Let's start with some good news: Students at Bristol University raised money to send a school janitor to Jamaica to see his family for the first time in nearly a decade. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Brett Kavanaugh
Emotional. Surprising. Upsetting. Illuminating. However you describe it, yesterday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing felt like history. Over more than four hours, Christine Blasey Ford recounted in harrowing detail the evening 36 years ago when she said Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh "got on top" of her and tried to take off her clothes. When it was Kavanaugh's turn yesterday to speak, he launched into an emotional and angry defense, denying the claims and calling the process "a circus" and a "national disgrace."
The proceedings struck different chords with different people. Ford's allies called her testimony credible, and women around the country were reportedly moved by her openness. Backers of Kavanaugh defended his emotional outburst, characterizing it as righteous anger over erroneous claims.
Either way, it all comes down to a vote today. The Senate panel is due to meet at 9:30 a.m. ET, and so far, a small group of Republicans remains publicly undecided on Kavanaugh's confirmation. If he does get enough votes, the process could roll on quickly, with a procedural vote Saturday at noon.
2. Elon Musk
Elon Musk has been served. The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Tesla's CEO yesterday for making "false and misleading" statements to investors. This goes back to a tweet he sent in August about taking Tesla private. The SEC says Musk was essentially bluffing to goose stocks -- he never had the means or plans to take the company private at all. Tesla stock sank 12% after the suit was announced, but the real shocker is the SEC wants a judge to bar Musk from serving as an officer or director of a public company. That would be a serious punishment for a very serious accusation.
Five South American countries and Canada want Venezuela investigated for possible crimes against humanity. The leaders of Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Canada signed a joint statement asking the International Criminal Court to look into claims of extrajudicial murder, torture and the arbitrary detention of political opponents and protesters. Not surprisingly, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro called the humanitarian crisis in his country a "fabrication" and slammed the critical nations and the US, which just sanctioned his wife. Venezuela has grappled with food shortages, inflation and political turmoil under Maduro's rule.
Two serious storms are keeping the world on edge this weekend. Typhoon Trami is headed toward Japan, and while it has weakened a lot, meteorologists say it could pick up speed and hit the country's main islands with the force of a Category 3 hurricane. Meantime in the eastern Mediterranean, a powerful and rare storm is poised to hit. It's unofficially called a "Medicane" (Mediterranean + hurricane), and it's like a hurricane and a typhoon combined. The storm triggered flash floods across Northern Africa in the past few days and is now aiming for parts of Greece and Turkey with strong winds and heavy rain.
5. Water landing
What could have been a disaster in the western Pacific instead ended as a miracle. A Boeing 737 aircraft carrying 47 people crash-landed into the sea off a small island in Micronesia after the pilot missed the runway while trying to land. All aboard the Air Niugini flight -- 35 passengers and 12 crew members -- managed to escape. Photos from the scene show the plane partially submerged, about 1,600 feet from the runway.
Young rapper reportedly hospitalized for eating too many hot Cheetos
Prince posthumously awarded honorary degree from University of Minnesota
"He was music, kind of like how God is love," his sister said in accepting it.
This start-up wants to turn your car into a vending machine
"Yeah ... been there, done that." -- Every parent ever
Egyptians have been mummifying bodies for even longer than we thought
Turns out drying people out is a pretty time-honored way of keeping them together for the afterlife.
Bed Bath & Beyond reports awful sales, stocks at an 18-year low
Quick, everyone, register for some hand towels and wedding china!
IT'S THE WEEKEND BABY
Need to relax and escape? We don't blame you. Take in the new animated movie "Smallfoot" -- CNN's Brian Lowry says the clever story about a group of Yetis and a human "carries a big message that feels particularly timely." Or check out "The Old Man and the Gun," a "classic cat-and-mouse tale" about a trio of aging bank robbers. It stars Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek.
According to the CDC, 80,000 Americans died last winter as a result of what common illness?
A. The common cold
C. The flu
Play "Total Recall: The CNN news quiz" to see if you're right.