Rich people are doing so well these days that their spending on luxury goods isn't even keeping up. Now, here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
Erie, Pennsylvania, didn't just get a White Christmas, it got a Whiteout Christmas. The city got hammered with 34 inches of snow Monday - shattering records. Then yesterday, it got hit with another 24 inches, for a grand total of 58 inches over two days. That's almost five feet! It's the highest two-day snowfall total in the entire state of Pennsylvania!
The rest of the Midwest and eastern US will be in the deep freeze throughout the holiday week. The wind chill will be in the single digits when revelers ring in the New Year in Times Square.
The first medical evacuations of people in desperate need of care have started in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus. The Syrian Red Crescent and International Committee of the Red Cross said four people have been evacuated from Eastern Ghouta, which is controlled by various rebel groups and has been surrounded by Syrian forces for more than four years. In total, more than 600 need to be evacuated, most of them women and children.
The plot has thickened in the mysterious 2015 death of an Argentine prosecutor. A judge ruled that Alberto Nisman didn't kill himself but was murdered. Nisman was found with a bullet to his head just days after he filed a report accusing former President Cristina Fern-ndez de Kirchner and other officials of covering up Iran's involvement in a 1994 Jewish community center bombing that left 85 people dead. And he was supposed to testify before lawmakers about it the next day.
In South Korea a deadly weapon is back in the headlines, one that's far easier and cheaper to make than North Korea's ballistic missiles: anthrax. Fears of a possible anthrax attack from the North are growing. South Korea has bought 1,000 doses of vaccine to give to counterterrorism agents or civilians, but there's no plan right now to vaccinate the general public.
Fresh off his tax reform triumph, President Trump sets his eyes on a big infrastructure bill for 2018. The President said a spending bill to fix the nation's bridges, roads and airports should be easy to get through Congress. But he'll definitely need Democratic votes -- not a sure thing at all. Trump promised a $1 trillion bill on the campaign trail, but the White House has been kicking around a more modest $200 billion proposal.
Things that make you go "hmmm"
Ex-President Obama said leaders need to watch what they say on social media. Now who could he be talking about? (insert thinking face emoji here)
The game is blacked out
The NFL's canceled this week's Sunday Night Football game, usually TV's No. 1 show, because even football can't compete with New Year's Eve.
Going nowhere fast
Passengers on a Tokyo-bound passengers ended up right where they started after eight hours of flying: LA. Because the wrong person got on board.
Right place, right time
She saved a family from a house fire; he performed CPR on a baby. Just another ho-hum Christmas Eve for a North Carolina couple.
The White House is about to say goodbye to the historic Jackson Magnolia tree, which has been there since the 1800s.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Damage estimates from wildfires in California, which just keep shattering records this year. And that's not counting the ones tearing through SoCal right now.
AND FINALLY ...
Looks a little big
When you have a snake as a pet, you have to make him a sweater because, well, what else can you get him for Christmas? (Click to view)