In a stark contrast to past years, Times Square rained confetti on a sparse crowd of just a few people, most New Year’s celebrations were canceled and the world largely rang in 2021 behind closed doors due to fear of COVID-19 contagion. Russian President Vladimir Putin told Russians, who are experiencing a second wave, to “believe in yourself.” One crowded spot? Wuhan, the site of the original outbreak, where thousands of masked people danced and released balloons into the sky.
As of 11 p.m. London time last night, Britain is no longer part of the European Union. Prime Minister Boris Johnson — whose own father is currently applying for a French passport — called it an “amazing moment” despite widespread trepidation about what lies ahead. British territory Gibraltar, meanwhile, reached a deal to maintain freedom to travel visa-free to nearby Spain, though U.K. citizens in the rest of the country will lose their freedom to travel, work and settle easily within Europe.
President Donald Trump’s executive order blacklisting some Chinese telecom companies linked to the country’s military has gotten three firms delisted from the New York Stock Exchange, starting with a suspension Jan. 7. But it’s largely symbolic: All three companies are listed in Hong Kong and make their money almost exclusively in China. Many Chinese companies have made sure they’re also listed in Hong Kong and elsewhere as relations between China and the U.S. have worsened over the last few years.
4. Stock Market Soared in 2020 Amid Economic Devastation
The U.S. stock market closed 2020 at a record high, up more than 16 percent despite a year that ended with 20 million Americans out of work and 340,000 dead of COVID-19. That’s partly a function of how stocks work — they’re expecting better times ahead — but also of the inequalities that have seen the wealthy largely escape the worst of the pandemic. Meanwhile, those whose finances have been hardest hit now fear that banks may keep their $600 stimulus checks to cover overdrawn accounts.
The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally destroying more than 550 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been arrested. Sen. David Perdue, who’s facing a Jan. 5 runoff in Georgia to keep his seat, has quarantined after exposure to the coronavirus. And Tehran has accused President Trump of trying to fabricate an excuse to go to war with Iran.
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New year, new wise words? In our final "odd couple" matchup of the holiday season, we’re bringing you some of the best advice from those vying to be the greatest sage to have graced The Carlos Watson Show with their wisdom in 2020 — from ultimate meditation guru Deepak Chopra to veteran political strategist Donna Brazile. Whose words will you treasure heading into 2021? Check out the episodes here, and let us know which you pick by following The Carlos Watson Show on Instagram and voting in our Stories.
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This can’t wait. Earlier this week, U.K. officials announced that they’ll focus on getting high-risk people their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine without reserving enough to swiftly give a second dose. That could mean waits between doses of as long as 12 weeks — but Pfizer, the company that makes the vaccine, says there’s no data suggesting it will actually work with that long a gap between doses. Instead, they should be given three weeks apart, meaning those who were among the first to be vaccinated in Britain should already be gearing up for round two.
2. Biden Secret Service Team Changes Amid Loyalty Worries
President-elect Joe Biden is already receiving Secret Service protection, but the agency is bringing on guards who protected Biden during his stint as President Barack Obama’s VP — partly due to worries that the current team bears loyalty to President Trump, some reports say. In recent months, Trump’s opposition to mask-wearing as a public health measure played out in his protection detail, with some members reportedly pressuring others to not wear masks around the president despite the dangers of COVID-19.
3. Indigenous Groups Applaud Change to Aussie National Anthem
The government is changing its tune. Australia’s official national song, “Advance Australia Fair” — which was written in 1878 and became the anthem in 1984 — will see its first lyric change in decades. The line “we are young and free” will be changed to “we are one and free” to reflect the thousands of years of Indigenous culture long ignored by British settlers. It’s not the first lyric change to the song: The original refers to “Australia’s sons” rather than the current “Australians all.”
Once known as Zev Love X as a member of trio KMD, Daniel Dumile later reinvented himself as MF DOOM, a masked character based on Marvel’s Dr. Doom. It was in this persona that he released some of the most memorable hip-hop albums in history, including Mm..Foodand Madvillainy. But the British artist’s family confirmed on Instagram yesterday that Dumile passed away on Halloween 2020, without naming a cause of death. “Safe travels villain,” wrote Tyler, the Creator on Twitter in tribute.
5. Tulsa, Mississippi State Teams Brawl After Armed Forces Bowl
At least these forces weren’t armed. Moments after the college football game ended with a 28-26 Mississippi win, the two teams began physically fighting on the field, kicking and punching after a brief shoving altercation when they met for a postgame handshake. Tulsa and the American Athletic Conference vowed to investigate the incident, while Mississippi coach Mike Leach called the fight “solidly in the category of dumb.” But he added, “Where the dumb started, I'm not entirely sure."
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