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5 things to know for Jan. 5: House, California floods, Vatican, Ukraine, Tech layoffs


By Alexandra Meeks, CNN

Many people are growing to trust autonomous cars and delivery robots that navigate sidewalks in major cities. Now, that same self-driving technology is coming to strollers — yes, strollers. Understandably, some parents are not ready to put their baby in a mechanism with a mind of its own. Still, the company behind the artificial intelligence is confident it can spur discourse to prove it can add an element of safety.

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

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1. House

House Republicans are scrambling to end a stalemate over Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s speakership bid. On Wednesday, McCarthy lost a sixth round of voting for House speaker and proposed more key concessions in his push to get 218 votes — including agreeing to propose a rules change that would allow just one member to call for a vote to oust a sitting speaker. The House is set to reconvene today in the hope of electing a speaker, but voting could stretch into the weekend. Until the standoff is resolved, much of the functioning of the chamber will remain paused and little legislating will take place. The standstill also means Republicans may have to keep waiting before tackling some of their most pressing priorities, including investigations into President Joe Biden’s administration and his family.

2. California floods

A bomb cyclone is slamming the California coast, causing widespread flooding, mudslides and power outages. The storm’s heaviest rain and strongest winds have wreaked havoc in the Bay Area, while central California continues to face hurricane-force gusts. Forecasts show rainfall rates in some areas could exceed 1 inch per hour today, which could unleash even more flooding across the already saturated region hit with a different storm that brought deadly floods just last weekend. California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide emergency declaration Wednesday, as nearly 200,000 homes and businesses in California remain without power this morning.

3. Vatican

Pope Francis led the funeral of former Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City today, in an occasion attended by tens of thousands of mourners. The funeral marked an unprecedented moment as it was the first occasion in modern times that a pontiff had presided over the funeral of his predecessor. Benedict was elected pope in April 2005 following Pope John Paul II’s death and was the first pontiff in almost 600 years to resign his position rather than hold office for life. He died at age 95 last month. He was known to be more conservative than his successor, Pope Francis, who has made moves to soften the Vatican’s position on abortion and homosexuality, as well as doing more to deal with the sexual abuse crisis that has engulfed the church in recent years and tarnished Benedict’s legacy.

4. Ukraine

As Russia’s war against neighboring Ukraine grinds into its 10th month, the US is now considering sending armored fighting vehicles to assist Ukrainian forces, while France said it will also send light armored combat vehicles. The Western-style tanks will be “very important in order to restore security for all Ukrainians and peace for all Europeans,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has dispatched one of his country’s most modern warships armed with advanced hypersonic missiles that travel more than five times the speed of sound — making them hard to detect and intercept. “I am sure that such powerful weapons will reliably protect Russia from potential external threats and will help ensure the national interests of our country,” Putin said on the deployment via state media, without specifically mentioning the conflict in Ukraine.

5. Tech layoffs

Amazon has become the latest tech giant to announce significant layoffs. According to a memo from CEO Andy Jassy shared with employees, Amazon plans to lay off more than 18,000 employees as the global economic outlook continues to worsen. The tech sector, which initially ramped up hiring during the pandemic, has since had to confront changing consumer habits as people return to their offline lives. At the same time, the industry has been pummeled by a seemingly perfect storm of economic factors over the past year, including rising interest rates, looming recession fears and consumers and businesses rethinking expenses. This comes as Facebook-parent Meta recently announced 11,000 job cuts, the largest in the company’s history. Twitter also announced widespread job cuts after Elon Musk bought the company for $44 billion. Salesforce this week also said it would cut 10% of its staff.


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Prince Harry alleges his brother William physically attacked him, according to The Guardian

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James “Buster” Corley, co-founder of the popular restaurant and entertainment chain Dave & Buster’s, has died in an apparent suicide. He was 72. In a company statement Wednesday, Dave & Busters said Corley was an “innovative and creative force” with a “passion for hospitality.” His daughter, Kate Corley, confirmed her father’s death, saying that a stroke he experienced four months ago “caused severe damage to the communication and personality part of his brain.”


$500 million

That’s how much two actors are seeking from Paramount Studios for allowing the 1968 film “Romeo and Juliet” to be released with scenes showing them nude when they were minors, according to a lawsuit filed last week. The two actors — who were 15 and 16 at the time — claim that an intimate scene featuring images of their nude bodies has caused them mental anguish and emotional distress in the 55 years since its release. They are accusing Paramount Studios of sexual exploitation and distributing nude images of adolescent children. CNN has reached out to Paramount for a comment on the matter.


“Like the rest of the nation, our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and his teammates.”

— White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, confirming that President Joe Biden saw “the horrific news of Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest” and spoke with Hamlin’s mother and father “at length.” The 24-year-old Buffalo Bills safety remains in critical condition after collapsing on the field during the “Monday Night Football” game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He is beginning to show signs of improvement, the Buffalo Bills said in an update Wednesday.


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