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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Monday, November 29, 2021:


THE LATEST: Japan and Israel have temporarily banned foreign travelers in light of the new Covid variant, dubbed Omicron by the WHO, while the U.S. and EU have moved to block flights from several African countries. Omicron was first reported by researchers in South Africa, and has been confirmed in the UK, Canada, Israel, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Australia, but not yet the U.S. The vaccine makers are all rushing to test the new strain against their shots, but say they won’t have results for another two weeks. Dr. Fauci has also told the White House that it’ll take about two weeks to have definitive data on Omicron, and that the variant may well already be in the country. AP

THE UNKNOWNS: Omicron was named a “variant of concern” by the WHO because it has a number of genetic mutations that could allow it to spread quickly, even among the vaccinated. But it’s not clear if the strain evades the protection offered by the vaccines. It’s also not clear if it's as bad or worse than the Delta variant, which remains the most dangerous variant in the world. A doctor in South Africa who was among the first to detect Omicron said the symptoms seemed to be “unusual but mild.” TELEGRAPH


Investors are anxiously awaiting what will happen in the markets today, after a shortened post-Thanksgiving trading day ended with the the major indexes closing down over 2% each and oil cratering 10% on fears of new lockdowns and restrictions. Futures this morning are moving higher across the board, indicating that the selloff may be short-lived. MARKETWATCH


The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the former associate and confidant of Jeffrey Epstein, starts today in federal court in Manhattan. Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking that carry a sentence of up to 70 years. In the trial that’s widely seen as a proxy for the case against Jeffrey Epstein after his apparent suicide, prosecutors plan to argue that Maxwell was an active and willing accomplice in procuring underage girls for Epstein. The proceedings are expected to last about six weeks. VANITY FAIR


The “flash mobs” of looters that have been brazenly hitting stores across the country in recent weeks did not take Black Friday off. At least 30 people rampaged through a Best Buy in suburban Minneapolis, making off with electronics and other merch. Three stores in Chicago's Wicker Park were also hit. In Los Angeles, burglars ransacked a Home Depot, stealing hammers and wrenches, as well as a Bottega Veneta store on Melrose, where they grabbed expensive purses. But the worst incident happened in Oakland, where a security guard working for a Bay Area news crew was shot and killed. Kevin Nishita died after he was shot in the stomach during an attempted robbery of a KRON-TV crew’s camera equipment. The crew was covering a separate smash-and-grab at the time of the incident. KRON


Online sales during Black Friday were actually lower than last year, according to Adobe Analytics, the first time ever that sales didn’t grow from a year earlier. Online shoppers still spent a total of $8.9 billion during Black Friday, but analysts say the downward trend was mostly an effect of people shopping earlier than ever. Foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores was also down, about 28% from 2019 levels, according to Sensormatic. THE VERGE


Cyber Monday is underway, with some pretty good deals on everything from AirPods ($170) to Nintendo Switch games ($40) to Casper mattresses (20% off). Here’s a comprehensive list of the biggest sales on the web today: CNN


An epic rivalry weekend in college football is poised to scramble the playoff rankings when they’re announced tomorrow night. Alabama is expected to move up a spot after coming from behind to beat Auburn in four overtimes at the annual Iron Bowl. ‘Bama will meet Georgia in the SEC title game. Before that, No. 5 Michigan upset No. 2 Ohio State under a blanket of snow in Ann Arbor, the first time the Wolverines beat the Buckeyes since 2011. Michigan will play Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. SI


Virgil Abloh, the visionary American designer known for mixing streetwear with high-end fashion, has died. He was 41. The cause was a rare and aggressive form of cancer that Abloh had been battling, in secret, for several years. Abloh was the man behind the Off-White brand, who also moonlighted as a DJ and furniture maker. He became one of the most prominent Black executives in fashion when he was named creative director for Louis Vuitton after selling Off-White to the French luxury conglomerate LVMH. OBIT


...Matthew McConaughey, announcing that he won’t run for governor of Texas “at this moment”: WATCH

...Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sara Bareilles, and more Broadway stars honoring the late composer Stephen Sondheim in Times Square: WATCH

...Lindsay Lohan, revealing that she’s engaged to boyfriend Bader Shammas: SEE THE RING

...the trailer for the sixth and final season of This Is Us, coming to NBC in January: WATCH


Canada is the latest country to tap its strategic reserves -- not for oil, but for maple syrup. The Quebec Maple Syrup Producers -- often referred to as the OPEC of syrup -- recently said it would release half of its emergency maple syrup stockpile, roughly 50 million pounds of the stuff, to ease global supply shortages of the breakfast staple. Quebec produces about three-quarters of all the maple syrup in the world, and last year’s harvesting season was cut short due to warmer than usual temps. CNN
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