Unemployment benefits were set to lapse at midnight, students slipping behind in math during COVID disruptions, D-FW headed into 2021 in a drought: Your weekend roundup

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Plus, a lead on a person of interest in Nashville bombing
 
Morning roundup
12/27/2020

By Chelsea Watkins and Sadie Layher
Good morning!

Here is a look at the top headlines of the weekend so far.

🌞 Weather: Sunny skies and a high of 72F.

🔎 Prefer the online view? It's here.

The U.S. Capitol is seen past the Washington Monument as the sun sets on Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Washington, D.C.(Samuel Corum / Getty Images)
BUSINESS
Unemployment benefits for millions to lapse at midnight as Trump continues to demand changes
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Unemployment benefits for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet were set to lapse at midnight Saturday unless President Donald Trump signed an end-of-year COVID relief and spending bill that had been considered a done deal before his sudden objections.

Trump’s refusal to sign the bipartisan package as he demands larger COVID relief checks and complains about "pork" spending could also force a federal government shutdown when money runs out at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday in the middle of a pandemic.

"It’s a chess game, and we are pawns," said Lanetris Haines, a self-employed single mother of three in South Bend, Ind., who stands to lose her $129 weekly jobless benefit unless Trump signs the package into law or succeeds in his improbable quest for changes.
 
Aviation: Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly took a ride on Boeing’s 737 Max as the carrier readies to unground fleet.
 
 
Also: Vaccines may embolden hotels and airlines to raise prices.
 
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CORONAVIRUS
Why does the ‘COVID slide’ look worse in math? Texas schools struggle to get students back on track
The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the education of millions of students across the country — and progressing in math class proved to be a particular struggle, national and local data show.

A Dallas ISD analysis, for example, found that half of its students slipped in math during disruptions caused by COVID-19, compared to nearly a third in reading.

Educators point to a number of reasons to explain why: Parents are likely less comfortable drilling math problems at home as they are with helping in reading.
 
Coming home: A North Texas man has returned from Wuhan, China after being stuck in epicenter of global pandemic in January.
 
 
Testing, testing: How one company can test up to 50,000 Texans a day for COVID-19 for free and without a nose swab.
 
Gov. Greg Abbott talks about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UPS Distribution Center in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
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NATIONAL
Feds converge on home of possible person of interest in Nashville bomb explosion
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Federal agents converged Saturday on the home of a possible person of interest in the explosion that rocked downtown Nashville as investigators scoured hundreds of tips and leads in the blast that damaged dozens of buildings on Christmas morning.

More than 24 hours after the explosion, a motive remained elusive as investigators worked round-the-clock to resolve unanswered questions about a recreational vehicle that blew up on a mostly deserted street on a sleepy holiday morning and was prefaced by a recorded warning advising those nearby to evacuate. The attack, which damaged an AT&T building, continued to wreak havoc Saturday on cellphone service and police and hospital communications in several Southern states.
AROUND THE SITE
  • Courts: A man is suing Keller police officers after he was arrested and pepper-sprayed in what he says was retaliation.

  • An Italian tour of Dallas: Lasagna, cannolis and Sunday Gravy from some favorite family restaurants.

  • Giving during the holidays: 13-year-old Plano ISD student raises nearly $6,000 for disadvantaged kids.
FINALLY...
Weather in 2020 was tame for Dallas-Fort Worth; now comes the drought
For all of the woes of 2020, weather was hardly one of them in North Texas.

There was no record stretch of days with triple-digit heat. (Dallas-Fort Worth actually had fewer 100-degree days than normal.) There were no ice storms that paralyzed the city. (Just a dusting of snow in January.) Even severe weather events were rarer. (There were nearly 50% fewer tornadoes in North Texas this year compared with 2019.)

But because less rain than usual has fallen in the final months of the year, North Texas will finish 2020 and head into the new year with a drought.
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