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Good morning! It’s a Christmas Eve unlike any other. Families around the world will be getting together to celebrate. Yet many of those families will sit at dinner with empty chairs that’ll never again be filled. Keep them in your thoughts as you meet some of the year’s unlikeliest heroes, look back at some of the craziest Christmases in history, check out the latest science on fitness and try out brilliant holiday cocktails.
President Donald Trump has continued his pardoning spree, handing down clemency to 26 people — including longtime associates Paul Manafort and Roger Stone, who both went to jail during the Russia investigation. One analysis found that 60 of the 65 pardons he’s granted went to people with personal or political ties to the president. (Sources: WSJ, NYT)
2. Missing the Shot
Though the U.S. government set a goal of 20 million COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of the month and states have been sent 9.5 million doses, only about 1 million shots have actually been given. Meanwhile, Moderna and Pfizer are currently testing their vaccines against the highly contagious new strain that’s recently rampaged through the U.K. (Sources: Reuters, US News)
3. But What About the 40 Thieves?
China’s largest tech group, Alibaba, has been hit with a rare antitrust lawsuit from Chinese regulators, who’ll scrutinize the e-commerce giant’s selling practices. The crackdown follows founder Jack Ma’s high-profile speech attacking state-owned banks and regulators. (Sources: FT, NYT)
4. Almost There
Britain and the EU are expected to announce that they’ve reached a Brexit deal today, though they’re still reportedly haggling over a last-minute problem regarding fishing rights. If terms are available today, that’ll leave just a week for Parliament to approve the agreement before the U.K. crashes out with no deal on Dec. 31. (Sources: BBC, Reuters)
That isn’t the sound of the flush. An Indiana toilet firm has created a light display with 32 portable toilets with animated smiley faces singing “Hallelujah.” The company claims the “Jingle Johns” have set a world record. But Guinness insists they don’t track the singing performances of toilets to be able to compare. Let’s just hope the effort doesn’t go down the drain.
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Take a moment to remember the millions of lifesavers who’ve kept us alive and going in a year when the coronavirus changed everything about the world. You know of some, you’ve never heard of others. Get to know three today.
In a year that belongs to masks, his was the covered face that first captured the devastating COVID-19 crisis the world would soon confront. The 34-year-old Wuhan doctor tried to warn colleagues about a SARS-like flu that was spreading through the central Chinese city in late December, but he was silenced by authorities who accused him of “spreading rumors.” He died from the virus — but his early warning gave the scientific community around the world critical time to start preparing.
2. Sr. Astridah Banda
The Zambian nun knew her government’s public health bulletins about the virus wouldn’t work. They were in English — a national language, but one that’s rarely spoken by ordinary Zambians. So Banda approached a local radio channel and said she wanted a show to translate public health messages into the country’s seven local languages. Today her show reaches 1.5 million people and counts billionaire Bill Gates (watch him on The Carlos Watson Show)amongits fans.
3. Susana Distancia
She’s literally a superhero. Her superpower? She can stop COVID-19 from infecting her, just by stretching out her arms. The Mexican cartoon heroine — her name is a play on “healthy distance” — was a regular presence on TV, radio and online in her pink, blue and yellow outfit, and she was the country’s biggest weapon to educate children about COVID-19 early in the pandemic.
The leaves have changed, bells are jingling — so winter is definitely here. Luckily, we found the perfect men’s sweater for this sweater weather season. Don’t look any further: Outerknown’s Nostalgic Sweater puts a modern twist on the iconic ‘70s style and perfectly combines comfort, style and warmth. The Nostalgic Sweater sold out fast last year, so don’t miss it while it lasts — and use code OKOZY for 20 percent off!
Hazy cadets at West Point Academy stumbled from their barracks on Christmas morning in 1826 to find broken windows, smashed furniture and chaos. It was the result of a massive on-campus riot fueled by the cadets’ consumption of a home-brewed holiday eggnog spiked with four gallons of whiskey that future Confederate leader Jefferson Davis and several others had smuggled into the alcohol-free academy. Nineteen cadets, not including Davis (who passed out early in the riot), were expelled. Read more on OZY.
2. The Christmas Truce, 1914
Five months after the outbreak of World War I in Europe, a martial miracle occurred on the Western Front when on Christmas morning, British, Belgian and French soldiers emerged from their trenches to peacefully engage with their German adversaries. They exchanged cigarettes and gifts, sang carols and kicked around makeshift soccer balls. “It was a short peace in a terrible war,” one British veteran later recalled.
3. Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Execution, 1989
The long, terrible reign of the Romanian dictator was silenced in one quick episode on Christmas Day in 1989. After 34 years in power, Ceaușescu and his wife were arrested in the wake of a bloody rebellion and tried for genocide in a cramped room in a cavalry barracks, thenexecuted by firing squad in the adjoining courtyard.
Binge on the Musicians
This Christmas Eve, jam with some of your favorite musicians on The Carlos Watson Show. You may discover a new side to a familiar face like John Legend or Lenny Kravitz — or find a new favorite in Finneas or Saweetie. Ready for the best holiday binge?Enjoy.
Follow the Science: Workout Wonders
This isn’t that painful fitness lecture you don’t want to hear on Christmas Eve. It’s a set of easy tips from recent, cutting-edge science that’ll keep you healthy without making you feel guilty for dreaming about bingeing.
If you want to get really passionate about your health, spice up your sex life. New research shows that those who have sex at least once a week are significantly less likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease or to die from a heart attack than those who are irregular with sex. Just don’t talk about science while you’re actually having sex — we don’t need research to tell you that won’t go well.
3. Not Watered Down
Water-based exercises are popular among older people because they don’t strain the joints as much. But until now, it was unclear how effective they were against cardiovascular disease. Now, scientists have shown for the first time that water workouts are as effective in protecting your heart as the gym treadmill.
Very few drinks can compete with eggnog this season. But as 2020 winds down, try something new.
Odd combination? Maybe, but aren’t those the best? Chill some rooibos tea, then douse it in rum. Strawberries, vanilla, sparkling wine, a dash of mint, citrus zest and sugar help enhance the flavors of this magical South African drink.
2. Ananá Fizz
This classic Argentine Christmas drink is available in the markets of Buenos Aires, but there’s nothing like making it fresh. Pulp some pineapple, add lemon and sugar and then pour sparkling wine over it. Sit back and let the fizz lift your spirits.
3. Otoso Sake
So this is actually a New Year’s drink — but why wait? This centuries-old Japanese delight is an herbed sake prepared specially for this season. Traditionally, the ingredients — rhubarb, cinnamon and sanshou (Japanese pepper) among others — were put in a bag and hung overnight from a peach tree branch hanging over water before being added to the sake. You can skip those steps. But don’t skip the drink.
What’s your Christmas drink of choice? Tell us. We’ll see you on Monday. Merry Christmas!