5 things you need to know Thursday

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    N.C. governor declares state of emergency after violent Charlotte protests

    The National Guard and Highway Patrol are assisting police in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, after Gov. Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency following a second night of protests that turned violent. Police and civilians clashed Wednesday night, and one civilian was put on life support after being shot by another civilian during Wednesday’s protest, authorities say. The chaotic scene came in the wake of the officer-involved shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott, a 43-year-old African-American man. Police say Scott was armed and ignored commands to drop his weapon. McCrory, Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and the state National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chapter called for peace.

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    U.N. to resume humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria

    The United Nations said it would resume humanitarian aid deliveries in Syria as early as Thursday, though none would go to the besieged city of Aleppo. The U.N. suspended aid deliveries after an airstrike this week hit a convoy, killing at least 20. Secretary of State John Kerry urged the grounding of all aircraft over parts of the war-torn country to “give a chance for humanitarian assistance to flow unimpeded.” The U.S.-Russian cease-fire that went into effect on Sept. 12 is now in grave jeopardy.

    U.S. defense officials believe that Russian planes were responsible for the attack on a humanitarian convoy in Aleppo on Monday. Time

    Not your ordinary Thursday night NFL game

    The NFL’s Thursday night games have sometimes been lackluster affairs, but tonight’s matchup between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans has some compelling storylines. For starters: Who will be the Pats’ quarterback? Will it be Jimmy Garoppolo, who is recovering from a shoulder injury, or third-string rookie Jacoby Brissett? Also, security at the Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., will be ramped up in the wake of the bombing in New York, stabbings at a Minnesota mall and a shooting rampage in Philadelphia. And Twitter will livestream the game for the second week in a row; more than 2 million tuned into last week’s game between the Bills and Jets .

    Fall starts Thursday. Here’s your forecast

    Looking forward to leaf-peeping, crisp weather, and the ongoing pumpkin spice craze? Thursday is the day you’ve been waiting for! The autumnal equinox, which marks the beginning of fall, is Thursday morning at 10:21 a.m. ET. But don’t look for a dramatic cool-down quite yet. Warm, summery temperatures are expected nearly everywhere except the northwestern and north-central U.S. Thursday. For the lucky folks in the Midwest, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic, some deliciously cool weather will finally be coming by the weekend. No relief is in sight, though, for long-suffering residents of the Deep South and southern Plains for at least the next several days, likely longer.

    Autumn is here! Take it all in! Drink cider, go apple picking, and watch the leaves fall. Speaking of which, here are the best places to see colorful autumn leaves! USA TODAY

    Get an early start to Kmart’s liquidation sales

    Kmart, the struggling big-box retailer, will start its liquidation sale Thursday following an announcement earlier this week that it will close 64 stores across the country. The latest round of cuts is hardly surprising as traditional brick-and-mortar retailers — such as Macy’s, Sports Authority and Walmart — have tried to stay competitive against highly profitable e-commerce sites. If you can’t make it to one of the closing Kmart locations this weekend, there’s still time: those stores won’t officially close their doors until mid-December.

    Kmart is closing 64 stores across 28 states and firing thousands of employees. Video by Time

    Bonus: PGA Tour bids farewell to 2016

    Golf’s top 30 players head to Atlanta as the tour’s season finale — and coronation of the FedExCup champion — gets underway at The Tour Championship on Thursday.  The Tour celebrates the 10th edition of the FedExCup, which rewards players for year-long excellence and postseason brilliance with a cool $10 million prize. Yet there’s a small a catch to this year’s edition: Officials decided to flip the nines at the East Lake Golf Club earlier this week to make the tournament’s conclusion more competitive and dramatic. Follow USA TODAY’s Steve DiMeglio for news and updates from Atlanta.

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    And the essentials:

    Weather: The first day of autumn will feature soggy weather for parts of the West, Midwest and Southeast while heat and humidity continues in the South and East.

    Stocks: Global stocks rose Thursday after the U.S. and Japanese central banks left interest rates unchanged.

    TV Tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at How to Get Away with Murder, Superstore and Grey’s Anatomy.

    Be inspired: A 9-year-old boy fighting cancer joins the police force — his dream come true.

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