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Start your week smart: Ukraine, Winter storm, Bangladesh, Lockerbie, Grant Wahl

By Andrew Torgan, CNN

If all goes according to plan, NASA’s Orion spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific later today. The agency’s Artemis I mission, the next step in preparing to return humans to the moon, lifted off on November 16. The uncrewed spacecraft traveled beyond the moon, reaching a maximum distance of nearly 270,000 miles from Earth — farther than any spacecraft built for humans has ever flown.

Here’s what else you need to know to Start Your Week Smart.

The weekend that was

• Multiple explosions have been reported in the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in southern Ukraine, in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and in annexed Crimea — including at a Russian military barracks.

• An atmospheric river event, bringing ample amounts of moisture to the West this weekend, will gradually move across the country and bring hazardous weather to millions — including potential blizzard conditions in the Midwest and tornadoes in the South.

• Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Dhaka on Saturday calling for the dissolution of parliament to make way for new elections, and demand the resignation of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

• A Libyan man accused of being involved in making the bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103 over the town of Lockerbie in December 1988 is now in US custody, authorities in Scotland said today.

• Prominent American journalist Grant Wahl has died in Qatar after collapsing while covering the World Cup, sparking an outpouring of shock and grief across the sports world. He was 49.

The week ahead


Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old founder of the failed crypto exchange FTX, has agreed to testify before the House Financial Services Committee on December 13 as questions and confusion swirl about the collapse of his companies. In November, Bankman-Fried resigned as CEO of FTX after it and dozens of affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy in one of the most stunning corporate implosions ever. Almost overnight, customers around the world were left scrambling to recover billions of funds that they’d deposited on the platform, while Bankman-Fried’s own multibillion-dollar personal wealth evaporated.

And it’s Taylor Swift’s birthday! The Grammy-winning artist turns 33.


The Federal Reserve will wrap up its two-day meeting with a decision on interest rates. At its last meeting in November, the central bank raised rates by three-quarters of a percentage point — its fourth straight hike of such magnitude. However,  Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell suggested at that time the Fed may soon begin to slow the pace of hikes.

December 14 also marks 10 years since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. A memorial honoring the victims opened to the public last month.


Taylor Swift (yes, her again) returns to the forefront as Congress seeks answers from the CEO of Ticketmaster’s parent company after a ticketing snafu ahead of Swift’s “Eras” tour left millions of unhappy fans without the ability to see her perform. The House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino earlier this month demanding a briefing on what went wrong and what steps the company is taking to fix the problems. Committee members want to meet with Rapino by December 15.

Hear why America’s power grid is so vulnerable

In this week’s “One Thing” podcast, CNN law enforcement correspondent Whitney Wild checks in from Moore County, North Carolina, where thousands were left in the dark for days following targeted gun attacks on two electric substations. She explains why authorities believe the country’s power grid is an especially attractive target for extremists, and what could be done to protect it. Listen here for more.

Photos of the week

Check out more moving, fascinating and thought-provoking images from the week that was, curated by CNN Photos.

What’s happening in entertainment

TV and streaming

The 16th annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” airs tonight at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. Co-hosts Anderson Cooper and Kelly Ripa will be joined by actors including Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, Justin Theroux, Tenoch Huerta, Simu Liu, and Iman Vellani. Additional special guests include Bill Nye, Naomi Campbell and legendary songwriter Diane Warren, who will perform with singer and actor Sofia Carson. Learn more about this year’s Top 10 CNN Heroes here.

The final three episodes of “Harry & Meghan” will land on Netflix Thursday. The documentary series comes more than a year and a half after the couple’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey, which contained a flurry of criticisms of members of the royal family and caused turmoil at the palace.

In theaters

Dust off your 3D glasses … 13 years after “Avatar” dazzled audiences with its then-groundbreaking 3D format, its long-awaited sequel is finally here. “Avatar: The Way of Water” is the return trip to Pandora that director James Cameron has been working on since 2013. The sci-fi epic opens on Friday.

What’s happening in sports

World Cup

Morocco made history Saturday as the first African team to reach a World Cup semifinal, defeating Portugal 1-0. Meanwhile, World Cup champion France remains on course in its title defense after beating England 2-1. The semifinals begin Tuesday when Argentina plays Croatia. Morocco and France play on Wednesday. CNN is providing special coverage of the World Cup 2022 in Qatar through the final match on December 18.

Quiz time!

Take CNN’s weekly news quiz to see how much you remember from the week that was! So far, 72% of fellow quiz fans have gotten eight or more questions right. How will you fare?

Play me off

‘Space Oddity’

Who better to welcome the Orion spacecraft back to Earth than astronaut Chris Hadfield, with his out-of-this-world cover of a David Bowie classic …  (Click here to view)

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