St. Louis Shooting, Rishi Sunak, and Squirrel Olympics Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Oct. 25, and we're covering a high school shooting in St. Louis, the UK's latest (and youngest) prime minister, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].


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St. Louis School Shooting

At least two people were killed and seven others injured after a gunman opened fire at a high school in south St. Louis yesterday morning. Police said the suspect also died at an area hospital after a standoff.


Shots were reported just after school began at Central Visual and Performing Arts High School—the oldest public high school west of the Mississippi River—with police arriving quickly to confront the shooter. Clad in black and appearing to be in his early 20s, the shooter carried a long gun into the reportedly locked school where seven security guards were on-site. Officials have not yet said how he was able to enter the building. The two unnamed victims were a woman and a teenage girl. 


Separately, the 16-year-old suspect in the shooting deaths of four students at a Michigan high school in November pleaded guilty yesterday to all 24 charges, including murder and terrorism. He is scheduled for a presentencing hearing in February.

Sunak Takes the Helm

Rishi Sunak has been elected as Britain’s new presumptive prime minister hours after Boris Johnson and Penny Mordaunt withdrew from the race. The 42-year-old Conservative Party leader will be the youngest to take office since 1812 and the country’s first prime minister of South Asian descent.


Sunak, the third prime minister in two months, was named finance minister in 2020 and has served as a member of parliament since 2015. His economic policies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic garnered widespread support; however, he resigned as finance minister in July 2022 amid a scandal involving a senior lawmaker. Sunak inherits a government in financial turmoil—a crisis he had predicted after Truss’ tax-cutting mini-budget. 


Although there is no official date for the UK’s next general election, it can be held no later than January 2025 (see process here). Sunak will officially become prime minister following Liz Truss’ resignation to King Charles.

America's Test Scores Drop

National test scores released yesterday show the largest math declines ever recorded for fourth and eighth grade students across the country, while reading levels dropped to the lowest level since 1992.


The results are from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the "nation's report card," which tests hundreds of fourth and eighth graders and was administered for the first time since 2019. The results are considered the first nationally represented study of the coronavirus pandemic's impact on learning. 


The findings show math scores for eighth graders fell in nearly every state, with the average math score dropping eight points since 2019, from 282 to 274, out of a possible 500. The average math score for fourth graders fell by five points. In reading, both grades' averages fell three points. Researchers say a 10-point decline or gain is equivalent to about a year of learning. See the data breakdown for math here and reading here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Hollywood talent agency CAA drops Kanye West as a client over repeated antisemitic comments made by West this month (More) | See background (More) | Leslie Jordan, Emmy-winning actor known for "Will & Grace," dies at 67 in car crash (More)


> Opening statements begin in Harvey Weinstein's trial in Los Angeles on 11 sexual assault-related charges; Weinstein is currently serving a 23-year sentence for similar crimes in New York (More)


> Brittney Griner's appeal hearing begins today in Russia; the WNBA star was sentenced to nine years in prison after a vape cartridge with hashish oil was found in her luggage (More)

Science & Technology

> Modified oxytocin, a naturally produced molecule known as the "love hormone," may help treat some forms of cognitive impairment in Alzheimer's patients, new study suggests (More)


> Oldest known human DNA from ancient Britain sequenced, reveals two distinct Paleolithic groups that migrated to the region at the end of the last ice age (More)


> Astronomers detect the lightest-known neutron star, at roughly 0.7 times the mass of the sun and about 12 miles wide; researchers say the hypercompact object cannot be explained within current theories of neutron star formation (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.2%, Dow +1.3%, Nasdaq +0.9%) for second consecutive session (More)


> Stocks of Chinese companies fall in global markets; Hong Kong index of Chinese stocks falls 6.4% in first trading day after President Xi Jinping’s third term announced (More)


> Tesla shares down 1.5% after lowering retail prices on vehicles in China (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng agrees to 42 months in prison as part of guilty plea deal in state trial over George Floyd's killing; ex-police officer Tou Thao agrees to a bench trial after pleading not guilty (More


> US Justice Department unseals charges against 13 Chinese nationals in three separate cases for allegedly trying to interfere with national security (More| Two Chinese intelligence officers were charged for obstructing a federal criminal prosecution in New York against Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei (More


> The Trump Organization's tax fraud trial begins with jury selection (More) | Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas temporarily halts subpoena for Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) testimony in Fulton County, Georgia, 2020 election interference probe (More



Social Media Philanthropy

Rest of World | Lucía Cholakian Herrera, Florencia Pessarini. Meet influencer Santiago Maratea, who has raised millions of dollars in charitable fundraising by harnessing people’s frustration with the Argentinian government. (Read)

The Haunted Apartment

Popula | Nathan MunnA writer reflects on a year spent living in a haunted apartment in Montreal, complete with a Ray Charles-loving spirit. (Read)



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See footage from this morning's partial solar eclipse.


Photos from Diwali celebrations around the world.


Wrestler who tackled a bear receives hero's welcome.


Why do people have slips of the tongue


A chaotically decorated home of a "Ghostbusters" fan.


... and why some of us enjoy the thrill of a good scare.


Visualizing the US cheese stockpile.


A world record for blowing peas.


Clickbait: Watch the ultimate backyard squirrel Olympics


Historybook: Artist Pablo Picasso born (1881); Benjamin O. Davis Sr. becomes first Black general in US Army (1940); Katy Perry born (1984); Hall of Fame golfer Payne Stewart dies in plane crash (1999).


"The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls."

- Pablo Picasso

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