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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Oct. 4, and we're covering a historic vote against House leadership, the Catholic Church's future, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

McCarthy Out as Speaker

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) was ousted as House speaker yesterday after the House voted 216 to 210 on a resolution from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R, FL-1) to vacate the leadership role. McCarthy, who had been in the post for under nine months, becomes the first House speaker in US history to be removed from office. 


Rep. Patrick McHenry (R, NC-10) is now the interim speaker, known as speaker pro tempore. McHenry was the first on a list of backup speakers McCarthy had submitted to the House clerk in January, as required by House rules. As speaker pro tempore, McHenry will oversee an election for the next speaker. House Republicans reportedly plan to hold a candidate forum next Tuesday and an election next Wednesday. McCarthy announced he won't run again.


Eight House Republicans joined 208 House Democrats in voting to oust McCarthy (see breakdown). House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8) had urged House Democrats to support the measure as a bloc.


McCarthy became House speaker in January following 15 rounds of voting across four days, during which he agreed to a number of concessions, including lowering the threshold to force a vote to remove the speaker to one member.


Catholic Synod Begins

Pope Francis opened a gathering of Roman Catholic delegates today in Vatican City to discuss the future of the Catholic Church and how it can be more consultative in its governance. The assembly is part of the Synod on Synodality, an initiative Pope Francis launched in October 2021 and the most extensive since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.


This synod marks the first time laypeople, including women, have been granted voting rights. The topics under discussion—many previously considered off-limits—include the elevation of women in ministry, welcoming of divorced individuals and the LGBTQ+ community into the church, and priest celibacy and marriage.


The perception of the synod is divided among Catholics, with some hoping for sweeping reforms while others worry about potential breaches of established doctrine. Francis has historically sought to create a more inclusive church that respects all expressions of faith across the globe.


The synod will run through Oct. 28 with 365 voting members, 54 of whom are women. A second session will happen next year; no immediate changes are expected. See how a synod runs here.


National Emergency Alert Test

Simultaneous tests of the nation's wireless and broadcast alert systems will ping cellphones, TVs, and radios across the US today at 2:20 pm ET, the first such nationwide test since August 2021. 


The less-than-one-minute alert—which can be deployed by only the US president or the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency—is designed to evaluate the network's effectiveness in communicating national alerts within 10 minutes. The system has its roots in the Cold War when officials sought a quick way to warn Americans of a possible attack from the Soviet Union. State and local governments frequently deploy similar systems for weather alerts.


The cellphone notification will consist of a two-second tone followed by two one-second tones, a cycle which will be repeated twice, similar to Amber Alerts (listen here). Phones that are powered off, in airplane mode, or connected to the internet only through Wi-Fi will not receive the alert. 

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> Twenty-five finalists for the 2023 National Book Awards announced; winners in each of the five categories to be announced Nov. 15 (More)

> Canadian musician Grimes files lawsuit against Elon Musk over parental rights to their three children (More)

> Beyoncé's 39-city Renaissance World Tour wraps, bringing in $579M in revenue; a film of the tour will be released Dec. 1 in theaters (More)

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Science & Technology

> Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to three scientists for developing attosecond pulsed lasers; approach can measure electron dynamics on time scales of one-billionth of one-billionth of a second (More) | Chemistry prize to be announced this morning at 5:45 am ET (More)

> Researchers develop new test to identify the presence of DNA with 100 times the sensitivity of existing devices (More)

> World Health Organization endorses second malaria vaccine for global use; shot was at least 75% effective in preventing the disease in trials and costs around 70% less per dose than the current vaccine (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.4%, Dow -1.3%, Nasdaq -1.9%) as Treasury yields reach highest level since 2007 (More) | Average US 30-year mortgage rate up to 7.72%, highest level since 2000 (More)

> Elon Musk ($251B), Jeff Bezos ($161B), Larry Ellison ($158B) top Forbes 400 list of America’s richest people; Michael Jordan ($3B) becomes first athlete to join the list (More)

> General Motors posts 21% Q3 growth over last year; other carmakers post strong revenue growth (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> United Nations authorizes multinational security force to combat gang violence and help restore order in Haiti; effort will be led by Kenyan troops (More) | See overview of the country's collapse (More)

> Hunter Biden pleads not guilty to three federal gun charges (More) | Trial proceeded after a plea deal fell apart in July; see previous write-up (More) | Judge overseeing civil fraud trial against former President Trump issues limited gag order over inflammatory remarks by Trump about court staff (More)

> Michigan Supreme Court rules parents of mass shooter who killed four and injured seven in 2021 attack at Oxford High School must stand trial; pair becomes the first parents to face charges linked to school shootings in the US (More)

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Editor's note: More than 10 million monthly clicks can't be wrong. Here are the most popular stories we ran in September. Enjoy!


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Clickbait: Brain-invading rat worms spread in southeast US.


Historybook: Rembrandt dies (1669); Orient Express makes first run from Paris to Romania (1883); Hollywood legend Charlton Heston born (1923); Sputnik 1 is first artificial satellite to orbit Earth (1957); Rocker Janis Joplin dies (1970).

"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got."

- Janis Joplin

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