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Here are the headlines you Need2Know for Friday, December 3, 2021:

OMICRON SPREAD

President Biden says the government’s winter strategy to fight the Omicron variant will not include lockdowns or the expansion of vaccine mandates, and will focus instead on boosters and testing. More cases of the variant have been reported in the U.S., including a Minnesota man who had recently traveled to NYC for an anime convention. NY Gov. Kathy Hochul is urging anyone who attended that event to get tested as officials in the NYC metro area have confirmed at least  five cases. All of the Omicron cases in the U.S. among vaccinated people appear to be mild so far. REUTERSPlease God, don't let us die because of an anime convention.

SHUTDOWN AVERTED...AGAIN

Congress passed a short-term funding bill that ensures the government won’t shut down at midnight tonight. A handful of Republicans tried to delay passage of the spending bill in protest of the Biden administration’s vax-or-test mandate for private businesses, but the push fizzled in the end. The bill will keep the government open through Feb. 18 and adds $7 billion to aid and resettle Afghan refugees. AP

'REMAIN IN MEXICO'

The U.S. will restart the controversial “Remain in Mexico” immigration policy that was instituted by the Trump administration, after the White House reached a deal with the Mexican government. As of next week, migrants who cross the southern border seeking asylum will be sent back to Mexico while their asylum claims are being processed. Biden had scrapped the policy, calling it “inhumane,” but a court ruling forced the administration to put it back into effect, subject to Mexico’s acceptance. AXIOS

WHERE'S WINTER?

It’s early December, but it sure doesn’t feel like it across much of the country. There’s virtually no snow on the ground anywhere in the U.S. It was a record 91 in Palm Springs on Wednesday. And in the Great Plains, it’s so unseasonably warm and dry that firefighters have been battling late-season blazes across the prairies of Montana. The La Nina weather pattern means the chances of a White Christmas are slim but for all but the most northern parts of the country. ACCUWEATHER

JOBS REPORT

The November jobs report will be released this morning, probably by the time you’re reading this very newsletter. The consensus estimate among economists is for a print of 548,000 new jobs for the month, with the unemployment rate expected to tick down to 4.5%. If that happens, it’ll be the second month in a row with more than half-a-million payrolls added. The distortions in the labor market can be boiled down to the fact that demand for workers is incredibly high, but the number of people actively looking for work has been depressed ever since the start of the pandemic. YAHOO FINANCE

ASTROWORLD SPECIAL PULLED

Hulu has pulled a news special about the Astroworld concert disaster off the streaming platform after a fierce backlash on social media. The special was titled Astroworld: Concert From Hell and recapped the deadly stampede at the Travis Scott show last month that left 10 people dead. Hulu has clarified that the 50-minute special was produced by the ABC affiliate in Houston, not by the streamer, but has taken it off the platform to avoid confusion. VARIETY“Concert From Hell”? Stay classy, local news.

BLOWOUT

The Memphis Grizzlies, playing without star Ja Morant, beat the Oklahoma City Thunder last night by 73 points. That’s the largest margin of victory in NBA history, breaking the previous record set by the Cavs, when they blew out the Heat by 68 in 1991. Memphis was so hot -- and OKC so awful -- that the Grizzlies’ bench outscored the entire Thunder team by 14 points. In the Western Conference, Memphis is still seven games behind Phoenix, which just won a franchise record 18 games in a row. ESPN

THE GANG BREAKS A RECORD

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has just become the longest-running live-action sitcom in TV history. The FX series that started in 2005 debuted its 15th season this week, overtaking The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet to claim the throne. The Always Sunny gang is still miles from taking the title of longest-running sitcom if animated series are included. The Simpsons is currently in its 33rd season. CHEDDAR

SPOTTED...

…the house from Home Alone, available to rent on Airbnb for one night only this month: SEE IT
....the MLB homepage, scrubbed of any sign of baseball players. The league says it can’t use any name, image or likeness of a player on MLB.com to comply with federal labor law during the lockout: SEE IT
...Adam Levine, explaining that a huge tattoo of a rose on the side of his face is just temporary: SEE IT....Billie Eilish, back to her brunette roots less than a year after going platinum blonde: SEE IT

LEFTOVERS: ZOOM SNITCHING

A new feature coming to Zoom will make it harder to sneak into a video call late without being noticed by the boss. The “Attendance Status” tool gives meeting hosts a way to use Google and Microsoft calendar integration to keep track of everyone who has been invited to a call, as well as the ability to see exactly when they joined. Participants who have been invited but have not joined the call will be prominently featured in a “Not Joined” column, making it easy to see who’s blowing off the meeting. Zoom will also start automatically updating the software, so the “sorry, had to update Zoom and restart” excuse will be harder to pull off. TECHRADAR