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5 things to know for Dec. 28: Covid, Crime, Japan & China, Denver shootings, Somalia


By AJ Willingham, CNN

It’s been an interesting year for just about everything — art and fashion included. The biggest cultural moments of 2021 span iconic award show moments, eye-popping digital art sales and more.

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

(You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Coronavirus

The CDC has shortened the recommended times people should isolate when they’ve tested positive or have been exposed to Covid-19. Now, the agency says people only have to isolate for five days instead of 10 if they test positive but don’t have symptoms — and continue to wear a mask around others for five more days. People who were sick but whose symptoms are improving and don’t have a fever can also leave the house after five days, as can those who were exposed to Covid-19 but are fully vaccinated. The CDC says the change is based on scientific evidence that most transmission occurs early in the disease, right before and after the onset of symptoms.

2. Crime

The Justice Department has been doling out a surge of grants to help cities confront recent increases in violent crime. The department’s Office of Justice Programs says hundreds of communities and organizations are being awarded or are eligible to receive a slice of $1.6 billion to support a wide range of public safety programs. For instance, the Justice Assistance Grant program will share more than $271.9 million — with $187 million going to state law enforcement agencies and over $84.9 million to more than 900 cities and counties. Initiatives covered by the funding may include things like drug and gang task forces, domestic violence programs, treatment and correction programs, and other crime reduction efforts.

3. Japan and China

The defense ministers of Japan and China have agreed to set up a joint defense hotline by the end of 2022, even as the two East Asian powers continue to be at odds over territorial disputes and military posturing. Tokyo is showing increasing concern over the situation surrounding Taiwan, the self-governed island that China claims as its own. Japan and China also have a long-standing dispute over an uninhabited Japanese-controlled island chain in the East China Sea — known as the Senkakus in Japan and Diaoyus in China. Over the last few years, Japan has bolstered its air and sea defenses in response to China’s displays of military aggression in the South China Sea and beyond.

4. Denver shootings

At least four people are dead following a string of shootings in the Denver metro area last night. The suspect is also dead, authorities said. The shooter killed and injured people at multiple locations — including a business, a shopping area and a hotel. Police were involved in a vehicular chase and exchanged gunfire with the suspect. At one point, the suspect disabled a police car during the chase, and wounded an officer before being shot and killed. Law enforcement officials say there is no ongoing threat to the community, and they have no known motive for the shootings.

5. Somalia

Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmajo has suspended the powers of the prime minister, triggering fears of political violence in the country. Farmajo has accused Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble of looting public land and tampering with the ensuing investigation. The tussle over power between the two leaders stems from a spat over long-delayed parliamentary elections in Somalia. Both men have accused each other of holding up the elections. The US and UK have both urged calm, lest the situation in the politically unstable nation takes a violent turn.


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That’s about how many children have been evacuated from Afghanistan without their parents since August. Hundreds of these children haven’t been reunited with their families yet, and some may never be, one expert says.


“I condemn this grievous incident and all attacks against civilians throughout the country, which are prohibited under international humanitarian law.”

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, who said he was “horrified” by the reported killing of at least 35 civilians in Myanmar.


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