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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Monday, December 20, 2021:


The centerpiece of President Biden’s domestic agenda appears to be dead after Sen. Joe Manchin said over the weekend that he will not support the Build Back Better bill. Manchin shocked the White House when he went on Fox News and said he’s a hard “no” on the $2 trillion bill, dooming it at least in its current form. The BBB legislation provided $500 billion for tax breaks and spending on climate change, as well as billions more to expand the social safety net by creating free preschool and expanding child care aid. WASH POST


Moderna says a booster shot of its Covid vaccine significantly increases the level of antibody protection against the Omicron variant, coming after Pfizer said a booster of its vaccine does the same. Dr. Fauci warned Americans to brace for a “tough few weeks to months” as Omicron becomes the dominant strain in the U.S., while the White House issued an unusually harsh statement warning that the unvaccinated are “looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.” President Biden is expected to deliver a version of that message when he addresses the nation tomorrow night. CNN


The New York Times published a major investigation over the weekend focused on casualties from the U.S. drone war in the Middle East, finding that civilian deaths were far more widespread than previously known across the Obama and Trump administrations. The Times got its hands on a secret Pentagon archive that describes many drone strikes as relying on “deeply flawed intelligence” that led to thousands of civilian deaths, including many children, in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. The Biden administration has significantly pared back the U.S. air war. According to data from, there were 1,600 American airstrikes in Iraq and Syria during the first 11 months of the Trump presidency, and just four in the same period under Biden. NY TIMES


Chile has elected the leftist Gabriel Boric to be its next president, making the 35-year-old former student activist the youngest ever leader of the Latin American country. Boric ran on a platform of reducing inequality, raising taxes on the rich and addressing climate change and beat his far-right competitor by a larger margin than polls anticipated. Boric will take power with Chile in the process of drafting a new democratic constitution focused on gender equality, Indigenous rights and environmental protections. BBC


Stock futures are pointing sharply lower this morning ahead of a shortened trading week, as investors digest the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the news that the Build Back Better bill appears to be doomed. Goldman Sachs lowered its growth forecast for 2022, citing the difficulties in getting that spending bill passed. December has been a bit of a dud for the markets, with the usual year-end “Santa Claus rally” failing to materialize so far. MARKETWATCH


ESPN is back on YouTube TV after Disney reached a deal with Google to reinstate its portfolio of channels on the popular streaming service. ESPN, FX, The Disney Channel and ABC were pulled from YouTube TV on Friday when their carriage agreement lapsed, leading YouTube to drop the monthly price for subscribers by $15. YouTube TV will return to its $65 per month cost now that the channels have been restored. THE VERGE


Covid is once again ripping through pro sports, filling up teams’ reserve lists even though virtually every player testing positive for the virus is either asymptomatic or mildly sick. The NFL is amending its strict testing policy and will no longer require asymptomatic vaccinated players to test weekly, and will allow high-risk players to opt out of the rest of the season. The NHL is suspending games that involve cross-border travel until after Christmas, and there are concerns that the hockey league won’t be able to send players to Beijing for the Olympics. In the NBA, five games have been postponed amid a wave of players in the Covid protocol. The league has responded by allowing teams to sign replacement players if their rosters are depleted. ESPN


Spider-Man didn’t just break all Covid-era box office records, he obliterated them. Spider-Man: No Way Home opened to $253 million over the weekend, the biggest debut of the pandemic (by far), the biggest ever for a Spidey flick, and the third-biggest domestic opening of all time (behind just the final two Avengers movies). And the records fell in spite of the Omicron wave, giving Hollywood some much-needed evidence that people are itching to go back to the theaters --  at least to see big franchise blockbusters. VARIETY


…Tom Brady, smashing a Microsoft tablet to pieces on the sidelines as the Saints shut out the Bucs, 9-0: WATCH

…Paul Rudd, hosting SNL in front of an empty Studio 8H. The show sent its live audience and most of its cast and crew home out of “an abundance of caution” over Covid: WATCH THE MONOLOGUE


Hassan Dervish spent 40 years selling ice cream out of a truck in London before he died last week of cancer at the age of 62. Dervish’s funeral procession included a fleet of 10 ice cream trucks playing their jingles as Dervish's fellow vendors came out to pay their respects to the “king of the ice cream”: WATCH
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