WASHINGTON (AP) — What many Americans hoped would be the first normal holiday season in three years has instead been thrown into crisis by inflation, with Christmas on the horizon. Food banks and charities across the country are reporting higher than expected levels of food insecurity as prices rise and food becomes less accessible to millions of American families.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s attorney general has asked the state medical licensing board to discipline an Indianapolis doctor who has spoken publicly about providing an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim who traveled from Ohio after its more-restrictive abortion law took effect. The complaint alleges Dr. Caitlin Bernard violated state law by not reporting the girl’s child abuse to Indiana authorities and violated patient privacy laws by telling a reporter about the girl’s treatment.

WASHINGTON (AP) — New York congressman Hakeem Jeffries has been elected House Democratic leader and will become in the new year the first Black American to lead a major political party in Congress. Democrats met Wednesday behind closed doors for the internal party elections as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her team step aside. House Democrats are ushering in a new generation of leaders.

WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — Tornadoes damaged numerous homes, destroyed a fire station, briefly trapped people in a grocery store and ripped the roof off an apartment complex in Mississippi and Alabama. Two deaths were reported as the storm front continued to threaten parts of the Deep South on Wednesday.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to allow police to use potentially lethal, remote-controlled robots in emergency situations. The vote Tuesday was 8 to 3. Civil rights advocates opposed the proposal, saying it would lead to further militarization of police. The San Francisco Police Department said it would like the option to deploy robots equipped with explosive charges to disable suspects when lives are at stake.

WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — Dozens of tornadoes struck overnight from Louisiana to Alabama, wrecking numerous homes, destroying a fire station and ripping the roof off an apartment complex. More than 50,000 people have been without power, and forecasters said Wednesday that the “threat for supercells capable of all severe weather hazards” continues in southern Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida panhandle.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a new initiative that would allow authorities to more aggressively intervene to help people in need of mental health treatment. The mayor said in announcing the program Tuesday that there is “a moral obligation” to act, even if it means providing care to those who don’t ask for it. The mayor’s directive would give outreach workers, city hospitals and police the legal authority to involuntarily hospitalize anyone they deem a danger to themselves or who is unable to care for themselves.

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — A Walmart employee who survived the mass shooting at a store in Virginia has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the company. Employee Donya Prioleau claims in her lawsuit that Walmart continued to employ the shooter “who had known propensities for violence, threats and strange behavior.” The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Chesapeake Circuit Court. Walmart, which is headquartered in Bentonville, Arkansas, didn't immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Residents in several towns across Louisiana and Mississippi have taken cover amid the blare of tornado sirens amid a severe weather outbreak erupting in the Deep South. There were no immediate reports of damage from the potent storms late Tuesday, but multiple tornado warnings were issued. More than 25 million people are in the path of the vast storm system moving from Texas to Indiana and Georgia.

HONOLULU (AP) — Lava is shooting into the air and flowing downhill as Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano erupts for the first time in nearly 40 years. For now, lava is not threatening any homes or communities and no evacuation orders have been issued. Lava could eventually reach neighborhoods on the eastern side of the Big Island though it could take a week or more for molten rock to reach populated areas. Mauna Loa is spewing sulfur dioxide and other volcanic gases which combine with other particles to form volcanic smog, or vog.

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