CORONAVIRUS: The US just hit a quarter million coronavirus deaths, with hospitalizations at record highs. In some good news: the FDA just gave the thumbs-up to the first at-home coronavirus test that provides rapid results. You read that right. Anyone over the age of 14 can self-administer the test, which uses nasal swab samples. Speaking of which, that Pfizer and BioNTech coronavirus vaccine is just as effective in every age group, including people over the age of 65. Now, the bizes are going to apply for emergency use of the vaccine in the US. This comes as former FDA commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan said things will start getting better in early 2021 - but the “weeks ahead” are going to be rough.
POLITICS: For years, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has gone through periods of escalation and de-escalation. And now, it looks like the conflict may be entering a new period. We’ll fill you in. After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to annex parts of the West Bank (with the support of Trump), the Palestinian Authority said ‘don’t call us’ and stop cooperating. But recently, Netanyahu suspended annexation plans as part of normalization agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Add that to a Biden win, and the Palestinian Authority is resuming cooperation with Israel. On that note: Prez-elect Biden just announced a slate of new White House staffers. Stay tuned.
WORLD: It’s official - Prez Trump is withdrawing thousands of troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. Not a typo. In Afghanistan, the number of troops will be reduced from 4,500 to 2,500, and in Iraq, the number of troops will be reduced from 3,000 to 2,500. Cue backlash from Senate Republicans (along with the head of NATO), who said the move was “mistake.” Meanwhile, some Dems praised the move as the “right policy decision” - but added that the drawdown needs to be done in coordination with allies. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia’s first women’s football league just kicked off. Big deal, since women weren’t even allowed to watch football matches in stadiums until 2018.