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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
2. Enhanced security measures for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20 are starting earlier than planned.
3. The Trump administration instructed states to immediately begin vaccinating every American 65 and older, along with adults with pre-existing conditions.
The announcement, a major shift, came amid continuing complaints about the pace of the vaccine rollout. The administration also said it would release all available doses — a policy shift already planned by the incoming Biden administration — rather than holding back doses for a second booster shot.
Deluged with cases, California will transform Dodger Stadium and Disneyland into mass vaccination centers. The Mets’ stadium in Queens will also become a round-the-clock vaccination site.
What will a postvaccine world look like? The coronavirus is here to stay, but once most adults are immune the virus will become no more of a threat than the common cold, according to a new study.
4. All international travelers headed to the U.S. will first have to show proof of a negative virus test, under a policy that is expected to take effect on Jan. 26.
The policy expands on a similar rule, instituted in late December, that required travelers from Britain to show proof of a negative test result after a more contagious variant of the virus surfaced there.
More people died in Britain last year than in any year in the past century, surpassing even the toll during the 1918 pandemic, according to a government report. As the new coronavirus variant continues to tear through the country, officials are warning that the worst is yet to come.
5. The death of Sheldon Adelson, who used his wealth to promote right-wing political agendas in America and Israel, may complicate Republican efforts to regain control of Congress.
Mr. Adelson, pictured in 2019, spent over half a billion dollars to boost Republicans since 2010. But as one strategist put it, “a next generation of Sheldon-level giving does not readily exist.”
A cabdriver’s son who built the world’s largest empire of casinos and resort hotels, Mr. Adelson died Monday night of complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 87. Read his full obituary.
The fallout over last week’s siege of the Capitol has hit the Republican Party financially. Several corporations said they would suspend donations to members of Congress who supported Mr. Trump’s efforts to overturn the election outcome.
6. Greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. fell more than 10 percent in 2020, reaching their lowest levels in three decades as the virus slowed the economy.
If the trend can be sustained, it would put America within striking distance of one of its major goals under the Paris climate agreement. But that’s a big if: The steep drop was a result of extraordinary circumstances as the pandemic slammed the brakes on the economy. Researchers said emissions were expected to rebound unless there are major policy changes.
And while President Trump may be on his way out, his administration’s disinformation may live on. An administration official, claiming the imprimatur of the White House, has posted a series of papers questioning the established science of climate change.
7. A password worth $220 million.
Bitcoin has made a lot of people rich, but what happens when you can’t access that wealth because you forgot the password to your digital wallet? It happened to Stefan Thomas, above, a programmer in San Francisco, who owns 7,002 Bitcoin that he cannot access because he lost the password to his digital wallet.
Of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, around 20 percent — currently worth around $140 billion — appear to be in lost or otherwise stranded wallets, according to a cryptocurrency data firm. The dilemma is a stark reminder of Bitcoin’s unusual technological underpinnings.
8. An ever-changing New York City.
The grand new Moynihan Train Hall at Pennsylvania Station, a $1.6 billion transformation of a former post office, has gifted the city with a lofty, light-filled steel, glass and marble cathedral, writes Michael Kimmelman, our architecture critic.
The new hall doesn’t “extinguish the raging dumpster fire that is the current” Penn Station, Kimmelman says, but it does “deliver on its promise, giving the city the uplifting gateway it deserves.”
And on the city’s sidewalk, single-table huts, cabins and bubbles have sprung up as alternatives to indoor dining. Is it a safer or more pleasant way to eat outdoors? Maybe.
9. News from the animal kingdom.
The brown tree snake has found a new way to slither. Researchers in Guam challenged the animal with a three-foot-tall metal stovepipe baffle, which was set up to protect the nests of Micronesian starlings, a favorite of the brown tree snake.
Not only did the snakes get around the baffle, but they did so in an unknown mode of snake locomotion: by wiggling up a pole, wrapping their noodling bodies around the baffle, and inching up. “We were bamboozled by what we were seeing,” one researcher said. “Snakes just don’t move this way.”
The shipworm has also surprised researchers. The direct fertilization technique of nature’s weirdest clam — called pseudocopulation — was captured on film for the first time.
10. And finally, for your viewing pleasure.
If you’re like your Briefing writer and have already plowed through “Bridgerton,” rewatched “Grey’s Anatomy” and are on the verge of finishing “Lupin,” Netflix has good news for you: The streaming platform announced some 70 movies featuring stars like Jennifer Lawrence, Lin-Manual Miranda and Jay-Z. Above, the forthcoming big-budget action film “Army of the Dead.”
Netflix also released an extended cut of Chris Rock’s essential stand-up special “Tamborine.” And “All Creatures Great and Small,” a charming mini-series adaptation of the James Herriot book that was a surprise pandemic hit in Britain, makes its way to PBS this week.
Have a leisurely night.
Claire Moses contributed to this briefing.
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