legalized same-sex marriages in the U.S. Read more.

Blizzard warnings in 6 states as massive winter storm rocks US

A massive winter storm roaring across the West dumped up to 4 feet of snow in parts of Nevada and Idaho, fueled blizzard warnings in six other states and spawned tornadoes that injured several people in the South. More than 25 million Americans were under dangerous weather watches and warnings Tuesday. The storm’s march across the nation could last through the weekend when parts of the Northeast could be blasted with more than a foot of snow, forecasters warned. “This is a ‘we are not kidding’ kind of storm,” the South Dakota Department of Transportation tweeted. “BLIZZARD and ICE STORM WARNINGS have been issued.” Read more.

More news to know now

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  • 🔴 “A living hell”: Former federal inmates describe years of sexual abuse by prison officers.
  • 🔐 FTX CEO testifies to Congress, founder Sam Bankman-Fried arrested in Bahamas.
  • 🐱 Two retirees were told to stop feeding stray cats. An Alabama jury found them guilty on 4 charges.
  • 🌋 Hawaii volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea have stopped erupting, USGS says.
  • 🎧 On today’s 5 Things podcast, USA TODAY Investigative Reporter Erin Mansfield looks at Congressional testimony surrounding failed crypto exchange FTX. You can listen to the podcast every day on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your smart speaker.
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    🌤 What’s the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.

    A decade after Sandy Hook, grief remains but hope grows

    They would have been 16 or 17 this year. High school juniors. The children killed at the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012, should have spent this year thinking about college, taking their SATs and getting their driver’s licenses. Maybe attending their first prom. Instead, the families of the 20 students and six educators slain in the mass shooting will mark a decade without them Wednesday. December is a difficult month for many in Newtown, the Connecticut suburb where holiday season joy is tempered by heartbreak around the anniversary of the nation’s worst grade school shooting. For former Sandy Hook students who survived the massacre, guilt and anxiety can intensify. For the parents, it can mean renewed grief, even as they continue to fight on their lost children’s behalf. Read more.

  • On 10th anniversary, a mom marks a decade since her 6-year-old’s death by helping ease others’ pain.
  • A Sandy Hook school psychologist died confronting the gunman. 10 years later, her husband still fights for change.
  • After Sandy Hook, the NRA launched a school security program. A review of its (minimal) impact.
  • Inflation slowed sharply but stayed high in November

    Inflation throttled back significantly for a second month in November as prices for goods that surged during the pandemic continued to dip. Still, inflation remained elevated as the cost of many services kept rising. Consumer prices increased 7.1% from a year earlier, down from a 7.7% rise in October and a 40-year high of 9.1% in June. The inflation increase was at the slowest pace since December 2021 and came in under expectations of 7.3%, which was predicted by some economists. But soaring food and rent costs again offset declining gas prices, according to the Labor Department’s consumer price index. Read more.

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  • What is inflation? Understand why prices rise, what causes it and who it hurts most.
  • The Fed is poised to announce a smaller rate hike, but those in debt find little relief.
  • When is the next Fed meeting? Here’s what to know and when to expect (another) Fed rate hike.
  • Just for subscribers:

  • 🔵 Private companies were found using immigrant labor, with the help of Arizona prisons.
  • 🔴 Opinion: Trump and his MAGA political movement are done. Republicans need their version of Biden.
  • 👯‍♂️ Why can’t we be friends? Lack of social contact harms Americans’ mental, physical health.
  • 💨 Pot for pain relief? What cannabis can (and can’t) do for chronic pain.
  • These articles are for USA TODAY subscribers. You can sign up here. Already a subscriber and want premium content texted to you every day? We can do that! Sign up for our subscriber-only texting campaign.

    Argentina routs Croatia en route to World Cup 2022 final

    Lionel Messi took center stage as Argentina dismantled Croatia Tuesday, 3-0, advancing to the World Cup final. The 35-year-old superstar scored Argentina’s opening goal from the penalty spot before assisting his team’s third, and Julián Álvarez’s second, to put the game out of reach. Read more.

    What’s next: Argentina will play the winner of Wednesday’s game between 2018 World Cup winner France and Morocco in the final Sunday.

    What’s at stake: Argentina will play for its third World Cup title and first since 1986. Messi, who has won Champions League titles and seven prestigious Ballon d’Or trophies, will be seeking his first title to cap off his historic career.

  • Column from Nancy Armour: Messi’s World Cup dream remains alive as Argentina advances to the final.
  • Messi set multiple records in Argentina’s World Cup victory Tuesday.
  • Julián Álvarez’s first goal was considered a beautiful ugly goal.
  • World Cup knockout stage: The bracket schedule and how to watch the last games.
  • Mississippi State football coach Mike Leach dies at 61

    Mississippi State head football coach Mike Leach died Monday night following complications from a heart condition, the university announced. He was 61. Leach was in his third season with the Bulldogs. He had served as a college football head coach for 21 seasons, with previous stops at Texas Tech (2000-09) and Washington State (2012-19). Read more.

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  • Remembering Mike Leach: What to know about coach’s family, football legacy.
  • Leach’s best quotes and funniest moments: From candy corn to Bigfoot to wedding advice.
  • Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin on the death of Mike Leach: “Can’t imagine college football without him.”.
  • USA TODAY Network column: Inside the mind of Mike Leach, and a legacy that will live on.
  • Mississippi State will still play in the ReliaQuest Bowl after coach Mike Leach’s death.
  • 📷 Photo of the day: Thousands watch Biden sign Respect for Marriage Act at the White House 📷

    LGBTQ advocates, plaintiffs in lawsuits who fought for marriage equality and Democratic and Republican lawmakers were among the thousands in attendance as President Joe Biden signed the Respect for Marriage Act into law at a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday.

    The ceremony featured performances from singers Sam Smith – who is nonbinary – and Cyndi Lauper, who sang “Stay With Me” and “True Colors” respectively. “We can rest easy tonight because our families are validated,” said Lauper, who has advocated for LGBTQ rights. “Now we’re allowed to love who we love.”.

    Click here for more photos from the ceremony.

    One more thing

  • 💸 After Tesla stock slide, Elon Musk is no longer richest person in the world, Forbes says.
  • 🎤 “The Voice” finale: Blake Shelton scores another victory with Season 22 winner.
  • ⚾️ Carlos Correa, San Francisco Giants agree to 13-year, $350 million deal – a record for a shortstop.
  • 🍿 “Avatar: The Way of Water” review: Prepare for a visually stunning return to Pandora.
  • 👖Prince William, Princess Kate wear matching jeans in uber-casual Christmas card: See it here.
  • Associated Press contributed reporting.

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