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Georgia killings, stimulus checks could arrive, St. Patrick's Day: 5 things to know Wednesday

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Motive for killings at Georgia massage parlors not yet known

The killings of eight people at three Georgia massage parlors Tuesday evening by at least one gunman has left many Americans shocked Wednesday morning. Police are trying to determine a motive for the brazen attacks. Atlanta Police Department responded to two calls at two spas Tuesday evening and found three women dead when they arrived at the first. Another woman had been fatally shot at the second. Earlier, five people were shot in Acworth, about 30 miles north of Atlanta, a Cherokee County sheriff’s spokesman said. The Acworth shooting victims were two Asian women, a white woman and a white man, according to a local news report. The Cherokee County sheriff’s spokesman said Robert Aaron Long, 21, of Woodstock, Georgia, was taken into custody Tuesday night about 150 miles south of Atlanta. The Atlanta Police Department will hold a press conference Wednesday morning, but there is no word on the time or place yet.  

Green day: Your stimulus money may arrive today, St. Patrick’s Day

The green from the latest stimulus package will flow into many savings and checking accounts this St. Patrick’s Day. Eligible consumers will have access to their money by 9 a.m. local time, according to Nacha, the trade group that handles the processing of direct deposits. That means the “pending” status that many people saw on their bank accounts over the weekend could officially clear — as the IRS intended. There had been some confusion recently as to when people will have access to their cash via direct deposit after seeing “pending” action. So you may want to hold off pulling out your debit card for another few days, just to be on the safe side. As for St. Patrick’s Day, the coronavirus pandemic will likely lead to another year of muted celebrations, but thanks to craft beer, live-streamed concerts and seasonal delights, plenty of the excitement can still be enjoyed at home!  

Fed aims for tricky balance between wounded economy, booming outlook

With the economy now in the midst of a turnaround, Federal Reserve policymakers must walk a fine line as they conclude their two-day meeting Wednesday, economists say. Following the meeting, Fed Chair Jerome Powell will discuss the board’s revised forecasts for economic growth and inflation, which Goldman Sachs expects to be higher than its December estimates. If officials signal earlier and faster hikes in short-term interest rates to cut inflation, it could douse the recent stock market rally and crimp a recovery, economists say. On the other hand, if the Fed is too lackadaisical about inflation, that also could worry investors and inadvertently accelerate rising long-term rates, such as for home mortgages.

Drive to recall California Gov. Newsom faces milestone

Organizers of an effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday must submit nearly 1.5 million signatures needed to place the proposal before voters. If the signature drive is successful, the secretary of state’s office will conduct a review lasting several months. Newsom’s popularity has plummeted over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, an unemployment benefits scandal and his decision to attend an opulent party while telling residents to stay home. Newsom and his Democratic allies have cast the recall attempt as a “partisan” power grab. He tweeted Monday that he won’t be distracted by the recall attempt, “but I will fight it.”

Dangerous storms expected to hit the South, with tornadoes possible

Tens of millions of people across the South are in the path of severe weather on Wednesday and into Thursday, forecasters warned. The threat of tornadoes, hail and strong winds will start during the day and continue into the nighttime hours. Big cities at the highest risk include Memphis, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; and Little Rock, Arkansas. “It’s going to be one of the higher-end severe-weather events we’ve seen so far this year,” said Logan Poole, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson.

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