The shortest day of the year is going to pack a big show. On Monday, as the Northern Hemisphere marks the beginning of winter with the solstice, we're also being treated to a rare and spectacular sight in the sky: a great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
During the show, the two largest planets in our solar system will appear very close to one another, as if they were overlapping to create a double planet. The last time we were treated to such a sight was during the Middle Ages -- almost 800 years ago.
While 2020 got battered by the COVID-19 pandemic and a global recession, the technology industry continued its torrid pace of rewriting industries and transforming daily life across the planet. The slowdown of manufacturing in Asia delayed the release of plenty of tech products in the first half of 2020, but the second half made up for it with a deluge of product releases between September and December.
As it does each year, CNET evaluated the most important products in the biggest categories in consumer tech. Our goal is to designate the most recommendable product and label it as the CNET Editors' Choice. We do that to provide the clearest and most useful buying advice to readers.
EU officials are discussing a joint response to a new, more infectious Covid-19 variant in the UK, which has sparked travel bans by many countries.
Canada and India joined European states in blocking flights from the UK while Europe-bound train services via the Channel Tunnel have been halted.
The new variant is said to be up to 70% more transmissible, but there is no evidence that it is more deadly.
There is also no proof to suggest that it reacts differently to vaccines.
Two meetings are taking place in Brussels on Monday - one involving health ministers and another with the EU's crisis response team. But no decision is expected until Tuesday, when EU ambassadors meet.
A French official told the BBC's Gavin Lee that they were desperate to reopen the borders "as soon as safely possible", with one option discussed being the requirement that UK travellers - including lorry drivers - prove they have had a recent negative Covid-19 test.
One year ago, it would have been unlikely even in your wildest, most surreal dreams for a headline to appear reading: "Europe moves to isolate UK as mutant virus spoils Christmas." But here we are.
It's fair to say an escalating pandemic, a looming Brexit deadline and the mass cancellation of flights has made for a somewhat chaotic end to the year.
This is how it all unfolded.
What felt like a sudden flurry of difficult news began when Health Secretary Matt Hancock held a press conference and announced a new variant of the coronavirus had been found.
It's thought the mutation is able to spread more easily. It is still being analysed by scientists, but the government has warned it could be up to 70% more transmissible.
"Mutant" isn't a word people like to see in headlines, and the announcement quickly sowed uncertainty. Many were left with questions about what this could mean for the pandemic as a whole.
Congress plans to pass on Monday a bipartisan $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill after intense negotiations over its final details. Leaders of both parties are lauding the agreement, claiming victory for provisions they were able to get in — and keep out. The measure includes up to a $600 relief check for many Americans as well as an assortment of aid for small businesses and money to purchase and distribute vaccines.
The pandemic relief is being passed as part of a bill to fund the federal government through the end of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2021.
Here's a look at some of the details announced by congressional leaders from both parties:
The $900 billion pandemic aid package expected to win Congressional approval on Monday will deliver support to a recession-ravaged economy slowing under a deadly coronavirus surge, and set it up for a stronger recovery next year as vaccines become more widely available, economists said.
But it comes months after the last big fiscal aid package was passed and lacks direct help to struggling states and cities, as millions remain unemployed and businesses suffer anew from fresh restrictions to slow spread of the virus.
“While the deal is months late and will likely fall short of what is needed to prevent a rough winter, it’s better than nothing,” said Gregory Daco, the chief U.S. economist for Oxford Economics.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A statue of Black civil rights activist Barbara Johns, who played a key role in the desegregation of the public school system, will be installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, officials said on Monday, replacing one of a leader of the pro-slavery Confederacy.
Johns was 16 when she led classmates at her all-Black Virginia high school in protest of substandard conditions, leading to a lawsuit that was resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown v Board of Education decision that declared segregation illegal.
Two people-smugglers have been found guilty of 39 counts of manslaughter for the suffocation of 39 Vietnamese people as they were being shipped in a sealed refrigeration trailer across the Channel in October last year.
Two drivers were also found guilty at the Old Bailey of conspiring to transport Vietnamese migrants from northern France to Britain. The verdicts came at the end of a trial which exposed for the first time a complex and lucrative operation which has for years illegally brought Vietnamese people into the UK.
Eamonn Harrison, 23, a lorry driver from Northern Ireland, and Gheorghe Nica, 43, the coordinator of the operation, from Romania, were found guilty of manslaughter. Another Northern Irish lorry driver, Christopher Kennedy, 24, and Valentin Calota, 38, a pickup driver from Romania, were both convicted of conspiring to smuggle people into the country unlawfully.
Downing Street has made a major counter-offer on fishing access for EU fleets in British waters to break the Brexit trade talks deadlock, raising hopes of a deal before Christmas.
After a difficult period of negotiations, with both sides seemingly entrenched, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, David Frost, is understood to have tabled a proposal that could unlock the troubled talks.
According to EU sources, the British demand for a 60% reduction in the catch by value in British waters had been reduced to 35%, far closer to the 25% reduction that Frost’s EU counterpart, Michel Barnier, had said he would be prepared to accept.
Boris Johnson has also accepted a five-year phase-in period for the new arrangements, with a compromise also likely on the application of tariffs or export bans on goods where fishing access changes after the phase-in period, it is understood.
Hospitals in California are scrambling to handle an explosion of coronavirus cases that threatens to overwhelm the state’s emergency care system, with some facilities in hard-hit Los Angeles county even drawing up emergency plans for rationing care.
As of Sunday, more than 16,840 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 infections, more than double the previous peak reached in July. That number could reach 75,000 by mid-January, according to one state model.accinations are being rolled out nationwide, it could still be months before they become widespread. Until then, four hospitals run by Los Angeles county are weighing what to do if they cannot treat everyone because of a shortage of beds or staffers.
Vaccinations are being rolled out nationwide, it could still be months before they become widespread. Until then, four hospitals run by Los Angeles county are weighing what to do if they cannot treat everyone because of a shortage of beds or staffers
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Dozens of email accounts at the U.S. Treasury Department were compromised by the powerful hackers responsible for a wide-ranging espionage campaign against U.S. government agencies, the office of U.S. Senator Ron Wyden said on Monday.
In a written statement, Wyden’s office said that Senate Finance Committee staff were briefed that the hack of the Treasury Department appears to have been a significant one, “the full depth of which isn’t known.”
Wyden, the most senior Democrat on the committee, said that Microsoft notified the agency that dozens of email accounts had been compromised and that the hackers also penetrated the systems at Treasury’s Departmental Offices division, which is home to its top officials.
Seventy-three suspected cheaters, one critical mistake.
Dozens of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point were caught cheating on a calculus final exam in May after they all made the same errors on the test, according to officials.
Instructors at the Army's premier training ground for officers revealed the academic scandal on Monday, saying it's the worst they've seen since the 1970s.
So far, 59 cadets out of a suspected 73 have admitted to taking part in the scam in which the students "shared answers and made the same mistakes," Lt. Col. Chris Ophardt, a West Point spokesman told NPR.
The test was administered remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.