10 things you need to know today: December 17, 2022

Elon Musk restores Twitter accounts of several prominent journalists after backlash, U.S. will buy 3 million barrels of oil to replenish strategic reserve, and more

President Biden
(Image credit: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

1. Elon Musk restores Twitter accounts of several prominent journalists after backlash

Twitter CEO Elon Musk reinstated the accounts of a number of prominent journalists on Saturday after his decision to suspend them the day prior drew widespread backlash. Musk reactivated the accounts of journalists at a variety of notable media outlets, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, and CNN. Musk turned the accounts back on after a Twitter poll declared that he should do so immediately, not in seven days as he had previously stated. Musk had claimed that the accounts had been suspended for "doxing" him — revealing personal information about someone — by publishing stories about an account that had tracked his private jet.

NBC News Reuters

2. U.S. will buy 3 million barrels of oil to replenish strategic reserve

The Biden administration announced Friday that it would begin purchasing up to 3 million barrels of oil in an effort to replenish the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve. The reserve had previously been tapped into earlier this year in a desperate bid to stop the price of gas from continuing to rise amid a ban on Russian imports and a slash in production from OPEC. The administration said it will begin purchasing the oil in January, and while the purchase will be limited initially, additional transactions are likely to follow. While the purchase price was not announced, the Energy Department said it was lower than the $96-per-barrel average.

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The Associated Press

3. American team to help investigate massive aquarium break in Germany

The American company that helped construct a massive aquarium in Berlin said it will send a team to investigate what caused the tank to rupture, spilling hundreds of gallons of water, debris, and tropical fish into a hotel lobby and out onto the street. Reynolds Polymer Technology said it manufactured the cylinder portion of the aquarium nearly 20 years ago, and said in a statement, "At this point, it is too early to determine the factor or factors that would produce such a failure." Police do not suspect foul play in the rupture, which caused the deaths of nearly all of the 1,500 fish in the aquarium.

The Associated Press

4. COVID spreads through Beijing after officials mitigate lockdowns

New cases of COVID-19 were seen spreading throughout the Chinese capital of Beijing this week, after officials reluctantly mitigated some of the country's "zero-COVID" policies following mass protests. The world's most populous country now appears to be under the grip of the Omicron variant, as cases, particularly in Beijing, reached a boiling point. The city's downtown district was reportedly mostly deserted as citizens were urged to stay home and quarantine. While it is hard to pinpoint exactly how bad things are, China reported more than 2,100 new cases on Thursday alone. The U.S.-based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted that the country could see up to one million deaths in the coming months.

NBC News Reuters

5. Croatia and Morocco to face off for 3rd place at World Cup

Croatia and Morocco will face off for the most heartbreaking match for any team at a sporting tournament: the third-place game. The two teams will kick off Saturday morning to determine who will be the third-best club at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is now ramping down after weeks of intense games played amidst the background of political and social firestorms in host country Qatar. Morocco still made history at the tournament, becoming the first African team to make it to the semifinal round of a World Cup. Meanwhile, Argentina and France will play in the championship game on Sunday to determine the world's top club.

CNN

6. Brittney Griner makes 1st public statement since being freed from Russia

WNBA star Brittney Griner made her first public statement on Friday since being freed from a Russian labor camp in a prisoner swap. In a post on Instagram a week after she was returned to the United States, Griner said she was "grateful to each person who advocated for me, especially my wife, Cherelle Griner, my family ... President Biden, Vice President Harris, Secretary Blinken and the entire Biden-Harris Administration." She added that she knew President Biden was "committed to bringing Paul Whelan and all Americans home too," and offered her assistance in doing so. Griner also said she would return to play for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury in the upcoming season.

NPR ESPN

7. Father of July 4 shooting suspect in Illinois charged

The father of the suspect charged with killing seven people during a Fourth of July mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, has himself been charged with seven felony counts related to the massacre, prosecutors said Friday. Lake County State's Attorney Eric Rinehart said Robert Crimo Jr. had turned himself into the authorities and was slated to have a bond hearing on Saturday. Crimo is the father of suspect Robert Crimo III, who has been charged with 21 counts of first-degree murder along with a slate of other felony charges. Crimo Jr. has been charged with reckless conduct after he allegedly sponsored his son's application for a firearms license despite knowing he was unstable.

The Associated Press

8. At least 169 dead after flooding in Congo’s capital city

The death toll has risen to at least 169 following heavy flooding and torrential rains in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's capital Kinshasa, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said Friday. The destructive weather has been seen throughout the country in recent days, and at least another 30 people were injured in addition to the deaths. The raging rapids additionally destroyed at least 280 homes in Kinshasa, a city with an estimated population of 15 million people, along with a stretch of the main highway.

Al Jazeera Reuters

9. Missing college student in France found safe, heading back to U.S.

Ken DeLand Jr., a 21-year-old American college student who had gone missing abroad in France more than two weeks ago, has been found safe in Spain, his family said Friday. According to a statement from the family, DeLand Jr. contacted his parents via the social media platform WhatsApp to assure them that he was alive and safe after he saw his disappearance covered on the news. "We are so happy to announce that Kenny is safe," the statement said. "Kenny is in Spain, and Carol (his mom) is in France, preparing to see Kenny and hopefully bring him home for Christmas." Officials in France reiterated to news outlets that DeLand Jr. was safe in Spain.

CBS News CNN

10. Warner Bros. releases 1st trailer for highly anticipated 'Barbie' film

Warner Bros. on Friday released the first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated film Barbie, based on the popular line of dolls of the same name. While plot details remain highly secretive, the film will reportedly revolve around Barbie and Ken dolls stuck in the real world. The titular doll is played by Margot Robbie, who stars alongside an ensemble cast of Ryan Gosling, Will Ferrell, Simu Liu, Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Rhea Perlman, and many more. Barbie is directed by Greta Gerwig, known for helming films such as Lady Bird and Little Women, from a script she co-wrote with Noah Baumbach.

Variety

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