5 things to know for November 19: Congress, Covid, social media, Arbery, Peng Shuai

02:54 - Source: CNN
McCarthy stalls House vote on Biden's bill as Dems push for passage
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    1. Congress

    House Democrats are on the verge of passing President Biden’s sweeping social spending and climate change bill after months of feuding. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had hoped to vote on the measure late yesterday, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy stalled floor action with a marathon speech that stretched into the early hours of this morning. The $1.9 trillion economic legislation stands as a key pillar of Biden’s domestic agenda, and Democrats are still confident they have the votes to pass it later today. The measure would deliver on long-standing Democratic priorities by dramatically expanding social services for Americans, working to mitigate the climate crisis, increasing access to health care and delivering aid to families and children. Whether it can survive in the Senate remains an open question.

    01:00 - Source: CNN
    Top Biden economic adviser: 'We are confident' social bill will pass this week

    1. Trump

    A new look at the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic points straight back to a seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, says a scientist who’s been studying the pandemic since the beginning. That was the original suspected source of the pandemic, but as more entities investigated and the Chinese government sought to deflect blame, the picture has become muddied. His research also reveals the possible first documented case of Covid-19: a seafood vendor who worked at the market and got sick on December 11, 2019. Nearly two years later, the world is still struggling with how to handle the virus. Austria is due to go into a national lockdown Monday, and in the US, more than a million people are estimated to still be missing their sense of smell after a Covid-19 infection. 

    01:27 - Source: WMTW
    Miracle Covid-19 survivor: Woman wakes up after weeks on ventilator

    Medical experts are warning of another deadly pandemic winter as Covid-19 numbers tick up and flu season threatens. The US is back at a point where more than 2,000 people are dying of Covid-19 every day on average, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, about 12,000 to 50,000 Americans lose their lives to flu every year. The best way to avoid another devastating season, doctors say, is to get vaccinated for both. Meanwhile, parts of Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, are coming out of long lockdowns and abandoning their “zero Covid” strategies. Leaders want to revive their countries’ economies, especially their tourism sectors, but experts are worried that low vaccination rates in the region could spell disaster.

    The climate crisis was front and center at the UN General Assembly yesterday. Chinese President Xi Jinping recorded a rare address to the UN body promising to halt coal projects, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country will present the Paris climate agreement to its parliament next month, and US President Joe Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson stressed further climate action during an Oval Office meeting. An array of international points of conflict were also addressed by the dozens of world leaders present, including nuclear arms in Iran, free and fair elections in Venezuela, and competition between the US and China. The Taliban have also requested representation at this week’s meeting, a move that is expected to kick off a diplomatic battle with the preexisting Afghan envoy.

    3. Russia

    A bipartisan group of 10 state attorneys general has launched an investigation into Meta – formerly known as Facebook – focused on the potential harms of its Instagram platform on children and teens. The announcement follows extensive reporting on a trove of internal documents leaked by a former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower. Some of the documents show that the company’s own researchers have found that Instagram can damage young users’ mental health and body image and can exacerbate dangerous behaviors such as eating disorders. The attorneys general say they will look into whether, by continuing to provide and promote Instagram despite knowing of the potential harms, Meta violated consumer protection laws and “put the public at risk.”

    04:00 - Source: CNN
    Kara Swisher dissects Facebook and YouTube

    Progressive Democrats have announced they will not vote for the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill without passing the $3.5 trillion package that is aimed at enacting President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. That vote is scheduled for next week, and as it stands, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can afford to lose only a handful of votes to get anything passed. President Biden will increase his engagement with Congressional Democrats today, including a meeting with Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, to try and get all the Democratic factions in line. Yesterday, the House also passed a bill to avoid a government shutdown and suspend the US debt limit. The bill is unlikely to pass the Senate, so the country is still approaching a possible shutdown and financial precipice in the coming weeks. 

    4. Hurricane Fiona

    Attorneys are due to begin closing arguments Monday in the trial of three White men involved in the killing of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery after more than 20 witnesses and investigators took the stand over 10 days. Arbery was shot in a Georgia neighborhood in February 2020 after being pursued by the defendants in their vehicles. Travis McMichael, who shot and killed Arbery; his father Gregory McMichael; and their neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. are charged with malice and felony murder. They have also been indicted on federal hate crime and attempted kidnapping charges. Defense attorneys argued their clients were trying to conduct a lawful citizen’s arrest of Arbery, whom they suspected of burglary. Prosecutors have noted, by the men’s own account, Arbery did not appear armed, threatening or interested in confrontation. One Black and 11 White jurors will decide their fate. 

