It’s been a year since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash, and teammates and loved ones are still coming to terms with the loss.
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President Biden says he hopes the US will soon be able to administer 1.5 million doses of coronavirus vaccine a day, and the Defense Department is considering deploying thousands of troops to help reach that goal. One official said up to 10,000 troops could be involved. While Americans wait for vaccinations, health officials say they’re extremely worried about new Covid-19 variants detected in the US. One expert says everyday activities are now much more dangerous because of them. In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country’s borders may stay shut for most of the year to ward off outbreaks. At the core of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, the city of Manaus offers a cautionary tale for health care systems on the brink of collapse: tens of thousands of new graves, no beds or oxygen tanks and a second wave promising even more misery.
Send us your questions for President Biden’s Covid-19 team: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Rochelle Walensky and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith are joining Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a CNN Town Hall tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET, and they’ll answer questions from readers and viewers like you. Submit questions here.
2. White House
Biden has taken 33 executive actions in his first six days in office, and there are more to come. Some of these are aimed at bolstering economic stimulus initiatives, which could affect Americans who haven’t gotten stimulus money yet or are waiting on unemployment or housing assistance. Other developments: Janet Yellen has officially been confirmed as the first woman to be treasury secretary, and the administration says it will have an American Sign Language interpreter at all White House news briefings. Meanwhile, the Senate is finally moving forward on a power-sharing agreement after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded that Democrats not dismantle the filibuster, the classic legislative stalling technique. Now, the 50-50 Senate can officially organize so Democrats can take control of key committees.
Former President Trump is assembling a full legal team for his Senate impeachment trial, which starts in early February. Biden says that while he doubts enough Senate Republicans will vote to convict Trump and disqualify him from holding office in the future, the proceedings must happen. Further, nine prominent Republican lawyers, including two former officials in the Trump administration, have signed a letter urging GOP senators to “consider the evidence” before deciding how to vote, strongly implying that if the evidence leads them there, they should not choose partisanship over conviction. Elsewhere in Trump’s circle, Dominion Voting Systems is suing Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani for defamation, seeking $1.3 billion in damages. The election technology company has been at the center of baseless conspiracy theories about election fraud, which Giuliani has promoted.
Hundreds of thousands of farmers drove their tractors into the Indian capital of New Delhi today as part of ongoing, nationwide protests against controversial agricultural laws farmers say put their livelihoods at risk. Some farmers have been camping out outside the city in protest for up to two months. The massive displays of discontent have been a significant challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Months of demonstrations across the country have so far only resulted in deadlocked talks between farmers and his administration. Today’s planned protests coincide with India’s Republic Day, a national holiday that marks the first time India’s constitution went into effect in 1950 following independence from British colonial rule.
5. Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is declaring a state of emergency over gender-based violence after a wave of killings targeting women and transgender people. Newly minted Gov. Pedro Pierluisi announced an executive order aimed at preventing and protecting against gender-based violence through a number of programs, including a committee tasked with providing education, support and rescue around gender violence. The order is the culmination of years of efforts by activists and advocacy organizations to demand action in the US territory against the rise of gender-based violence, which has worsened in the face of the pandemic and natural disasters like 2017’s Hurricane Maria. Pierluisi says the state of emergency will last until the end of June 2022.
Reddit users are keeping GameStop stock afloat after an investor panned the beloved but struggling retailer
First dogs Champ and Major have moved into the White House
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes a bill that calls for creation of a Bigfoot hunting season
He says it could help tourism, but Bigfoot probably doesn’t agree.
Coke with Coffee is (finally) here
For when you want to be so awake you can TASTE SOUND.
Pizza Hut debuts a new Detroit-style pizza
What’s Detroit-style? Rectangular, covered to the brim with cheese and, like all regional variations of pizza, rabidly defended by locals.
That’s how many Black US senators there have been in the nearly 232-year history of the Senate. Newly elected Raphael Warnock, from Georgia, is the 11th. Only two of these senators have been women.
“The main motivation for us to keep doing what we’re doing in the face of all of this intimidation is because what we are doing is moral.”
Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine, who is out of house arrest after Ugandan security forces sealed him in his home for 11 days. Wine maintains the country’s recent election, during which President Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner for a record sixth term, was rigged and fraudulent.
At least one person is dead after a large and dangerous tornado ripped through the Birmingham, Alabama, area.
These glass sculptures are the result of an intense and rare type of craftsmanship. They’re also just downright pretty to look at. (Click here to view.)