1.29.2020

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Need to Know
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Peace Plan Proposal
President Trump unveiled his administration's Middle East peace plan yesterday, a proposal aimed at jump-starting talks between Israelis and Palestinians that stalled in 2014. Standing with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trump called on Palestinians to restart negotiations. Notably, the plan allows for the creation of a Palestinian state (see 101) on a four-year timeline if certain conditions are met while calling for a four-year moratorium on new Israeli settlements in contested areas. The plan is considered a long shot by many given the absence of Palestinian leaders in its formulation, who preemptively rejected the effort. Despite the proposed moratorium, Netanyahu immediately announced ($$, NYT) the country's Parliament would vote Sunday to annex - or apply Israel sovereignty - to the Jordan Valley and up to 30% of the West Bank. Read the full peace proposal here (PDF).
Harvard Chair Charged
Federal prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against the head of Harvard's chemistry and chemical biology department, alleging Charles M. Lieber concealed funding he received from China. If guilty, the accomplished professor would become the highest-profile figure caught in a wide-ranging FBI probe of China's Thousand Talents Program ($$, Bloomberg), whose public purpose is to recruit top researchers but has been accused of appropriating foreign research by secretly paying scientists to transmit or recreate the results in Chinese shadow labs. The harshest critics say the program effectively steals state-funded technology and intellectual property for its own economic and military gain. While US-based researchers are typically required to disclose all funding streams (relevant or not) for every federal grant application, China began hiding the identities of those receiving support as backlash grew, leaving US funding agencies with little way to cross-check whether a researcher omitted support. A 2019 Senate report concluded that China stole Department of Energy-funded research via the program.
Impeachment Arguments Wrap
President Trump's legal team concluded their impeachment defense yesterday, with the Senate trial now moving to a 16-hour question and answer phase. The original House charges allege Trump abused his power by withholding military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter (and obstructed a congressional probe into it). Trump's team argued in part the president withheld the funds over broader corruption concerns. Outside the chamber, a debate is raging over whether to call new witnesses, specifically former national security adviser John Bolton; a leaked book manuscript revealed Bolton included anecdotes supporting the House charges. A vote on whether to allow new witnesses will be held Friday; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told colleagues yesterday he did not have the 51 votes needed to block a motion for new witnesses. Some Republicans hinted Joe and Hunter Biden, as well as the original whistleblower, may be called to testify.

Separately, a new report alleges Biden's brother James made a questionable Virgin Islands property swap with a DC lobbyist. 
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe protest at Australian Open calling for name change to Margaret Court Arena due to Court’s opposition to same-sex marriage (More) | Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic to face off in semifinals (More)
> Eminem tops Billboard Artist 100 as his new album “Music to Be Murdered By” makes rapper just one of six acts ever to have 10 No. 1 albums (More)
> Netflix will layoff employees as it shifts marketing strategy to emphasize its service as a whole rather than just individual shows (More) | BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith will step down to be top media columnist at New York Times (More)
Science & Technology
> New "Trojan horse" nanoparticle is shown to reduce blood vessel plaques; particle stimulates macrophages to eat plaque debris, stabilizing the structures and making them less likely to cause heart attack or stroke (More)
> UK labels Chinese telecom giant and 5G leader Huawei as "high-risk vendor" but will allow company to supply British companies and projects; decision comes despite US pressure to ban company over national security concerns (More)
> International Antarctic collaboration makes first drilling on Thwaites Glacier; five-year project is first to study the Florida-sized glacier, responsible for 4% of annual sea rise (More) | Fascinating deep dive here (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets bounce back (S&P 500 +1.0%, Dow +0.7%, Nasdaq +1.4%) after Monday’s slide on global coronavirus concerns (More) | Apple shares up 2% in after-hours trading after surpassing expectations on higher iPhone sales (More)
> Chipotle fined $1.3M for 13,000+ child labor violations in Massachusetts for allowing employees under 18 to work past midnight and more than 48 hours per week (More)
> Retailer J.Crew hires former Victoria's Secret CEO Jan Singer for same role (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Congressional Budget Office projects federal budget deficit will top $1T in fiscal year 2020, with debt reaching $31T, or 98% of GDP, by 2030 (More) | See a history of US deficit and debt here (More)
> Massive 7.7 magnitude earthquake strikes offshore between Jamaica and Cuba; no injuries reported but shaking felt as far away as Miami (More)
> Wuhan coronavirus outpaces the 2003 SARS epidemic, with total number of cases now just under 6,000; death toll rises to 132 (More)
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Etcetera
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The best cities in the US for book lovers.
The world's most remote mountain has been conquered.
Why beards pair well with existential crises

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Wedding photographers share their favorite moments ($$, NYT).
Nearly 2 million fans sign petition to have Kobe Bryant on the NBA logo
Some of the strangest conspiracy theories around the Wuhan coronavirus.
Real Super Bowl VIPs have their own butler
Former Belgian King finally admits he's the father of artist Delphine Boel.
Clickbait: South Carolina farm looking for volunteer pig cuddlers.
Historybook: Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” performed for first time (1595); “Common Sense” author Thomas Paine born (1737); Baseball Hall of Fame announces first inductees (1936); HBD Oprah Winfrey (1954); RIP poet Robert Frost (1963).
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