    02:49 - Source: CNN
    Watch prosecutor grill Travis McMichael over Arbery killing

    More than a million people in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic once again woke up without power this morning in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. The Category 4 storm is poised to sideswipe Bermuda later this week, forecasts show. At least five people have been killed in the Caribbean, including one in Guadeloupe, two in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic. Fiona also whipped parts of the Turks and Caicos islands on Tuesday with sustained winds of almost 125 mph, officials said. While the recovery process will likely take a long time, authorities have started visiting several islands to begin repairs.

    5. Covid-19

    International concern is growing over the whereabouts of Peng Shuai, a Chinese tennis star who made explosive allegations of sexual assault against a former top Communist Party leader. Peng has not been seen in public since she posted the allegations to social media this month. The post triggered swift and widespread censorship, with even the barest reference of her scrubbed from online conversations. China has even blocked CNN’s broadcast signal to prevent further reporting about Peng. In response, the tennis world has come together in a broad outcry. The head of the Women’s Tennis Association says he’s willing to pull business out of China altogether if reliable information about her whereabouts isn’t provided. The German Olympic Sport Federation is the latest body to call for clarity around the situation.

    03:25 - Source: CNN
    China blocks CNN's signal to prevent reporting about tennis star

    There are about 8,600 Haitian migrants remaining under the Del Rio International bridge in Texas, waiting to be processed by immigration officials and possibly removed from the country. That’s down from a high of about 14,000 earlier in the week, but there are still tens of thousands of other Haitian refugees further south, still waiting for a chance to enter the US. There are up to 30,000 Haitians in Colombia who may be seeking to travel north, and Panama expects 80,000 migrants to cross its borders by the end of this year. South and Central American leaders have expressed concern at the unprecedented flow of migrants. More than 97% of Haitians migrating to the US do not come directly from Haiti, but rather were residents of other countries first. Many Haitians trying to enter the US are believed to have been living elsewhere since the devastating Haiti earthquake in 2010.

    BREAKFAST BROWSE

    ‘Dancing with the Stars’ Season 30 premieres

    It was all about “Talvez,” Bad Bunny and “Patria y Vida.” 

    Biden will hand down the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon today

    Peanut Butter and Jelly, may your turkey days be long and fruitful.

    Nearly half of Victoria’s Secret’s holiday products have been stuck at ports or in transit

    Shipping delays: the least sexy kind of secret there is. 

    01:08 - Source: CNNBusiness
    The supply chain crisis isn't slowing down Walmart

    Sensational 2-way baseball star Shohei Ohtani named the unanimous choice for MVP of the American League

    Pitching, hitting, the man can do it all! 

    How to find lower prices and avoid empty shelves during the holiday shopping rush

    Not to freak you out, but Hanukkah is in less than two weeks, with Christmas in just over five. OK, so maybe freak out a little. 

    THIS JUST IN …

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that he would repeal three contentious agricultural laws that sparked more than a year of protests. In India, farming is a central political issue, and Modi’s decision comes ahead of pivotal state elections. 

    02:32 - Source: CNN
    See how Indian farmers react to Modi's announcement repealing laws

    QUIZ TIME

    The White House tapped Mitch Landrieu to lead the implementation of the roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Where did Landrieu formerly serve as mayor?

    A. Los Angeles, California

    B. Houston, Texas

    C. Miami, Florida

    D. New Orleans, Louisiana

    You can click here to take the quiz and see if you’re right!

    TODAY’S NUMBER

    $216,000

    That’s how many stores CVS will close over the next three years in response to changing “consumer buying patterns.” The closures – amounting to nearly 10% of the drug store chain’s footprint – are part of broader realignment of its retail strategy of its roughly 10,000 locations.

    01:05 - Source: CNN Business
    CVS just delivered its first prescriptions via drone

    TODAY’S QUOTE

    “I started telling myself that it was okay. I was coming to terms with dying.”

    Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, who said she recognizes Biden as the 46th president of the United States, even as she claimed there were “lots of problems” with the 2020 election that Republican candidates should address.

    01:27 - Source: CNN
    Head of RNC says Biden won 2020 election for the first time

    TODAY’S WEATHER

    01:29 - Source: CNN
    Weather could delay Thanksgiving travel in these parts of the US

    Check your local forecast here>>>

    AND FINALLY

    01:23 - Source: CNN
    Officers remove tire stuck on elk's neck for over 2 years

    What a relief!

    This elk went two years with a tire around its neck until wildlife officers were able to safely remove it. The poor thing must have felt so free! (Click here to view.)