Almost two and a half years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the most contagious and transmissible variant has still arrived. The latest version of the shapeshifting BA.5 variant
an offshoot of Omicron, causes a worldwide increase in cases – and shows how The virus has evolved
and may evade immunity from previous Covid-19 vaccines. In the US, BA.5 accounted for 65% of new infections last week, according to the CDC. The variant is also on the market in China, which fuels fears that large cities could soon be there Reintroduce strict lockdown measures
which have recently been repealed. How to deal with the new wave, says Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator, urged Americans aged 50 and over to get second booster shots. US health officials are urgently working on a plan to make this possible 2. Covid-19 boosters for all adults
a senior White House official confirmed to CNN on Monday.
2. Biden in Israel
President Joe Biden arrived in Israel on Wednesday to take office four-day trip to the Middle East
. It is his first visit to the region since becoming President. Biden was met at the airport by Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Israeli President Isaac Herzog, who he wants Hold meetings with today
. Ahead of the trip, US officials have been working to deepen Israeli-Arab security coordination and broker agreements that will bring Israel and Saudi Arabia — which have no diplomatic ties — closer to normalization. There are now many Palestinians pessimistic about the President’s visit
because of the perceived unwillingness to pressure Israel over continued West Bank settlement expansion and other key issues.
January 3rd 6th
Former President Donald Trump tried to call a witness
who spoke to the House Inquiry Committee January 6, 2021
, attack on the US Capitol, two sources familiar with the matter told CNN. The witness, a White House aide, was not someone who routinely communicated with the former president and “refused to answer or answer his call,” instead alerting his attorney. “We will make very serious efforts to influence the testimonies,” Vice Chair Liz Cheney said during Tuesday’s committee hearing, adding that the information was provided to the committee Ministry of Justice
. This isn’t the first time the committee has raised concerns about a pattern of possible witness manipulation
and witnessed intimidation by Trump and other allies in his camp.
Search efforts continue today for more than 40 people who remain missing
after severe flooding inundated a rural Virginia county, ripping homes off their foundations and damaging roads and bridges across the region. Buchanan County in western Virginia flooded with more than 6 inches of water in a matter of hours Wednesday, causing widespread flooding and road closures. To support the response, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency to help with recovery efforts. The storm was part of several that lingered over the county as well as the surrounding region — including Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia — Tuesday night.
5. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has plunged into chaos
and its president has fled to Singapore amid growing anger in his home country over his refusal to officially step down. president Gotabaya Rajapaksa
had been in the Maldives on Wednesday after fleeing Sri Lanka – on the same day as him said he would resign
. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed Acting President during his absence. But to date, no formal letter of resignation has been received by the Speaker of the Sri Lankan Parliament, raising questions about the intentions of the leader, who appears to have been exiled himself. Last weekend’s protests
were among the most dramatic seen yet as people set fire to Wickremesinghe’s residence and swam in Rajapaksa’s private pool. Many protesters have vowed to continue demonstrating until both men resign.
NASA released more images of stars, galaxies and an exoplanet
After decades of waiting, the world can finally see it deepest and sharpest images of our universe
taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.
Netflix comes with ads
Nobody likes the “A” word… but if you can tolerate a few ads, a cheaper Netflix tier
is currently in progress.
Chris Hemsworth quit eating meat before filming a kiss with his vegan co-star
That kind of gesture
helped vegan actress Natalie Portman roman woman
Silence filming a kissing scene for Thor: Love and Thunder.
Ryan Gosling brings major ‘Ken-ergy’ to upcoming ‘Barbie’ movie
The much-anticipated “Barbie” movie
won’t be released until next year, but fans are already raving about Gosling’s “Ken doll” character.
The world’s best airlines for 2022, ranked by AirlineRatings.com
We may be in the midst of a chaotic travel season, but some airlines are flying beyond industry challenges. Check out the new list here
This is Bill Gates’ estimated net worth, which makes him the fourth richest person in the world – but he doesn’t intend to rank that high forever. On Wednesday, the Microsoft co-founder said he wanted to “step down and eventually off the list of the richest people in the world” because he “felt obligated to give his resources back to society.” On the same day, Gates donated $20 billion of his fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest philanthropies in the world. The foundation plans to increase its disbursements from nearly $6 billion to $9 billion a year by 2026.
THE TODAY QUOTE
“Today (Joshua) Schulte was convicted of one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history.“
– US Attorney Damian Williams, after former CIA operative Joshua Schulte was convicted on Wednesday of the biggest leak of classified data in the agency’s history. Schulte, who had worked as a computer engineer at the CIA, stole cyber tools in 2016 and submitted the secret data to WikiLeaks, according to court documents. Schulte had access to “some of the most valuable cyber intelligence-gathering tools in the country used to counter terrorist organizations,” Willams said, adding that those tools are now essentially useless.
Did someone say free fries?
National French Fry Day (which apparently is real) was Wednesday, but some of America’s biggest fast food chains are giving away free fries the rest of the week
! To celebrate, here’s a video about the many different ways french fries are enjoyed around the world. (Click here to view