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Anyone in the United States who wants a Covid-19 vaccine will be able to get one by June, according to an official with the White House vaccination initiative Operation Warp Speed. Before that happens, a vaccine needs to be cleared, and President Trump is asking questions about why the FDA has yet to grant emergency use clearance for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is expected to meet with the FDA commissioner today to discuss. More places are locking down, with experts fearing the number of coronavirus cases will continue to rise during the holiday season. Los Angeles County, the largest county in the United States, is now subject to a stay-at-home order. It’s also World AIDS Day today, a reminder that the coronavirus is not the only pandemic threatening lives across the world.
2. Transition to the White House
There is a glaring void in President-elect Joe Biden’s recent round of Cabinet choices: Secretary of Defense. Three candidates are ultimately in contention to lead the Pentagon, but Biden’s delay in nominating one has opened the candidates to scrutiny and could blur the selection process for this critical role. It doesn’t help that the Pentagon is currently undergoing a White House-led post-election purge. Chris Maier, the senior official leading the Defeat-ISIS task force, resigned yesterday. Maier is one of many senior officials to be sacked or asked to resign in recent days. Meanwhile, President Trump is still beating the drum of electoral fraud. But some Republicans in states Biden won, like Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, stand up for the electoral integrity of their states.
There likely won’t be widespread relief for struggling workers until next year. Congress virtually suspended discussions on a new stimulus bill in favor of passing a spending bill by December 11 to avoid a partial government shutdown. Some relief programs could be added to this bill, however, and it could extend some unemployment programs that will expire at the end of the year. However, a government watch report found that millions of unemployed Americans may not receive their full unemployment benefits. According to the United States Government Accountability Office, most states pay recipients of the Unemployment Pandemic Assistance Program the minimum benefit instead of the amount they are entitled to based on their previous earnings. States likely did this to set up the Small Worker and Other Self-Employed Program, but never recalculated the payments.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party has vowed to change details of a “global security” bill that would restrict the shooting of police officers. Macron’s party says the controversial part of the law in question was intended to protect police forces, but he will reconsider the wording to remove “the ambiguity.” Demonstrators have taken to French streets over the past week to protest the law and a “new national police system” announced in September. Protesters say the legal measures would expand the state’s right to monitor its citizens and limit coverage of political protests, which have been particularly controversial in recent years.
Australia is on fire again. Firefighters have been battling a massive bushfire over the popular tourist destination of Fraser Island for six weeks now as the country suffocated in its hottest November on record. Crews are also battling fires in dozens of other parts of Queensland and New South Wales. Bushfires are common across the country, but the particularly arid conditions of recent years have led to the flames worsening. Experts fear the continued record heat could spark another devastating bushfire season. The so-called Black Summer of last year was Australia’s worst bushfire season, burning nearly 30 million acres and directly killing at least 33 people and around 1 billion animals.
BROWSE THE BREAKFAST
White House Christmas decorations pay tribute to essential workers
They also feature 106 crowns, 62 trees and no less than 17,000 arches.
Alligators Can Regrow Their Tails, Study Finds
“It’s just a wound of the flesh. – An alligator, probably.
Chipotle adds smoked brisket to its menu for a limited time
It’s TOO early in the morning to want smoked bacon.
George Clooney has cut his hair with a Flowbee (!) For 25 years (!!!)
I bet you never thought you would see the words “George Clooney” and “Flowbee” in the same sentence.
The Word of the Year for Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com is…
This is roughly the number of postal votes that were requested by Georgian voters for the second round of the state Senate elections in January. If the Democratic challengers in both contests win, the Democrats will take control of the Senate with the decisive vote of the vice president.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Sorry for the Maori. The monocultural aspects of our journalism have not served Aotearoa New Zealand well. “
Mark Stevens, Editorial Director of Stuff, New Zealand’s largest media publisher. The brand, which has New Zealand’s largest news website as well as numerous regional and community titles, apologized for the way it portrayed the country’s indigenous people after an internal investigation found evidence of “racism and marginalization”.
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I don’t know about you, but I could watch murrine glass videos all day. They look like forbidden candy and make amazing art. (Click here to view.)