1. Government funding bill, and potential shutdown, is in the hands of the House

The House is poised to pass a government funding bill Wednesday — without the provision to defund Planned Parenthood — and avert a government shutdown. But it’s possible that showdown has only been delayed until the next fiscal deadline in December. House and Senate leaders plan to meet soon with President Obama to try to reach some kind of agreement on future spending levels to try to prevent this funding crisis from happening again.

2. You can now get an Amazon tablet for $50

Amazon begins shipping Wednesday for the new 7-inch Fire tablet. At $49.99, the product is designed specifically for consuming media, says Amazon’s David Limp. The tablets feature a quad-core processor, front- and rear-facing cameras and up to 128 gigabytes of expandable storage. While Apple has taken aim at the enterprise market with its new iPad Pro, Amazon sees its future in entertainment.

A “six pack” of Amazon Fire 7″ tablets are now available for pre-order and they will retail for $49.99 each, or $249.95 for a package of six, meaning holiday shopping could get interesting this year with Amazon’s announcement of the new tablet. The
USA TODAY

3. Tony Stewart to announce his retirement 

A dreaded day for many NASCAR fans arrives Wednesday: Tony Stewart will announce his intentions Wednesday to step away after the 2016 season, sources tell USA TODAY. Clint Bowyer is likely to take over the seat of the No. 14 Chevrolet beginning in 2017. The last few years have been filled with turmoil for Stewart, a three-time champion who was once a regular winner on the Sprint Cup Series circuit. The 44-year-old future Hall of Famer won 47 Cup races from 1999-2012 but has just one win in the past three seasons. The official announcement is set for 1 p.m. ET Wednesday in Kannapolis, N.C.

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4. Tropical Storm Joaquin could become a hurricane 

Tropical Storm Joaquin could churn into a hurricane Wednesday and track up the East Coast the next few days, according to the National Hurricane Center. Computer models show a wide array of possible paths for the storm, including a direct hit somewhere along the East Coast to a turn out to sea. Ahead of Joaquin (wah-KEEN), rain from other weather systems will soak much of the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Appalachians on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

5. Derrick Rose to undergo surgery

Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose sustained a left orbital fracture after getting elbowed in the face by a teammate during Tuesday’s practice. He will undergo surgery on Wednesday, the Bulls said. A timetable for his return will be established after surgery. It’s a setback for the Bulls, first-year coach Fred Hoiberg and Rose, who has consistently struggled with injuries since the 2011-12 season.

And, the essentials:

Weather: Heavy rain will drench much of the eastern third of the nation on Wednesday, while most of the rest of the country sees clear skies.

Stocks: U.S. stock futures were higher Wednesday and Asian stock markets rebounded, led by gains in Japan.

TV tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at The Middle, SVU and Black-ish.

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