Roe v. Wade faces its most serious challenge in 30 years
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Dec 03, 2021
Devastating drought ravages East Africa, putting millions at risk of starvation. Omicron sparks worldwide anxiety — and new restrictions — as it spreads in South Africa and around the world. And in the U.S., after a lot of wheeling and dealing, the Democratic-controlled Senate passed a 12 week stop-gap spending measure to avert a government shutdown. All this and more in today’s Presidential Daily Brief.
1 - Omicron Spreading
The new variant sparks worldwide anxiety as it spreads in South Africa
Driven by the Omicron variant, Covid cases in South Africa have risen from 8,500 two days ago to 11,500 yesterday, a sharp uptick from the 200-300 new cases logged every day in mid-November. South African officials observe that prior Covid infections don’t translate into Omicron immunity, but that vaccines do seem to provide protection against severe disease. Omicron has now been detected in at least 23 other countries and officials worldwide are rushing to respond. Germany is effectively implementing a lockdown for the unvaccinated, parts of the UK are pushing a 4th shot, and President Biden is tightening travel restrictions and pushing for free home tests. (Sources: BBC, Fox News, Axios)
2 - Close Call
Government shutdown avoided
After a lot of wheeling and dealing, Washington avoided a government shutdown. The Democratic-controlled Senate passed a 12 week stop-gap spending measure shortly after its passage in the House. Had a shutdown occurred, key government medical researchers could have been laid off despite an ongoing pandemic. While several Senate Republicans had vowed to stymie the stop-gap spending bill in order to force a vote to defund Biden’s vaccinate-or-test mandate, GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was opposed from the beginning. In an interview on Fox News earlier in the day, McConnell flatly stated: “We’re not going to shut the government down.” (Sources: Reuters, TheHill, Fox News)
3 - Heart Breaking
Drought wreaks havoc in East Africa
More than 26 million people in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia are struggling to find food and many are seeing their livestock die due to drought after consecutive poor rainfall seasons. This is the worst drought the area has seen in a decade and could persist through mid-2022. And with people trekking farther in search of food and water, observers warn that tensions among communities could sharpen. (Sources: BBC, VOA)
4 - Back to México - Again
Biden administration reluctantly revives a controversial Trump-era policy
The Biden Administration has backtracked and reluctantly reinstatedformer President Trump’s “Remain in México” policy, under which migrants are required to stay in México as they await immigration hearings. The reversal was prompted by lawsuits from Texas and Missouri. However, this time around, the policy will be subject to México’s conditions, which include requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for migrants, beefing up protection in Mexican border cities, and speedier trials. “Vulnerable” populations will be exempt, which includes unaccompanied children, pregnant women, the physically or mentally ill, the elderly, indigenous people and members of the LGBTQ community. (Source: AP)
5 - Briefly
Here are some things you should know about today:
The US government has sued to block a $40 billion Nvidia-Arm chip deal. The FTC argues that Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm would create a powerful company that could hurt the growth of new technologies. (Source: AP) The Kellogg Company and its cereal workers union reach a deal to end a two-month strike. Workers will vote on the deal Sunday. (Source: NPR) Suspect arrested in murder of philanthropist Jacqueline Avant. The 81-year-old philanthropist was fatally shot this week in her Beverly Hills home, which she shared with her husband Clarence Avant, the legendary music executive. (Source: AP)
Watch Kathy Griffin
As She Dares You Not To Laugh
1 - Super Savers
Concern about the pandemic has made many eager to hoard cash
The pandemic has turned Americans into super savers who have now put aside $1.6 trillion in excess cash that they likely would have otherwise spent. Reflecting worst-case scenario concerns, the funds far exceed the three to six months of emergency savings generally recommended by financial advisers. On the one hand, it is good that Americans have become thriftier. On the other hand, rising inflation can limit the value of those savings -- versus investing. And the massive savings can create bigger problems for an economy in which consumer spending makes up more than two-thirds of its GDP. (Source: WSJ)
2 - Kathy Griffin
Griffin calls out CNN for keeping Jeffrey Toobin despite masturbation scandal
Having beaten back a major cancer scare, comedian Kathy Griffin joined The View yesterday and pointed out what she sees as a double standard at CNN — and elsewhere. Griffin was fired from her CNN gig for taking a photo with a fake severed head of then-President Donald Trump; but CNN legal analyst Jeff Toobin who was caught masturbating on a work Zoom was merely suspended and then reinstated. “I think there’s another conversation that we’re not ready to have yet in this country, unfortunately. We’re hopefully making some strides, finally, with race. We’re having conversations, at least. But I think that we haven’t really talked about the level of misogyny and ageism.” (Source: Mediaite)
3 - Accusations Fly
Former star QB RG3 alleges sexual harassment
Former NFL star Robert Griffin III, often called RG3, has said he will detail rampant dysfunction within the Washington Football Team in a new book next year. His wife added yesterday that among the revelations will be details of his “own” sexual harassment. Griffin was the face of the Washington Football Team at one point, but after an early injury, quickly fell out of favor and was eventually released from the team. (Source: NY Post)
4 - Baldwin Speaks
In an interview with ABC News, Alec Baldwin tearfully revisits fatal shooting
Actor Alec Baldwin sat down with George Stephanopoulos to discuss the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. At this time, it’s not clear who put a bullet in the gun or knew it was loaded. Baldwin claims he merely cocked the gun and didn’t even pull the trigger. "Someone is responsible for what happened, and I can't say who that is, but I know it's not me,” Baldwin said. “But I'm all for doing anything that will take us to a place where this is less likely to happen again.” (Source: ABC News)
5 - Food for Thought
Australian man eats nothing but KFC
Australian fitness guru Conan Visser challenged himself to only eat KFC for a month, and he found that he not only gained weight but also saw his mental health decline. Visser documented his day-to-day meals on TikTok and the ensuing changes to his body — including gaining nearly 18 pounds and showing signs of kidney and liver damage in his blood. “One of the biggest differences I saw was my mental health decline,” he said in one video. “My conflict resolution and the way I interacted with people all went down.” (Source: The Daily Mail)
Grace and Gratitude
As we enter the holiday season, we’d love to hear what you’re grateful for or what makes you smile. We’ll be sharing your thoughts in our Grace and Gratitude Corner.
What do you think? Want to share your thoughts on what makes you grateful this season in a 15-20-second video? Please share your video or email with us at OzyCommunity@Ozy.com.
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