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Need To Know.
State of the Union.
President Trump delivered the State of the Union address last night from the US House chamber, his second such address since assuming office. The speech moved between striking an optimistic tone with calls for unity, to drawing a hard line on immigration and renewed calls for border wall funding. The specter of a second government shutdown loomed over the address, with the short-term agreement that ended a recent 35-day-long hiatus set to expire on February 15th. Trump also took the opportunity to announce a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, scheduled for February 27-28th in Vietnam. Democrats made a show of unity, with women representatives wearing white, and Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic rebuttal, calling the recent government shutdown a "sham". Watch the President's full speech here.
Didn't catch the speech? Here's a breakdown of the state of our union in 8 charts.
Nobel Winner Accused of Sex Assault.
Óscar Arias Sánchez, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and former president of Costa Rica, was accused of sexual assault by a prominent activist, according to reports yesterday. The allegations stem from a 2014 encounter between Arias and Alexandra Arce von Herold at Arias' home, as she sought Arias' support for the nuclear disarmament movement. In a complaint provided to The New York Times(paywall), Arce privately told 15 people following the incident. She cited the recent #MeToo movement, in which a number of high-profile figures were publicly accused of sexual misconduct, as motivation for coming forward. Arias, who denied the allegations, is one of the country's most prominent statesmen (see bio here).
Pope Acknowledges Abuse.
A second high-profile story centered around sexual abuse emerged yesterday, as Pope Francis publicly acknowledged widespread abuse of nuns by high-ranking clergy. Francis made the comments during a press conference following a trip to the United Arab Emirates - the first papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula - citing one case that he said amounted to "sexual slavery". The comments follow a story by the Vatican's women's magazine reporting that nuns had been forced into abortions after being assaulted by clergy. Francis is also deciding the fate of disgraced cardinal Theodore McCarrick, accused of abusing both minors and adults while leading congregations in Newark, NJ, and Washington, DC.
> Academy Awards to go without host for only second time; original host Kevin Hart stepped down in December after homophobic tweets resurfaced (More)
> ABC announces Modern Family renewed for 11th and final season (More)
> NBA star Steph Curry says he will compete in 3-PT Challenge, headlines competitors at NBA All-Star skills night; see full rosters for All-Star Weekend, set for Feb.16-17th (More)
Science & Technology.
> Scientists demonstrate a 40% smaller enzyme known as "CasX" to replace the Cas9 enzyme in CRISPR gene-editing; may allow new applications of CRISPR with better precision (More) | Why is everyone talking about CRISPR? (More)
> Study shows female brains stay youthful for an average of three years longer than males' due to differences in brain metabolism (More)
> Lower concentrations of anti-inflammatory-producing bacteria in gut found in people with depression, mood disorders; study supports link between microbiome and mental health (More)
Business & Markets.
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> Federal bankruptcy judge approves Puerto Rico debt restructuring, will reduce yearly payments by $456M (More) > Qatar Petroleum, Exxon Mobil to invest $10B in liquefied natural gas plant in Texas (More) | OPEC proposing to formalize global oil partnership with Russia (More)
> Earnings Season: Snap (Snapchat parent) stock up 20%+ in after-hours after beating expectations (More) | Disney beats earnings expectations, continues streaming momentum (More)
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Politics & World Affairs.
> Trump nominates US Treasury official David Malpass to lead World Bank (More) | Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) apologizes for taking DNA test to prove partial Native American ancestry (More)
> UK Prime Minister Theresa May visits Northern Ireland, insists a hard border with Ireland will not be part of any last-minute Brexit negotiations; UK leaves European Union on March 29th, with or without agreement in place (More)
> Russia to start construction of two land-based missile launch systems following exit of Cold War-era weapons treaty with US; US also exited treaty, citing violation by Russia (More)
"Success is a journey, not a destination." - Arthur Ashe
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