Is the royal rift in the UK on the mend? The Queen has agreed on a “period of transition” for Prince Harry and the Duchess of Sussex while they hammer out their new role in the royal family.
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The next step in the historic impeachment of President Trump has been looming for almost a month now, and after all the strategizing, prognosticating and negotiating, the pieces are finally falling into place for a Senate trial. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to give up her fight to withhold the articles of impeachment from the Senate today, which means everything can pick back up. House Democrats will then vote to appoint their impeachment managers, and a trial could begin within days. Some Senate Republicans have said recently they are actually open to calling witnesses during the trial (something many high-ranking GOP lawmakers don’t want) but want to wait until the trial begins to make that decision. As for the President himself, once everything gets started, he may need to adjust his schedule. Trial responsibilities may prevent him from attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and aides hope the whole thing will be wrapped by early February so it doesn’t overshadow his State of the Union address.
Serious political scrutiny is brewing over key moments in the recent rift between the US and Iran. Iran’s admission that it mistakenly shot down a passenger plane last week has revived anti-government sentiments among the Iranian people, despite the brief wave of nationalism that swept over the country following the death of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani. The whole episode is being called Iran’s “Chernobyl moment.” The question is, could the people’s grief and fury lead to revolution? Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr are walking back the claim that Soleimani was killed in response to an imminent threat. They’re now saying the move was more for general deterrence. Trump has claimed Soleimani was targeting four embassies before he was killed. Some want Congress to investigate.
3. 2020 election
Cory Booker is out. The New Jersey senator announced he’s ending his presidential campaign after failing to qualify for tonight’s Democratic debate in Iowa. While lack of funding was a problem, Booker’s team also said the looming Senate impeachment trial would likely sideline big fundraising and campaign efforts. The Democratic field seems to get less and less diverse with every campaign dropout, a fact that will be display as early as tonight. The remaining front-runners gather in Des Moines for the final face-to-face debate before the caucuses on February 3. Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Tom Steyer and Amy Klobuchar take to the stage, and needless to say, there will be a lot to talk about. That includes Warren’s claim that Sanders told her in 2018 that he did not believe a woman could win the presidency; Sanders’ camp has pushed back on the claim. Watch tonight at 9 ET on CNN.
The west African country of Niger has declared three days of mourning after an attack on a military base killed 89 soldiers. The attack happened late last week when heavily armed militants descended upon an army outpost in the city of Chinagodrar, near the Mali border. Military forces in Niger and Mali are fighting to suppress a jihadist insurgency, which has seen army outposts in both countries attacked in recent months. Last month, another raid by jihadist militants left 71 dead in Niger. In November, 50 soldiers died in a militant attack on a military camp in Mali. Niger officials are investigating this latest attack and encouraging citizens to support the government in its anti-insurgent fight.
5. Florida teachers
Thousands of teachers packed Florida’s state capitol building in Tallahassee yesterday to demand billions of dollars in school funding. Florida ranks among the bottom 10 states in funding for students, and that number has struggled to rise over the decade since the Great Recession. According to a teacher’s union president, 3,000 classrooms in the state did not have a certified teacher at the beginning of the year. In response to low funding and low wages, union members want what they call a “decade of progress.” In this case, that amounts to $2.4 billion a year for 10 years. Most of this money would go toward education funding, but some of it would also give teachers a 10% raise. Pay was another big sticking point for protesters, who said many school staff live below the poverty line.
Joe Burrow and the LSU Tigers won the College Football Playoff national championship
Snoop Dogg made a sandwich for Dunkin’ and it has a donut bun
Honestly, we expect nothing less.
An adorable children’s book topped the list of the New York Public Library’s most checked-out books
This story is so cute, it could become another children’s book.
The Oscar nominations are in, and people are NOT happy
The #OscarsSoWhite controversy is back with a vengeance.
The Houston Astros have fired their manager and general manager amid a cheating scandal
As a passionate and abiding Washington Nationals fan (with a Chicago Cubs-loving editor), I have absolutely no personal feelings about this whatsoever.
FOR YOUR SNACK BREAK
How tattoos became fashionable in Victorian England
They weren’t just for sailors and outlaws … and they definitely weren’t tame, either. Some of the most popular themes at the time? Naval motifs and expressions of love. Some things never change. Read more about the fascinating sliver of history here.
That’s the year the UN has set for the world to cut pollution in half and put protections on about a third of the Earth’s wildlife to save whatever biodiversity the planet has left.
We got you, buddy
This fascinating dragon egg of an animal is a pangolin. While they’re strangely cute, they’re also very vulnerable to poachers, so a group in South Africa is doing everything it can to protect the little guys. (Click here to view.)