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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Monday, December 27, 2021:


More than 6,000 flights around the world were canceled over the holiday weekend, according to FlightAware, including 1,700 within the U.S. Major carriers like United, Delta and JetBlue have seen their flight crews hit hard by the Omicron variant, which is forcing personnel to self-isolate amid an already acute staffing shortage and passenger numbers that rival pre-pandemic times. The airline industry is asking the CDC to cut the recommended isolation period from 10 days to five, arguing that the fast-spreading variant is making it impossible to maintain staffing levels. The agency has already shortened its isolation guidance for the healthcare industry for that reason. WASH POST


A handful of states are now reporting more Covid cases than at any other period in the pandemic. New York State notched nearly 50,000 new infections on Christmas Eve alone, with some neighborhoods in Lower Manhattan now among the most contagious places on Earth. And while the Omicron variant continues to appear fairly mild for most people, New York is sounding the alarm about a “striking increase” in hospitalizations among young patients. The state has seen a four-fold rise in pediatric hospitalizations between Dec. 5 and last week, centered mostly in the NYC metro area. ABC NEWS


The LAPD is expected to release more details today about a chaotic shooting at a Hollywood department store last Thursday. That incident began with police responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon inside a Burlington store. Officers found a man assaulting a woman and fired at him, but also apparently hit a 14-year-old girl who was in a dressing room directly behind him. The girl, identified as Valentina Orellana-Peralta, was pronounced dead at the scene, along with the assailant. LA TIMES


Desmond Tutu, the towering anti-apartheid leader of South Africa often considered the country’s “moral conscience,” has died. The cause was cancer. The archbishop was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish apartheid, which continued until Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990 and began negotiations to  repeal the racist policy. Along with Mandela, Tutu was credited with helping bring South Africa into the modern age, and continued to hold the country’s political leaders – including Mandela’s own party –  to account into his latter years. Tutu was 90. OBIT


Holiday sales came in 8.5% higher than last year, according to Mastercard’s retail sales report. The annual SpendingPulse survey showed online sales jumped 11% over last year, and e-commerce now makes up 21% of total retail sales between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24. It was less than 15% pre-pandemic. And based on data from ShipMatrix, the holiday supply chain crisis that many feared never came: almost all packages sent via UPS, FedEx or USPS arrived on time or with minimal delays.REUTERS


There are two big in-person events that dominate the business world every January: the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Davos has already been postponed for the second year in a row due to Covid, and CES is hanging by a thread. Microsoft, Google and Intel are the latest big exhibitors to say they won’t attend the trade show in-person when it kicks off Jan. 5. GM, Facebook/Meta, Twitter, Amazon and TikTok had already bailed on doing in-person exhibitions. CNET


Six teams have now clinched playoff spots with two weeks remaining in the NFL season. The Chiefs, Bucs, Rams and Cardinals join the Packers and Cowboys with postseason berths, while the Seahawks, Giants and Panthers have been eliminated. Meanwhile, the Bills took a commanding lead in the AFC East title race after beating the Patriots in Foxborough. If the lead holds, it will be the first time since the early 90s that Buffalo pulled off back-to-back division titles. ESPN


Spider-Man: No Way Home continued to crush the competition at the box office, crossing the $1 billion mark worldwide after earning another $139 million domestically over the long holiday weekend. Sing 2 did a solid $41 million for second place, while The Matrix Resurrections continued the trend of “day-and-date” movies bombing in theaters, snagging just $22.5 million over the five-day weekend. The studio was hoping for $40 million. THR


…Queen Elizabeth, paying tribute to the late Prince Philip in her annual Christmas Day message: WATCH

…NASA’s James Webb Telescope, starting its 29-day, 1-million mile journey after a successful launch: WATCH


A sixth-grade boy in Oklahoma is being hailed a hero after he saved – not one –  but two lives on the same day this month. Davyon Johnson has been honored by the mayor of his hometown and made an honorary member of the local police department for his selfless actions on Dec. 9. Johnson was in school that morning when he lept into action to perform the Heimlich on a fellow student who was choking on a bottle cap. Later that afternoon, the 11-year-old rescued an older woman from a house fire that he noticed as he and his mother were on their way to church. Johnson told his mom that his spirit of his father, who died of Covid in August, was with him on that harrowing day. TODAY

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