By Alexandra Meeks, CNN
If you’ve been sweating the deadline to apply for a REAL ID, you can now breathe a sigh of relief. The federal government announced an extension to obtain your updated driver’s license or identification card that will soon be required for all US air travel.
Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Georgia runoff
It’s election day in the runoff race for the US Senate between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker. After an impressive early voting period, voters in Georgia will head to the polls today to cast their ballots in what is expected to be a tight race, with both parties and allied groups pouring tens of millions of dollars into a contest that will shape the balance of power in the Senate over the next two years. While Democrats have already clinched control of the chamber, a victory for Warnock would give Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer a vote to spare and prevent any single lawmaker from possibly holding up the passage of legislation.
2. Hawaii volcano
Officials in Hawaii have activated the state’s National Guard as lava from the eruption of Mauna Loa steadily inches closer to a critical highway. The fountains of lava that have been shooting from the volcano over the past week are not a threat to communities or property, officials have maintained, but the direction of the flow is threatening to shutter parts of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway that links the east and west sides of the Big Island. Closing the road would lengthen residents’ commutes by hours, creating “a tremendous inconvenience,” former Hawaii Gov. David Ige told CNN. Still, many have flocked to see the rare sight of Mauna Loa spewing lava at the same time as the nearby Kilauea volcano, which has been erupting since last year.
Conservative members of the Supreme Court appeared to side with a graphic designer who doesn’t want to work with same-sex couples on their wedding websites. The conservative justices suggested that an artist or someone creating a customized product could not be forced by the government to express a message that violates her religious beliefs. Meanwhile, supporters of LGBTQ rights and the state of Colorado — where the business is located — responded that the designer is simply seeking a license to discriminate in the marketplace. A decision in the case is expected by July. This comes as supporters of LGBTQ rights fear the 6-3 conservative majority on the high court may be setting its sights on reversing a landmark 2015 opinion that cleared the way for same-sex marriage nationwide.
4. Flu vaccine
The flu vaccine appears to be “a very good match” to the strains currently circulating, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a news briefing Monday. However, she noted that flu vaccinations are lagging behind the pace of previous years — even as the virus continues to intensify across the country. CDC data shows that nearly 20,000 people in the US were admitted to the hospital for flu during the week of Thanksgiving, almost double the number of admissions from the week before. There have been at least 8.7 million illnesses, 78,000 hospitalizations and 4,500 deaths from influenza this season, according to the CDC’s latest estimates.
Russia launched a fresh barrage of missiles toward Ukraine on Monday as it accused Kyiv of striking military airfields deep inside its territory. The attacks cut off water and electricity supplies in some areas amid freezing temperatures and killed at least one person, local authorities said. The port city of Odesa appears to be among the worst affected regions as officials say “all pumping station and reserve lines are without power — thus consumers don’t have water.” In Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, about 40% of people are without power after an energy facility was hit on Monday, military officials said. Despite the strikes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has claimed a high success rate in intercepting the Russian missiles.
See Robin Meade’s final sign-off during HLN’s final live broadcast
After a 40-year run, HLN’s live news programming has come to an end. Watch Robin Meade’s touching final sign-off here.
‘Goblin mode’ chosen as Oxford word of the year for 2022
The relatable slang term “Goblin mode” was selected by 93% of people in a public poll, racking up nearly 320,000 votes.
‘GMA3’ co-hosts taken off air following report of romantic relationship
ABC News has benched Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes, the co-hosts of Good Morning America, after tabloids reported the two anchors have secretly engaged in a monthslong romance.
Nike cuts ties with Kyrie Irving
The move comes after Irving shared a link to a documentary containing antisemitic messages in October and initially refused to issue an apology.
Some customers say self-checkouts are annoying. More stores are adding them anyway
Clothing retailers like Zara and H&M have already added self-checkouts in several stores. Here’s where you can expect to see more of them next year.
Kirstie Alley, the actress known for her Emmy-winning role on “Cheers” and films like “Look Who’s Talking,” has died after a brief battle with cancer, her children announced on social media Monday. She was 71.
That’s at least how many residents in a North Carolina county remain without power today after a suspected attack on electric substations resulted in a widespread outage over the weekend. Customers in Moore County have been in the dark since Saturday evening, when two substations were damaged by gunfire, leaving millions of dollars’ worth of damage to equipment, police said. Schools and businesses in the area are closed and a county-wide mandatory curfew is in place.
“What we’re witnessing is a huge setback to Indonesia’s hard-won progress in protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
— Usman Hamid, Executive Director of Amnesty International Indonesia, after lawmakers in the country unanimously passed a sweeping new criminal code that makes sex outside marriage an offense punishable with jail time. Among several other new offenses, the code — which also applies to tourists — provides punishments for insulting the president or expressing views counter to the national ideology.
How Christmas trees are harvested
The average Christmas tree takes years to grow — and undergoes an interesting harvesting process before it makes it inside your living room. Watch this short video to see how it’s done! (Click here to view)
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