The Presidential Inaugural Committee has announced the theme of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration: "America United."
Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Capitol riot
The FBI has warned that "armed protests" are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the US Capitol leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration next Wednesday. And two US Capitol police officers have been suspended and at least 10 others are being investigated for behavior during last week's riot. Meantime, House Democrats plan first to vote this evening on a resolution urging VP Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from power, then vote tomorrow on an article of impeachment charging Trump with "incitement of insurrection." But let's get something straight: Impeachment itself would not ban Trump from holding future office, as some viral claims suggest. For that, the Senate would have to hold an additional vote on the matter. Another avenue that's getting attention is the 14th Amendment, which bars from federal or state office any officeholder who takes part in insurrection or rebellion against the US.
2. Corporate response
The Capitol riot is shaking up the world of political fundraising, as major companies like Google, Coca-Cola and UPS all have pledged to suspend contributions across the board. Other companies are focusing on lawmakers they view as complicit in Trump's effort to disrupt the affirmation of Biden's election win. PR and lobbying experts wonder whether the upheaval is temporary or represents a permanent political shift. More companies are also creating policies in response to last week's violence. GoFundMe says it will no longer allow people to fundraise for travel expenses used for potentially violent political events, and Airbnb says it will attempt to restrict violent Capitol rioters from making reservations in the DC area during the inauguration. Parler, the social media app that serves as a safe space for the far-right, sued Amazon for deplatforming it on grounds the app encourages and incites violence.
We're not going to be done with social distancing any time soon. The World Health Organization has warned that herd immunity won't happen in 2021, and social distancing measures will need to stay in place "for the rest of this year," despite vaccine progress. In the US, more than 200,000 new coronavirus cases have been reported every day for a week. In the UK, health officials say the country is entering the "worst point" of the pandemic, as cases rise and deaths increase. Malaysia has announced more restrictions, and South Africa has closed its land borders to curb the spread. At the San Diego Zoo, there's a new complication: At least two gorillas have tested positive for Covid-19, the first known cases among great apes.
4. Federal executions
A federal judge halted the execution of Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row, just hours before she was scheduled to die. Montgomery, who was sentenced to death in 2008 after murdering a woman and kidnapping her fetus, will now be subject to a competency hearing. Montgomery was one of three people scheduled to die by federal execution during the remainder of President Trump's time in office. The Trump administration revived the federal death penalty last year. Before then, there hadn't been any federal executions since 2003. Since July, the federal government has executed 10 people, more than in any presidency since 1896.
The Trump administration has designated Cuba a state sponsor of terrorism, complicating any efforts by the future Biden administration to repair relations with the former Cold War foe. President Obama removed Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2015, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the new designation was given for "repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbor to terrorists." A top Cuban called the move hypocritical and an act of "political opportunism." Cuba now joins three other countries on the list: Iran, North Korea and Syria.
Alabama crushes Ohio State to win national college football title
It's nice to see the underdogs come out on top sometimes.
Sales of unapologetically ugly Crocs soar in the Covid-19 era
Well, of course. You need your summer Crocs and your winter Crocs, your goin'-out Crocs and your yard work Crocs ... It's a spectrum.
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is launching an energy drink
If anyone can pull off an energy drink brand, it's The Rock.
This snake turns its body into a lasso to climb up smooth surfaces
No, thank you, we will not be processing this information today.
Millions have a real fear of needles. Overcoming it is critical to the vaccine rollout
You just have to convince yourself the vaccine is worth: forgetting to eat because you're nervous, passing out in the nurse's chair and having to munch on crackers and juice for 15 minutes until they let you leave.
That's the proportion of Americans who would be able to cover an unexpected $1,000 expense, according to a new report from Bankrate.com. That's down from 41% in 2020.
"That's why I can no longer call myself a fellow Republican. I'm not a fellow of anything right now. I'm just a citizen who has voted Republican, voted Democrat throughout my entire career. And right now I'm just watching my country and not concerned with parties."
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who criticized the Republican Party for supporting the behavior of President Trump
All your ducks in a row
Thrill in the cinematic suspense of watching baby ducks scale a small flight of stairs. (Click here to view.)