1.18.2023

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Jan. 18, and we're covering China's economic slowdown, an arrest tied to a series of lawmaker shootings, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

China's GDP Growth Slows

China’s gross domestic product grew at 3% in 2022, according to data released yesterday, down from an 8.1% rate in 2021 and below the government target of 5.5%. It marks the second slowest pace since the 1970s, as the world’s second-largest economy struggled under strict COVID-zero policies and a decline in the real estate market.

 

The economy grew 2.9% in the fourth quarter as China relaxed its COVID-19 policies, which had stunted retail sales and disrupted production. Unemployment remains a concern, with the urban jobless rate at 5.5%. To help stimulate a recovery, China has eased its crackdown on the technology sector and is relaxing restrictions on real estate developers. Economists predict close to 5% growth in 2023.

 

Separately, the country's population shrank in 2022 for the first time since the 1960s, with 1.4 billion people at the end of last year, 850,000 fewer than at the end of 2021.

 

Suspect in Lawmaker Shootings

Solomon Peña, a Republican candidate who lost an election for the New Mexico state Legislature last year, has been arrested in connection to a series of shootings targeting several homes and offices of Democratic officials. No one was injured in the shootings, although several homes were damaged.

 

Between Dec. 4 and Jan. 5, the homes of two state legislators and two county commissioners, as well as a campaign office, were hit by several gunshots. Authorities announced Monday they believed Peña paid four men to conduct the attacks, one of whom was arrested last week. After Peña lost the state House District 14 race by 3,600 votes in November, several lawmakers reported he came to their homes with documents attempting to prove he had won.

 

Last month, the Capitol's chief of police reported that threats against members of Congress were up 400% in the past six years. See a report here.

 

Ex-Mexican Official Faces US Trial

A corruption trial in the US opened yesterday for Mexico's former security chief, Genaro García Luna, who allegedly accepted millions of dollars in bribes from the Sinaloa Cartel in return for the safe passage of cocaine shipments into the US. He is the highest-ranking Mexican official to face a US trial on drug-trafficking charges. If found guilty, he faces between 20 years to life in prison. 

 

García Luna, 54, was the head of Mexico's version of the FBI from 2001-06 and the public security minister under former President Felipe Calderón from 2006-12, vowing to fight against cartels. The ex-official was arrested in 2019 after a Sinaloa Cartel associate, in a separate trial for drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, testified that he had given García Luna at least $6M to allow the cartel to operate. 

 

The jury trial begins about a week after President Joe Biden met with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to discuss priorities, including clamping down on drug cartels. See Mexico's drug cartel history here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Madonna announces “The Celebration Tour,” a 35-city global tour beginning in July that will cover her full catalog of over 40 years of music (More)

> Steph Curry thanks President Biden for "getting Brittney Griner home" during White House visit celebrating Golden State's 2022 NBA championship (More) | Harvard Medical School becomes latest school to withdraw from US News and World Report annual rankings (More

> "Black Panther" and "Ant-Man" sequels get February release dates in China, the first Marvel movies to be released in China since 2019 (More)

From our partners: Big bonus for a big year. This card is offering a rare $200 welcome bonus. Bonuses like this don't come around that often. That's why thousands are lining up for this card. Learn more now.

 

Science & Technology

> Chemists develop fluorescent dye that allows imaging of difficult-to-see cancerous brain tumors (More)

> Previously unknown lead compound found in Rembrandt's "The Night Watch"; discovery sheds light on 17th century artistic techniques (More)

> World's oldest runestone discovered by archaeologists in Norway (More) | What are runestones? (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -1.1%, Nasdaq +0.1%) as Goldman Sachs earnings miss leads bank stocks lower (More)

> United Airlines tops fourth quarter profit expectations amid increased travel demand, projects growing profits in 2023 (More)

> FTX discloses $415M of assets were hacked, as the bankrupt cryptocurrency firm works to recover assets lost in 2022 (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Army Gen. Mark Milley travels to Ukraine-Poland border, holds first in-person meeting with top Ukrainian military officials (More) | See updates on the war here (More)

> Justice Department declines to seek death penalty in prosecution of shooter who killed 23 people in El Paso, Texas, during attack in August 2019 (More)

> Rep. George Santos (R, NY-3) to be seated on small business and science and tech committees despite admissions of fabrications during his campaign (More) | See overview on the controversy here (More)

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Etcetera
 

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... or take a chance to become a walrus detective.

 

Clickbait: Australian woman breaks archery record—using her feet.

 

Historybook: President John Tyler dies (1862); Actor Cary Grant born (1904); WWI Paris Peace Conference begins (1919); Author Rudyard Kipling dies (1936); Willie O’Ree becomes first Black player in the National Hockey League (1958).

“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

- Willie O'Ree

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