Advertisement

Do you have rizz?

How can I find out if I have rizz? A former U.S. ambassador is accused of secretly spying for the Cuban government. And some preppers are prepping as the next election approaches.

👋 Hey hey! Laura Davis here. Let’s get going with Monday’s news.

But first: Run, run Rudolph! 🦌 Video shows deer crashing through an elementary school with police in hot pursuit.

The Short List is a snappy USA TODAY news roundup. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

The year of rizz

This year's Word of the Year has rizz. And it also is "rizz." The Oxford University Press announced Monday it has deemed "rizz" as the 2023 Word of the Year. A slang word popularized by social media, rizz was chosen from a pool of eight words by language experts with input from the public. "Given that last year, ‘goblin mode’ resonated with so many of us after the pandemic, it’s interesting to see a contrasting word like rizz come to the forefront, perhaps speaking to a prevailing mood of 2023," president of Oxford Languages Casper Grathwohl said in a press release. Do you have rizz? Here's what to know.

  • 📖 What does it mean? "Rizz" is basically short for "charisma," and describes someone's ability to flirt and attract someone romantically. It can be used as a noun or a verb, depending on the context.

'No safe area' for fleeing Gazans

Safety options for civilians in southern Gaza continued to diminish Monday as Israeli forces paired an expanded ground attack with repeated airstrikes in their attempt to eradicate Hamas militants from the strip. Israel had told Palestinians in Gaza's second-largest city, Khan Younis, to head south toward the border town of Rafah in anticipation of heavy bombardment and the approach of ground forces. That led to massive displacement, in many cases of the same people who had fled the battered north, further deteriorating the enclave's humanitarian crisis. "They tell you it is a safe area, but there is no safe area in all of the Gaza Strip," said Salah al-Arja, whose house was destroyed. 👉 Follow our live coverage.

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip gather at a tent camp in Rafah, southern Gaza strip on Monday.
Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip gather at a tent camp in Rafah, southern Gaza strip on Monday.

Real quick

The Short List is free, but several stories we link to are subscriber-only. Consider supporting our journalism and become a USA TODAY digital subscriber today.

DOJ: Former diplomat was a secret agent for Cuban government

A former U.S. diplomat and ambassador to Bolivia has been charged with working for more than four decades as a secret agent for the Cuban government, according to the Justice Department. Manuel Rocha, who was arrested Friday and appeared in federal court on Monday, is accused of "serving as a covert agent" to support Cuba's "clandestine intelligence-gathering mission against the United States," a complaint filed in U.S. District Court states. Investigators say Rocha, 73, provided the U.S. with false and misleading information "to protect his secret mission"; traveled outside the U.S. to meet with Cuban operatives; and made false statements to obtain travel documents. 🔎 Take a closer look at the allegations.

Manuel Rocha, then the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, speaks to the press in La Paz in 2001.
Manuel Rocha, then the U.S. ambassador to Bolivia, speaks to the press in La Paz in 2001.

2024 election chaos has some 'preppers' prepping

Collapse of society? No problem for the relatively small – but growing – segment of Americans who consider themselves "preppers": People prepared to survive without government assistance during disasters. As the 2024 election approached, more Americans say they're ready should disaster strike. Experts say a failure or perceived failure of government is almost always the trigger for people to begin prepping – and that the recent number of younger, more liberal people prepping could indicate a loss of trust in government. 👉 Here's what to know.

Drew Miller shows off a small drone and other supplies at the southern Colorado location of the Fortitude Ranch emergency preparedness or "prepper" community.
Drew Miller shows off a small drone and other supplies at the southern Colorado location of the Fortitude Ranch emergency preparedness or "prepper" community.

A break from the news

Laura L. Davis is an Audience Editor at USA TODAY. Say hello: laura@usatoday.com. This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Support quality journalism like this? Subscribe to USA TODAY here.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Oxford's Word of the Year, Israel-Hamas war, Manuel Rocha: Monday's news