5 things for Thursday, October 6: Hurricane Matthew, Syria, President Obama

Hurricane Matthew strengthens as it approaches US
Hurricane Matthew strengthens as it approaches US

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    Hurricane Matthew strengthens as it approaches US

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Hurricane Matthew strengthens as it approaches US 01:37

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(CNN)Good Thursday morning. The great American clown freak out continues. And we don't live in a post-racial society after all. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. Hurricane Matthew

    Matthew will smash into Florida later today as a Category 4 storm, and millions are getting out of the way. And they should. Matthew will be the strongest hurricane the Sunshine State's seen in years, and it's already killed 15 people in the Caribbean. Coastal areas of Florida, South Carolina and Georgia are being evacuated, leading to long gas station lines, crammed highways and crowded grocery stores full of shoppers looking for supplies. Keep an eye on Matthew with this storm tracker.

    2. Syria

    In Syria, no one is safe, not even the folks who try to help. A center used by the White Helmets was destroyed by a barrel bomb in Damascus. The White Helmets are 3,000 civil defense volunteers who rush to the scene of airstrikes and other attacks to rescue people and save lives. Some White Helmet volunteers were injured in the barrel bomb attack.

    3. NSA

    A government contractor at the National Security Agency is accused of stealing top secret intelligence. Harold Thomas Martin III was arrested back in August. Officials said he had copies of "highly classified information" at his home. Martin's lawyers said there's no evidence he "betrayed his country."

    4. Israel

    The US is ticked off at Israel over its plan to build new housing tracts in the West Bank. US officials didn't mince words either, basically accusing the Israelis of breaking their word. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said new settlement construction would "undermine the pursuit of peace." The Israelis insist the additional housing is just the expansion of an existing settlement, not the creation of a new one.

    5. Race

    Remember the term "post-racial?" That was suppposed to be the America we would be living in after President Obama's historic election in 2008. Turns out that didn't happen. A new CNN/ORC poll says a majority of Americans say race relations between blacks and whites have worsened since Obama became president. And more people believe discrimination against blacks is a serious problem as is bias in the criminal justice system.

    BREAKFAST BROWSE

    People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
    Not funny
    Why are we freaking out over clowns? Reports of creepy clowns are popping up everywhere, but it's happened before, when the nation has felt stressed.
    Look out Lassie
    There's a new hero in town, and he's just 11 years old. A pug named Jaxon won an Idaho town's "Hometown Hero" award for saving his owners from a fire.
    Creepy close-up
    The Internet straight up freaked out over this menacing satellite image of Hurricane Matthew, which looks like a human skull with a toothy grin.
    I don't
    Aussie pop goddess Kylie Minogue is engaged, but she won't walk down the aisle anytime soon. She and her fiance won't tie the knot until same-sex marriage is legal in Australia.

    NUMBER OF THE DAY

    55%
    President Obama's approval rating in a new CNN/ORC poll, the highest mark of his second term and the best at any time since his first year in office.

    AND FINALLY ...

    One minute, 18 changes
    Did you know there's a Guinness World Record for most costume change illusions in one minute? We didn't either. Watch this couple set a new record.