Steer clear of the sea

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends travelers avoid taking cruises. New Year's Eve festivities on Times Square will forge ahead. And there's still time to claim National Bacon Day specials.

👋Hi! It's Abbey and Julius, bringing you Thursday's news.

But first, why do we kiss on New Year's Eve?🥂 Here are the reasons behind the romantic tradition.

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'Avoid cruise travel'

As coronavirus cases continue to rise since the omicron variant emerged, the CDC warned travelers against taking cruises. "Today, CDC increased the Cruise Travel Health Notice to a Level 4, recommending people avoid cruise travel regardless of vaccination status," the CDC said. It noted the decision was made as coronavirus cases are increasing on ships. Between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14, cruise ships operating in U.S. waters reported 162 coronavirus cases to the CDC. Between Dec. 15 and Dec. 29, cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters reported 5,013 coronavirus cases to the CDC.

The show will go on

Despite record numbers of coronavirus cases across the city and nationwide, New York City is forging ahead with modified plans for its annual New Year's Eve ball drop in Times Square on Friday. In 2020, revelers were banned from the celebration as a result of the pandemic, and only a few essential workers, media members and police were at Times Square as the ball dropped. This year, the city will require revelers to show proof of vaccination and photo ID and to wear masks. The event normally hosts 58,000 people, but this year will be limited to about 15,000 attendees and won't allow entry until 3 p.m. EST. Elsewhere, major cities are moving to cancel New Year's celebrations amid surging cases.

What everyone's talking about

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Another day, another 1,000+ flights canceled

Each day for a week now, travelers across the country have scrambled as thousands of flights have been canceled and delayed. More than 1,000 U.S. flights were canceled Thursday and more than 2,500 were delayed, according to FlightAware. While Southwest has attributed this week's flight disruptions to winter weather, many other U.S. airlines also cited coronavirus cases among staff as contributing factors. In a perfect storm of circumstances, between inclement weather and another coronavirus wave, travel industry experts expect the holiday travel season to come to a bumpy end for customers.

  • Nervous about travel (again)?: What to know about cancellation policies as omicron surges

Thousands of more flights canceled and delayed
Thousands of more flights canceled and delayed

From Oklahoma City to Jan. 6: How the US government failed to stop the rise of domestic extremism

For more than two decades, some federal law enforcement agents have sounded alarms about the evolving threat posed by right-wing extremists in America. The FBI, the lead agency on domestic terrorism, has issued a steady stream of confidential warnings to state and local law enforcement. Private sector hate-watch analysts have called for reinforcements dozens of times. Yet the U.S. government has repeatedly underestimated or failed to recognize the growing danger. Federal authorities, meanwhile, prioritized international terrorism, particularly Islamic militants, even as deaths linked to domestic terrorism mounted while threats from abroad receded.

Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. The District of Columbia has filed a civil lawsuit seeking harsh financial penalties against far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over their role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
Members of the Oath Keepers on the East Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. The District of Columbia has filed a civil lawsuit seeking harsh financial penalties against far-right groups Proud Boys and Oath Keepers over their role in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.

Real quick

Time to get that bacon!

It’s time for another made-up food holiday: Thursday is National Bacon Day! The day is held annually on Dec. 30, but bacon specials are in short supply this year as bacon is one of the in-demand items with shortages at some stores. We've rounded up deals and ongoing offers available at restaurants nationwide. Grab free Baconator Fries at Wendy's, free bacon from Jimmy Dean and more.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Times Square, flight cancellations and National Bacon Day. It's Thursday's news.