By Alexandra Banner, CNN
(CNN) — ‘Tis the season for holiday shopping and Americans are in a mood to spend, as shown by record-high figures from Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Charitable giving, on the other hand, is at the lowest level in decades, according to data from Giving Tuesday.
Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
Israel on Sunday said it killed a key Hamas commander responsible for the October 7 attacks that left around 1,200 Israelis dead and scores of others abducted. This comes as Israel has vowed to free the 137 hostages still being held by Hamas and eliminate the militant group around the world, even if it takes years. Additionally, new airstrikes are hitting Gaza, with Israel calling it a “fighting zone” and telling residents to “evacuate immediately.” The UN estimates up to 1.8 million people in Gaza — nearly 80% of the population — are internally displaced, having already had to leave their homes.
2. Prescription drugs
President Joe Biden is preparing a package of health care measures that he would aim to pass in a second term, with announcements starting this week centered on cutting prescription drug prices. The president’s proposed agenda includes expanding the provisions cutting prices for insulin and other drugs that were enacted for Medicare enrollees last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, and further strengthening the Affordable Care Act by making permanent the enhanced federal premium subsidies that have helped about 10 million people afford coverage on the Obamacare exchanges. The measures are a strong contrast to those of former President Donald Trump, who has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare entirely.
3. Climate crisis
Climate scientists are outraged after the president of the COP28 climate summit, Sultan Al Jaber, recently claimed there is “no science” that says phasing out fossil fuels is necessary to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Scientific reports have shown that fossil fuels must be rapidly slashed to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees — a threshold above which scientists warn it will be more difficult for humans and ecosystems to adapt. Al Jaber’s presidency of the COP28 summit has been quite controversial. The Emirati businessman is the UAE’s climate envoy and chairs the board of directors of its renewables company, but he also heads the state-owned Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
4. Airline merger
Alaska Airlines announced it will buy rival Hawaiian Airlines for $1.9 billion. “This is a fantastic deal that brings two airlines that have amazing loyalties in our regions together,” Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci said Sunday. The deal will see both companies keep their brands, a unique decision that the airline executives say was made out of respect for the nearly 100-year legacy of the two airlines and the communities they serve. Minicucci, who will become the CEO of both airlines, heralded the move as “pro-consumer” and would allow for the nation’s fifth-largest airline to compete more robustly with United, Delta, Southwest and American Airlines, which currently own 80% of the domestic market share.
5. Volcanic eruption
Indonesia’s Marapi volcano erupted on Sunday, spewing volcanic ash thousands of feet into the air. Eleven climbers have died and another dozen are missing following the eruption, officials told CNN today. Cars, roads and entire villages nearby are blanketed in ash as evacuations remain underway. Located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, Indonesia has 127 active volcanoes — more than anywhere else in the world — and Marapi is among the country’s most active. Authorities have raised the second-highest alert and barred all activities within two miles of the crater.
Members of KISS say goodbye at final concert
The iconic American rock band ended 50 years of touring with a final concert on Saturday in New York City.
This TV star broke the law to get her daughter into college. Hear why she said she did it
Actress Felicity Huffman opened up about her role in a college admissions scandal that landed her in federal prison. Watch the video here.
Ghostly new figures appear in the waters of the Caribbean
These striking sculptures were recently installed in Grenada’s world-famous underwater museum.
Buried by your to-do list? Here are 5 tips to help you dig out
Here are some tips for completing your chores and improving your mental health in the process.
Tiny-house vacations inspired this woman to downsize for good
This woman enjoyed her vacations in tiny lodgings so much that she bought a tiny home of her own! See photos of the inside and learn how much it cost.
That’s how many states allow inmates to make free phone calls from correctional facilities. Massachusetts recently passed a law putting no limit to the number of calls each inmate can make to help them maintain bonds with their loved ones.
“The truth will set me free.”
— Former Republican Rep. George Santos, sharing defiant remarks on X, formerly known as Twitter, after the House voted to expel him Friday over ethics violations. Santos is only the sixth lawmaker ever to be ousted from the chamber. A competitive special election will be held in New York’s 3rd Congressional District to replace him.
AND FINALLY …
A bird paradise
Turkey’s largest wetland, the Gediz Delta, is a haven for flamingos and many other protected birds. Watch this video to experience a virtual visit.
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