Get the Need2Know newsletter in your inbox every morning! Sign up here!

Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Wednesday, December 8, 2021:


The Pentagon is reportedly exploring options for how to evacuate U.S. citizens from Ukraine if Russia were to invade the country. President Biden spoke to Putin by videolink for two hours, warning him that the U.S. is prepared to impose heavy economic sanctions if he moves on Ukraine. Those sanctions would include an effort to block a new gas pipeline from Russia to Europe that would starve Putin of critical energy revenue. CNN


The first data on the Omicron variant’s ability to evade vaccine protection is out. According to a small preliminary study by researchers in South Africa, Omicron does in fact dull some of the power of the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, but people who were previously infected with Covid and then vaccinated appear to be well protected against the variant. The study didn’t look at those who have been boosted, but suggested that boosters may offer strong levels of protection against Omicron. STAT


The surgeon general has issued a rare public health advisory to warn about the mental health challenges confronting young people. Surgeon Gen. Vivek Murthy writes in the 53-page advisory that the pandemic has exacerbated a growing epidemic of depression and anxiety among children, adolescents and young adults. Murthy calls for a broad-based response from parents, teachers, governments, social media companies and just about everyone else to step up to address the crisis. THE HILL


Angela Merkel has officially handed over the German chancellery to her successor, Olaf Scholz. Germany will now have a center-left government for the first time in 16 years. Merkel, who remains historically popular in Germany, received a standing ovation as she handed over power to Scholz. The transition of power has been heralded in German newspapers as “harmonious.” GUARDIAN


You’ve got a better chance of getting a raise next year than probably anytime since the Great Recession. A survey being released today from the Conference Board shows that companies are budgeting more money for pay raises in 2022 than at any point since 2008, responding to inflation and the historically tight labor market. Wages are set to rise an average of 3.9%, and will be largest for workers under 25 and those who switched jobs within the last year, according to the survey. BI


Instagram chief Adam Mosseri will testify before Congress today, the first time the CEO has agreed to appear in front of lawmakers who are increasingly focused on the perceived harm that the app does to the mental health of children. Ahead of the testimony, Instagram announced a series of updates aimed at that issue, including parental controls and a feature that will prevent users from tagging teen accounts that don’t follow them. There’s also an opt-in “Take a Break” feature that will start prompting users of all ages to take a break when they’ve been scrolling for too long. YAHOO FINANCE


Amazon says that a major outage at Amazon Web Services has now been resolved. “Network device issues” were to blame for an AWS outage that knocked out significant portions of the internet for hours. Alexa, Ring, Netflix, Disney+, Robinhood and Coinbase were among the platforms that were affected. People on social media reported their smart devices like door locks, refrigerators and Christmas lights stopped working. The outage also caused major disruptions to Amazon’s own delivery operation, with reports of packages piling up as Amazon vans sat idle. BLOOMBERG


Nick Cannon shared on his talk show that his youngest child, five-month-old Zen, has died of brain cancer. In a heartbreaking message that shocked viewers and the show's staff, Cannon described how baby Zen had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and that things took a turn for the worse over Thanksgiving. The actor said he and Zen’s mother, Alyssa Scott, were able to take him to see the ocean before he passed last weekend. ET


…the president and first lady, making a sunrise trip to the WWII Memorial to mark 80 years since the attack on Pearl Harbor: SEE PIC

…BTS, announcing they’ll take an “extended period of rest” to spend more time with their families: READ STATEMENT

…Rebel Wilson, revealing in an interview that her Hollywood team was against her weight loss, arguing that it would hurt her ability to make money as the “funny fat girl”: WATCH


The 40-foot granite pedestal that supported the statue of Robert E. Lee and then became the centerpiece of last year’s social justice protests will be dismantled and removed from its perch at the end of Richmond's famed Monument Avenue. An hour’s drive down I-64, the city of Charlottesville has decided to melt down their statue of Lee that was removed earlier this year. The bronze will be used for a public art project. And in Nashville, crews removed an infamously creepy statue of the former Confederate soldier and KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest from the side of a highway. That statue was widely despised by locals and passersby not just for who it memorialized, but for looking like the stuff of nightmares: SEE IT

More In Culture
Load More