☕ Morning Salute: Seaman Derrius Ross, left, from Portsmouth, Va., and Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Sneeringer, from Sacramento, Calif., salute the national ensign during morning colors aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21) as Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) 27, assigned to Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 4, prepares to enter the well deck. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan B. Trejo/Released)
Welcome to America’s Newsletter from Tag The Flag, the best morning newsletter on the internet, bringing you nonpartisan news and every view of the Red, White, and Blue. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
📌 BULLETIN BOARD
So You Know: “Beware of New Texting Scam That Looks Like FedEx Tracking Notifications” (Gizmodo)
🦅 U.S. NEWS
On Thursday the impeachment trial continued with House managers honing in on the constitutional argument for why President Donald Trump should be removed from office. In a nutshell, after spending Wednesday outlining their allegations of how Trump abused his power and then tried to cover it up, they used Thursday to highlight how that misconduct meets the threshold for “high crimes and misdemeanors” as outlined in the Constitution. Why it matters: The president’s allies have maintained that Democrats are attempting to impeach Trump without accusing him of a crime, arguing that the two articles of impeachment are legally defective and set a dangerous precedent for future presidential impeachments. What’s next: The president’s team could begin laying out their defense as soon as tomorrow or Monday. Votes on witnesses could be Tuesday or Wednesday.
- Further reading from the right: Senate Trial the End of 3-Year Temper Tantrum by Dems Miranda Devine, NY Post
- Further reading from the left: GOP Has Turned Senate Trial Into Dangerous Sham Andrew Gawthorpe, The Guardian
The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport, NBC reports. Why it matters: “…it raises questions about how officers would determine whether a woman is pregnant to begin with, and whether a woman could get turned away by border officers who suspect she may be pregnant just by looking at her.” Big picture: Birth tourism is a lucrative business. Some companies charge up to $80,000 to facilitate the practice. Many of the women travel from Russia and China to give birth in the U.S. One more thing: The U.S. has been cracking down on the practice since before Trump took office. – NBC News
No turkeys. No possums. U.S. to let airlines limit service animals on planes to trained dogs
The U.S. Transportation Department has proposed giving airlines the power to bar emotional support animals from cabins and limit the definition of a service animal to a trained dog, Reuters reports. Why it matters: The proposed new rules are aimed at preventing passengers from falsely claiming their pets are service animals aboard U.S. airline flights. Airlines have long complained passengers have been able to exploit the designation by bringing their pets and other exotic creatures (such as miniature horses) on board with limited oversight and without adequate training. Quote of the day: “The days of Noah’s Ark in the air are hopefully coming to an end,” said Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, which represents 50,000 crew members. – Reuters / CNN
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🌎 WORLD NEWS
Spreading Coronavirus Prompts Lockdown of More Chinese Cities
Two more large Chinese cities were put on lockdown by government authorities, expanding the total to three in an unprecedented experiment to try to contain a fast-spreading virus that has killed at least 17 people. That being said, the World Health Organization quelled some of the fears around the deadly coronavirus saying that it was a “bit too early to consider this event a public health emergency of international concern.” Big picture: The WHO has only declared a public health emergency five times. – Vox
Trump is preparing to release his Middle East peace plan, will brief Israel’s Netanyahu in Washington, Pence says
President Trump on Thursday invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his challenger in upcoming elections, Benny Gantz, to Washington next week for what is expected to be a discussion of Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan. Why it matters: The Trump administration last year released proposals for a massive international investment effort in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere but held back the politically sensitive elements of the plan to avoid the appearance of interfering in Israeli elections. With Israel now preparing for its third election inside a year, U.S. officials decided to release the plan and let events take their course. – The Washington Post
World Court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from acts of genocide
The International Court of Justice on Thursday ordered Myanmar to take urgent measures to protect its Rohingya population from genocide, a ruling cheered by refugees as their first major legal victory since being forced from their homes. Background: More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar after a military-led crackdown in 2017, and were forced into squalid camps across the border in Bangladesh. U.N. investigators concluded that the military campaign had been executed with “genocidal intent”. The longer read: The Gambia vs. Myanmar, Why Aung San Suu Kyi is in The Hague defending Myanmar against allegations of genocide. – Reuters
An Up and Down Day on Wall Street
U.S. stock indexes initially moved lower on Thursday morning, driven by fears surrounding the coronavirus outbreak in China. After Beijing decided to lockdown Wuhan, where the virus originated, as well as several neighboring cities, investors were forced to reassess the potential economic fallout world-wide. Airlines listed in Hong Kong and Shanghai fell on the news. Crude oil prices also slid which then dragged some energy stocks lower. The knock-on effect also impacted hotel and casino shares like Wynn Resorts, which draw a fair amount of their revenue from China. That being said, in the afternoon stocks rebounded slightly after the World Health Organization announced it was too early to label the virus a “public health emergency of international concern.” This statement, along with a mixed bag of earnings results, helped push shares higher into the closing bell. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended slightly in the red, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite Indexes notched modest gains, capping off a mixed day on Wall Street. – Reuters / CNBC
NFL: Number of reported concussions rose slightly in 2019 from previous season
Reported concussions rose slightly during the NFL’s 2019 preseason and regular season, increasing from 214 in 2018 to 224, according to data released Thursday by the league. On the bright side: The new total remained well below the previous three-year average. Interesting Timing: the announcement comes a day after the Washington Post released a report which alleges that Bennet Omalu, who was portrayed by Will Smith in the film “Concussion”, dramatically “overstates the known risks of CTE and contact sports, fueling misconceptions about the disease.” Keep Reading. – ESPN / NY Post / The Washington Post
German Jobs & A Bird’s Eye View
Yesterday we told you that Tesla became the first publicly listed U.S. automaker to cross $100 billion in market valuation, more than Ford and General Motors combined. This market value also climbed above Volkswagen, a German automaker founded in 1937. So why does the Volkswagen part matter? Well, according to government advisers the shift to electric vehicles could cost 410,000 jobs in Germany by 2030. Big picture: Germany is the country that quite literally drives a bulk of the European Union’s economic output. The United Kingdom did that as well at one point, but that was prior to them leaving the bloc. A big reason voters in Britain decided to leave was the disappearance of manufacturing jobs, therefore coming full circle it’s interesting to set the report against history. Does this foreshadow what happened in the U.K.? Not likely, but it’s a bird’s eye view that’s worth contemplating.
📅 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1935: First canned beer goes on sale
Canned beer makes its debut on January 24, 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.