By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
We’re already more than halfway through winter — which runs from December through February — and understandably, people in the western US are ready for it to end after being inundated with rain and chilly weather for weeks. Meanwhile, some people on the other side of the country feel like the season has yet to begin as several major cities in the Northeast still await their first snow day. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Mass shootings
At least seven people were killed Monday in shootings at two locations in Half Moon Bay, California, officials said. These shootings came just two days after at least 11 people were killed in a mass shooting at a dance studio in Monterey Park, California. Police say a 67-year-old suspect is in custody after opening fire Monday at a mushroom farm in Half Moon Bay and again near a trucking facility, approximately two miles from the farm. As investigators work to determine a motive, the community remains in shock and disbelief. “We have not even had time to grieve for those lost in the terrible shooting in Monterey Park. Gun violence must stop,” said Dave Pine, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Also on Monday, one person was killed and seven others were injured in a shooting in Oakland, California — the third mass shooting in the state within three days.
More than $60 billion may have been paid out in fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report released Monday by the US Government Accountability Office. The House Oversight Committee said it will launch an investigation into “the rampant waste of taxpayer dollars in Covid relief programs” starting on February 1. Separately, the FDA wants to simplify the Covid-19 vaccine process to look more like what happens with the flu vaccine. New FDA documents explain most people may need only one dose of the latest Covid-19 shot to restore protection, regardless of how many shots they’ve gotten before. The agency’s independent vaccine advisers are scheduled to meet later this week to discuss and vote on the future of Covid-19 vaccine regimens.
3. Oath Keepers
Three members of the Oath Keepers and a fourth person associated with the far-right militia group were convicted of seditious conspiracy by a Washington, DC, jury on Monday for their role in the January 6, 2021, insurrection. The four men were accused of plotting to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral college victory, a conspiracy that culminated in the attack on the US Capitol. This type of rare charge could carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison. All four defendants will be placed under house arrest until they are sentenced, a judge ordered. Additionally, an Arkansas man who was infamously photographed putting his feet on a desk inside then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the Capitol insurrection was found guilty on eight counts by a Washington, DC, jury Monday. He similarly faces up to 20 years in prison for the top charge of obstructing an official proceeding.
For nearly six months, Ukrainian forces have been going toe-to-toe with the Russians over roughly 36 miles of territory in the eastern city of Bakhmut. However, as Ukraine pleads for more advanced weaponry and tanks, US and Western officials are urging Ukrainian officials to shift focus from that brutal fight and prioritize instead a potential offensive in the south, using a different style of fighting that takes advantage of the billions of dollars in new military hardware recently committed by Western allies. The US specifically wants Ukraine to focus on a style of mechanized maneuver warfare that uses rapid, unanticipated movements against Russia, sources familiar with their discussions said.
Twitter is being sued by the UK’s Crown Estate over the tech giant’s alleged failure to pay rent on its London offices, a spokesperson for the property business told CNN. The Crown Estate is a British commercial property portfolio historically belonging to the monarch which generates profits that are collected by the British government for public spending. Twitter currently faces at least one other lawsuit over unpaid rent. A commercial landlord is suing Twitter for breach of contract after the company allegedly failed to pay rent for one of its offices in San Francisco. That particular lawsuit came after media reports said Twitter’s owner, Elon Musk, had stopped paying rent on Twitter’s office space globally — including for its headquarters — and had told employees not to pay company vendors in an apparent effort to cut costs.
Oscar nominations to be announced today
After “the slap” during last year’s Oscars, let’s just hope for less drama this time around … Here are some popular titles that could break through.
Blue Ivy takes the stage with mom Beyoncé in Dubai
A resort in Dubai spared no expense when they hired Beyoncé for their grand opening. Here’s what we know about the glamorous private concert.
Doja Cat stuns in a dramatic head-to-toe crystal outfit
The singer’s team spent almost five hours completing this eye-catching look, which called for red body paint and 30,000 Swarovski crystals.
M&M’s says it’s taking a ‘pause’ from polarizing spokescandies
The candy brand is trying to get on America’s sweet side after some of its recent marketing choices caused a stir.
Don’t say ‘mummy’
Here’s why some museums are rebranding ancient Egyptian remains.
That was the temperature in China’s northernmost city, Mohe, this week — the coldest weather the city has ever recorded. Located in the northeastern Heilongjiang province and nestled near Russian Siberia, Mohe is widely known as “China’s North Pole” and is one of the few places in the country to have a subarctic climate. Meanwhile, temperatures in neighboring Yakutsk, the capital city of Russia’s Sakha Republic in eastern Siberia, recently dropped to minus 80 degrees Fahrenheit — the coldest in more than two decades.
“Nobody wants to hold a picture of their kid.”
— An activist outside of Iran known as Mamlekate, referring to mothers carrying photos of their slain and arrested sons and daughters amid a nationwide uprising. Mamlekate has played a key role in distributing photos and videos from the protests in Iran. More than four months on, almost 20,000 people have been arrested, according to activists and more than 500, including dozens of children, have been killed, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency.
Float through Japan’s floral fairytale wonderland
Relax and enjoy this quick tour of Japan’s beautiful Ashikaga Flower Park, home to over hundreds of pastel-colored flowers and the country’s oldest and largest wisteria. (Click here to view)
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