Home WORLD 5 things to know for December 28: Stimulus, coronavirus, Nashville bombing, China,...

5 things to know for December 28: Stimulus, coronavirus, Nashville bombing, China, Illinois shooting

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1. Stimulus

President Donald Trump finally signed the coronavirus relief bill on Sunday night. The massive $2.3 trillion bill, which includes a $900 billion relief package, averts the government shutdown that would have started Tuesday and extends important unemployment benefits. However, pandemic relief programs lapsed the day before Trump signed the bill, meaning the more than 12 million Americans who rely on them may experience a blip in aid. Unemployment compensations and federal enhancement payments will be shortened by a week as they are reinstated, and there may be a break in payments of several weeks while state agencies reprogram their computers. But luckily, the benefits are retroactive. As for stimulus checks, Trump said he only signed the bill after Senate leaders committed to $2,000 stimulus checks, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t acknowledged that commitment.

2. Coronavirus

The European Union has launched a mass coronavirus vaccination program across its 27 member countries after approving the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine last week. That’s especially important given the new, possibly more contagious coronavirus variant identified in the UK — which started vaccinations earlier in the month — that officials say has caused a surge in cases. The new variant has also been detected in Japan, and the country has banned entry to foreign nationals through the end of January to contain it. In the US, 1 in 1,000 Americans have now died from Covid-19 since the nation’s first reported infection last January. The US’ hospitalization rate for Covid-19 infections has been hovering above 100,000 for 26 consecutive days now.

3. Nashville bombing

Authorities have identified the bomber behind the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville that injured three people and damaged dozens of buildings. DNA found at the scene was matched to Anthony Quinn Warner, 63, who was already a person of interest in the case. Investigators are now looking at “any and all possible motives.” Quinn was killed in the explosion, and because authorities aren’t sure why he did it, they aren’t labeling the incident as domestic terrorism. The explosion occurred right outside an AT&T transmission building, causing widespread cell phone service outages and impacting other area communications for hours.

4. China

A Chinese journalist who documented the initial coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan has been jailed for four years by a Shanghai court. Zhang Zhan, 37, was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble,” according to one of her lawyers. The offense is commonly used by the Chinese government to target dissidents and human rights activists. Zhang shared images and accounts of packed hospitals and empty streets months before such scenes became commonplace worldwide. Her postings came to an abrupt stop in mid-May, and she was later revealed to have been detained by police and brought back to Shanghai. Prosecutors have accused her of “publishing large amounts of fake information,” but her lawyers say the prosecutors have not provided any concrete examples.

5. Illinois shooting

An active-duty Special Forces soldier has been charged with murder after three people were killed and three wounded in a shooting Saturday at a bowling alley in Rockford, Illinois. The US Army confirmed that Duke Webb, the 27-year-old-shooter, is a sergeant first class currently assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 7th Special Forces Group as an assistant operations and intelligence sergeant. He was on leave at the time of the shooting. Authorities believe the attack, which was largely captured on surveillance video, was random. The Army released a statement saying they were “shocked and saddened” by the event, and will continue to assist the Rockford Police Department as the investigation continues.

IN MEMORIUM

Phil Niekro, Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and Atlanta Braves legend, passed away at the age of 81 following a battle with cancer. Niekro was known for his mastery of the knuckleball, a notoriously difficult pitch. “We are heartbroken on the passing of our treasured friend, Phil Niekro,” the Braves said in a statement.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ is a hit, and ‘Wonder Woman 3’ is on the way

Who needs a big screen to succeed when you’re a lasso-wielding demigod?

Tom Brady is taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into the playoffs

This almost makes up for the nickname “Tompa Bay.”

A company has developed a meat-free version of Spam for fans in Asia

This is a Spam-slander-free-zone.

Scientists discover a new species of snake hiding in plain sight

Oh wow, it’s pretty! (Well, if you like snakes.)

Ancient snack stall uncovered in Pompeii, revealing bright frescoes and traces of 2,000-year-old street food

Food carts and fancy advertising: Uniting humanity for thousands of years.

TODAY’S NUMBER

27,000

That’s roughly the current value of Bitcoin, as compared to the US Dollar. Investors have been leaning on cryptocurrencies during the pandemic as the US dollar has weakened, leading to Bitcoin’s astronomical rise.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“We can’t be at a place in this country where political reporters, White House correspondents, need bodyguards to cover political campaign events.”

Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, who said he and other reporters got death threats during their time covering the Trump administration.

TODAY’S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

It’s cozy season

The week between Christmas and New Year’s? Just roll us up in a blanket and come back for us when it’s 2021. (Click here to view)

The-CNN-Wire
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