By AJ Willingham, CNN
Holiday events are looking a little more normal this year after last year’s pandemic-hobbled season — and that includes the return of mall Santas!
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President Biden is expected to sign the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill today, setting in motion historic levels of funding for projects across the country. Biden has tapped former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to oversee the bill’s implementation. Landrieu has promised to work closely with state and local governments to organize projects and create new jobs to support them. About $550 billion in new federal investment is expected to go to such projects over the next five years. American infrastructure is in desperate need of updating and repair, and some undertakings that could get a big boost from the bill include a new bridge along a major transit artery in the Midwest, expanded public transit in the Atlanta metro area and rail improvements in Chicago, the nation’s busiest rail hub.
2. Capitol riot
The White House chief of staff under former President Trump has defied a subpoena to appear before the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riot. Now, a key member of that panel says the House will “move quickly” to refer Mark Meadows for criminal contempt, just like it did with Trump’s one-time adviser Steve Bannon. A federal grand jury on Friday returned an indictment against Bannon for his refusal to appear before the committee. Bannon is expected to self-surrender and appear in court today. As the committee expands its list of subpoenas, it wants to make clear that those who defy its requests could face real consequences.
As the winter months roll in — and Covid-19 spikes threaten as people move indoors — the struggle over vaccine mandates in the US continues. A federal appeals court has reaffirmed its earlier decision to freeze the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate, calling it “staggeringly overbroad.” The OSHA rule requires all employers with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or undergo regular testing and wear face masks at work. In Oklahoma, the state’s National Guard has pledged to thwart a Defense Department mandate that troops be vaccinated against Covid-19. GOP Gov. Kevin Stitt has also asked the Pentagon to suspend the mandate for National Guard members. The Pentagon has said it will respond.
Consumer prices have climbed about 6.2% in the last 12 months — a rate of increase that hasn’t been seen since 1990 and is well above the Federal Reserve’s long-term inflation goal of around 2%. However, staggering inflation isn’t flagging consumer spending. US retail sales rose more than expected in September, and October numbers, due out tomorrow, are expected to be just as healthy. Still, the situation is very alarming for investors and financial experts. The director of the National Economic Council and Biden’s top economic adviser is urging Congress to pass the $1.75 trillion economic spending package to help curb rising prices.
Thousands of people are now stranded at the border between Poland and Belarus as the humanitarian crisis there grows. The migrants — most of whom are from the Middle East and Asia — are seeking to cross illegally into Poland, and many are now living in a Belarusian forest, weathering freezing nighttime temperatures. Some have died of exposure. The Red Cross is delivering aid, but the situation may only get worse. Belarusian state border officials estimate the number of people in the border region could increase to 5,000 within a week. The US and EU are preparing to levy fresh sanctions on Belarus, whose leader Alexander Lukashenko has been accused of manufacturing the crisis by encouraging migrants to cross into Belarus’ EU neighbors.
THIS JUST IN …
American journalist is freed
Danny Fenster has been released from jail in Myanmar.
Astroworld death toll rises
A 9-year-old boy who was injured in the crowd crush in Houston has died, becoming the 10th person to perish in the concert tragedy.
Biden’s highly anticipated virtual summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping is set for today. It comes amid heightened tensions over Taiwan, trade and human rights but also just as the nations unveiled a surprise climate pact.
Adele concert features surprise fan proposal
Folks, the bar just got astronomically higher.
America’s 10 most expensive ZIP codes have median home prices over $4 million
A little intel for your next fantasy Zillow browse.
No turkey? No problem! Try a plant-based Thanksgiving menu this year
Don’t be shy, carve up some fake turkey! … Furkey? Fakurky?
You could win $1,000 to binge-watch Betty White’s work
But let’s be honest, most of us would do it for free.
A very large hog named Papa Pig backed up traffic in South Carolina
Everyone was very patient with him. A pig’s journey cannot be rushed.
That was the average price of gas early this morning in California, beating the state’s previous record average price of $4.671 for regular unleaded set in October 2012. Californians are facing the highest gas prices in the nation due in part to production issues caused by extreme weather.
“Best day ever … praise the Lord … can I get an Amen????”
Britney Spears, in an Instagram message to fans after a judge terminated her 13-year conservatorship. The move ends months of legal struggles for the singer, who spoke out forcefully against the terms of the agreement over the past year.
Well, we’ll just wing it
Few things are funnier than looking at medieval artists’ interpretations of animals they’d obviously never seen before. Owls? Elephants? Sure, they gave it a try! (Click here to view.)
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