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More than 100 million people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide, and more than 2 million have died. Experts say those reported figures are probably much higher in reality. The UK just crossed the threshold of 100,000 deaths and leads the world in the number of deaths proportionate to population. In the US, January has already been the deadliest coronavirus month yet, with more than 79,000 reported deaths. Several major US school districts have shelved plans to return to in-person classes amid teacher pushback and rising case numbers. However, virtual learning has been a challenge for families, teachers and students, and one of the largest districts in the US is trying to speed up a return to in-person learning after a rise in student suicides.
2. White House
Democrats are hoping to bust up a thorny Senate budget process to move forward with a Covid-19 relief bill as early as next week. With the new Senate makeup, a budget resolution with Democratic priorities could pass in the chamber with little or no GOP support. President Biden announced more coronavirus response measures yesterday, including the purchase of 200 million more vaccine doses and the promise of increased distribution to states soon. However, Biden's executive action temporarily halting deportations has met a roadblock: A federal judge in Texas blocked it, issuing a stark reminder that the Biden administration's priorities may face real challenges from conservative courts across the country.
3. Capitol riot
Members of Congress were left stunned during a briefing from law enforcement about its level of preparation ahead of the insurrection at the US Capitol. Several lawmakers noted that the lack of planning came despite ample evidence, before the fact, that violence and security threats were a very real possibility. Former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the same House panel that the National Guard only planned to deal with traffic that day, with "no contingency" in place if tensions escalated. The security briefings unfolded as US Capitol Police officers are debating whether to hold a no-confidence vote targeting department leaders who were working on the day of insurrection. So far, at least 150 people have been charged by the Justice Department in connection with the January 6 events.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte resigned yesterday in a move that is more tactical than it may appear. Conte survived two confidence votes last week but lost his governing majority in the Senate when another politician withdrew his party from the ruling coalition over frustrations with how the government is handling the pandemic. The shuffle has thrown the country for a loop, and now that Conte has resigned, President Sergio Mattarella must consult with leaders of his country's main political parties. Conte is now betting on his popularity. He doesn't belong to a party, so if he gets enough support from party leaders, Mattarella could ask him to form a new coalition. The government could also call for early snap elections.
The city of Newark, New Jersey, has reached a settlement in a yearslong lawsuit over the city's water crisis. Advocacy groups sued city and state officials in 2018 for ongoing violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act after the city's drinking water was found to contain illegally high levels of lead. These unsafe levels persisted in the water for at least 18 months. This week's settlement requires the city to replace all lead service lines free of charge to residents. So far, more than 17,000 of Newark's lead service lines have been replaced, with about 2,000 left to go. The problem recalls the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and problems with aging water pipes nationwide.
Anxiety robbing your sleep? A weighted blanket may help
Let it slowly squeeze all the stress out of your body. There. Now, you are flat and at peace.
Walmart plans to build mini-warehouses staffed with robots to help get you your orders faster
It's like a retail version of WALL-E.
Youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman signs with IMG models
Florida led the world in shark attacks again last year
However, there were fewer unprovoked attacks overall, and that's a plus ... right?
Pepsi and Beyond Meat are teaming up to make more plant-based snacks
We've talked about the chicken sandwich wars. We've talked about the pizza delivery arms race. Now, it's time to talk about the plant-based snack proliferation.
That's how much America's billionaires have added to their wealth since the beginning of the pandemic -- an increase of nearly 40%.
"Awarding the Olympic Games to a National Olympic Committee does not mean that the IOC agrees with the political structure, social circumstances or human rights standards in its country."
A statement from the International Olympic Committee, as questions grow about possible diplomatic boycotts of the 2022 Olympics in Beijing. More world leaders are considering the ethical ramifications of participating now that the US has accused China of carrying out genocide. Beijing has long denied the claims.
Roll down to mom!
Nothing like a cranky, clumsy little otter to start your morning. (Click here to view.)