By Alexandra Banner, CNN
(CNN) — One of the key sticking points at the global climate summit underway in Dubai is fossil fuels, the main driver of the climate crisis. The big question is whether countries will agree to a phase-out of oil, gas and coal, a phase-down — or neither. The difference in these small words will determine the world’s response to our rapidly warming future.
Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
1. Presidential debate
Four Republican candidates vying to emerge as the party’s top alternative to Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential primary met Wednesday night in Alabama for their fourth debate. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy repeatedly attacked former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, at times accusing her of corruption. Meanwhile, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed Ramaswamy for changing positions and defended Haley against his attacks. There are now less than six weeks until the pivotal Iowa caucuses, a tradition that has historically served as a test of campaigns’ organizational strength before the party determines its nominee.
2. Las Vegas shooting
Three people are dead and one person is in stable condition after a shooting at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, police said on Wednesday. The suspect, identified as a 67-year-old career college professor, is also dead. His connection to UNLV is unknown at this time. Police said the suspect fired shots outside of a hall where students were gathering and playing games. “What happened today is a heinous, unforgivable crime … If it hadn’t been for the heroic actions of one of those police officers who responded, there could have been countless additional lives taken,” Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Kevin McMahill said. The shooting marks the 80th school shooting in the US this year.
The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza will open today for dozens of foreign nationals and dual citizens to exit the war-torn strip, according to Egyptian authorities. More than 60 US citizens are among the dozens of foreign nationals set to leave, alongside nationals of Romania, the United Kingdom, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Rafah is the only border crossing in Gaza not controlled by Israel and the last remaining outlet for supplies. It has been a vital lifeline for aid to enter the enclave and for people to escape the fighting since Israel’s war with Hamas began in October.
4. Foreign aid
A partisan clash between Senate Republicans and Democrats over border policy continues to threaten the effort to send desperately needed aid to Israel and Ukraine. Republicans blocked foreign aid from advancing Wednesday evening in protest over the package’s lack of changes to US border and immigration policy. The procedural vote on the Senate floor was 49 to 51, falling short of the 60-vote threshold needed to proceed. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday represented a “sad night” after the failed vote, but emphasized that Democrats “remain committed to working very hard to find a solution to this impasse.”
The Biden administration is delaying a long-awaited ban on menthol cigarettes. The move is angering health advocates who believe the president postponed the ban to avoid alienating Black voters, who disproportionately smoke menthol-flavored tobacco products. The administration did not give its reasons for the delay. A final menthol rule is not expected until March. This comes as the tobacco industry has been working to align itself with African-American advocacy groups in a bid to resist further regulation. Among its arguments against a ban is that it would criminalize the flavor of cigarettes preferred by Black smokers, leading to an underground market of the goods.
McDonald’s unveils CosMc’s, its rival to Starbucks
The fast-food chain finally shared more details about its oddly secretive restaurant concept called CosMc’s.
‘Squid Game: The Challenge’ crowns winner
The winner of the Netflix reality show took home the top prize of $4.56 million during Wednesday’s season finale. Warning: spoilers ahead.
Taylor Swift named Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
In an interview with Time Magazine, the pop star reflected on her success, saying “This is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt.” And yes, she talked about her budding relationship with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
This painting valued at $15,000 turned out to be by Rembrandt
The rare piece from the 1600s sold for nearly $14 million at auction this week after extensive tests revealed it was the work of the Dutch master Rembrandt.
The photographer captured unexpected moments of peace in busy cities
British photographer Oli Kellett has captured beautiful moments of stillness at busy crosswalks around the world. See the photos here.
Famed television producer Norman Lear died Tuesday. He was 101. Lear’s successful TV sitcoms including “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons” dominated network ratings in the 1970s. His shows tackled fraught topics of racism, feminism, and social inequalities that no one at the time had yet dared touch.
That’s the average price for a gallon of regular gas in the US, according to AAA. The national average hasn’t been below $3 since May 2021, but an ongoing selloff in the oil market could help send gas prices closer to $3 a gallon nationally by the end of the year.
How have high prices for homes, cars, and childcare affected you and your view of achieving the American Dream? Share your story.
“It was one of the most despicable moments in the history of U.S. academia.”
— Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, saying in a post on X Wednesday that he was “ashamed” of presidents of Harvard, MIT and the University of Pennsylvania for their response to antisemitism on campus. The university leaders were criticized following their testimony at a House hearing this week. In their remarks, none explicitly said that calling for the genocide of Jews would necessarily violate their code of conduct. Instead, they explained it would depend on the circumstances.
AND FINALLY …
Epic leap vs scream beam
Watch this daredevil trick off a skyscraper! For the faint of heart, you may prefer the scream beam at the top of Rockefeller Center in New York City.
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