Wednesday, December 21, 2022
by Robert MacMillan
Here’s what you need to know.
Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits Washington, Elon Musk searches for Twitter’s next CEO and parts of the U.S. brace for a stormy Christmas weekend.
Today’s biggest stories
|Workers move a casket outside a crematorium in Beijing, December 17, 2022. REUTERS/Alessandro Diviggiano|
Some residents in Beijing face waiting days to cremate relatives or paying steep fees to secure timely services, indicating a growing death toll as the Chinese capital battles a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases after the easing of painful restrictions to control the spread of the virus. At a crematorium in the Tongzhou district, Reuters saw a line of about 40 hearses waiting to enter while the parking lot was full.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy was en route to Washington to meet President Joe Biden, address Congress and seek “weapons, weapons and more weapons” in his first overseas trip since Russia invaded his country. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said nothing good would come of the trip, and that Russia saw no chance of peace talks.
“When there is no education for women in a society, how can we be hopeful for a bright future?” Female university students in Afghanistan were turned away from campuses after the Taliban-run administration said women would be barred. The decision drew condemnation from foreign governments and the United Nations.
Thousands of ambulance workers in England and Wales walked out over pay, increasing the strain on the National Health Service a day after nurses went on strike, as the government advised the public to avoid taking risks. It said there would be fewer ambulances on the road, with only the most urgent life-threatening cases such as heart attacks prioritized.
Eight teenaged girls were charged with murder after a 59-year-old man was stabbed to death in downtown Toronto.
Formula One drivers will need written permission to make ‘political statements’ starting next season. Global Athlete director-general Rob Koehler said the rule was “blatantly hypocritical.” Mercedes’ seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton and retired four-times champion Sebastian Vettel are among those who have made political statements at races in recent seasons.
|David Wrisley and his wife Andrea look at the damage in their home in Rio Dell, California, December 20, 2022. REUTERS/Fred Greaves|
A 6.4-magnitude earthquake in northern California on Tuesday injured a dozen people, while two people died from medical emergencies that occurred during or just after the tremor. The earthquake crumpled homes and roads, ruptured utility lines and left thousands of residents without running water and electricity.
Happy holidays: A huge swath of the United States will face heavy snow, below-freezing temperatures, and dangerous wind chills this week, likely leading to flight delays and impassable roadways during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.
A House committee voted to release partially redacted tax filings from former President Donald Trump and said tax authorities had failed to properly scrutinize his returns while he was in office.
A white former Texas police officer was sentenced to over 11 years in prison for shooting and killing a Black woman in her home in 2019. Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was shot dead by Aaron Dean while standing in her home with a handgun after hearing noises outside.
|Elon Musk leaves the Baron Investment Conference in Manhattan, November 4, 2022. REUTERS/David Dee Delgado|
Elon Musk in his own words: “I will resign as CEO as soon as I find someone foolish enough to take the job!” Twitter users voted in favor of his resignation in a poll that Musk posted on the platform a few days ago. Ex-employees meanwhile filed dozens of legal complaints against Twitter for various reasons, including targeting women for layoffs and failing to pay promised severance.
The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau slapped Wells Fargo with the watchdog’s largest-ever civil penalty as part of a $3.7 billion agreement to settle charges over widespread mismanagement of car loans, mortgages and bank accounts.
A proposal to bar U.S. government employees from using Chinese app TikTok on government devices appeared set to become law, threatening to deal a blow to the company’s reputation and scare off advertisers even if it is unlikely to affect many users.
A complaint filed in a California federal court said Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to buy “Call of Duty” maker Activision will unlawfully squelch competition in the video-game business.