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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump speak yesterday to children calling in to NORAD's Santa Tracker. (AP's Carolyn Kaster)

While you enjoyed your family, eggnog and gifts from Santa, the news cycle kept on rolling with more tweets from Trump, deadly natural disasters and company wars for attention.

Here's your post-holiday briefing:

  1. Wishful thinking: Yesterday, the president doubled down on his claim from last week that tax cuts "essentially" end the Affordable Care Act, which isn't exactly true. Still, the administration has used regulations to expand access to inexpensive, short-term plans that cover less while eliminating the individual mandate.
  2. Silicon Valley feeling the heat: Some on Capitol Hill are digging into the idea that companies like Facebook and Google have designed products with the intention of getting and keeping consumers addicted. Policymakers no longer assume that Silicon Valley is acting in the best interests of their users, or society at large. But the real reckoning would come if that skepticism spreads to their hundreds of millions of users.
  3. Deadly fires: Authorities confirmed that 37 people died in a mall fire that broke out over the weekend in Davao City in The Philippines. The victims were all call center employees of Research Now Survey Sampling International. Some context: Davao City is the hometown of controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. He was the city's mayor prior to becoming president and still maintains a home there.
  4. No competition: The Russian opposition leader — and the only person who could credibly challenge Vladimir Putin in next year's presidential election — has been barred from running after being convicted of embezzlement earlier this year, despite a similar 2013 verdict being overturned by the European Court of Human Rights.
  5. Penny pinching: The U.S. negotiated a $285 million reduction in its funding to the United Nations as part of the international body's 2018–2019 budget. Remember, Nikki Haley threatened to pull U.S. funding from the UN after the General Assembly voted against President Trump's decision to recognize Israel as Jerusalem's capital Thursday.
  6. Let them drill: The Trump administration is proposing revisions that would roll back some safety measures that were installed after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, which would save an estimated $900 million in the next decade. One change: eliminating the word "safe" from one section of the rule.
  7. Schumer vs. Trump: Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer called President Trump "Scrooge to the poor" on Sunday in response to Trump reportedly telling friends at Mar-a-Lago they "just got a lot richer" with the passage of the GOP tax plan.
  8. Competing for sports fans: Building to a five-game lineup, the NBA has steadily tried to compete with the NFL's Thanksgiving Day viewership with Christmas Day games. In 2016, the NFL saw nearly 30 million viewers per game on Thanksgiving, while the NBA only attracted about 5 million people on Christmas. But we've also seen NFL viewership dwindle ever since the national anthem controversy.
  9. Goodbye, tree: The White House plans to cut down the oldest tree on the White House grounds — a 200-year-old magnolia. Specialists have said that the tree is too old and damaged to be helped and that "without the extensive cabling system, the tree would have fallen years ago."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

COP26 head warns Glasgow summit will be "harder than Paris"

Alok Sharma, U.K. COP26 president, in Milan on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

U.K. COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters Tuesday that the upcoming talks in Glasgow, widely viewed as the last chance to avoid some of the worst consequences of global warming, will be extremely difficult.

Driving the news: Sharma sought to temper expectations and note that the agenda features some of the toughest items that negotiators have punted on at previous summits.