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Local authorities in Scarborough, England, canceled their planned end-of-year fireworks display so as not to distress a walrus that had taken up residence in town.

Congress launched an investigation into Southwest Airlines, the nation’s largest domestic carrier, which received more than $7 billion in federal pandemic aid, pumped billions into stock buybacks, and has for decades successfully lobbied for greater airline deregulation.1 2 3 4 5 The cancellation of more than 15,000 flights over a period of a week affected an estimated 1 million passengers across the country, including one couple who spent $3,000 driving for 18 hours over 1,000 miles from Denver to Redmond, Oregon, on Christmas Eve in order to catch a flight to Seattle.6 7 8 “The Matrix sent their agents,” tweeted Andrew Tate, who was arrested in Romania on charges of rape, human trafficking, and forming an organized crime group; authorities also seized 11 of the former kickboxer’s alleged 33 cars.9 10 11 Congress released six years of Donald Trump’s tax returns, showing that the former president held foreign accounts in China, St. Martin, the United Kingdom, and Ireland during his time in office, and that he made no charitable donations in 2020.12 “So, now, here we are being sworn at instead of being sworn in,” said Representative Lauren Boebert of closed-door House GOP negotiations over Kevin McCarthy, the party’s nominee for speaker, whom she and other members of the Republican Freedom Caucus objected to; McCarthy failed to secure the position after six rounds of voting.13 14 Venezuela’s opposition government voted to dissolve itself.15

Myanmar’s military junta, which one day earlier had increased Aung San Suu Kyi’s prison sentence to 33 years because she failed to follow federal regulations for renting and buying a helicopter, briefly lifted its nationwide curfew to allow for New Year’s Eve celebrations.16 17 Local authorities in Scarborough, England, canceled their planned end-of-year fireworks display so as not to distress a walrus that had taken up residence in town.18 Croatians gathered at the Slovenian border at midnight on January 1 to celebrate the country’s accession to the Eurozone and Schengen Area.19 “It feels as if my boyfriend has left me,” said a supporter of Jair Bolsonaro, the former president of Brazil who had repeatedly denied and tested positive for COVID-19.20 21 22 “We stand firm on the right side of history,” said Chinese president Xi Jinping, whose government has concealed COVID-19 data throughout the pandemic and maintained that there were only 13 deaths from the novel coronavirus last month in a country inhabited by more than 1.412 billion people.23 24 Health care workers, rail workers, mail workers, university professors, firefighters, and civil servants continued to strike across Britain.25 “Poor thing was simply falling apart, it was so diseased,” said the secretary of the Thomas Hardy Society of a tree named for the Victorian author in the gardens of St. Pancras Old Church, which collapsed.26 

A ban on cigarette smoking on Miami beaches and in municipal parks went into effect, as did a one-year suspension of the 30 percent tax on alcohol in Dubai.27 28 A Wisconsin judge ruled that residents can sell cakes, cookies, and other homemade food without a license, a man in North Dakota was charged with felony terrorizing after allegedly brandishing a hatchet while attempting to steal doughnuts, and two thieves in Florida were apprehended after calling 911 to get help moving items they were burgling from a home.29 30 31 Authorities in Sacramento remain perplexed by the beheading of a 100-year-old granite statue depicting a little-known 19th century meatpacking magnate.33 “Pray to him,” Archbishop Georg Gänswein, longtime secretary to Pope Benedict XVI, whose tell-all book will be published later this month, told a man mourning the pope emeritus.34 35 An author who had faked her own death by suicide several years ago announced her return on Facebook.36Maya Perry

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