Major winter storm poised to hit South, Midwest, East Coast
A potent winter storm is forecast to wallop tens of millions of people across the central, southern and eastern U.S. with snow, ice, wind and rain over the next few days. The Weather Channel, which has named the storm Winter Storm Izzy, said the sprawling storm is likely to produce “major travel headaches” from North Dakota down to northern Georgia and up to Maine. The first area to see snow will be the upper Midwest on Friday, where winter storm warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service. A wide swath of 6 to 12 inches of snowfall is expected to encompass the eastern Dakotas to western Minnesota and Iowa. Cities such as Minneapolis, Des Moines, St. Louis and Kansas City are all in the path of the storm. On Friday and into Saturday, “difficult driving conditions are likely throughout this region as roads become snow covered.”
Djokovic faces deportation as Australia revokes his visa again
Novak Djokovic faces deportation again after the Australian government revoked his visa for a second time, the latest twist in the ongoing saga over whether the No. 1-ranked men’s tennis player will be allowed to compete in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated for COVID-19. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said Friday he used his ministerial discretion to cancel the 34-year-old’s visa on public interest grounds — just three days before play begins at the Australian Open, where Djokovic has won a record nine of his 20 Grand Slam titles. Djokovic’s lawyers were expected to appeal, which they already successfully did last week on procedural grounds after his visa was first canceled when he arrived in Melbourne. But immigration lawyer Kian Bone told the Associated Press Djokovic’s lawyers face an “extremely difficult” task to get court orders to allow their client to play next week.
Child tax credit money won’t be arriving in bank accounts Friday
For the first time in six months, families on Friday are going without a monthly deposit from the child tax credit — a program that was intended to be part of President Joe Biden’s legacy but has emerged instead as a flash point over who is worthy of government support. McClatchy notes those payments typically went out on the 15th of each month, starting in July. The sixth payment was sent Dec. 15. But families won’t see the payments on Jan. 15. The tax credits were part of Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package — and the president had proposed extending them for another full year. But Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., objected to extending the credit out of concern that the money would discourage people from working and that any additional federal spending would fuel inflation that has already climbed to a nearly 40-year high. Manchin’s opposition in the evenly split Senate derailed Biden’s social spending package and caused the expanded tax credits that were going out to expire this month.
Center for COVID Control’s testing sites to ‘pause’ all operations for 1 week
The Center for COVID Control will pause all operations at their testing sites for one week, starting Friday. The nationwide coronavirus testing company is under a civil investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice on suspicion of Unfair Trade Practices Act violations, and dozens of people nationwide have reached out to USA TODAY expressing concerns about the company. At least two people filed complaints about the Center for COVID Control testing sites, expressing concerns about the safety and legitimacy of the sites, alleging the sites offer “fake testing.” One said they were given a test labeled as having expired in June 2021. In an internal company memo addressed to “all location owners and managers” and obtained by USA TODAY, the Center for COVID Control cited “increased scrutiny by the media into the operations of our collection sites” over the past week. The pause is expected to last through Jan. 21.
First Lady Jill Biden to visit Kentucky to survey tornado damage
With last week’s snowstorms cleared, first lady Jill Biden has finalized plans to visit Kentucky and survey areas damaged by last month’s deadly tornado outbreak. Biden will travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky, on Friday with plans to visit the hard-hit Creekwood neighborhood before speaking alongside Deputy FEMA Administrator Erik Hooks and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear. Four tornadoes hit Kentucky on the night of Dec. 10, leaving 77 dead and a trail of destruction through the western portion of the state. Bowling Green, the home of Western Kentucky University and the third-largest city in the state, was hit hard, with 17 deaths recorded in the county. Biden had planned to visit Kentucky on Jan. 6 but postponed the trip after the weather forecast called for snowstorms across the state.
Contributing: The Associated Press