Happy Veterans Day! Starting today, those who have served in the US armed forces, as well as Gold Star families, will have free access to national parks for life.
Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On with Your Day.
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1. Affordable Care Act
It looks like most of Obamacare might remain intact after all. The Supreme Court appeared poised to reject the latest Republican-backed attempt to kill the landmark health reform law, based on the justices' tone during oral arguments. Chief Justice John Roberts, who famously saved the ACA in 2012, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that it wasn't the Supreme Court's place to invalidate the entire law. It's the third time the court has heard a significant challenge to the law, and it seems like Roberts is so over it. If Trump and Republicans wanted to kill the law, they could have done it, he said. About 20 million people have gained coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges and through the expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults.
2. US presidential transition
President Trump's refusal to concede the 2020 election continues, with the support of top Republicans and others in his administration. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday would not acknowledge Joe Biden's victory, even as America's closest allies congratulated the President-elect. The Trump administration is also carrying out sweeping changes at the Defense Department. Four senior civilian officials have been fired or have resigned since Monday, and they've been replaced with people seen as loyal to Trump. The actions have raised alarms inside the Pentagon, with one defense official calling them "dictator moves." Despite those efforts, Biden is moving ahead, announcing his transition teams.
Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations in the US are higher than ever before, and state leaders are urging residents to stay home. The nation is seeing a dangerous surge: Texas reached the grim distinction of becoming the first state to hit a million cases, with California nearly there, too. Yesterday marked eight straight days that the country reported more than 100,000 new cases per day, and the total number of nationwide cases is more than 10 million. News that Pfizer's vaccine has been shown to be more than 90% effective has provided some hope, but now states are worried the distribution process won't go smoothly. Countries around the world are hitting new records, too. More than 50 million cases of Covid-19 have been recorded worldwide.
4. The Vatican
The late Pope John Paul II was warned about allegations of sexual impropriety by Theodore McCarrick but promoted him to archbishop of Washington anyway amid his own denials and an "inaccurate" American bishops' inquiry, an internal Vatican investigation concluded. The report follows two years of investigation and years of scrutiny over how McCarrick was allowed to rise through the hierarchy. McCarrick last year became the highest ranking church figure to be defrocked over sexual abuse after a church trial found him guilty of sexually abusing minors. His attorney declined to comment. The report largely seems to absolve the current pope, Francis, of blame.
5. Hong Kong
All 15 of Hong Kong's remaining pro-democracy lawmakers resigned in protest today after Beijing authorized the expulsion of four of their colleagues. The bold move comes after China's highest legislative body passed a resolution giving local authorities broad new powers to quash dissent. That ruling would allow Hong Kong's executive to expel elected lawmakers without having to go through the courts, cementing Beijing's control over the semi-autonomous city and likely signaling the end of political opposition there. The government's actions follow months of pro-democracy protests, which drew more than 1 million people at its peak, and plunged the city into political crisis.
Dazzling fireballs are about to light up the night sky
Grab a lawn chair, and gaze at the stars -- the Northern Taurid meteor shower peaks today and tomorrow.
Boston Celtics legend Tommy Heinsohn dies
The basketball Hall of Famer played a part in every one of the team's 17 championships. He was 86.
New Zealand discovers 1,500 fraudulent votes ... in an election on birds
Luckily, the integrity of this year's Bird of the Year race in still intact.
Hospital workers win $6 million in the lottery
Considering everything health care workers have been through this year, it's only fitting.
Miss USA 2020 is the first Black woman to represent Mississippi
She'll go on to represent the US in the Miss Universe pageant.
CBS is promising more diverse casts for its reality shows
"Big Brother," "Survivor" and "Love Island" could look a lot different next year.
Archaeologists in Norway discover a rare Viking burial site with a feast hall, cult house and ship
And they found it without digging into the earth.
That's about how many of the critically endangered Popa langurs, a newly discovered primate species in Myanmar, are left.
"If you treat your own Black officers this way, what are you doing to the Black citizens?"
Karl Shaw, an African American police officer who received a $475,000 settlement from Columbus, Ohio. Shaw says he faced retaliation for reporting racism and other misconduct by a superior.
Tropical Storm Eta veers toward Florida
Eta is strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico and could become a hurricane again, bringing heavy downpours that could produce flooding and landslides.
Free falling, from space
Revisit Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner's supersonic space jump -- a terrifying and thrilling sight to behold. (Click here to view.)
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