1.21.2020

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Need to Know
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Senate Gets Organized
The third impeachment trial in Senate history gets underway in earnest today, beginning with a vote on the proceedings' organizing resolution. Existing rules provide only broad guidelines and the resolution, whose text Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) released Monday evening, details the framework within which arguments will be presented and votes held. The proposed plan would condense arguments, with both sides given 24 hours over two days apiece to present their case, followed by debates on whether to introduce new evidence or call new witnesses. Democrats have argued new evidence has emerged since the Dec. 18 impeachment vote, countered by Republicans who say it is the House's responsibility, not the Senate's, to make the case. Meanwhile, President Trump's legal team - who added Clinton investigator Ken Starr over the weekend - laid out his defense in a six-page brief (PDF). 

Senators must remain quiet upon "pain of imprisonment." 
Super Bowl Toss-Up 
The Kansas City Chiefs are one-point favorites over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in Miami (Feb. 2, 6:30pm ET, Fox), with bettors moving the line slightly after Vegas initially set the game at even odds. Most experts expect a competitive game - in Super Bowls with spreads less than three points, the favored team has won just over half the time. The Chiefs advanced after beating the Tennessee Titans, 35-24, in the AFC championship. The 49ers ran away from the Green Bay Packers, 37-20, in the NFC championship. Both quarterbacks - Patrick Mahomes for the Chiefs and Jimmy Garoppolo for the 49ers - will be starting in their first Super Bowl, though Garoppolo won two rings as a backup for Tom Brady in New England. While the Chiefs were preseason favorites to win the championship, the 49ers were the season's surprise team, viewed as a middling squad before ending with a 13-3 regular-season record and grabbing the NFC's No. 1 seed.

Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will headline the halftime show.
China Bug Goes Viral
Chinese officials confirmed human-to-human transmission yesterday of a newly identified virus originating in the city of Wuhan. More than 200 cases have been confirmed, including three deaths, with Thailand, South Korea, and Japan reporting cases. Researchers believe the culprit is a novel type of coronavirus, part of a family of viruses that infect the respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract. Only six such viruses have been identified in humans, four of which are linked to the common cold, pneumonia, and bronchitis. Of the other two, one is responsible for the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) which resulted in 774 deaths from 8,098 known cases (9.5% mortality rate), while the other is responsible for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) which since 2012 has killed 858 people out of 2,494 cases (34% mortality rate). The news comes ahead of the Lunar New Year, China's busiest travel season. 
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Buckingham Palace announces plan forward for “Megxit” which includes removing Prince Harry and Meghan Markle of HRH royal titles and repayment of $3.1M in residence renovations (More)
> Alyssa Nakken hired by San Francisco Giants as first female coach in MLB history (More) | ...and catch up on the Houston Astros cheating scandal that led to one GM and three managers being fired (More)
> “Parasite” becomes first foreign-language film to win top prize at Screen Actors Guild Awards while “The Crown” and “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” bring home top TV awards (More)
Science & Technology
> Researchers sequence the genome of the mysterious giant squid, providing insight into the creature's anatomy and evolution (More)
> SpaceX completes abort test, explodes a Falcon 9 rocket; test is last major hurdle before its Crew Dragon capsule can begin shuttling astronauts to the International Space Station (More)
> Scientists develop microscopic camera capable of capturing 1 trillion frames per second of transparent objects; can photograph snapshots of shockwaves, signals moving in neurons, and other ultrafast phenomena (More)
Business & Markets
> Global business and political leaders descend on ski town of Davos, Switzerland to kick off annual World Economic Forum today (More)
> Sources say President Trump and French President Macron agree to work together to avoid potential tariff increases until end of 2020 (More)
> International Monetary Fund downgrades 2020 growth projection slightly amid social unrest (More) | China’s economy grew at 6.1% last year, the slowest pace in 29 years; births fell 4% to lowest figure since 1961 (More)

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Politics & World Affairs
> Election 2020: Joe Biden jumps ahead of Democratic presidential candidates with six-point lead in latest Iowa poll; caucuses are Feb. 3 (More) | New York Times breaks from tradition, endorses two separate candidates in Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) (More, $$, NYT)
> Thousands rally at gun rights demonstration in Richmond, Va., protesting gun control package that includes universal background checks and allows localities to ban firearms from certain public areas (More)
> Former Rep. Chris Collins (R, NY-27) sentenced to 26 months in prison for insider trading scheme; Collins passed results of failed drug tests by Australian biotech firm to his son to dump shares before news became public (More)
In-Depth
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Al Religion is Upon Us
Vox | Sigal Samuel. Facing a decline in religious affiliation, this 400-year-old Buddhist temple in Japan has turned to Mindar, a $1M robot designed to look like the deity of mercy. With plans to arm Mindar with machine learning capabilities, the dawn of autonomous, AI-driven priests able to offer tailored advice on each person's moral and ethical dilemmas may be on the horizon. (Read)
A Look Back at the Clinton Impeachment
LAT | Sarah Wire. More than 131 years passed between the nation's first and second impeachment trials, but it took just over 20 years to reach the third. With the proceedings broadly following the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, it's worth reviewing how the 1999 trial unfolded. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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Soon you'll be able to watch King's "I Have a Dream" speech in virtual reality
Visualizing the world's wealth in one image.
Ranking the best beers from all 50 states
The link between smartphones and teenage depression may be overblown.
Amazon wants you to pay by scanning your hand
Inside the incredible mission to save Australia's dinosaur trees
An easygoing elephant strolls through a Sri Lanka hotel.
Dad teaches son Photoshop by adding lifeboats to famous paintings
Clickbait: Watch a bull moose trap an Alaska man in a shed.
Historybook: Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine (1793); Fashion designer Christian Dior born (1905); HBD golf great Jack Nicklaus (1940); RIP founding father of American cinema Cecil B. DeMille (1959); First Women’s March sees large scale protests in 160+ countries (2017).
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