Queen Elizabeth stripped Prince Andrew of his military titles amid a sexual abuse lawsuit. The United States will give out half a billion more at-home rapid coronavirus tests. And look up! A massive asteroid might be visible as it zooms by Earth.
👋 Hey! Laura here, bringing you Thursday’s news quicker than the 1994 PC1 asteroid.
But first, how about some nightmare fuel? A man thought he had water stuck in his ear and used a blow dryer. Yeah, no. It was a cockroach. I’m sorry.
Queen takes back Prince Andrew’s honorary titles
Queen Elizabeth II revoked Prince Andrew’s military associations and royal patronages on Thursday, a day after a federal judge in New York refused to dismiss a sexual abuse lawsuit by an American woman against him. Buckingham Palace released a statement announcing the news. “With The Queen’s approval and agreement, The Duke of York’s military affiliations and Royal patronages have been returned to The Queen. The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen,” the statement said. Andrew, 61, the queen’s second son, is being sued by Virginia Roberts Giuffre, 38, who alleges that Andrew raped and sexually assaulted her in New York in 2001 when she was 17. She claims Andrew’s friend Jeffery Epstein trafficked her to him and that the prince knew it at the time.
- Sexual abuse lawsuit against Prince Andrew can move forward, judge rules.
Supreme Court blocks a COVID-19 vaccine-or-testing mandate
The Supreme Court on Thursday halted enforcement of one of President Joe Biden’s signature efforts to combat COVID-19, ruling that his administration doesn’t have the authority to impose sweeping vaccine-or-testing requirements for employers with more than 100 employees, a measure that would impact around 84 million Americans. The unsigned opinion marked the second time the nation’s highest court unwound a key pandemic policy of the Biden administration, once again concluding that federal officials exceeded the power given to them by Congress. The court in August blocked Biden’s eviction moratorium, ruling that it also amounted to government overreach. The court in a second unsigned opinion on Thursday permitted another vaccine mandate on people employed at health care facilities that receive federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid. That measure, which takes effect this month, is estimated to affect 10 million workers.
- Business groups, conservatives hail Supreme Court decision on vaccines as victory for individual liberty.
- COVID-19 and kids: How the omicron surge is impacting child hospitalizations, school safety.
- Pregnant with COVID-19: Large study shows being unvaccinated puts you and your baby in danger.
What everyone’s talking about
- ‘Finally free’: She fled a Mexican drug cartel. Now the single mom seeks asylum in the US.
- A Starbucks manager was fired after a barista was arrested for spitting in a drink. Now, the manager is suing.
- Blame inflation: Domino’s Pizza reducing the number of wings in $7.99 deal orders.
- New report finds Utah police made mistakes in meeting with Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie.
- ‘The new heart is still a rock star’: Man doing well after receiving first heart from gene-edited pig.
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US to buy another 500 million at-home rapid tests
The federal government will buy 500 million at-home rapid coronavirus tests, doubling the purchase the White House announced last month, Biden said Thursday in a speech about what the administration is doing in response to the current coronavirus surge. The first batch of 500 million tests, which Biden announced in December, have yet to be distributed. Americans will be able to request tests, which will be sent to their homes, online through a website that hasn’t launched yet. Fueled by the omicron variant, the pace of newly reported coronavirus cases in the United States is still on the uptick, reporting more than 5.5 million cases in the week ending Wednesday, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
- Biden sending medical teams to six states to help hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19.
- Poll: Biden’s approval rating falls to new low of 33%; Americans feeling sour on COVID-19 response.
- Your guide to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, from vaccines to variants.
Remains of Houston couple found in 1981 finally identified. But where is their child?
The truth behind the disappearance of Harold Dean Clouse and Tina Linn Clouse has been uncovered — 40 years after the Houston couple went missing. A genetic genealogy agency tested their DNA and linked it to the bodies of a couple found in 1981 who were reportedly beaten and strangled to death. Donna Casasanta, Harold’s mother, said her son was known to join cults and police assumed the pair left with a cult. But one question still remains: Where is their daughter? Hollie Marie, who would be 41 today, is still missing. Debbie Brooks, Harold’s sister, said Hollie was last seen in Lewisville, Texas, and there is an ongoing investigation. It’s unknown whether she was with her parents when they were killed, with a “cult” or anyone else.
- If the IRS is accepting tax returns Jan. 24, does that mean you’ll get your refund early?
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis bashes Biden while spending Washington bucks.
- NYC Mayor Eric Adams faces questions over his public safety picks, including his brother.
- No copycats! Apple yanks knockoffs of viral puzzle game Wordle from App Store.
- Treatment shortages, packed hospitals: Why at-risk adults should be on COVID-19 alert.
- Thousands of federal inmates to be released under 2018’s First Step Act.
- Child tax credit money will be a no-show in January; look out for IRS letter instead.
An enormous asteroid will soon zoom through a sky near you
Look! Up in the sky! It’s not Superman, it’s a massive asteroid. A “potentially hazardous” asteroid faster than a speeding bullet and bigger than any building in the world will pass by Earth next week. Not only is it the biggest known asteroid coming within 2.3 million miles of Earth this year, but it’s so massive that you might be able to see it in the sky. First discovered in Aug. 1994, 1994 PC1 is classified as a “potentially hazardous” asteroid because it is an Apollo asteroid, meaning it crosses Earth’s orbit. While it sounds terrifying, there’s no need to expect a “Don’t Look Up” situation: It will be 1.2 million miles away from Earth on Jan. 18 at 4:51 p.m. EST while traveling at 43,754 miles per hour. Here’s how you can see it for yourself.
A break from the news
- 👩💻 Early retirement? 4 reasons why retiring in your 50s may not be such a wise move.
- 📲 Ditch the digital clutter: Here’s how to perform a clean sweep on your smartphone.
- 💘 Thinking about getting back together with an ex? How to know if they deserve a second chance.
This is a compilation of stories from across the USA TODAY Network. Want this news roundup in your inbox every night? Sign up for The Short List newsletter here.