Today's 5 things: Visions of sugar plums dancing in our head

Stormchaser catches aftermath of deadly tornado
stormchaser on deadly tornado barnett intv_00015316


    Stormchaser catches aftermath of deadly tornado


Stormchaser catches aftermath of deadly tornado 02:33

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(CNN)It's Christmas Eve, and we wish we could bring you only good tidings. But the world won't cooperate. So, here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door:


Shock to the system: It's not spring, but it felt like it across the South last night as storms ripped through the region. Twisters popped up, but most of the damage was caused by a single tornado. It hit the ground in northern Mississippi and ground up the earth all the way to western Tennessee. That's about 150 miles -- and it may have set a record for the longest track December tornado in the mid-South. At least seven people died.
    People inspect a storm-damaged home in the Roundaway community near Clarksdale, Mississippi, on Wednesday.


    Pat-down putdown: Don't like going through the see-under-your-clothes body scanner at the airport? Well, tough. Soon you may have to pass through it, even if you ask for a pat-down. Why? Because the scanners can better spot weapons. Again, why? Because terrorism.
    TSA changes rules for airport security screenings
    TSA changes rules for airport security screenings


      TSA changes rules for airport security screenings


    TSA changes rules for airport security screenings 01:42


    Pregnant pause: Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on. Not so fast, Brazil. There's been a serious uptick in newborn microcephaly there. And until doctors can figure out what the heck is going on, they're asking couples to hit pause on the bebeh-making button. The disorder causes serious developmental issues. Officials think it's resulting from a virus called Zika, carried by mosquitoes. So add that to the list of annoying reasons all mosquitoes need to go.
    What is the Zika virus?
    What is the Zika virus?


      What is the Zika virus?


    What is the Zika virus? 01:55


    Disorder in the court: Staying quiet in court is not Robert Dear's thing. The suspect in last month's shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic raised a ruckus during a hearing yesterday, just like he did a couple of weeks ago. He dogged out his defense team and asked to represent himself. The judge had heard enough and ordered Dear examined at a mental hospital. Surprisingly, Dear plans on putting a muzzle on it there: "I'm not going to say one word."


    Something's up: Something odd is going on in Beijing, but no one's talking. The British and the American embassies say they've received word of possible threats against Westerners visiting a popular shopping district around Christmas. Beijing cops have stepped up their presence there, but say it's because so many shoppers will be out and about. It's all very unusual.


    A fire at a Saudi Arabian hospital kills 25 ... Two men are sentenced to death for killing two British backpackers on a Thai resort ... The trucker who crashed into Tracy Morgan's limo is indicted ... The families of Sandy Hook victims finalize a $1.5 million settlement ... 15 men in India are charged with murder for lynching a Muslim man for eating beef


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    Quote of the day:
    "My friend Ted Cruz has still not pledged to issue exec order declaring Canadian 'bacon' is not real bacon. Makes me suspicious."
    -- Rand Paul, taking a good-natured shot at the Canadian-born Cruz during his annual Festivus ribbing. If this running-for-president thing doesn't work out, he's got a bright future as a roast emcee.
    The cat's me-owl
    Feeling pretty good that you spotted the panda among the snowmen? Here's a new stumper -- spot the cat among the owls (Hint: Look at the noses)
    Because what's more punk that compostable coffee bags
    Green Day is launching its own coffee. In case you need something to wake you up (when September ends).
    Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
    If, like Bing Crosby, you're dreaming of a white Christmas, then be like Aerosmith and dream on. If you're in the East, it ain't gonna happen. Blame it on that old faithful, El Nino.
    Bloodbath and beyond
    If a nuclear war were to break out in 1959, the U.S. plan was to blow East Berlin, Moscow and Beijing to smithereens - civilian deaths be damned. Sure glad we dodged that bullet.
    I see skies of blue and clouds of white
    This stunning pic of Earth that NASA just released will have you humming along, "And I think to myself what a wonderful world."


    Here, there and everywhere
    Finally, finally, the entire Beatles catalog is now available for streaming across the universe. Happy Crimble indeed!