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Start your week smart: Covid-19, North Korea, Betty White, Capitol riot, New Mexico

By AJ Willingham, CNN

Happy New Year! If you’ve made any resolutions, we hope they’re off to a great start. If you still need some ideas, consider one of these financial resolutions to make your 2022 — and beyond — the best it can be. Here’s what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

The weekend that was

• Holiday flight cancellations hit a new peak with thousands of flights called off because of Covid-19 cases and a large winter storm sweeping the US.

• Twenty-one people trapped aboard a New Mexico tramway overnight from Friday to Saturday have been safely rescued.

• Tributes are pouring in for beloved actress Betty White, who died Friday at the age of 99.

• North Korean leader Kim Jong Un acknowledged a “food problem” in the reclusive country during his end-of-the-year speech.

• And, of course, the world welcomed 2022 with anticipation, anxiety and every emotion in between.

The week ahead


The US Senate reconvenes after a holiday break. It’s going to be a busy year for legislators ahead of the November midterm elections, and there will be a lot of focus on domestic priorities like voting rights legislation and the Build Back Better Act.

Look up in the sky! The Quadrantid meteor shower, always the first of the year, will peak early on Monday and continue through Tuesday.


The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration will hold a hearing on the oversight of the US Capitol Police following last year’s attack on the Capitol. US Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger and other witnesses are expected to appear.


The US marks one year since the Capitol insurrection that brought a tangible threat to American democracy and has resulted in a year of investigations, questions and political enmity. Presently, the House select committee investigating the attack is locked in a battle with former President Donald Trump, who incited the rioters and bolstered falsehoods that led to the violence.

Thursday also marks the Christian celebration of Epiphany.


The three men convicted of the 2020 murder of Ahmaud Arbery will appear for a sentencing hearing in the same Georgia courthouse where they were tried. Travis McMichael, his father Gregory McMichael and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. all face the possibility of life in prison.

Friday also marks the Orthodox Christian celebration of Christmas.

Want more 5 Things?

This weekend on the Sunday edition of the 5 Things podcast, we talk with CNN’s Manu Raju and Elle Reeve, who look back on their experiences covering the January 6 insurrection as Washington prepares to mark the one-year anniversary this week. Listen here!

Photos of the week

A monitor lizard, wearing a Christmas hat, is hugged by its owner in Bangkok, Thailand, on Christmas Day. Here’s a look at other moving, fascinating and thought-provoking images from the week that was, curated by CNN Photos.

What’s happening in entertainment

Shows turning 20 in 2022

It’s a new year of TV! And some old favorites just keep getting better with age. “American Idol” and “The Bachelor” both hit the big 2-0 this year, as do several shows that have long since wrapped, but remain fan favorites in syndication and on streaming platforms. Oh, and there are some other big TV birthdays thrown in here to make you feel especially ancient. (“Cheers” is HOW old now?!)

What’s happening in sports

Bowl season rolls on

Yes, everyone’s looking forward to the College Football Playoff National Championship on January 11, but first there are more bowl games to watch! (assuming you didn’t get your fill yesterday).

Tuesday, January 4, Kansas State will take on LSU in the Texas Bowl

Saturday, January 8, North Dakota State and Montana State will meet for the FCS Championship game.

Quiz time!

Before we dive into 2022, let’s look back on some of the good things that happened in 2021. Take CNN’s uplifting year in review news quiz and start the year off on a positive note!

Play me off

You can go the distance! 

Listen, I had prod my brain for an inspirational song to get us all pumped for the new year. And for some reason, “Go the Distance” from Disney’s “Hercules” (performed by Michael Bolton, of course) is what slithered out. Crank the dial to the right and let it wash over you. You know you want to. (Click here to rock out)

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