5 Things: Smartening You Up For Back-to-Work Monday

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The weather’s all kinds of crazy … ISIS is sweating bullets … .and your astronaut application awaits. It’s Monday, and here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door:


I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain: A mammoth storm system engulfing much of the U.S. has claimed 24 lives, including four soldiers in Missouri. It’s spawned deadly tornadoes in Texas, intense flooding in the Midwest and blizzard conditions in New Mexico. And it’s not over yet.

But we’re far from alone in dealing with deadly, destructive weather at the moment. Heavy rains have displaced more than 150,000 people across Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Floods have swallowed swaths of northern England. And wildfires are raging out of control in Spain and Australia. What is happening, people??!!


Race, justice and the thin blue line: Chicago needs to take a long, hard look at its policing. So says Mayor Rahm Emanuel after cops shot dead two more people. But, say protesters, the time for introspection is gone. They’ll march to City Hall to demand the mayor is too. Residents are already mad about the killing of Laquan McDonald. Then over the weekend, officers shot dead 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, who was threatening his dad with a bat. And they killed Bettie Jones, a grandmother who opened the door when cops arrived.


Pressure pushing down on me: Could it be? Could ISIS really be feeling the heat? In a new message, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi — the guy who’s declared himself alpha dog — warns of difficult times ahead, saying “the whole world” is united against ISIS. He’s got reasons to sweat. In Iraq, soldiers retook Ramadi this morning. In Syria, U.S.-backed forces are inching closer to Raqqa. And months of airstrikes have damaged ISIS’ oil fields. “The seditions and the hardships become greater,” Baghdadi said. Oh, boohoo.

Al Thubat district in southeastern Ramadi was liberated on Tuesday according to Iraqi security forces.
Al Thubat district in southeastern Ramadi was liberated on Tuesday according to Iraqi security forces.


#Winning. Not us: Sorry, President Obama, Americans aren’t buying it when you say the fight against ISIS is going swimmingly. A new CNN/ORC poll out this morning finds the public decidedly in the “glass half empty” camp. Nearly 75% say they aren’t satisfied with the war on terror. That’s well above the previous high of 61% back in 2007. Even 59% of Democrats say they aren’t A-OK with the White House’s approach. The poll releases at 6 a.m. ET.


Talking trash: Peyton Manning is hopping mad at Al Jazeera America for a documentary that claims he used human growth hormone (HGH). He called the report “completely fabricated.” It’s “complete trash,” he said. It’s “garbage,” he groused. Also dismissing the doc is the doc who supposedly gave Manning the drug, and the source who made the claim in the first place. Let’s see who else isn’t jazzed about Al Jaz — Manning’s team, the Broncos, and his former team, the Colts. The network, under the gun, is sticking to its guns.


Japan and South Korea finally reach an agreement over the issue of “comfort women.” … A train with 53,000 gallons of sulfuric acid derails in Australia. … The man in charge of the waste dump that caused the Shenzhen landslide kills himself. … El Salvador’s most capped soccer player is shot dead.


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Ground control to Major Tom

Mulling your New Year’s resolution? How about “become an astronaut.” Is this the coolest job listing ever or what?

Imitation of life

A British couple shelled out $100K to clone a puppy using their dead dog’s DNA. That kind of dough could’ve helped so many shelter pups.

One is the loneliest number

Good thing that realization has finally hit Chinese lawmakers. Starting next year, little Johnny will no longer have to grow up an only child.

Cleaning up on Aisle 5

A woman, high on meth, turned a Florida Walmart into her personal buffet, riding around on a motorized shopping cart, nibbling on sushi, cinnamon rolls and a rotisserie chicken.

All I want for Christmas is you

Twitter today has a hilarious compilation of the oddest holiday gifts. But none this “uncomforterable.”

Number of the day: 12

Number of days it took “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” to net $1 billion in ticket sales. That’s faster than any other movie in history. Fine, I’ll go see it.

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' makes $1 billion in a record 12 days
‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ makes $1 billion in a record 12 days


Your Monday morning motivation

Take it from this 2-year-old determined-to-blow-his-birthday-candle boy: If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

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