9 AM ET: Iran reviews hijab laws, LGBTQ rights hearing, flu double admissions and more – CNN 5 Things

Hi from CNN, this is Jo Beck with the 5 things you need to know by Monday, December 5th.

After months of violent protests across Iran, a senior Tehran official now says they are reviewing the country’s hijab law. It came into force in 1979 after the Islamic revolution, and makes it mandatory for women to wear head coverings in public, something the country’s moral police enforce. Relaxing the law or scrapping it entirely would be a huge victory for the protesters, who have been taking to the streets since Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody in September, after being detained by the moral police for allegedly not wearing her hijab properly. But CNN’s Salma Abdelaziz says just reviewing the law might not be enough.

Salma Abdelaziz (journalist coup)

00:00:44

But it morphed into something much bigger than that. This is now a movement that wants to do away with the entire religious system in Iran, that wants to see the dismantlement of the Islamic government that is in charge. So simply reviewing the hijab law is not enough.

Meanwhile, state media downplays claims by Iran’s attorney general that the morality police have been abolished entirely. State media say the force is controlled by the Interior Ministry, not the judiciary. So the attorney general has no power over them.

A case pitting LGBTQ rights versus religious freedom will go before the US Supreme Court today. It is about a graphic designer who wants to start a wedding website business but doesn’t want to work with same-sex couples. The case comes as supporters of LGBTQ rights fear the 6-to-3 conservative majority may be setting its sights on reversing a landmark 2015 ruling that paved the way for same-sex marriage across the country.

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As the number of flu hospital admissions in the US doubles, the Biden administration says it stands ready to help states. In a letter obtained exclusively by CNN, the Secretary of Health and Human Services tells governors that the Biden administration will continue to help with, I quote, “resources, supplies and personnel.” Nearly 20,000 people in the US were hospitalized with the flu during the last week of November, and the CDC estimates at least 8.7 million cases of illness and 78,000 hospitalizations so far this flu season. And that probably doesn’t even show the full effects of indoor Thanksgiving gatherings. This comes as COVID-19 and RSV cases are also filling some hospital beds, and RSV continues to show higher rates than it has in years.

Some places in China have started to ease COVID-19 restrictions, among other changes in seven cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Zhangzhou. People will not have to provide a negative test result to use public transportation starting today. However, many restrictions are still in place, and although the central government indicated a possible relaxation of some elements of its strict zero-covid policy, it is still continuing. The changes come after protests in China broke out last week and faced a harsh police crackdown. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN that the Biden administration supports the protesters and said he will address the issue when he visits the country early next year.

If you want to learn more about the protests in China, listen to yesterday’s episode of One Thing, where host David Rind spoke with CNN’s Selina Wang, who has been reporting on the ground.

Coming up, how flashing your badge got the Tampa police chief in trouble.

The Tampa police chief has been placed on administrative leave, pending an investigation after body camera footage showed her flashing her license plate during a traffic stop last month. Mary O’Connor was a passenger in a golf cart who was pulled over for driving on a highway without a license plate.

Tampa Police Chief (Excerpt)

00:03:48

Is your camera on?

Sheriff’s Deputy (excerpt)

00:03:49

This.

Tampa Police Chief (Excerpt)

00:03:49

I’m the police chief in Tampa.

Sheriff’s Deputy (excerpt)

00:03:52

How are you?

Tampa Police Chief (Excerpt)

00:03:54

I am doing it right.

Sheriff’s Deputy (excerpt)

00:03:55

Okay.

Tampa Police Chief (Excerpt)

00:03:56

I hope you let us go tonight.

Sheriff’s Deputy (excerpt)

00:03:58

Good yes. Now that you mention it, you look familiar, so.

Tampa Police Chief (Excerpt)

00:04:02

Yes, I’m sure you do.

That is all for now. In the next episode it falls at noon Eastern.