By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
Did you take your vitamins this morning? Daily vitamin D and fish oil supplements may help prevent some adults from developing autoimmune disorders such as arthritis and psoriasis.
Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Bomb Cyclone
A “bomb cyclone” is expected to batter the Northeast this weekend with heavy snow, wind and coastal flooding. More than 75 million Americans are currently under winter storm watches and travel advisories. Some forecasts remain uncertain, but most are showing that Eastern Massachusetts, including Boston, and Rhode Island could be hit hard with 12 to 24 inches of snow combined with wind gusts up topping 60 mph. The storm is expected to form off the coast of the Carolinas today, and once it reaches the East Coast, it may dump as many as 14 inches of snow in portions of Connecticut and New York, where wind gusts may reach as high as 55 mph. Portions of northeastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia could also see up to 3 inches of snow and high winds.
2. Supreme Court
President Joe Biden yesterday committed to nominating the nation’s first Black female Supreme Court justice following the formal announcement of Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement. “The person I will nominate will be someone with extraordinary qualifications, character, experience and integrity. And that person will be the first Black woman ever nominated to the United States Supreme Court,” Biden said, adding “it’s long overdue.” GOP senators and Senate candidates are already saying they are not supportive of Biden’s plan after concluding that the unnamed nominee is certain to be far left. Republicans are calling for a slow confirmation process but Democrats are aiming for the exact opposite — a swift confirmation process that could be complete within a month after Biden makes his pick.
Millions of Americans are behind on flu, hepatitis, chickenpox and other routine vaccinations as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Adults and adolescents have missed more than 37 million routine vaccinations, according to an analysis of insurance claims by Avalere, a health care consulting firm. Experts are stressing the importance of getting up to date as soon as possible as such widespread lapses in routine vaccinations could put even more strain on the health care system. In a related development, a new spinoff of the Omicron variant called BA.2 is also being talked about, but experts say there’s no reason to panic as there’s no indication it causes more severe symptoms or spreads more easily than the original strain of Omicron. Some are warning though that BA.2 is a “stealth variant” because it doesn’t cause a certain signature on lab tests and can look like other variants on a first screen.
US and Ukrainian officials are not on the same page regarding the “risk levels” of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian official told CNN yesterday. A 20-minute phone call between President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky yesterday “did not go well,” the official said. Biden warned his Ukrainian counterpart that a Russian invasion may be imminent, saying that it is now virtually certain in the coming months. Zelensky, however, said the threat from Russia remains “dangerous but ambiguous,” emphasizing it is not certain that an invasion will take place. The Biden administration yesterday also called for the first UN Security Council meeting on the situation along the Russia-Ukraine border to discuss Moscow’s recent aggressions. NATO, the defense alliance set up to promote peace and stability, is also rapidly trying to reinforce its presence in the region to help ease tensions.
Xiomara Castro was sworn in as Honduras’ first female president yesterday. Castro, a democratic socialist, won a landslide victory in last year’s presidential election after campaigning on a radical agenda to counter years of governance plagued by corruption and scandal. During her campaign, Castro promised to stamp out the systemic problems behind poverty, including economic insecurity, inequality, corruption and violence — some of the root causes of migration to the north. That stance made her not only popular with the electorate, but has made her an attractive ally for the Biden administration. Vice President Kamala Harris, who is overseeing the White House’s efforts to stem the flow of migrants to the US southern border, was among those in attendance for the inauguration.
Want to keep working from home?
Here are some companies that decided to go fully remote — permanently. (It’s okay if you want to stay at home in your pajamas all day with your pandemic pet. We totally get it.)
Apple posted record holiday quarter sales
During a huge supply chain meltdown and chip shortage, Apple prevailed. Hey Siri, what’s the secret to such success?
Ben Roethlisberger retires after 18-year NFL career with Pittsburgh Steelers
The two-time Super Bowl champion said he’s “retiring from football a truly grateful man.” Steeler Nation is so grateful for you too, Ben!
58 students were mistakenly told they received full college scholarships
There’s a happy ending though! The school said the affected students will still receive full-tuition scholarships to “make it right.”
Minnie Mouse has ditched her iconic red dress for a powerful pantsuit
Boss lady Minnie wants a seat at the table! Check out her new CEO-style look created by fashion designer Stella McCartney.
Bitter cold weather conditions caused mysterious ice formations to show up along Chicago’s Lake Michigan shoreline. What do the ice figures resemble, which also lends them their unique name?
Take CNN’s weekly news quiz see if you’re correct!
That’s how much the Australian government has pledged to protect the Great Barrier Reef. The funding announcement comes months after the world’s largest coral reef narrowly avoided being placed on the UN’s “danger” list due to the threat of climate change.
“It is extremely risky to do what they did. The only way that these things happen is if the robbers have got really good inside information.”
— Security consultant Roy Ramm, on the Dresden jewelry heist that stunned the world. A total of 21 diamond-studded artifacts worth an estimated $128 million were stolen from Germany’s historic Dresden Castle in 2019. The six men accused of carrying out one of the biggest jewel thefts in history are expected to go on trial in Germany today.
Here’s a Grease-themed flash mob to kick off your weekend. (Click here to view)
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