Inauguration, Covid, pardons, China, soldier arrest

It’s Inauguration Day in America, and CNN will have live coverage all day, so you

It’s Inauguration Day in America, and CNN will have live coverage all day, so you can tune in (or stream online without a cable log-in) and watch a little history being made.

a large building in the background with White House in the background: The White House the night before the Inauguration of Joe Biden on January 19, 2021.

© Maddie McGarvey for CNN
The White House the night before the Inauguration of Joe Biden on January 19, 2021.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.

(You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Inauguration

Today, Joe Biden will become the 46th President of the United States. The day will look a lot different than inaugurations past. The National Mall has been shut down for safety, most celebrations will be virtual and the outgoing President and first lady will be nowhere in sight. Here’s what to expect: President and Melania Trump are expected to leave the White House this morning. Biden will take the oath of office during the swearing-in ceremony at the US Capitol just before noon ET. Biden and his wife and Kamala Harris and her husband will then participate in a pass in review with members of the military, signaling the peaceful transfer of power to a new commander-in-chief. Biden also plans to take a bunch of executive actions, including rejoining the Paris climate accord, ending Trump’s travel ban for predominantly Muslim countries and imposing a mask mandate on federal property. He’ll also unveil a sweeping immigration plan to send to Congress.

2. Coronavirus 

More than 400,000 people in the US have now died of Covid-19. That’s more than the number of Americans who died in World War I, the Vietnam War and the Korean War combined and nearly as many Americans as died in World War II. The death tolls in other countries are barely comparable. US officials say they need more vaccine doses to do what they can to slow down the deaths and illnesses, especially with new variants complicating the situation. Sixty countries have now reported imported cases or community transmission of the UK coronavirus strain. Limited vaccine supply isn’t just a big headache in the US, either. Pfizer told Canada it would not receive any vaccine doses next week because of manufacturing disruptions, leading to frustration and anger among officials there.

3. Presidential pardons 

As expected, President Trump took sweeping clemency action during his final hours in office, issuing 73 pardons and 70 commutations. The vast majority of the people on Trump’s clemency list are people whose cases have been championed by criminal justice reform advocates, including those serving lengthy sentences for low-level offenses. But also, there’s Steve Bannon, Trump’s former strategist and political hype man who’s pleaded not guilty to defrauding donors through a border wall fundraising campaign. Several other donors and allies got pardons or commutations, as did rappers Lil Wayne and Kodak Black. Not among those granted presidential mercy? The President himself or any of his family members. Trump still has until noon ET to make those happen if he wants, though questions linger over whether Trump, who is about to face an impeachment trial, is even allowed to pardon himself.

4. China

The US State Department has officially accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghur Muslims and ethnic and religious minority groups who live in the country’s northwestern region of Xinjiang. Up to 2 million Uyghurs and members of other Muslim minority groups have been detained in a sprawling network of internment camps in the region, the State Department estimates. China has denied such human rights abuses, saying the so-called “reeducation camps” are necessary to prevent religious extremism and terrorism. Although the US declaration won’t trigger any immediate penalties for China, human rights advocates say it will have a powerful symbolic impact, since the word “genocide” isn’t taken lightly.

5. Soldier arrest 

A US Army soldier has been arrested on terrorism charges after he allegedly tried to assist ISIS’ efforts to plan attacks on targets in New York City and on US soldiers in the Middle East. Prosecutors allege 20-year-old private Cole Bridges, of Ohio, communicated with an FBI employee posing as an ISIS supporter who claimed to have contact with ISIS fighters. Bridges allegedly gave training and guidance to these purported fighters, including handing over portions of a US Army training manual and diagramming specific military maneuvers. Bridges also allegedly gave advice about possible targets in New York, such as the 9/11 Memorial. He’s due in court tomorrow, and CNN is trying to reach his attorney.

Video: Andrew McCabe compares Capitol attack to Benghazi attack (CNN)

Andrew McCabe compares Capitol attack to Benghazi attack




Today, 1-20-21, is the beginning of a string of palindrome dates

We are truly living through history, in ways big and small

It’s review season: Here’s how to talk to your boss about it 

Crying is not recommended. 

For the first time in NFL history, a woman will officiate at the Super Bowl

Sarah Thomas was also the first woman to become a permanent NFL official and the first woman to officiate a college football bowl game. So, yeah, she’s a big deal. 

Microsoft joins in a new $2 billion investment in GM’s self-driving car company

We were promised flying cars in the future, but more self-driving ones will do

Here are some sources of comic relief in this already long new year

We hate to be the ones to break it to you, but there’s still a LOT of 2021 left


200 million

Netflix just crossed the threshold of 200 million subscribers, beating its own expectations for growth after adding 8.5 million subscribers in the final quarter of 2020.


“It’s hard to overstate the global soft power impact of America’s cultural diversity.”

Career diplomat Conrad Tribble, responding to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s denouncement of multiculturalism. Pompeo said on Twitter that multiculturalism distorts and divides America, earning pushback from others in his area of government


Check your local forecast here>>>


How do you make a maze? 

Contemplative, challenging, downright frustrating — mazes can be a lot of things. But when you’re the so-called “master maze maker,” they’re always a work of art. (Click here to view.) 

Continue Reading