5 things to know for Jan. 4: Elizabeth Holmes, Covid, Congress, SCOTUS, Prince Andrew

5 things to know for Jan. 4: Elizabeth Holmes, Covid, Congress, SCOTUS, Prince Andrew

Stocks certainly started off the year on a positive note. The Dow and the S&P both closed out the first trading day of the year at all-time highs.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Elizabeth Holmes

Elizabeth Holmes has been found guilty on four charges of defrauding investors in relation to her failed blood testing startup, Theranos. Holmes was found not guilty on four additional charges and the jury returned no verdict on three more charges. The three-month trial captured international interest as a rare example of a fallen Silicon Valley CEO being tried for criminal fraud. Holmes’ defense argued that, as the CEO of Theranos, she simply made mistakes that led to the downfall of the seemingly promising startup. The prosecution alleged she intentionally misled investors and patients about the value and capabilities of the company. At one point, Theranos was valued at $9 billion. Tech experts say the verdict should serve as a warning to other prospective Silicon Valley leaders. Holmes now faces a possible 20 years in jail.

2. Coronavirus

Hospitals across the US are bracing for a wave of young coronavirus patients following the holidays. The FDA yesterday expanded booster eligibility to children ages 12 to 15, a move aimed at combating the rapid spread of the Omicron and Delta variants spurred by holiday travel. The agency also said children 12 and older now only need to wait five months before receiving a booster shot after completing their first series of vaccines. Experts are stressing vaccinations for children are critical now more than ever because Omicron causes more upper airway problems that make it more dangerous for children than adults. One pediatric hospital in Houston, for example, reported a four-fold increase in child hospitalizations over the past two weeks, with more than 700 children hospitalized due to the Omicron variant.

3. Congress

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has announced the chamber will take a vote on whether to change the Senate’s legislative filibuster rules. The filibuster is a common delaying tactic meant to drag out debate and make it harder to get things done. In recent months, Democrats have discussed various changes to the filibuster rule to avoid stalling legislative decisions on key issues like voting rights and the debt ceiling. Schumer has said the tactic has become weaponized in the Senate, and the body must evolve to be more efficient. However, any major changes are unlikely to pass due to widespread  resistance from Republicans and Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Schumer says he is hoping for a vote by January 17.

4. SCOTUS

Abortion providers are returning to the Supreme Court for a long-shot bid to challenge the controversial Texas abortion law that went into effect about four months ago. Last month, the high court allowed the law to stand and returned the case to a conservative federal appeals court. It was a blow to abortion rights activists, and now providers have asked the Supreme Court to require the appeals court to send the case back to a district court judge who had previously ruled in their favor. In its decision last month, the Supreme Court did say providers could sue to keep local officials from enforcing the law. However, the Texas law, which heavily restricts abortion and allows private citizens to seek legal action against anyone who violates it, is seen as a major threat to abortion rights that could affect national legal precedent.

5. Prince Andrew

A 2009 settlement agreement between sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and one of his accusers, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, as been unsealed as part of Giuffre’s separate lawsuit against Prince Andrew. The document shows Epstein paid Giuffre $500,000 to drop the case without any admission of liability or fault. Attorneys for Prince Andrew have argued that Guiffre’s case against him should be dismissed because it violates the terms of the settlement agreement with Epstein, in which she agreed to a “general release” of claims against Epstein and other parties, who are not specified. Guiffre is suing Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second-oldest son, alleging she was forced to perform sex acts with him while she was underage. According to Guiffre, Andrew knew she was a minor at the time. Oral arguments in the civil suit are set to begin today.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

The Consumer Electronics Show is on this week in Las Vegas

There may not be any flying cars (yet), but there’s a space plane and that’s pretty close.

People are jokingly calling the Omicron variant ‘Omarion,” and the singer is taking it in stride

“If you just so happen to run into me on the street, you don’t have to isolate for five days,” he said. “Nor do you have to have a negative test result to dance to my music.

Mercedes unveils new electric car concept with parts made of sustainable materials like mushroom fibers, ground up cacti and food scraps.

Finally, a car with a flavor profile!

Snow forecast: See how much snow is expected in your area with these maps

Warning: May cause sudden weather-related anxiety.

Sweetgreen, a fancy salad chain, is selling a salad subscription

Fancy salads are an important part of the “new year, new me” fantasy, so the timing here is impeccable.

TODAY’S NUMBER

$8.7 million

That’s the value of the roughly 440 pounds of cocaine police seized from a local mayor’s truck in northern Niger. West Africa is a common transit route for illegal drugs heading between South America and Europe, and there have been a number of record busts in recent years.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

— from a joint statement issued simultaneously by the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France. Yesterday, the five world powers pledged to avoid nuclear war and work toward “a world without nuclear weapons.”

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Boy, it’s really coming down out there

Brrr! Things are getting downright frigid. It’s the perfect weather to stay inside and watch this timeline of a huge snowstorm accumulation in Lake Tahoe from last month. Bonus points for an excellent soundtrack. (Click here to view)

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