5 things to know for August 31st: Idalia, Johannesburg, Mitch McConnell, Russia, cannabis


With AI-generated imagery and deeply faked videos increasingly realistic, tech companies are scrambling to find reliable ways to identify and report manipulated content. Google this week unveiled an invisible, permanent watermark on photos that would identify them as computer-generated, but warned that “the technology isn’t perfect”.

Here’s what else you need to know Get up to speed and get on with your day.

Idalia is now a tropical storm moving offshore South Carolina after hitting Florida’s Gulf Coast as a powerful Category 3 hurricane on Wednesday. It’s the strongest storm to make landfall in Big Bend, Florida — the corner between Beggar and the Peninsula — in more than 125 years. Hurricane Adalia also struck parts of southeast Georgia and the Carolinas, dumping more than 9 inches of rain on coastal areas and causing widespread power outages. Forecasts indicate that tropical storm winds will continue to affect parts of the southeastern coast of the United States today while crews assess the damage.

Learn about ways you can help support relief efforts by clicking here.

At least 73 people have died and dozens injured after a fire broke out in a five-storey building overnight in central Johannesburg while several people were sleeping inside. The building houses “hundreds” of informal settlements, according to a spokesman for the city’s emergency services. Local authorities said the apartments in the building, intended to house up to three people, had been divided into zones to accommodate several people. Footage after the scene showed onlookers huddled around burned and cordoned-off areas, broken glass windows and clothes strewn around the building. The cause of the fire remains unclear, but authorities have given no indication that it was intentional.

David Mackenzie Joburg

CNN at the scene of the deadly fire in Johannesburg

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze for about 30 seconds on Wednesday as he spoke with reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky. This incident is similar to an incident witnessed by McConnell in the US Capitol building last month, and raises additional questions about the fitness of the 81-year-old McConnell to lead the Republican bloc in the Senate. A McConnell spokesperson told CNN that the GOP leader “was momentarily dizzy and paused during his press conference today.” A McConnell aide added: “While he feels fine, as a precaution, the leader will consult a doctor before the next event.”

Mitch McConnell and Sanjay Gupta

Hear what amazed Gupta about McConnell appearing frozen at the press conference

Russia destroyed a drone that was approaching Moscow today, the city’s mayor said, a day after the country suffered its biggest drone attack since the start of the war in Ukraine. Russian officials said most of Wednesday’s attacks in multiple regions were thwarted, with no casualties reported. However, Ukraine has been increasingly emboldened to strike strategic targets inside Russia from the air in recent weeks, ushering in a new phase of the conflict. It comes after officials in Kiev said Russia bombed the Ukrainian capital with “massive” bombing earlier this week. The head of the city’s military administration said: “Kiev has not seen such a strong attack since the spring.”

Rescue workers work at the site of buildings damaged during the night by Russian drone and missile strikes, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv region, Ukraine, August 30, 2023.

The largest drone attack on Russian soil since the invasion of Ukraine

A senior official with the Department of Health and Human Services called for easing restrictions on marijuana by reclassifying it as a Schedule III substance in a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Drug Enforcement Administration has now begun reviewing the drug, which is currently classified as a Schedule I controlled substance — reserved for more dangerous substances, including heroin and LSD. And last year, President Joe Biden urged a review of how marijuana is scheduled under federal law. The letter received this week containing a recommendation from the Department of Health and Human Services is one step in this comprehensive process. After that, the DEA will have final authority to make any changes to marijuana scheduling, and will go through a rule-making process that includes a period for the public to comment before any scheduling action is finalized.

The blue moon lights up the night sky
The rare blue moon was a beautiful sight on Wednesday, but don’t worry if you missed it. Here are the full dates for the remaining four moons in 2023.

Tyrannosaurus racers have a great chance of arriving at last
These adorable 4-year-old friends lost the Tyrannosaurus race but won so many hearts! Watch the video here.

‘Bachelorette’ star Matt James’ mother will be in ‘Golden Bachelor’
The highly anticipated senior dating show starring 71-year-old Jerry Turner has a familiar face among the newly announced cast!

Novak Djokovic advances to the third round of the US Open, defeating Bernabé Zapata Miralles
The world No. 2 tennis pro continues to impress on his return to Flushing Meadows.

A painting purchased at a thrift store for $4 can fetch $250,000 at auction
One lucky woman was surprised to learn that the painting she had bought at a thrift store was, in fact, an original piece by the prolific artist N.C. Wyeth.

That’s the number of people who attended the women’s volleyball game between the University of Nebraska and in-state rival Omaha on Wednesday, setting a world record for the largest crowd ever at a women’s sporting event, according to the school.

“I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and start working with my new colleagues to build a successful future for CNN.”

Mark ThompsonIn a statement on Wednesday after being named the next leader of CNN. Thompson, former chief executive of The New York Times and managing director of the BBC, said he “could not be more excited about the opportunity to join CNN after years of watching it and competing against it with a mixture of admiration and envy.” “.

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BUNOL, SPAIN - AUGUST 30: Revelers pose for photographers as they arrive at the Town Hall Square in the back of a truck containing tomatoes during the annual Tomato Festival on August 30, 2023 in Bunol, Spain.  The tomato-throwing ceremony in the streets of Bunol in Valencia brings together about 20,000 people, with around 150,000 kilograms of tomatoes being thrown every year, this year against the backdrop of soaring food prices affected by Spain's historic drought.  (Photo by Zoe Voighten/Getty Images)

Thousands crowd the city streets for a huge fight for food

Huge tomato fight
Huge crowds packed the streets of Bunyol, Spain, on Wednesday, armed with tomatoes, for the city’s annual food fight festival known as La Tomatina. Watch the video here!

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