January 29, 2022

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Peng Shuai, Thanksgiving travel, COVID-19 boosters: Weekend news

4 min read

At least 5 dead, 40 injured after SUV slammed into Wisconsin Christmas parade

An SUV sped into a Christmas parade in the Milwaukee suburb of Waukesha, leaving at least five people dead and over 40 injured, city officials said. The City of Waukesha confirmed the deaths in a statement late Sunday, but police said the numbers could change as authorities “collect additional information.” Waukesha Police Chief Dan Thompson said the investigation was ongoing, but that a “suspect vehicle” was recovered and that there is a person of interest in custody at the moment. Some of the injured were taken by police to hospitals, and others were taken by family members, Thompson said, describing the incident as “very tragic” and “very chaotic.” The incident occurred during one of the city’s biggest and most cherished annual events as the red SUV barreled down the street, plowing into parade participants.

Forecasters dial back weather threat facing Thanksgiving holiday

Forecasts that warned of snow and high winds threatening to bring havoc to millions of Americans traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday were dialed back a bit Sunday. The improving forecast comes as AAA predicts more than 53.4 million people will travel this week, up 13% from 2020. “A storm that was threatening to bring some tricky weather to parts of the Northeast looks like rain for most of the big cities,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said. “It looks like things should be pretty good after Monday.” Still, AccuWeather said a “potent piece of energy” was dropping down from Canada as it moved east, developing into a winter storm over the Midwest. Travel conditions could go downhill as the storm gains strength, so keep a close eye on the forecast if you’re hitting the road. 

Tennis player Peng Shuai, who went missing earlier this month, meets with IOC

The International Olympic Committee on Sunday met via video call with Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai, who went missing earlier this month after accusing a former senior member of the Chinese government of sexual assault. Shuai has started to publicly reemerge under the watchful eye of China’s Communist ruling party, first with a cryptic tweet from Chinese state-run media Wednesday — which only raised the alarm for the Women’s Tennis Association, which has threatened to sever all ties with China as a result of Shuai’s disappearance and treatment. The call lasted 30 minutes. Shuai thanked the IOC for its concern about her well-being, explaining that she is safe and living at her home in Beijing, “but would like to have her privacy respected at this time,” according to the IOC. “That is why she prefers to spend her time with friends and family right now,” the IOC said. “Nevertheless, she will continue to be involved in tennis, the sport she loves so much.”

Here’s what you should know about COVID-19 vaccine boosters

COVID-19 booster shots are now available to all adults in the U.S. after a Food and Drug Administration panel and CDC signed off on the extra doses Friday. Boosters have been allowed for certain groups for about a month, though so far only about 17% of all adults and 37% of those 65 and older have gotten them. Vaccine experts say there’s little downside to getting a booster dose, and the side effects are comparable to the initial round of shots. Why bother to get a booster? Studies show that vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease begins to fade about six months after initial shots. A booster dose bumps protection levels back up to or even higher than initial vaccination. 

Real quick

What’s in the Build Back Better bill? Paid leave, universal pre-K and more

The House on Friday approved the most sweeping expansion of the social safety-net in decades, voting 220-213 to send President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan to the Senate. The roughly $2 trillion package – passed with only Democratic support – includes an assortment of progressive priorities, such as pre-kindergarten expansion, subsidized child care, health care subsidies and major climate change initiatives. It also includes four weeks of national paid family leave – a proposal Biden backs but took out of his earlier framework to appease moderate Democrats in Congress. That provision is not expected to survive in the Senate, where Biden will need the support of all 50 Democratic senators to pass the measure. Here’s a breakdown of what the House approved.

BTS takes home artist of the year, Taylor Swift breaks her own record at AMAs

Sunday’s American Music Awards was highlighted by BTS, who took home three awards including artist of the year. In addition to artist of the year, the group from Korea won in the other categories they were nominated in: Favorite pop duo or group (for the third time in a row) and favorite pop song. Taylor Swift also broke her own record when she won favorite female pop artist for the seventh time and topped her previous record for most AMA wins of all time. Swift also took home best pop album “evermore” during the show and now has 34 AMA trophies. Also winning three awards each were Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion. Ed Sheeran won favorite male pop artist while Drake and Megan Thee Stallion won favorite male and female hip-hop artists. 

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This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Contributing: Associated Press.