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The town of Paradise, California charred over 150,000 acres. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

From mass shootings to hurricanes and fires, The Associated Press reminds that "2018 was a year of loss unlike any other."

The big picture: In the past year, the U.S. has experienced two major hurricanes, several mass shootings, hate crimes and destructive fires. Amid the tragedy, people are focusing on unity this Thanksgiving season, sometimes without the traditional meal attached.

Looking back
  • A parent in the Parkland, Fla. school shooting will spend his morning at the cemetery. Fred Guttenberg's 14-year-old daughter, Jaime, was one of 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
  • First Baptist Church in Mexico Beach, Fla., will welcome 300 people for Thanksgiving dinner in the parking lot of this storm-damaged church.
  • Some of the victims of fires in California didn't realize it was Thanksgiving "amid the chaotic and emotionally draining rush of the past two weeks." Volunteers there are opening their houses to strangers.
  • In Pittsburgh, Rabbi Jeffrey Myers of the Tree of Life synagogue, asked people to donate money based on the number friends and relatives gathered around their tables at Thanksgiving.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.