Want to catch up with the news quickly? Here are the top stories from Wednesday, September 27, 2023.
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1. Senator Menendez pleads not guilty to bribery charges, refuses to resign
Sen. Bob Menendez pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges relating to an alleged bribery conspiracy. The New Jersey legislator has been charged with three counts, which include allegedly taking bribes to help the government of Egypt obtain military aid, as well as pressuring a state prosecutor investigating New Jersey businessmen.
The bribes allegedly involve payments in gold bars, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, and a luxury car in return for giving sensitive information to the Egyptian government. Menendez has stated he will not resign.
2. An El Niño winter is coming for the United States
This winter will be the first in a few years to feel the effects of El Niño, which is expected to have a sizable impact on the weather during the coldest months of the year.
El Niño is one of three phases of the El Niño Southern Oscillation — irregular variations in wind and water temperatures over the Pacific Ocean, which affect weather patterns. The El Niño phase occurs when ocean temperatures are warmer than normal for an extended period.
This year’s El Niño began in June, is expected to be strong this winter, and will likely last at least into early next spring, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
3. Virginia police stop "potential active shooter" inside church
Fairfax County police arrested 35-year-old Rui Jiang inside a church in Virginia after being tipped off to "vague threats" on Instagram by a local woman. Jiang was found with a loaded semi-automatic pistol, an additional magazine, a folding knife, and a folding "credit card"-style knife.
Fairfax Police Chief Kevin Davis said: "This was a thwarted diabolical plot to kill churchgoers in Haymarket, Virginia, and local law enforcement stopped it."