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5 things to know for January 29: Covid, extremism, impeachment, GameStop, Hong Kong

There’s an official term for that! Merriam-Webster has added “second gentleman” to describe VP Kamala Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff’s role.

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

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1. Coronavirus 

A new coronavirus variant first found in South Africa has now been detected in more than 30 countries, including the US. Another variant, first found in Brazil, has showed up in Minnesota. While all these variants aren’t necessarily surprising, a few of them have scientists worried because they seem to be more transmissible and so could tax health care systems even further. In a worst-case scenario, they could also evade the protection of vaccines. Scientists are also still trying to figure out how to treat “long Covid,” a condition in which patients experience prolonged symptoms after their initial infection has passed. Meanwhile, a team of investigators from the World Health Organization is currently in China, visiting labs, hospitals and markets to look into the origins of the pandemic.

2. Domestic extremism

The chief judge of the federal court in Washington delivered a scorching rebuke to Capitol riot suspects during a hearing, calling their actions an assault on American democracy. Chief Judge Beryl Howell also ruled that the man photographed with his feet on a desk in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office should stay in jail as he awaits trial. The enmity and violence laid bare by the Capitol riot has continued to fracture trust among federal lawmakers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned of the enemy “within” that is threatening security, in an apparent reference to some pro-Trump Republicans. Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez accused GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of “trying to get me killed” with his rhetoric regarding the Capitol violence.

3. Impeachment 

Some Senate Democrats are hoping for a swift impeachment trial for former President Trump, so Congress can get on with other measures like passing a long-awaited Covid-19 relief bill. There is only one article of impeachment to discuss — incitement of insurrection — and since lawmakers all witnessed the related events firsthand, the proceedings could move quickly. It’s also unlikely enough GOP senators will swing in favor of conviction. And those who vote to convict could face the same fate as House Republicans who voted for impeachment and are now seeing political blowback in their home states.

4. GameStop

The roller coaster week for GameStop stock continued yesterday. At one point, the stock lost more than 44% of its value after surging nearly 40%. A lot of investors are using Robinhood, a free trading app that has come under fire during this unusual episode. The company temporarily barred users from buying shares of GameStop stock, saying it wanted to protect users from market volatility. However, someone filed a class-action lawsuit yesterday against the company, saying Robinhood’s actions rigged the market against its customers. Robinhood has now eased restrictions on the stock, and GameStop shares surged 100% in premarket trading this morning.

5. Hong Kong 

The United Kingdom could welcome as many as tens of thousands of migrants from Hong Kong through a new visa program that starts this weekend. The program offers a new path to citizenship for some Hong Kongers fleeing the territory’s stringent national security law imposed last year by Beijing. Since Hong Kong is a former British colony, some residents hold British National (Overseas) passports, which were introduced in the final years of British rule. Under the new program, those with BN(O) status and their eligible family members will be able to travel to the UK to live, study and work, and eventually become eligible to settle there.


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So, no, you’re not alone.

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Say no more. 


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“It can be difficult to face up to our failings, but that’s exactly what we have to do, if we want to improve and move forward.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, after the city’s police department received a harsh rebuke in a report commissioned after the police killing of Breonna Taylor.


Check your local forecast here>>>


A tropical view 

You may not think you have 24 minutes to watch all the different birds that come to a bird feeder in Costa Rica, but the first toucan may change your mind. (Click here to view.)

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