5 things to know for December 20: Manchin, Covid-19, Capitol riot, Peng Shuai, Holmes

5 things to know for December 20: Manchin, Covid-19, Capitol riot, Peng Shuai, Holmes
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

Leftist and former student leader Gabriel Boric, 35, will become Chile’s youngest President after winning a presidential runoff election yesterday. Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin said yesterday he won’t vote for the Build Back Better Act, effectively ending negotiations on this version of legislation that would expand the nation’s social safety net. It’s a huge blow to President Joe Biden’s agenda at a time when his administration is already scrambling to address the fallout from the spreading Omicron variant. The West Virginia Democrat has always been a key holdout on the legislation, sharing concerns over certain provisions of the massive tax and spending bill and how it may exacerbate soaring inflation in the country. Manchin’s support for the bill — a $1.9 trillion spending plan focused on expanding the nation’s social safety net, reducing Americans’ child care and health care costs, and climate change — is necessary for Democrats to pass this legislation using a process called budget reconciliation, meaning it would only need 51 votes to pass in the Senate.

2. Coronavirus

The United States is likely in for a hard winter as the Omicron variant of Covid-19 spreads rapidly, straining a health care system already battered by the Delta variant, Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday. “It’s going to take over,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” urging Americans to get vaccinated and get their booster shots. According to the World Health Organization, Omicron cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days with documented spread. Separately, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Cory Booker of New Jersey as well as Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado all tested positive for the coronavirus, according to tweets yesterday from their official accounts. All three Democrats are vaccinated and boosted and said they experiencing mild symptoms. Warren was on the Senate floor last week before the chamber went on recess.

3. Capitol riot

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger said yesterday the House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection is looking into whether former President Donald Trump committed a crime with his involvement in the deadly riot. Kinzinger is one of two Republican members of a House committee that has been probing the attack on the Capitol earlier this year, including Trump’s involvement in the episode. Separately, “Stop the Steal” leader Ali Alexander has handed over thousands of text messages and communication records to the House committee that include his interactions with members of Congress and Trump’s inner circle leading up to the riot, according to a court document submitted late Friday night. Alexander is a central figure for investigators seeking to understand how the rallies on January 6 were funded, organized, promoted and eventually erupted into an attack at the Capitol.

4. Peng Shuai

Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai has denied making sexual assault allegations against a retired Communist Party leader, following more than a month of growing concern about her safety and whereabouts that led to the Women’s Tennis Association pulling out of China. “I have never spoken or written about anyone sexually assaulting me,” Peng told a Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper yesterday in her first comments to international media since the explosive allegations came to light. When asked if she has been able to move freely or was concerned about her safety, Peng said she has “always been free” and that she has been living at her home in Beijing. Peng also said she wrote an email to WTA chairman and CEO Steve Simon recanting the allegations “completely of my own will.” However, skepticism remains about how freely Peng has been allowed to communicate.

5. Elizabeth Holmes

After three months of testimony from 32 witnesses, the criminal fraud case of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is now in the hands of the jury. Holmes faces nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The jury of eight men and four women is tasked with determining whether Holmes — who claimed to have revolutionized blood testing — knowingly misled investors, doctors, and patients about her startup in order to take their money. Deliberations are scheduled to begin later today. If convicted, Holmes faces up to 20 years in prison. She has pleaded not guilty.


A teacher raised $106,000 to keep kids from going hungry over winter break

More than 5,200 bags of groceries will be distributed at 12 schools to children in need.

‘SNL’ airs with limited cast and crew due to rising Covid-19 cases

It was actor Paul Rudd’s fifth time hosting the show, but his first without an audience or musical guest.

YouTube TV and Disney reach a deal

Disney and Google reached an agreement Sunday to distribute the media company’s channels on YouTube TV.

Jennifer Lopez denies she’s upset by Ben Affleck’s comments about ex-wife Jennifer Garner

I think we can all agree that Ben clearly has a thing for women named Jennifer.

Tiger Woods and his son Charlie finish 2nd at PNC Championship

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$253 million

That’s how much “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is estimated to have raked in at the box office over the weekend in the US. That is the third-highest opening weekend in box office history and also the highest opening weekend for the month of December. Only 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” and 2018’s “Avengers: Infinity War” opened to larger numbers.


“There is no Christmas. Not this year. It’s just a day. We’re just thankful that we’re actually still here. We can celebrate it maybe in February.”

Angee Wilson, who works in her mother’s tax preparation office in Mayfield, Kentucky. The business was demolished by a tornado earlier this month.


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