1.25.2019

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All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
Need To Know.
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Senate Votes Down Funding Bills.
The Senate failed to pass two competing bills to fully reopen the federal government yesterday, with both getting a majority of votes but falling short of the 60 votes needed to protect against a filibuster. A Republican bill, which included President Trump's $5.7B request for border wall funding paired with some protections for Dreamers (see 101), went down 51-47. The Democratic bill, which did not include money for a border wall and only reopened the government through February 8th, fell short 52-44. Six Republicans broke ranks to vote for the Democratic bill. Despite the outcome, the fact that the Senate decided to hold votes on dueling plans was seen as progress in ending the shutdown that is now in its 35th day. Roughly 800,000 federal workers have been impacted, with an estimated 380,000 furloughed and 420,000 working without pay - many are set to miss a second paycheck today.  
Military Backs Maduro (For Now).
The Venezuelan military signaled it would back sitting President Nicolas Maduro, one day after the US, Canada, and a number of Latin American nations recognized the country's opposition leader as interim president. The decision came despite thousands of protesters taking to the streets to protest the current regime - Maduro has been accused of a range of human rights abuses while overseeing an economy in free-fall since 2013 (deep dive here). The US ordered non-essential personnel to return home after diplomats were given 72 hours to leave the country. How the conflict will end remains to be seen, with the opposition leader, Juan Guaido, being backed by a number of regional powers but Maduro holding control over state functions. 
US Returns Asylum Seekers.
US and Mexican officials said a group of migrants seeking asylum in the US will be relocated to the Mexican border city of Tijuana while they wait for the legal resolution of their applications. The move marks a policy shift for the US and an implementation of a "remain in Mexico" plan hinted at by President Trump in November. Generally, those applying for asylum have waited in the US while their cases worked their way through the courts, a system decried by critics as "catch and release".  Asylum allows immigrants who meet certain conditions legal entry to the US, and if granted, allows application for a green card after one year and citizenship after four years. In recent years, roughly 80% of Central American applicants pass initial screenings, but less than 25% are eventually granted asylum (see data here).

Asylum has largely become the new entry strategy - southwest border apprehensions have dropped by 60% since 2000, while asylum applications have quadrupled.
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> NBA All-Star Game starters announced with LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo named captains; see full list of starters (More)
> Fifty Shades author EL James announces new book, The Mister, which won't follow plot from previous novels (More)
> NFL announces concussions are down 24% from previous season; league highlights two rule changes as reason for drop (More)
Science & Technology.
> Boeing successfully runs first test of autonomous, all-electric passenger aircraft; 30-foot-long craft is designed for short travel under 50 miles (More)
> Washington state declares public health emergency in Clark County, an anti-vaccination hot-spot that has seen 23 confirmed cases of measles (More)
> Bacteria that causes gum disease found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients, supporting theory of microbe-driven triggers in neurological diseases (More)
Business & Markets.
> Google requests Supreme Court to rule on its billion-dollar dispute with Oracle around the boundaries of copyright law in computer code (More)
> Shares of PG&E, the largest power utility provider in the US, surge ~75% after California investigators clear any liability in October 2017 wildfire (More)
> Earnings Season: Starbucks tops sales estimates given strong holiday drink performance, shares up 2% (More) | Semiconductor chip giant Intel shares fall 7% after missing estimates due to reduced data center & China demand (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Senate Intelligence Committee subpoenas former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen to testify before he heads to prison (More) | Sen. Joni Ernst reveals college sexual assault after details were revealed in recent divorce proceedings (More)
> Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych convicted in absentia on charges of treason for facilitating Russian invasion of Crimean Peninsula in 2014 (More)
> Congo hit with single-day record of reported Ebola cases, as the second-largest Ebola outbreak in history reaches 713 confirmed and probable cases (More) | Virus found for first time in bats in West Africa (More)
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Weekend Reads.
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Rolling Stone Interviews Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
Rolling Stone | Brian Hiatt. After a failed two-year run as Twitter's CEO in 2006, Dorsey is back at his daunting post - now with the added stress of simultaneously leading another multibillion-dollar company, Square. (Read)
When You Try to Sue Your Boss.
Bloomberg | Max Abelson. Roughly 60 million American workers have signed an arbitration agreement with their employers, largely giving up their right to file suit under a surprisingly wide range of circumstances. (Read)
 
Sidney Wants to Be Someone Else.
Sports Illustrated | Max Marshall. Being compared to LeBron James and going viral on YouTube are just some of Sidney Gilstrap-Portly's claims to fame during his high school basketball career. Less impressive when you find out he was a 25-year-old posing as a high school student. (Read)
 
Trapped in a Hoax.
The Guardian | Ed Pilkington. Most conspiracy theories may seem harmless, and even fun, to discuss. Not so much for the people at the center of the toxic lies spun by the most ardent conspiracy theorists. (Read)
Etcetera.
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Comparing wealth and debt across Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers.

Veteran who lost leg in Afghanistan stops to help driver with flat tire, turns out to be retired four-star General Colin Powell
 
An underwater cable broke, and now the country of Tonga has no internet
Hop water, a favorite non-alcoholic drink of brewers, is going mainstream.
America's most expensive home just sold for $238M
Meet the richest person in every state
Thinking about a loved one can help keep blood pressure down, study says
New Chinese app lets you know if you're by someone in debt and encourages you to report them.
Clickbait: Man finds solace in Wally, the emotional support alligator
Historybook: 1st Winter Olympics take place in Chamonix, France (1924); Battle of the Bulge comes to an end (1945); Al Capone dies (1947); HBD Alicia Keys (1981); RIP Mary Tyler Moore (2017).
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- Mary Tyler Moore
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