1.22.2020

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Need to Know
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Chinese Virus Reaches US
Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed yesterday that a newly identified coronavirus had reached the United States. The virus, which has sickened more than 440 and killed nine, was diagnosed in a patient in Washington state who had recently traveled to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the bug is believed to have originated. The strain is part of a family of viruses that infects the respiratory system and gastrointestinal tract (see 101) and is just the seventh coronavirus observed in humans. Scientists say it is related to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). The former was responsible for a 2003 epidemic that infected more than 8,000 people (9.5% mortality rate), while the latter has infected almost 2,500 people since 2012 (34% mortality rate). The news comes one day after Chinese officials confirmed the observation of human-to-human transmission of the virus. 

The bug is spreading just as China gears up for the Lunar New Year, the biggest global travel season of the year.
 
Senate Passes Impeachment Rules
Following a marathon session that lasted until two in the morning, the Senate formally adopted rules governing the impeachment trial of President Trump. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell began the day by slightly easing off his push for a condensed trial, allowing each side three days apiece (instead of two) to present their case. The rest of the day was largely spent with party-line votes, with Republicans turning back Democratic attempts to subpoena new evidence and witnesses, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton. Under the approved rules, each side will have 24 hours to present their case, beginning today, followed by 16 hours of questions from Senators. Finally, the body will consider once more whether to open the proceedings to new witnesses; four Republicans would need to join the 47 Democrats to open such a debate.

Tempers flared as the night went on, with Chief Justice John Roberts admonishing both sides at one point.
 
World Leaders Descend on Davos
The small ski resort village of Davos, Switzerland, is playing to an anxious group of government leaders, multinational CEOs, and global financiers arriving for the 50th anniversary of the World Economic Forum. The weeklong forum is meant to bring world leaders together to discuss and coordinate the biggest challenges facing the international community. This year's agenda, set against the backdrop of Australia's devastating bushfires, is dominated by environmental concerns, with 20% of meetings linked to related issues. The opening day provided contrasting views: President Trump touted US economic growth and referred to climate activists as "prophets of doom," while teen climate activist Greta Thunberg called on participants to end the use of all fossil fuels. Notably, a recent survey found most CEOs did not find climate change to be a top 10 threat to their company's growth.

In the background, some wonder whether a number of key economic drivers will peak this decade ($$, Bloomberg).
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and Black Sabbath front man Ozzy Osbourne reveals he was diagnosed with Parkinson's in February (More)
> Former Grammys head Deborah Dugan files lawsuit claiming she was sexually harassed, alleges predecessor Neil Portnow raped a recording artist; Dugan was placed on administrative leave last week (More)
> New York Yankees great Derek Jeter and Colorado Rockies outfielder Larry Walker elected to Baseball Hall of Fame; Jeter was one vote shy of unanimous selection while Walker was selected in his final year of eligibility (More)
Science & Technology
> Google rolls out three new wellbeing apps to help cut down on phone usage, including an envelope print out that only allows access to the dial buttons (More)
> Analysis finds one of the potent greenhouse gases, HFC-23, is at an all-time high despite India and China banning the chemical; 2018 levels were equivalent to the annual output of 50 coal plants (More)
> Study of magnetic crystals trapped inside ancient rocks suggests Earth's protective magnetic field arose 4.2 billion years ago, just 350 million years after the planet formed (More)
Business & Markets
> Boeing stock trading temporarily halted after 6% decline following reports 737 Max will be grounded until July at the earliest (More) | Netflix beats expectations adding 8.8M subscribers in Q4, increasing total to 167M subscribers worldwide, stock up 2% (More)
> Rideshare giant Uber sells Uber Eats in India food delivery business unit for 10% share in fellow food delivery service Zomato (More)
> Apple tops Fortune’s list of world’s most admired companies for 13th straight year; Amazon, Microsoft, Disney follow (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> White House says it will release a proposal for middle-class tax cuts within 90 days (More) | ...and proposes expanding immigration ban to include seven new countries (More)
> Brazilian prosecutors charge Fabio Schvartsman, former CEO of mining giant Vale, with homicide over 2019 dam collapse that killed more than 250 people (More) | Watch video of collapse (More)
> Election 2020: Supreme Court declines to fast track a legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, likely pushing the issue to after November (More) | Former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton reportedly criticizes former rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in upcoming documentary (More)
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Etcetera
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That conspiracy theory about Saudi Arabia hacking Jeff Bezos' phone may be real
The war over how to teach children to read is heating up again
The 50 best (and highest paying) jobs in America for 2020

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What science fiction got right about the 2020s
The American Dream may be easier to achieve in Canada.
Stunning drone footage captures a dust storm sweeping through an Australian town
Apu from "The Simpsons" is quitting.
Australian brushfires reveal an ancient aquatic system.
Clickbait: Googly-eyed husky gets adopted after going viral
Historybook: English polymath Francis Bacon born (1561); HBD actress Diane Lane (1965); RIP President Lyndon B. Johnson (1973); Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision (1973); RIP Heath Ledger (2008).
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