What we know (and don't know) about omicron; Ghislaine Maxwell trial begins; Hanukkah lights for a hard year

AUSTRALIA-HEALTH-VIRUS
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International travelers wearing personal protective equipment arrive at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport on Monday.

It's Monday. Happy start to the festival of lights!

Here's what we're following today:

Omicron unknowns: Countries are beginning to restrict international travel in attempts to keep the coronavirus variant out. Scientists are looking into exactly how much protection the vaccines offer, while pharmaceutical companies say they're working on omicron-specific boosters in case they're needed.

Ghislaine Maxwell trial opens: Maxwell is being tried on several felony counts, including trafficking underage girls for financier Jeffrey Epstein to sexually abuse. Her attorneys are expected to argue that she's essentially being tried for Epstein's crimes and therefore can't get a fair trial.

Hanukkah begins: The holiday began at sundown last night and runs through Dec. 6. Get in the spirit with the 31st anniversary of Hanukkah Lights, in which Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz revisit some of their favorite pieces of heartwarming Hanukkah fiction.

🎧 Also on Up First, our daily podcast, groundbreaking fashion designer Virgil Abloh has died at age 41.

— The Morning Edition live blog team

(Carol Ritchie, Rachel Treisman, Nell Clark and Nicole Hernandez)