5 things to know for February 12: Impeachment, Covid-19, White House, police, China

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

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1. Impeachment 

2. Coronavirus 

The UK coronavirus variant is posing a growing threat to Europe, and the World Health Organization warned that shutdowns may be necessary across the region if it becomes a dominant strain. That would probably mean more woes for the UK economy, which suffered its biggest slump on record in 2020, partially due to the pandemic. In the US, health officials say the majority of Americans could be vaccinated by the end of summer. And yes, a top official says the doses can be effective against variants. The CDC is expected to soon release new guidelines for reopening schools, which is another step in President Biden’s plan to get teachers and students back into classrooms. The Australian state of Victoria is beginning a five-day shutdown to quash a Covid-19 cluster, which means the much-discussed Australian Open will continue on without spectators.

3. White House 

The House Ways and Means Committee advanced its $940 billion portion of the coronavirus relief bill yesterday, and all 12 House committees that are writing portions of the bill should have their provisions advanced by the end of the week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is still shooting to have the whole thing on Biden’s desk by March 14. Meanwhile, the Biden administration is preparing to roll back  a controversial Trump-era immigration policy, known as the “remain in Mexico” policy, that forced some people seeking asylum in the US to stay in Mexico under poor conditions — sometimes for months or years — while their applications were processed. Lifting the policy would allow for their gradual entry into the US. The Biden administration has also extended protections under the Fair Housing Act to cover LGBTQ Americans.

4. Police violence 

There have been several recent developments in cases of police violence across the country. The family of Dijon Kizzee, the Black man shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, filed a $35 million claim for damages. It alleges the sheriff’s department failed to properly train the involved deputies and accuses them of using unreasonable deadly force. In Buffalo, New York, a grand jury has dismissed felony assault charges against two officers who pushed a 75-year-old man to the ground during protests this summer, fracturing his skull. The incident was caught on camera. In Aurora, Colorado, a police officer has been fired for using excessive force during an arrest in a supermarket in August. The officer punched a man repeatedly and used his Taser on him five times.

5. China

BBC World News has been banned from airing in China. The move is an apparent retaliation after Ofcom, the British media regulator, said it had withdrawn a license for China Global Television Network to broadcast in the UK. China’s Foreign Ministry has criticized the BBC for its coverage of China’s response to the pandemic, dismissing reports as “fake news.” Beijing has also repeatedly expressed frustration with BBC reporting on China’s crackdown on Uyghur and other ethnic Muslim minorities in the western region of Xinjiang. While this new ban does spread to Hong Kong, the BBC has actually never been allowed to broadcast in mainland China or into Chinese homes. BBC World News has only ever been available in international hotels.


It’s the start of the Lunar New Year! 

Welcome to the Year of the Ox

Stonehenge may be a rebuilt stone circle from Wales, new research suggests

The woman who put Gorilla Glue in her hair is finally free of the adhesive 

Fortunately for her, this seems like a once-in-a-lifetime mistake

Grape-Nuts will be back on shelves in March

Dry your tears, Grape-Nuts fans. All will be well soon. 

A TSA officer helped a family that flew into Portland, Oregon, but had meant to go to Portland … Maine

Suddenly that irrational fear of getting on the wrong plane and flying thousands of miles in the wrong direction doesn’t seem so irrational anymore. 


February is Black History Month, and every day we’re highlighting Black pioneers in American history. Learn more here.

Fannie Lou Hamer, activist, 1917-1977

A talented and charismatic speaker, Hamer endured threats and violence for her part in helping people register to vote in the 1960s. At the 1964 Democratic Convention, Hamer spoke about the brutal conditions Blacks faced while trying to vote in Mississippi. Her televised testimony was so riveting that President Lyndon Johnson forced the networks to break away by calling a last-minute news conference. Johnson was afraid Hamer’s eloquence would alienate Southern Democrats who supported segregation.


11 million

That’s the average number of viewers across major news networks who watched Tuesday’s opening arguments in Trump’s impeachment trial.


“One thing I’ve learned already that I’m specifically sorry for is that my words matter, that words can truly hurt a person and at my core that’s not what I’m OK with. This week I heard firsthand some personal stories from Black people that honestly shook me.”

Country music artist Morgan Wallen, who says he’s working on educating himself after being caught on video saying a racial slur



Fly high!

Look at this 33-year-old bat reliving the glory days of flying and just TRY not to cry. (Click here to view.) 

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