5 things you need to know Thursday

Candidates, friends and spouses — Hey, Melania! — beat their battleground drums

Welcome to the trail, Melania! Donald Trump’s wife will speak in the Philadelphia suburbs Thursday about women and children and tell her “real American story,” according to the campaign. Both camps are hitting key combat zones hard with the election just five days away. According to his campaign schedule, Donald Trump has stops in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Running mate Mike Pence has stops in Iowa, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton has a longer list of surrogates lining up Thursday. She will be in North Carolina, and is sending Tim Kaine, President Obama, Bernie Sanders, Chelsea Clinton and Anne Holton all to separate states. Let the final furlongs begin!

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Kevin Duran faces his old team for the first time

It will be interesting to see how this reunion plays out when former longtime teammates meet as opponents for the first time in their NBA careers on Thursday at Oracle Arena in Oakland (10:30 p.m. ET. TNT). Kevin Durant and the Warriors are set to face Russell Westbrook and the Thunder for the first time since Durant left Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State in July. Durant took some time recently to clear the air in a chat with USA TODAY Sports. Westbrook got off to a hot start without his former teammate, being one of the top five performers in the first week of the NBA season. It’s clear Westbrook is ready to move on from all the talk about Durant’s departure.

USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick discusses the upcoming reunion between Kevin Durant and his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder. USA TODAY Sports

Opening statements in S.C. cop shooting trial set to begin

With jury selection complete, opening statements in the murder trial of former North Charleston, S.C., police officer Michael Slager, 34, are scheduled to begin Thursday. The jury, mostly white, will decide if the fatal shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, constitutes murder. The shooting, which happened more than 18 months ago after a traffic stop, bolstered protests and national conversations about race and policing. Taking center stage in the legal drama is video footage taken by a man walking past the scene that showed Scott running away, and Slager raising his gun and firing eight times. Slager, who was fired from the force and charged with murder within days of the shooting, could face 30 years in prison if convicted.

As family and friends attend the funeral for Walter Scott, South Carolina police have released new dashcam video from the moments following his deadly shooting. VPC

Volkswagen to negotiate separate deal for 3-liter diesel vehicle owners

A federal judge is scheduled to receive updates from Volkswagen and negotiators Thursday on progress on a settlement concerning vehicles with 3-liter diesel engines. The hearing is separate from the sweeping multibillion-dollar settlement the judge authorized in October stemming from the German automaker’s admission that it rigged 11 million vehicles worldwide with software designed to dodge emissions standards, prompting criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and German prosecutors.  More than 80,000 owners of 3-liter diesel vehicles were fitted with defective software. They are expected to receive a similar deal to the one that was given to VW 2-liter owners, including buybacks or a free fix and compensation.

Volkswagen agreed to a $14.7 billion settlement for cheating on emissions tests. Newslook

Murderer for hire set for execution Thursday in Alabama

The Alabama Department of Justice is scheduled to go through with the execution of a convicted hitman Thursday night at a state prison in Alabama, despite the inmate’s attempts to halt the procedure. Tommy Arthur, who was convicted in the 1982 killing of a man in a murder-for-hire agreement, had filed a lawsuit  challenging the state’s death penalty procedure as unconstitutional; a federal judge dismissed it, and in a split decision on Wednesday, an appellate court upheld the judge’s dismissal. Arthur intends to take his case to the Supreme Court, said a spokesman for his lead lawyer, Suhana Han.

And the essentials:

Weather: A cold front will bring showers to the East on Thursday, which will bring an end to the recent warm spell.

Stocks: Asian stock markets were mostly lower Thursday, spooked by concerns over the outcome of the U.S. election.

TV Tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at Pitch, Mom and Legends of Tomorrow.

Be inspired: Mini horse rides to the rescue of hospital patients.

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