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
Nicolas Maduro, is set to be sworn in today for a second six-year term in Venezuela. The backdrop is a nation facing 13,000% inflation, food shortages, and a migrant exodus.
President Donald Trump walked out of discussions to end a partial government shutdown, now in its third week, calling discussions with congressional Democrats “a total waste of time.” What’s next: Trump heads to the Texas-Mexico border today. – Fox News / CNN
Monster Truck Rally: Trucking Really Takes Off in the United States Spurred by Millennials
“Last-Mile Delivery”: Remember that phrase because with the explosion of e-commerce it’s driving everything from real estate investment in warehouses to truck company acquisitions across the United States. Example: National carriers such as J.B. Hunt are buying up local trucking companies to build the networks needed to uniformly price and handle the $8.9 billion in such deliveries — a market expected to grow as millennials, who mostly buy bulky items online, age. – Business Insider
New York City’s iconic Chrysler Building, the world’s tallest for two years before the Empire State took over in 1931, is up for sale. The art deco masterpiece sold for $800 million to the Abu Dhabi Investment Council in 2008, before the financial crisis crashed the city’s real estate market. Be smart: the East Side building could have trouble recouping that much because of competition from new office towers with modern amenities — like bike storage and fitness centers. – WSJ (subscription)
May suffers parliament defeat as Brexit debate resumes
British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered an early defeat to her Brexit plans on Wednesday when parliament demanded the government come up with a plan-B within days if she loses a vote on her deal to leave the European Union. Big Picture: With the likelihood of a disruptive “no-deal” Brexit rising, the EU is looking at how Brexit might be postponed, and pro-EU campaigners are testing ways Britain could hold another referendum after voters narrowly backed leaving in 2016. – Reuters
Vietnam accuses Facebook of violating controversial new cybersecurity law
Vietnam has accused Facebook of failing to take down “slanderous content” and said it was considering withholding money for some advertising paid to the social media giant, in the first significant sign of a crackdown on a foreign technology group under a new cybersecurity law, which took effect on January 1st. They also demand that foreign internet firms store users’ data within Vietnam, potentially hindering investment. Big Picture: In Vietnam, one of Asia’s fast-growing economies, Facebook is the second most-used site after Google, and serves as a conduit for open political discussion, including criticism of the ruling Communist Party. – FT
Congo election: opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi declared surprise winner
The electoral commission of the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that Felix Tshisekedi, an opposition candidate, was the surprise winner of December’s poll. He claimed 39% of the vote according to the provisional results. If his victory is confirmed by the constitutional court, he will be the first opposition leader to take power since 1960 when the country gained independence. – The Economist
U.S. Government Shutdown Freezes IPO Market, Imperiling Expectations for 2019
The government shutdown is threatening to spoil what was poised to be a banner year for IPOs. How? The partial closure of the SEC is forcing companies that were seeking to list shares in January to push back their plans. It now looks likely that no major company will tap the U.S. IPO market this month. Context: Since 1995, there have been just three years that had a new-issue drought in January. – WSJ (subscription)
This high school star lost her eligibility because of Team USA’s mistake. The state refuses to budge.
A check for $857.20 changed Rutgers’ basketball recruit Maori Davenport’s life — but not for the better. What’s happening: The check was sent to Davenport by USA Basketball for “lost wages” during her time with the U-18 team over the summer. Once she cashed it, she was declared ineligible by the Alabama High School Athletic Association, which does not allow payments of more than $250. As a result, her high school basketball career is effectively over. Not the first time: Last year, a football player in Washington, D.C. was ruled ineligible to play because he was homeless. – Washington Post / Axios
Jeff Bezos and His Wife, MacKenzie, Are Divorcing
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a Twitter message that he and his wife, MacKenzie, are divorcing after 25 years of marriage. As the richest person in the world worth an estimated $136.2 billion, it is not clear yet how the divorce will impact his net worth, or whether it will affect his stake in Amazon, the e-commerce giant he founded in 1994. Bezos, 54, owns roughly 16% of the business, which comprises more than 95% of his fortune. If MacKenzie Bezos, 48, does indeed receive half of her husband’s assets, she would be worth more than $68 billion, making her the fifth-richest person in the world. Even a 1% payout would constitute one of the largest divorce settlements in history. – Forbes
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY
1901: Gusher signals start of U.S. oil industry
On this day in 1901, a drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, Texas, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet and signaling the advent of the American oil industry. Do you know who’s now the world’s largest oil producer? KEEP READING →