Not all heroes are grown-ups

Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate change activist who is known for her bluntness, told Democratic lawmakers at a Senate forum Tuesday to “save your praise.

Ashley Shaffer writes The Short List newsletter for USA TODAY. To subscribe to this snappy news roundup, click here.

One of our planet's “greatest advocates” challenges Congress. A gruesome video takes on school shootings. And what the Fed rate cut means for your wallet. 

Here's the news everyone's talking about today.

But first, ✈️ legroom: Yes, you can move into that empty, super-spacious seat on your next flight. But it'll cost you

'I want you to take real action'

Greta Thunberg, a teen climate change activist from Sweden who traveled to America on a boat to reduce emissions, has a simple message for Congress: Do something. Thunberg appeared at a Capitol Hill hearing Wednesday to discuss climate change and the next generation. Instead of a lengthy opening statement, Thunberg simply offered a copy of a 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that emphasizes the dire threat posed by human-caused global warming. "I don’t want you to listen to me," Thunberg told lawmakers. "I want you to listen to the scientists. And I want you to unite behind the science. And then I want you to take real action." Former President Barack Obama called Thunberg "one of our planet's greatest advocates." 

Greta Thunberg expresses her environmental advocacy outside the World Economic Forum's annual meeting on Jan. 25 in Davos, Switzerland.

School safety awareness goes right for the gut

A chilling new PSA gives a nightmarish look at school shootings – and it’s hard to watch. The 67-second video, which debuted Wednesday, shows what looks like a typical American middle school. Then students begin running for their lives as gunshots explode in the background. The ad is the latest gut-wrenching video by the school safety advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise showing kids dealing with America’s reality – the threat of gun violence in everyday life. “We don't have to accept this as the new normal,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder of Sandy Hook Promise. Her 6-year-old son, Dylan, was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. He would have started eighth grade this fall. 

Sandy Hook Promise presents a student's worst nightmare.

What everyone’s talking about

You're going to want to stay inside for this one

Three people have died from the rare and dangerous mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis in Michigan amid the biggest outbreak in more than a decade. Four others have been sickened by the disease, state health officials said Tuesday. An alarming statistic: One in three people who are infected with the mosquito-borne virus die. State health officials urge those who live in affected counties to consider canceling or rescheduling outdoor events that occur at or after dusk – when mosquitoes are most active. 

The Fed rate cut is good news for your wallet ... mostly

The Federal Reserve just trimmed its key interest rate by a quarter percentage point in an effort to keep our economy growing. What does this mean for you? In short: Borrowing will cost less, but savings will generate lower returns. The cut will probably set off a domino effect, pushing down rates for credit cards, home equity lines, adjustable-rate mortgages and auto loans. But it will squeeze savers who were just starting to benefit from higher savings account yields.

Real quick 

There's more Taylor Swift and Kanye West drama

We're here for it. Taylor Swift is digging into one of the most fraught relationships of her career – not with one of her celebrity exes but with Kanye West. In a Rolling Stone cover story, Swift describes (in glorious detail) how she attempted to reconnect with Kanye after his infamous onstage crashing of her Video Music Awards speech in 2009. As Swifties know, she and West's issues snowballed into disaster after that. "I realized he is so two-faced," she said. "That he wants to be nice to me behind the scenes, but then he wants to look cool, get up in front of everyone and talk (expletive)." You really have to read it for yourself (get some popcorn, too).

Kanye West apologized to Taylor Swift over their MTV run-in, and said he would run for president.

This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Greta Thunberg, Taylor Swift, Robert O'Brien, rates: Wednesday's news