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5 things to know for December 27: Military drills; Kazakhstan; Hawaii; hate crimes; avalanche

A strong weather system exits the southwest and sets its sights eastward with rain and snow. CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam has the weekend forecast.

Posted: Dec 27, 2019 7:40 AM
Updated: Dec 27, 2019 7:40 AM

Your Christmas tree branches are drooping, needles are on the floor and the trunk is now a glorified cat-scratching post. We've got some tips on what to do with your tree. Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

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1. China, Russia and Iran

China, Russia and Iran are holding four days of joint military drills in the Gulf of Oman starting today. The Gulf of Oman, one of the world's key trade routes and an economically important region, has been a point of tension between Iran and the United States this year. After two oil tankers were attacked in the narrow strait in June, the US blamed Iran. Tehran denied the allegations. The drills by the three American rivals come not long after the US flexed its own naval muscle in the Middle East. According to a Chinese official, the exercises are a normal military exchange between the three armed forces. But Washington and President Donald Trump, who earlier this year proposed a US-led naval mission to the Gulf of Oman to protect economic interests in the region, probably won't see it that way.

2. Kazakhstan plane crash

At least 12 people are dead after a plane with 98 people onboard crashed shortly after takeoff near the city of Almaty in Kazakhstan this morning. The plane was heading for the capital of Nur-Sultan when it lost altitude after takeoff, hitting a concrete fence and a two-story building, an airport official said. The Fokker 100 aircraft, a medium sized twin-turbofan jet often used for short haul flights, was operated by the Kazakhstan-based carrier Bek Air. Video and photos of the crash site show the damaged plane broke into several parts. But parts of the fuselage appeared to be relatively intact, raising hopes that many people on board survived the initial impact. Rescue operations began immediately, and all Fokker 100 flights are temporarily suspended as authorities investigate.

3. Coast Guard search

Coast Guard crews are searching by air and in the water for a helicopter with seven people onboard after it failed to return yesterday from a tour off Kauai's Napali coast in Hawaii. The owner of the helicopter company reached out after the aircraft appeared to be missing, the Coast Guard said. An official said the weather conditions in the search area are challenging, with low visibility and blustery winds. The aircraft is equipped with an electronic locator, but no signals have been received, officials said.

4. Anti-Semitic hate crimes

The New York Police Department is investigating five possible anti-Semitic incidents that occurred in the city this week, all during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. The first incident happened on Monday morning, when a 65-year-old man told police he was punched and kicked by another man who yelled a slur at him. That same day, a 67-year-old man told police that a group of teenagers allegedly approached his 6-year-old son and another 7-year-old boy from behind and struck them inside the lobby of a residential building. On Tuesday, a group of people allegedly yelled anti-Semitic slurs at a 25-year-old man as he walked down the street, and a 56-year-old man alleged that he was punched by a person after being approached by a group. And on Thursday, police charged a woman with assault as a hate crime after she allegedly attacked a Jewish woman in front of her 3-year-old child. Anti-Semitic incidents are the most common hate crime reported in the city. The NYPD reported 166 anti-Semitic incidents from January through September this year.

5. Swiss avalanche

A ski slope in the Swiss Alps is closed today after an avalanche injured at least two people and buried several in snow yesterday. The avalanche struck a slope at the SkiArena resort in Andermatt, Switzerland, about 68 miles south of Zurich. Six people were rescued or freed themselves, and rescuers do not believe any more people are trapped beneath the snow. Local police will investigate how the avalanche came down.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

A Reddit user's Secret Santa was Bill Gates

An 81-pound package of gifts!

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Is anyone actually surprised?

A giant red star is acting a little weird

It could just be going through a phase. Or it's about to explode.

Researchers discovered a brand new mineral in a tiny meteorite

Welcome to the world, edscottite.

A 10-bedroom mansion was being offered for $50,000

But there's a catch. There's always a catch.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"It's very hard on me. I had the weight of the world on my shoulders."

Greg Zanis, who has made tens of thousands of white crosses, Stars of David and crescent moons for victims of shootings. After decades of work, the retired carpenter is handing over his ministry to someone else.

TODAY'S NUMBER

$500,000,000

That's how much "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" made in its first week.

TODAY'S WEATHER

AND FINALLY

Hold onto that holiday brain

It's almost the weekend, so ride that wave and enjoy this oddly satisfying, kinetic sand cutting sequence. Watch it here.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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