5 things for December 22: Shutdown, UN, Catalonia, Papa John’s, life expectancy
Still looking for your holiday light fix? Here are our picks for the best holiday light displays around the world. And even if you don’t go, you can still “ooh” and “ahh” over the pics. Now, here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Government shutdown
Put those countdown clocks away. There won’t be a government shutdown, at least not today. The House and Senate both OK’d a short-term spending measure to keep the government open through January 19. It funds the Children’s Health Insurance Program through March and includes a three-week extension of a government surveillance program. But it kicks the can down the road on thornier issues, like the level of defense spending and a fix for the immigration program known as DACA.
2. United Nations
UN ambassador Nikki Haley warned that the US would be “taking names” of countries that voted for a resolution condemning President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Hope she has a pencil handy; she’s got a lot to write down.
The UN brushed off Haley’s threat and overwhelmingly approved the resolution 128 to 9, with 35 nations abstaining. Trump had threatened to cut off foreign aid to any country that voted for the resolution, and Haley said the US “will remember it when we are called upon to once again make the world’s largest contribution” to the UN. A State Department spokeswoman said the US would “explore various options” following the UN vote.
Spain hoped the results of regional elections would deliver a knockout blow to Catalonia’s separatist ambitions. Looks like that’s not happening. Three separatist parties won a majority of the seats in the region’s Parliament, meaning Catalonia’s push for independence from Spain — which triggered the country’s worst political crisis in decades — will continue. Madrid had seized control of the region earlier this year after dismissing the entire Catalan government and Parliament.
4. Papa John’s
The pizza chain has a new daddy after founder and chief executive John Schnatter announced he’s stepping down (though he’s staying on as chairman). No reason was given for the move, but it’s been a rough year for the pizza chain. Sales are down, and Papa John’s stock price dipped by almost a third. The company is also a big NFL sponsor, so it didn’t go over well when Schnatter ripped NFL players over the National Anthem protests, which he also tied to the slumping sales.
5. Life expectancy
Life expectancy in the US has dropped for the second year in a row. Americans, on average, can expect to live 78.6 years, which is a small but statistically significant drop from the previous year, says a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. A multi-year drop in life expectancy is rare for the US. You’d have to go back to the ’60s to find the last time it dipped two years in a row. So, what’s fueling the decline? Part of it can be explained by the increases in drug overdose deaths we’ve seen the past couple of years.
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Next time, just flip a coin
In Virginia, elections are nice and all, but nothing expresses the will of the people quite like randomly pulling pieces of paper out of film canisters.
If it seems your old Apple iPhone got really slow all of a sudden, it’s not your imagination. Apple says it does this for your own good. Of course.
Sound of the game
Dick Enberg was the voice of the Olympics and NFL football for decades, but the sports broadcasting legend will forever be remembered for his catchphrase, “Oh my.” He’s died at age 82.
You may not be into the royal wedding AT ALL, but still you have to admit, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are a supercute couple.
WHAT’S FOR LUNCH
Tax bill signing
President Trump is expected to sign the $1.5 trillion tax bill into law today, shortly before he heads to Florida for the holidays.
NUMBER OF THE DAY
That’s the number of people signed up for Obamacare for 2018, despite the Trump administration cutting the enrollment period in half and slashing the advertising budget by 90%.
What menu item will McDonald’s begin selling in Europe, in apparent defiance of its reputation as a binge option?
1) Zucchini fries
2) A McVegan burger
3) An Eight Pounder with Cheese
4) Tofu McNuggets
Find out the answer in Total Recall, CNN’s weekly news quiz.
AND FINALLY …
If you want to play Santa, you just don’t grow a beard and say, “Ho, ho, ho!” There’s much more to it than that. If you want to do Santa right, you gotta go to school. (Click to view.)