Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 10, 2022

U.S. hits 7-day average of 700,000 new COVID cases, Djokovic wins his appeal of Australia's decision to revoke his visa, and more

1

U.S. hits average of over 700,000 new COVID-19 cases per day

New U.S. coronavirus infections have risen to an average of more than 700,000 per day, USA Today reported Sunday, citing an analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. The last five days leading up to Saturday brought the five highest single-day counts of new cases since the start of the pandemic, with a total of 4.91 million cases in the week that ended Saturday. That was a higher total than in April, May, June, and July 2021 combined. "I would not be surprised at all if we go over a million cases per day," Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, told News 4 New York in an interview Saturday. Fauci predicted that case numbers from the fast-spreading Omicron variant would start to come down in late January.

2

Djokovic wins appeal after Australia revoked his visa

Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic won his appeal of Australia's decision to revoke his visa, clearing him to leave immigration detention at Melbourne's Park Hotel on Monday. Judge Anthony Kelly ruled that the federal government's rescinding of the world's top-ranked men's tennis player's visa was "unreasonable." The government said Djokovic failed to comply with rules regarding his exemption from Australia's coronavirus vaccination mandate. The judge's decision potentially cleared Djokovic to play in next week's Australian Open, where he will try for a record 21st Grand Slam Title. But lawyers for the federal government told the court that Australia's immigration minister, Alex Hawke, might exercise his personal power to again revoke Djokovic's visa to protect public health in the country, which is experiencing a coronavirus surge.

3

Russia, U.S. dampen expectations of breakthrough as Ukraine talks begin

Russia and the United States on Monday will launch a week of what a top Russian diplomat predicted would be "difficult" talks in Geneva over Russia's military buildup near Ukraine. After a working dinner on Sunday to kick off the discussions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would "not make any concessions under pressure." The meetings mark a first step toward a dialogue on defusing tensions over Russia's deployment of 100,000 troops along its border with Ukraine, which has stoked concerns of a Russian invasion. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC's This Week that he was not counting on any breakthroughs during the bilateral talks or during conversations in Brussels later this week at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council.

4

Myanmar court sentences ousted Suu Kyi to another 4 years in prison

A Myanmar court convicted ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday for possessing walkie-talkies in her home and violating COVID-19 protocols. The court sentenced Suu Kyi, 76, to four years in prison on the charges, adding to the two years she received for her Dec. 5 conviction on charges of inciting public unrest and another count of violating COVID-19 protocols. The earlier sentence was cut in half by army commander-in-chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who led the Feb. 1 coup that forced Suu Kyi and her government from office. Suu Kyi's supporters said the walkie-talkies involved in the latest case belonged to her security detail. They said the charges were politically motivated.

5

Kazakhstan authorities say 164 people have died in protests

At least 164 people have died in a week of anti-government protests in Kazakhstan, authorities in the former Soviet republic said Sunday. The dead included a 4-year-old girl. The office of President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said that nearly 6,000 people have been arrested in the worst unrest the nation has experienced since gaining its independence 30 years ago. The demonstrations broke out on Jan. 2 over rising fuel prices and quickly spread. Tokayev's office said that authorities had brought the situation under control, and were conducting "cleanup" operations. A nationwide state of emergency and curfew remained in effect on Sunday. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for Tokayev to rescind his "shoot-to-kill" order against protesters. 

6

Bronx apartment building fire kills 19

A fire in an apartment building in the Bronx killed 19 people on Sunday, including nine children, New York City officials said. New York City Mayor Eric Adams confirmed the death toll, tweeting: "We've lost 19 of our neighbors today. It's a tragedy beyond measure." The blaze started around 11 a.m. in a 19-floor building. About 60 people were injured, 32 of them were hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. Smoke spread to every floor of the building, the city's fire department commissioner, Daniel Nigro, said. Investigators determined that a malfunctioning electric space heater in a bedroom likely started the fire.

7

Sen. Ron Johnson announces re-election bid despite pledge not to seek 3rd term

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), a strong supporter of former President Donald Trump, announced Sunday that he would run for re-election, reversing a previous pledge not to seek a third term. Johnson has been a leading voice among Republicans who have downplayed the significance of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters trying to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden's victory over Trump in the 2020 election. Johnson, who is unvaccinated and contracted COVID-19 in October 2020, also has questioned the effectiveness of coronavirus vaccines and advocated using unproven treatments. Biden narrowly won Wisconsin in 2020, flipping it after Trump's similarly thin victory in 2016. Johnson beat Democrat Russ Feingold by just over three percentage points in 2016.

8

Taliban arrests Kabul professor who clashed with official on TV

The Taliban have arrested Kabul University law and political science professor Faizullah Jalal in the latest sign of an escalating crackdown by Afghanistan's new government, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Jalal gained national fame for confronting a Taliban official in a debate on live TV, calling Mohammad Naeem, the spokesperson for the Taliban's political office in Doha, a "terrorist" and a "calf," a common Afghan insult suggesting someone lacks intelligence. Taliban chief spokesperson Zabiullah Mujahid confirmed the arrest via Twitter and called Jalal a "fanatic," posting screenshots of anti-Taliban messages on social media that Jalal's relatives said were fake.

9

2022 Golden Globe winners announced after private ceremony

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association on Sunday night announced the 2022 Golden Globe winners following a private ceremony in Beverly Hills. On the comedy and musical side, Hacks won Best TV Series. Its star, Jean Smart, won Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series and Ted Lasso's Jason Sudeikis won for best actor. West Side Story won Best Picture, and the musical's star, Rachel Zegler, took the acting award. Succession won for best TV drama series, and The Power of the Dog won Best Motion Picture. Will Smith (King Richard) and Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos) took the acting awards in the film drama category. Other winners include The Underground Railroad for Best Limited Series.

10

Comedian and 'Full House' star Bob Saget dies at 65

Comedian Bob Saget, best known for his breakout role as wholesome widowed dad Danny Tanner on the sitcom Full House, was found dead in his Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, hotel room on Sunday. He was 65. The local sheriff's department said the cause of death was under investigation, but there were no signs of foul play or drug use. Saget was a famous stand-up comedian when he got the role on ABC's Full House, which ran from fall 1987 through May 1995. Saget, who also hosted America's Funniest Home Videos, was in Florida on a comedy tour. "The loss of Bob Saget hits deep," actor Jason Alexander tweeted. "If you didn't know him, he was kind and dear and cared about people deeply." "Just the funniest and nicest," said Jon Stewart.

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