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5 things to know for January 12: Covid-19, Filibuster, Afghanistan, Facebook, Russia

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Some grocery store shelves across the US are wiped clean as pandemic and supply chain disruptions present new setbacks for supermarkets. While the empty shelves may be worrisome, stores say stop panic buying because it only worsens the situation.

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

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1. Coronavirus

Dr. Anthony Fauci defended the Biden administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic during a contentious Senate hearing yesterday as scrutiny grows over a spike in hospitalizations, testing challenges and frustration over messaging. In separate comments, the nation's leading infectious disease expert said the highly transmissible Omicron variant will likely "find just about everybody," but those who have been vaccinated and boosted will do "reasonably well." According to the most recent data from the CDC, at least one in five eligible Americans -- or roughly 65 million people -- are not vaccinated against Covid-19. Fauci's comments follow a dire prediction from the World Health Organization that more than half of Europe could catch Covid-19 in two months.

2. Filibuster

President Joe Biden is calling on the US Senate to change filibuster rules after saying he's "tired of being quiet" on voting rights. During a speech in Atlanta yesterday, Biden voiced frustration that no Republicans have come around to support the legislation, suggesting it was a break from past precedent when both parties rallied behind the issue. Changing the filibuster rules in the Senate, which require 60 votes to end debate, was a major focus of Biden's address. If the rules are not changed, the voting rights bills he wants passed have no clear path forward. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has set a January 17 deadline for the Senate to vote on a rules change if Republicans continue to block actions preventing forward progress.

3. Afghanistan

The US is providing $308 million in humanitarian aid and additional Covid-19 vaccine doses to Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover and US withdrawal that unraveled the country's economy. Medical systems are in dire need of resources and millions of Afghans face starvation. International organizations are sounding the alarm that Afghanistan is on the brink of disaster. The US assistance will help provide shelter, essential health care, emergency food, water, sanitation, and hygiene services in response to the growing humanitarian needs, the National Security Council announced yesterday. Separately, evacuation flights out of Afghanistan have been grounded by the Taliban for nearly a month, stranding nearly 80 Americans.

4. Facebook

A federal judge has rejected Meta's request to dismiss an antitrust complaint from the FTC, allowing antitrust officials to continue their case to break up the social media giant. Federal prosecutors allege that Meta -- which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp -- has illegally abused a monopoly in the marketplace for social media. FTC chair Lina Khan is a vocal critic of the tech industry who previously helped lead a congressional investigation that concluded Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta enjoy monopoly power. Meta has argued that Khan's stance on Big Tech should have barred her from approving the antitrust complaint, but a federal judge disagreed. If the lawsuit advances, Meta could be forced to spin off some of its most valuable assets.

5. Russia

The US, NATO allies and Russia are expected to meet today to hold high-stakes talks about Russia's military buildup along the Ukrainian border. It's the second meeting meant to defuse the growing threat posed by Russia to its neighbor. Moscow has amassed thousands of troops along its border with Ukraine, spurring fears of an invasion in the coming weeks or months. The Kremlin has denied it is planning an invasion, but continues to demand guarantees that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO. US Ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith told CNN yesterday that all parties are "committed to dialogue," adding that the Russians would face "massive consequences" from NATO and the EU should they decide to invade Ukraine.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

New Barbie honors journalist Ida B. Wells

The famed Black journalist and 19th century civil rights advocate is the latest addition to Barbie's "Inspiring Women" series.

Residential cruise ship offering an all-inclusive life at sea

Now, that sounds like a really suite life... minus the motion sickness.

The home Freddy Krueger haunted in "A Nightmare on Elm Street" sells for nearly $3 million

Props to whoever had the guts to buy it.

Mark Wahlberg launched a tequila. He plans to make it No. 1

The A-list actor is the latest mega-celebrity getting into the booze business.

Oreo is celebrating its 110th birthday with a first-ever flavor

Name a better duo than Oreos and milk. I'll wait.

TODAY'S NUMBER

3,451 feet

That's the width of an asteroid expected to fly by Earth next week. On January 18, the kilometer-wide asteroid known as 7482 (1994PC1) will pass within 1.2 million miles of our planet, moving at a speed of more than 47,000 miles per hour. Scientists are confident the asteroid will not hit Earth, but it's the closest it will come for the next two centuries.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"We need more workers. We should welcome people who want to come here, go to school and stay."

US Chamber of Congress CEO Suzanne Clark, calling for doubling the number of legal immigrants allowed into America to ease inflation and the worker shortage. Clark said that ramping up immigration would help to ease the supply chain disruptions that are at the heart of the current inflation spike.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

You shall not pass! 

How does a dog do against a basic little obstacle, compared to a cat? Well, everyone treads carefully. (Click here to view)

The-CNN-Wire

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