We heard from so many of you after our special holiday newsletter came out. Thanks for all the love. Now, here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
Next year is a presidential election year in Russia. We know that President Vladimir Putin is going to run for re-election. We also know who won't be running against him. Opposition activist Alexey Navalny had planned a run against Putin in the March 2018 race, but the country's Central Election Commission has nixed that idea, citing his conviction on an embezzlement charge. Russian law prevents convicted criminals from running for public office, but Navalny and his supporters say the conviction was politically motivated. Navalny plans to appeal the commission's decision.
2. Guatemala and Israel
Guatemala has decided to go along with President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Central American nation is the first country to say it's moving its embassy to Jerusalem since Trump's announcement. Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales said he's instructed his foreign minister to make this happen as soon as possible. Guatemala was one of a handful of nations to vote against a UN resolution last week condemning Trump's decision.-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu predicted other countries would soon join the US and Guatemala in moving their embassies.
3. Erica Garner
Erica Garner, the oldest daughter of Eric Garner, is reportedly-in a medically inducted coma after a heart attack. Garner, 27, became an activist against police brutality after her father died in a New York police officer's chokehold in 2014. Eric Garner's apparent last words -- "I can't breathe!" -- became a rallying cry in the Black Lives Matter-movement. Erica Garner was a prominent supporter of-Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election.
It's been an absolutely tragic holiday weekend in the Philippines, which has endured a fatal bus wreck, a deadly mall fire and a powerful typhoon. Twenty people, traveling to a dawn Christmas service, died in the town of Agoo after a bus collided with another vehicle. Thirty-seven people were killed when a fire broke out in a shopping mall in the city of Davao; they all were call center agents for a company based in the mall. And at least 164 people have been killed by Typhoon Tembin, while almost 200 people are still missing.
5. Vatican protest
Well, you don't see this everyday: a topless protester at the Vatican, trying to steal a baby Jesus doll from a nativity scene. It happened Monday, when a woman wearing just pants and shoes tried to nab the doll while thousands were in St. Peter's Square waiting to hear the Pope's Christmas Day message. The protester, Alisa Vinogradova, had "God is Woman" written on her torso and-was detained by Vatican police. She's a member of the international feminist group Femen, which has targeted the Catholic Church for its conservative policies.
People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
Let's try this again
Guess who's coming back to Times Square for New Year's Eve? Mariah Carey, trying to atone for her disastrous-TV appearance on "New Year's Rockin' Eve"-last year.
She'll always be Louisa
Heather Menzies Urich, who died at age 68, will forever be remembered as one of the von Trapp kids from "The Sound of Music."
'Different kind of buzz'
If you have tickets to Lorde's concert in Tel Aviv, we've got bad news. The "Royals" singer is canceling her gig as part of a boycott against Israel.
She's a 63-year-old college freshman, attending the DC-school that enslaved her ancestors.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"As soon as my boys are of age, I'll tell them stories about the quality of the man I've gotten to know."
AND FINALLY ...
It's all of 2017's best movies, in less than four minutes. You're welcome. (Click to view.)