Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 5, 2022

Iran's morality police reportedly abolished, Republicans respond to Trump's call for suspending the Constitution, and more

1

Conflicting reports over the status of Iran's morality police

Iran's attorney general, Mohammad-Jafar Montazeri, reportedly said Sunday the country has shut down its controversial morality police and is considering changes to a rule requiring women to wear head coverings in public. The news came after weeks of anti-government protests ignited by the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, after her arrest by the morality police, allegedly because she was wearing her hijab improperly. The state-run Al-Alam television station later pushed back on the claim that the morality police had been disbanded, CNN reported. "No official of the Islamic Republic of Iran has said that the Guidance Patrol has been shut," the station said.

2

Some GOP lawmakers condemn Trump's call for suspending Constitution

Several Republican lawmakers on Sunday rebuked former President Donald Trump, who last month announced he was running for president in 2024, for his call to suspend the Constitution over unfounded claims of mass electoral fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said on CBS's Face the Nation that he "vehemently" condemned Trump's remarks. Other Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), kept silent about the comments, which Trump made in response to a Friday report on discussions at Twitter about the company's decision to block links to a New York Post article about emails found on a laptop of Hunter Biden, President Biden's son. 

3

U.S. coronavirus infections rise after Thanksgiving

A post-Thanksgiving rise in coronavirus infections pushed COVID-19 hospital cases to their highest level in three months. More than 35,000 COVID patients are receiving care, intensifying pressure on health systems already busy with waves of influenza and respiratory syncytial virus, widely known as RSV. Nearly 20,000 Americans were sent to hospitals with influenza during Thanksgiving week, the most in the holiday week in more than 10 years. Public health officials are concerned the combined surges could overwhelm some hospitals. "The real concern is we will see a large influx of all of them really stressing out the hospitals' capacity to care for these very sick patients," said Nancy Foster, the American Hospital Association's vice president of quality and patient safety policy.

4

China continues easing 'zero-COVID' restrictions

China continued easing stringent policies to limit coronavirus infections on Monday, with commuters in Beijing and at least 16 other cities allowed onto buses and subways without a COVID-19 test within 48 hours for the first time in months. Industrial centers, including Guangzhou near Hong Kong, have lifted most of their rules under China's "zero-COVID" strategy, allowing markets and businesses to reopen, but kept the restrictions in place in neighborhoods with high infection rates. Beijing has allowed cities to dial back local restrictions, without linking the changes to anti-lockdown protests or signaling when the national "zero-COVID" strategy, which has confined millions of people to their homes, might end.

5

Warnock and Walker make final pitches ahead of Georgia's Tuesday Senate runoff

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) and his Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, are making their final pleas to voters ahead of their Tuesday runoff election. Warnock goes into the vote with a small lead in the latest polls. Walker had trouble winning over swing voters in the evenly divided state. Some were turned off by his ties to former President Donald Trump, according to Axios, and others by a series of awkward remarks about vampire movies, pregnant cows, and how "our good air decided to float over to China's bad air." Democrats already held onto control of the Senate by winning 50 seats in the November midterms, but holding onto Warnock's seat would give them a potentially crucial one-seat cushion.

6

N.C. county under curfew after electric substations damaged by gunfire

About 45,000 customers remained without electricity in a south-central North Carolina county after two electric substations were damaged by gunfire late Saturday. It could take until Thursday to restore everyone's power because some of the substations' equipment has to be replaced, said Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy. "Unlike perhaps a storm where you can go in and reroute power somewhere else ... we are looking at a pretty sophisticated repair with some fairly large equipment," Brooks said Sunday. The Moore County sheriff, Ronnie Fields, said investigators believe the attack was targeted, although he didn't offer details on a motive or suspect. The county imposed a curfew overnight Sunday and early Monday due to below-freezing temperatures and dark roads.

7

Reform candidates make gains in United Auto Workers vote

Reform-minded candidates won six of 14 United Auto Workers board seats in a union election held under a federal corruption settlement. The UAW's leaders used to be picked by delegates at a convention, but all members were allowed to vote for the first time in these elections. In the race for UAW president, incumbent Ray Curry led challenger Shawn Fain by 614 votes, 38.2 percent to 37.6 percent, according to unofficial results posted early Sunday on a federal court-appointed monitor's website. Since nobody in the five-candidate field got 50 percent, Curry and Fain will advance to a January runoff. Reform candidates won two of the three vice-presidential slots, with two Curry allies headed to a runoff for the third.

8

G-7 starts enforcing price cap on Russian oil

The Group of Seven price cap on Russian oil took effect Monday. The G7, the European Union, and Australia will enforce the policy in a bid to limit Moscow's financing of its war in Ukraine. The EU also has imposed an embargo on imports of Russian crude by sea. The United States, Canada, Japan, and Britain have announced similar policies. The G7 price cap bars shipment of Russian oil to third-party countries using G7 and EU tankers, insurance companies, and credit institutions unless the oil is priced at or below the cap of $60 per barrel, under the latest market price of about $67 a barrel. Russian officials said Saturday that Moscow would "not accept" the price cap.

9

Slugger Fred McGriff elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

Baseball's Contemporary Eras Committee unanimously elected popular first-baseman Fred McGriff to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday. The rest of the eight candidates fell short. McGriff was previously considered for the honor by the Baseball Writers' Association, but never made it in 10 years of eligibility. McGriff, who played for six teams over 19 seasons, was the first player in history to hit 30 or more homeruns for five different franchises. He hit 493 career homers before retiring in 2004. His feats were overshadowed by the unprecedented numbers of players tainted by the steroid era. Barry Bonds, who set the single-season record of 73 homers in 2001, got fewer than four votes Sunday.

10

'Sesame Street' star Bob McGrath dies at 90

Longtime Sesame Street star Bob McGrath has died, his family said Sunday on his official Facebook page. He was 90, and died of complications after a stroke, his daughter Cathlin McGrath told The New York Times. McGrath appeared in the Sesame Street pilot in 1969, playing friendly music teacher Bob Johnson, and remained a mainstay on the show for 47 seasons. He made his last series appearance in 2017, but continued to participate in events tied to Sesame Street. McGrath was known for sharing educational lessons in his interactions with the show's puppets, but he also helped add music to the program with original songs, including "People in Your Neighborhood," "Sing a Song," and "If You're Happy And You Know It."

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