5 things to know for December 31: Coronavirus, transition, stimulus, Brexit, Yemen

The internet swoons over Boston Dynamics' robots that dance better than most of us do. CNN's Jeanne Moos reports.

Posted: Dec 30, 2020 6:56 PM
Updated: Dec 31, 2020 4:15 AM


New year, new pay: Starting January 1 (tomorrow!), 20 states will raise their minimum wage.

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

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1. Coronavirus 

A year ago today, the first cases of a mystery virus that would come to be known as Covid-19 were reported in Wuhan, China. Since then, 1.8 million people across the world have lost their lives in the ensuing pandemic. The US set another Covid-19 daily death record yesterday, and by some estimates, another 80,000 people could die in the next three weeks as the consequences of holiday travel and gathering set in. Other countries like Germany are also reporting record deaths, and Japan is considering a state of emergency to counter rising case numbers. In the US, vaccine rollout is lagging behind some other countries, leading to frustration and confusion in places like Florida, where unclear policies have led to a scramble for limited doses.

2. White House transition 

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley says he will formally object to the results of the 2020 presidential election when Congress meets early next week to count the Electoral College votes. He is the first senator to announce plans to object to the results, along with Republican Rep. Mo Brooks. Their combined efforts will force the House and Senate to formally debate the matter, providing a platform for President Trump's baseless conspiracy theories claiming the election was stolen from him. To be clear, the debate and the vote afterward won't change the outcome of the election. But it will delay the results and create an ugly scene for Republicans who'd have to decide how long to tacitly entertain Trump's false election fraud allegations.

3. Stimulus 

After rejecting a measure that would increase coronavirus stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell attacked the House-passed bill and said it has 'no realistic path to quickly pass the Senate.' As part of the political maneuvering, Sen. Bernie Sanders vowed to delay a vote to override Trump's veto of the military funding bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act until the issue of bigger stimulus payments is addressed. It's looking more and more likely that this session of Congress will end without any movement on increased payments at all. Meanwhile, $600 stimulus checks are already on their way to some Americans. Oh, and the Census Bureau is going to miss today's deadline to produce its final population count for 2020. The agency said it will deliver the final results soon.

4. Brexit 

Speaking of deadlines, British lawmakers eked out a vote to back the United Kingdom's post-Brexit trade deal with the European Union right before the very final deadline of the Brexit transition period. The deal preserves Britain's tariff- and quota-free access to EU consumers and allows the UK to narrowly avoid the economic disaster that would have come if it had tumbled out of the transition period without a deal. The UK may enjoy a short economic boost from the newfound security, but leaving the EU will still prove to be damaging, economists say. While the new deal covers trade in goods, it doesn't as thoroughly cover other industries critical to the UK's economy, like finance.

5. Yemen

At least 22 people were killed when a series of explosions hit Yemen's Aden airport. The attack happened as members of a new power-sharing government arrived from Saudi Arabia. It is unclear if the explosions were caused by missiles, but Saudi Arabia has blamed the attack on Iran-backed Houthi rebels. A spokesman for the Saudi-backed coalition in Yemen said the coalition intercepted and downed an explosives-laden Houthi drone that was targeting the presidential palace in the city of Aden. Yemen has been plagued by a years-long civil war, and the newly arrived government members are part of a new Cabinet formed to end a power struggle between a Yemeni separatist group and its current Saudi-backed government.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

The fascinating history behind the Times Square ball drop

Did you know? The design for the ball was based on a 'time ball,' a nautical device that helped sailors synchronize their on-board instruments.

Watch Boston Dynamics robots dance to 'Do You Love Me'

No no no, we can't think of the robots as cute and charming! That's part of their master plan! 

Apple and TikTok remove app used to arrange parties during Covid-19

Don't have (real-life) parties!!!

Mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn leads Anderson Cooper in meditation

Let Anderson lead you peacefully into the new year.

2020 was the year of scary bugs, and 2021 will be even worse

Say it with me again, for the last time: NO MORE SCARY BUGS 2020!

TODAY'S NUMBER

$10 million

That's how much Ticketmaster will have to pay in fines after the company admitted to illegally accessing its competitor's computers.

TODAY'S QUOTE

'We know a life has been cut short tonight and that trust between communities of color and law enforcement is fragile. Rebuilding that trust will depend on complete transparency.'

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, addressing a fatal police shooting Wednesday night. The city's police chief says body camera footage will be released today. The shooting scene is about a mile from where George Floyd died at the hands of Minneapolis police in late May. His death, which was captured on video, sparked national demonstrations calling for racial justice and police accountability.

TODAY'S WEATHER

Check your local forecast here>>>

AND FINALLY

Should auld acquaintance be forgot 

You know the song. But do you really know what it means? Have a safe and happy New Year's holiday, everyone! (Click here to view.)

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 155597

Reported Deaths: 2208
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31877528
Washington21211212
Marion18468285
Clackamas13380175
Lane10258126
Jackson8395112
Umatilla765982
Deschutes595259
Yamhill378364
Linn359056
Malheur335158
Polk306442
Klamath279155
Douglas247454
Benton234416
Josephine234050
Jefferson195828
Coos149119
Union128419
Columbia126521
Wasco122126
Lincoln113220
Hood River106929
Morrow104914
Clatsop7756
Crook77518
Baker6567
Curry4296
Tillamook4142
Lake3766
Harney2736
Grant2231
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman530
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3566914

Reported Deaths: 52158
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles119192321435
Riverside2894503767
San Bernardino2866072874
Orange2612203917
San Diego2600913284
Santa Clara1106211777
Kern102627827
Fresno953931443
Sacramento932811472
Alameda806681242
Ventura77623844
San Joaquin665691101
Contra Costa62248681
Stanislaus56132946
Tulare47784758
Monterey42138328
San Mateo38998515
San Francisco34260412
Santa Barbara31805411
Solano30024164
Merced28915397
Sonoma28141298
Imperial26903591
Kings21955218
Placer19763232
San Luis Obispo19612227
Madera15467209
Santa Cruz14588183
Marin13136197
Yolo12834185
Shasta10985174
Butte10962160
El Dorado9095100
Napa903869
Sutter884597
San Benito576759
Yuba573337
Lassen560119
Tehama508152
Nevada396074
Tuolumne394659
Mendocino379643
Amador346341
Humboldt318033
Lake315641
Glenn222523
Colusa212813
Calaveras190547
Siskiyou174014
Inyo128737
Mono12114
Del Norte9875
Plumas6536
Modoc4524
Mariposa3957
Trinity3675
Sierra990
Alpine810
Unassigned00
Medford
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Hi: 63° Lo: 30°
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Brookings
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Hi: 57° Lo: 37°
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Medford
Clear
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Hi: 39° Lo: 18°
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Medford
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 47°
Klamath Falls
Clear
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Hi: 50° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 25°
Very mild start to March
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