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Marcus Rashford. Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

The British government will spend £170 million ($220 million) on providing free meals to poor children and their families during the holidays, following a child hunger campaign by soccer star Marcus Rashford, AP reports.

The big picture: The program was spurred by a petition from the 23-year-old Manchester United forward and garnered more than 1 million signatures after initially being rejected by Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government. It will affect nearly 1.7 million children in the U.K. over the next 12 months, Rashford said.

  • It's the second time Rashford has pressured Johnson's government into changing its child poverty policies, convincing the government to extend a voucher program for free school meals over the summer.
  • "I had a good conversation with the prime minister to better understand the proposed plan, and I very much welcome the steps that have been taken to combat child food poverty in the UK,” Rashford tweeted Sunday.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 24, 2020 - World

Tracking Biden's first calls to world leaders

Combination images of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: NZ Prime Minister's Office/Instagram/Joe Raedle/Getty Images

One ritual of becoming president-elect is the carousel of congratulatory phone calls with other world leaders.

What to watch: The order in which the calls are returned is watched closely around the world.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.