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Afternoon Edition: Nov. 26, 2021

Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

People line up to get on the Air France flight to Paris at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday Nov. 26, 2021.
Jerome Delay/AP

Good afternoon. Here’s the latest news you need to know in Chicago. It’s about a 5-minute read that will brief you on today’s biggest stories.

This afternoon will be mostly cloudy with a high near 31 degrees. Tonight will also be mostly cloudy with a low around 28 degrees. Similar conditions will continue into tomorrow, with a high near 40 degrees and a 30% chance of rain.

Top story

World reacts after new omicron variant emerges in southern Africa

The discovery of a new coronavirus variant sent a chill through much of the world today as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings to weigh the exact risks, which were largely unknown.

A World Health Organization panel named the variant “omicron” and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the delta variant. The WHO suggested the variant could pose greater risks than delta, which is the world’s most prevalent variant and has fueled relentless waves of infection on every continent.

Early evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection compared to other highly transmissible variants, the WHO said. That means people who contracted COVID-19 and recovered could be subject to catching it again.

In response, the United States and Canada joined the European Union and several other countries in instituting travel restrictions on visitors from southern Africa.

The White House said the U.S. will restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region beginning Monday. It did not give details except to say the restrictions will not apply to returning U.S. citizens or permanent residents, who will continue to be required to test negative before their travel.

Medical experts, including the WHO, warned against any overreaction before the variant that originated in southern Africa was better understood. But a jittery world feared the worst nearly two years after COVID-19 emerged and triggered a pandemic that has killed more than 5 million people around the globe.

The Associated Press has more on the new variant and the world’s response here.

More news you need

  1. Chicago police have released video of two suspects wanted in the fatal shooting of 14-year-old Kevin Tinker down the street from his home in Roseland. The eighth-grader was outside a home that had been targeted earlier in the day, according to police, who would not say if the boy himself was a target.
  2. Three-year-old Delilah Edwards was born with an underdeveloped left side of her heart, resulting in her having to endure nine surgeries in all, in part, because some of them didn’t work. Late last month, Delilah received a new heart, just in time for her and her family to enjoy Thanksgiving together.
  3. There’s still time to head to the Black Gallery’s Buy Black Friday event. You can support Black artists and entrepreneurs at the market, which is open until 7 p.m., and then stick around for a fashion show from 8-9 p.m.
  4. A new documentary features hours of unreleased footage pieced together to chronicle the Beatles during the recording sessions for “Let It Be” in early 1969,” some of the last sessions before the group’s break up. In his four-star review of “The Beatles: Get Back,” Sun-Times critic Richard Roeper hails the film as an instantly iconic musical epic.

A bright one

Old dormant grain silos on South Side are an enduring industrial canvas for graffiti artists

The towering, old grain silos near 29th Street and Damen Avenue, on the banks of the Chicago River’s south branch, date to Chicago’s heyday as a hub of manufacturing and food distribution.

While they haven’t been functional for decades, the dormant, weathered structures have long been a draw for graffiti artists and taggers who’ve turned the 24-acre site into something of an industrial canvas.

That includes the silos themselves, adjoining structures that are as tall as 15 floors and a series of cavernous tunnels snaking below.

Not exactly the safest place to roam — and not a legal place to visit, either, as the “No Trespassing” signs inform.

Nevertheless, it remains a popular spot for street artists to ply their colorful trade, whether considered art or an eyesore.

The long-abandoned Damen Silos on the south branch of the Chicago River near Damen Avenue.
Mark Capapas/Sun-Times

A street artist who goes by Werm has painted at the silos over the years — including on the roof in the mid-1990s when he says it wasn’t such a well-known spot.

Part of the allure of the place, Werm says, was that “there’s a lot of walls and it’s abandoned, it’s a place where anyone can go practice, and there’s no rules, and you can take your time.”

“Before there was no security, there were open gates and people could just walk in, it was a public underground street art gallery,” Werm says, adding security has definitely tightened up since.

Another veteran street artist who goes by Emte said a number of years ago a construction company he worked at was getting rid of hundreds of gallons of old paint, and he said, “I’ll take it.”

He brought it to the silo grounds and “we used it to roll out all the brick walls . . . we were just caking walls and inviting people to come paint.”

“It’s an outlet to express ourselves,” he said. “I wanted it to be a super-dope unsanctioned museum, and it did become that, but it only lasted five or six years.”

The site has become more widely known and graffiti artists descend like locusts.

We’ve got more on the Damen Silos here.

From the press box

Your daily question ☕

What’s your most wild, in-store Black Friday memory?

On Wednesday, we asked you: What are you thankful for this year?

Here’s what some of you said…

“I am most thankful for still being alive, for my family, for my friends, and for my work.” — Tricia Fitzgerald

“I am thankful that my family has stayed healthy during year two of the pandemic.” — Rosanne Zicca

“The kindness of others, modern medicine, and being here today.” — Christine Bock

“For the first time in almost two years, I visited my adult offspring and grandchild in Buffalo/Rochester NY — the trip was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions in N.Y. My grandson was 2-years-old the last time I saw them, now he’s suddenly four! It was worth the wait because everyone is healthy.” — Jan Berg

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