Virginia Walmart shooting, Colorado Springs shooting, Taliban, TSA cat stowaway, Thanksgiving. Wednesday's news. – USA TODAY

A deadly wave of gun violence in the United States continues. The Taliban brought back a brutal form of punishment from its 1990s reign. And a stowaway was found at the airport in a traveler’s luggage.
ūüĎč Hello!¬†Laura Davis¬†here. It’s Thanksgiving Eve, which means my collard greens need to get cooking soon. In the meantime, here’s Wednesday’s news!
But first,¬†happy birthday, Lorene! ūüéāūü•≥ When her friends threw her first birthday party ‚Ästat 105 ‚Äď a North Carolina woman was hoping to get 105 cards. She got that, and a whole lot more.
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Flags across Virginia and Colorado were flying at half-staff on Wednesday, after a store manager opened fire at a Walmart, killing six people in the country‚Äôs second high-profile mass shooting in four days. As shoppers stocked up ahead of Thanksgiving, a man identified as a 31-year-old “team leader” who had worked for the company since 2010, opened fire in the break room during a team meeting of about 15 to 20 employees. The gunman, who apparently shot himself, was dead when officers found him, police said. There was no clear motive for the shooting, which also left at least six people wounded, including one critically. Follow our coverage.
Hours after a gunman opened fire in an LGBTQ nightclub late last weekend, Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert offered her prayers for the five people killed and the dozens of others wounded. The sympathetic words were a far cry from the language she often uses to denounce members of the LGBTQ community. A report in August that documented a surge in anti-LGBTQ rhetoric on social media by¬†public figures named Boebert as one of the worst offenders. Police¬†have yet to cite a motive in the¬†Colorado Springs attack, and the suspect’s defense team said in court documents that the suspect is nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns. Whatever the motive, gay-rights activists and their allies say inflammatory language¬†denigrating¬†LGBTQ people¬†fuels anti-gay stigma¬†and, in a worst-case scenario,¬†can lead to deadly violence. Keep reading.
Wilko Johnson, ‘Game of Thrones’ actor and guitarist, dies at 75.
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The Taliban lashed three women and nine men in front of hundreds of spectators in a provincial sports stadium Wednesday, signaling the religious extremist group‚Äôs resumption of a brutal form of punishment that was a hallmark of their rule in the 1990s. Hundreds of people attended the lashings, where those being punished received between 21 and 39 lashes each, after being convicted in a local court of theft and adultery, said an official in the governor‚Äôs office. Such public lashings, as well as public executions and stonings for purported crimes, were common during the first period of Taliban rule. After the Taliban returned to power in August 2021, they promised to be more moderate and allow for women‚Äôs and minority rights. Instead, they have restricted rights and freedoms, including a ban on girls’ education beyond the sixth grade.
Well, that was quite a cat-ch. ūüėĻ One very sneaky kitty apparently found its way into a traveler’s checked luggage at ¬†New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last week, the Transportation Security Administration said. The cat’s outline can be seen in an X-ray of the luggage the TSA shared of the “hiss-toric find.” A TSA officer found the orange cat after the bag “triggered an alarm” while going through the standard X-ray screening for checked luggage. The TSA retrieved the cat, which was alive. So, did the traveler know about the cat? Not so much. The TSA said the traveler said the cat belonged to someone else in his household. The cunning kitty was returned home, and the traveler was able to rebook his cat-free flight for the next day. See the X-rays.
ūüƧ What’s the weather up to in your neck of the woods? Check your local forecast here.
Thanksgiving is here! What y’all eating? Your Thanksgiving table might be filled with traditional favorites like turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes. But Thanksgiving can also bring up some heated disagreements. Is it stuffing or dressing? (Stuffing.) Are sweet potatoes better with or without marshmallows? (Neither.) What’s for dessert ‚Äď pumpkin pie, pecan pie, or other treats? (Pecan all day, every day.)¬†But what about the casseroles? Whether it be green beans, broccoli, corn, or yams, you can put just about anything in a pan and call it a casserole. Which one is the most popular in your state? Check out Google’s list.
Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Send¬†her an email at¬† or¬†follow along with her adventures ‚Äď and misadventures ‚Äston¬†Twitter.¬†Support quality journalism like this?¬†Subscribe to USA TODAY¬†here.
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