- In London, the fireworks show over the Thames River has been canceled, but Big Ben will chime at midnight.
- In Rio de Janeiro, beach access will be blocked so that no one shows up to celebrate there as usual.
- In New York, the ball will drop in Times Square, but no one is invited to watch it in person.
- In Hong Kong, the fireworks display over Victoria Harbor is canceled and, for that matter, so is the traditional Lunar New Year festival in February.
The facts are clear: Pennsylvania had a free, fair, and secure election.— Governor Tom Wolf (@GovernorTomWolf) December 30, 2020
Fictional conspiracy theories like those spread by US Senator Josh Hawley violate the core values of our nation and we must reject them. pic.twitter.com/OS7wyOgOCQ
➤CHALLENGE TO BIDEN'S VICTORY ASSURED: U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri has announced he will challenge President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Pennsylvania when Congress meets January 6th to certify the election. Hawley's move will force members of the House and Senate to go on the record for or against accepting Biden's victory. Senate Majority Leader McConnell reportedly wanted to avoid that scene. The challenge is widely considered to be doomed to failure.
➤SERIAL KILLER DIES IN PRISON: Samuel Little, believed to have been the worst serial killer in American history, has died at the age of 80. Little was serving multiple life sentences for three murders in Los Angeles in the 1980s, but later confessed to more than 90 murders across the nation.
➤NOT QUITE WARP SPEED: The government official in charge of Operation Warp Speed, which aimed to ship 100 million doses of the new Covid-19 vaccines nationwide by the end of the year, acknowledged yesterday that the results didn't live up to the name. Only about 14 million doses shipped, and about 2.6 million people were actually vaccinated. Moncef Slaoui, chief science adviser of the project, blamed the holidays, the weather, storage challenges and inexperience for the slow rollout. A better pace is expected by mid-January.
In Florida, elderly people and frontline healthcare workers camped out overnight for vaccinations offered on a "first come, first served" basis. The process of vaccination is being set by the states.
➤MINIMUM WAGE SET TO RISE IN 20 STATES: Minimum-wage workers in 20 states will see small increases in their paychecks after January 1st. The minimum wage increases range from a measly eight cents an hour in Minnesota to $1.50 an hour in New Mexico. The states raising pay rates include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Vermont and Washington. Among those states, the highest pay rate, $14 an hour, is in California.
➤RECORD HIGH FOR STOCK PRICES: The Dow Jones Industrial Average hit another record high yesterday on the second to the last day of the trading year. The Dow gained nearly 74 points to close at 30,409. Market watchers say stock buyers are happy that the $600 stimulus checks are going out now, and hopeful about the prospects for an improved economy in 2021.
Dawn Wells, ‘Gilligan’s Island’s’ Mary Ann, Dies of COVID at 82 https://t.co/7bTGMPpzXm— Variety (@Variety) December 30, 2020
The Oklahoma Sooners defeated the Florida Gators by a score of 55-20. The 55 points are an Oklahoma Bowl Game record and ties the Cotton Bowl Record (USC 1995).— Fifth Quarter Stats (@FQStats) December 31, 2020
The 35-point scoring margin is also the highest the team has had in a Bowl Game in their 112-year history. pic.twitter.com/V4n66KarB5
🏀NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS: Pro basketball has come out of the bubble and so far, so good. The NBA announced that 495 players have been tested for COVID-19 since December 24th, and none tested positive. The teams have resumed a modified version of their normal schedule after completing the 2019-2020 season in a Disney World bubble.
🏈DALVIN COOK TO MISS VIKINGS' FINALE: Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook will not play in Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions due to the death of his father, ESPN reports. He flew home to Miami on Tuesday to be with his siblings.
➤MICHIGAN OPENS DOOR TO COLLEGE ATHLETE PAY: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a bill that will allow college athletes to accept payment for sponsorships and advertising without risking their eligibility. The new law takes effect in 2023, the Detroit Free Press reports. Similar bills have been approved in California, Colorado, Florida, Nebraska and New Jersey, but other states still bar students participating in varsity sports from receiving anything of value other than scholarships.
🏎SIR LEWIS TO YOU: Formula 1 World Champion auto racer Lewis Hamilton has been awarded a knighthood by Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. The annual honors list was released last night. It has been a big year for Hamilton, who matched Michael Schumacher's record of seven F1 World Championship titles. You may now address him as Sir Lewis Hamilton.