The Morning Dispatch: It’s Instagram’s Turn Before Congress

Happy Thursday! Quick reminder, as some people apparently need one: Please do not, under any circumstances, travel to Midtown Manhattan at 12:14 a.m., climb to the top of a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree, set it on fire, and run away. That is arson, and you will go to jail for arson.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Pfizer and BioNTech announced preliminary results of a laboratory study yesterday that showed two doses of the companies’ COVID-19 vaccine likely still protects individuals from severe disease induced by the Omicron variant, but two doses may not be sufficient to protect against infection. A regimen of two vaccine doses plus a booster, however, was found to be about as effective against the Omicron variant as a regimen of two vaccine doses was against the original SARS-CoV-2 strain.

  • President Joe Biden on Wednesday ruled out sending U.S. troops to Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion. “We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies, if they were to attack under Article 5,” he told reporters. “That obligation does not extend to … Ukraine. But it would depend upon what the rest of the NATO countries are willing to do as well. But the idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia from invading Ukraine is not in the cards right now.”

  • Social Democratic Party leader Olaf Scholz was officially sworn in as German chancellor on Wednesday, ending Angela Merkel’s 16-year run as leader of the country. In an interview with ZDF TV yesterday, Scholz said Russia would face “consequences” if it invaded Ukraine, but declined to confirm whether shutting down the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is on the table.

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