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News Wrap: Nor’easter knocks out power to 400,000 in Maine, Massachusetts

In our news wrap Thursday, New England is cleaning up after a powerful nor’easter lashed the region with heavy rain and wind gusting to 90 miles an hour. Some 400,000 customers in Maine and Massachusetts lost power. Also, about 25,000 teachers and staff are striking in Chicago, the nation’s third-largest public school district. They're demanding better pay and smaller classes, among other changes.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Britain and the European Union reached a tentative agreement for the United Kingdom's exit from the bloc.

    They said the deal announced today would ensure an open border between E.U. member Ireland and British Northern Ireland.

    In Brussels, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrated with handshakes, and urged Parliament to approve the deal.

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson:

    I hope very much now, speaking of elected representatives, that my fellow M.P.s in Westminster do now come together to get Brexit done, to get this excellent deal over the line, and to deliver Brexit without any more delay, so that we can focus on the priorities of the British people.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Parliament will convene a special session Saturday to vote. But the deal already faces opposition, including from within Johnson's government. Britain is set to leave the E.U. on October 31.

    We will discuss all of this after the news summary.

    New England — back in the U.S., New England is cleaning up after a powerful nor'easter lashed the region overnight and today. The storm brought heavy rain and wind gusts up to 90 miles an hour. In Roxbury, Massachusetts, storm surge washed boats ashore. Elsewhere, trees fell on homes and cars and downed utility lines. All told, 400,000 customers in Maine and Massachusetts lost power.

    Meanwhile, a drought across the Southeastern U.S. is worsening. More than 30 million people are affected from Alabama to Virginia. But some relief may be on the way. Forecasters say that a tropical storm may form tomorrow off the Gulf Coast, and move inland by the weekend.

    About 25,000 teachers and staff walked off the job today in Chicago, the nation's third largest public school district. They set up picket lines outside many of the district's 500 schools, demanding better pay and smaller class sizes, among other things.

  • Ann O’Brien:

    The only way that we get justice for our kids is by making sure that we, as teachers, who are their front line for defense, stand up for their needs. So we will stay out as long as it takes for us to be able to get the things that they need.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The strike has canceled classes for more than 360,000 students.

    The number of deaths related to vaping has climbed again, to 33, since March. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the new figure today. There is still no definitive cause for the deaths.

    Meanwhile, Juul Labs announced that it will stop selling vaping pods with fruit and dessert flavors. Juul is the country's bestselling e-cigarette brand.

    On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained about 24 points to close near 27026. The Nasdaq rose 32 points and the S&P 500 added eight.

    And veteran Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland died early today after longstanding health problems. The Baltimore Democrat was a highly regarded figure in both political parties and had been playing a central role in the impeachment inquiry.

    Amna Nawaz looks at his life and career.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Elijah Cummings spent a lifetime advocating for civil rights in his native Baltimore and beyond. After 13 years in the Maryland Statehouse, he came to Congress in 1996.

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.:

    My mission is one that comes out of a vision that was created long, long ago. It is a mission and a vision to empower people, to make people realize that the power is within them, that they too can do the things that they want to do.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Cummings pursued that vision as a vocal advocate for causes ranging from gun reform to immigration, and always racial justice.

    In 2015, he worked to restore calm when riots erupted in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man, in police custody.

    And at Gray's funeral, he gave an impassioned eulogy.

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings:

    I have often said that our children are the living messages we send to a future we will never see. But now our children are sending us to a future they will never see! There is something is wrong with that picture!

  • Amna Nawaz:

    This year, Cummings was equally fierce condemning the conditions in which migrant children were being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings:

    We are the United States of America. We are the greatest country in the world. We are the ones that can go anywhere in the world and save people, make sure that they have diapers, make sure that they have toothbrushes, make sure that they're not laying around defecating.

    Come on. We're better than that.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    As chairman of the House Oversight Committee, Cummings also launched investigations of President Trump. The president struck back, calling Cummings racist and branding Baltimore a rat-infested mess.

    Today, Mr. Trump tweeted condolences, saying — quote — "His work and voice on so many fronts will be very hard, if not impossible, to replace."

    In Congress, Cummings' colleagues paid tribute, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    In the Congress, Elijah was considered a North Star. He was a leader of towering character and integrity. He lived the American dream. And he wanted it for everyone else.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    That sentiment crossed the political aisle to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    He counted close friends and admirers from all across the political spectrum.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Cummings' death deprives House Democrats of a leading voice in the impeachment inquiry. But he left behind a legacy of clear-eyed views on Congress' duty.

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings:

    When we're dancing with the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019, what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact? Did we stand on the sidelines and say nothing?

  • Amna Nawaz:

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Amna Nawaz.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Congressman Elijah Cummings was 68 years old.

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