Five Things to Know for Your New Day – Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Storm damage in Mississippi where tornadoes killed four people yesterday
December 24th, 2014
04:58 AM ET

Five Things to Know for Your New Day – Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve travel gets messy. No break in New York protests against police violence. And the first President Bush is in the hospital.

It's Wednesday and here are the 5 things to know for your New Day

1. WEATHER – HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Dangerous storms: This Christmas, people will grieve and heal in southern Mississippi. They will clear rubble and restore power lines in the wake of a tornado system that killed four people and packed an emergency room with dozens of injured. Yesterday's deadly whirlwinds were isolated to a swath near the Louisiana line, but across the country, rough weather is sweeping for hundreds of miles, while roads and airways fill with holiday travelers. The National Weather Service predicts "heavy rainfall and flooding, and heavy snow from the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes through Wednesday." With a forecast like that, Christmas Day might be the better time to embark on a family trip in many parts of the country.

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2. NEW YORK PROTESTS

No break: A protest against racism and police violence packed sidewalks and some streets in New York last night, despite calls from the city's mayor for a pause in the demonstrations. Mayor Bill de Blasio called for demonstrations to stop until after funerals for two police officers who were slain over the weekend in Brooklyn. But organizers said there was no reason to "give in to hysteria" and call off the march. De Blasio has come under fire since the shooting, facing criticism that he's fanned tensions between the public and police. Authorities haven't established the gunman's motive, but Ismaaiyl Brinsley did broadcast his plans to kill police on social media.

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3. BUSH 41 HOSPITAL

Under doctor's care: Former President George H.W. Bush has been taken to a Houston hospital as a precautionary measure after experiencing shortness of breath, a statement from his office said. Bush, now 90, served as the nation's 41st president and is the father of George W. Bush, the country's 43rd president. Bush was hospitalized back in November 2012 with bronchitis, but recovered after two months.

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4. OBAMA APPROVAL RATINGS

On the upswing: President Barack Obama's approval ratings are at a 20-month high, a new CNN/ORC poll shows. At 48%, his approval rating is at its highest point in CNN polling since May 2013. Still, more Americans disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president than approve. The gains were driven by a strong economy and a resurgence in backing among women, independents and millennials — groups where Obama's approval numbers jumped 10 percentage points from a month ago. Meanwhile, the President's approval numbers slumped among men, Republicans and Americans between the ages of 35 and 49

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5. SONY MOVIE RELEASE

On with the show: Despite threats from hackers, Sony Pictures is making the controversial comedy "The Interview" available at a limited number of theaters starting on Christmas Day. More than 200 independently owned theaters have agreed to show the film, according to Sony. None of the big theater chains, like AMC or Regal, has said it will support the Christmas release yet, but that could change. The independent theater release plan comes almost a week after Sony originally canceled the Christmas release of the film in up to 3,000 theaters. "The Interview" is about an assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The FBI blamed the Sony hack on North Korea.

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Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.

- Santa Claus is Coming to Town: Let's get an early start on Christmas with Jimmy Fallon, One Direction and The Roots.

- Social media changes everything: What if "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" happened today?

- Two paws down: Norman the bull mastiff doesn't seem to appreciate Christmas carols.

- Light show: Check out this spinning star by illusionist Brussup.

- Traveling music: A couple of violinists entertain folks on a Southwest Airlines flight.

There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Be sure to tune in to "New Day," from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, join us at NewDayCNN.com and go and have a GREAT NEW DAY!

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