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China's Taiwan Temper Tantrum

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Monday! We hope you had a great weekend. Today is the 15th anniversary of the miraculous crash landing of a US Airways flight in the Hudson River, saving all 155 people on board and turning Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger into a national hero and later the subject of a Tom Hanks film. CNN sat down with the pilot and passengers to discuss how the event changed them and impacted their lives. Have a great day.

In Today’s Brief

  • Texas: DHS calls out state at border

  • Iceland: Volcano erupts again

  • Biden: Campaigning in Pennsylvania

  • Citigroup: 10% workforce reduction

  • Emmy Awards: TV honors are tonight

... and more

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Top Tips

1) China lashes out

China is fuming after Taiwan's pro-democracy ruling party won a third consecutive presidential term.

  • What happened: Lai Ching-te, Taiwan's current Vice President, was elected with 40% of the vote in a competitive three-party race. His Democractic Progressive Party advocates for national sovereignty.

  • Beijing responds: The result was a blow for China after President Xi Jinping recently vowed to reunify the island nation with the mainland. China was accused of election interference and has already launched a military pressure campaign. It has also criticized international governments, including the U.S., for congratulating Ching-te.

  • Next steps: President Joe Biden reinforced the One-China policy and said the U.S does not support Taiwan's independence. But he is expected to send an unofficial delegation to the island, which could further complicate U.S-China relations. Ching-te’s mandate also bears watching after he failed to win a majority and the DPP lost legislative seats.

2) Primary season begins

The Iowa Caucus is tonight as voters will (or won't) brave brutal weather for the first Republican presidential primary contest.

  • The outlook: Former President Donald Trump is expected to win in a landslide. Polls suggest he has the support of about half of the state's likely caucusgoers with former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley a distant second, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

  • Potential aftershock: If Haley finishes in second place, DeSantis will face pressure to drop out of the race after his campaign went all-in on Iowa. Haley is also threatening to defeat Trump in the upcoming New Hampshire primary; DeSantis has little campaign infrastructure in that state.

  • Frigid conditions: A record-breaking cold front has hit Iowa. Snow and sub-zero temperatures slowed campaigning in the final days and may depress caucus turnout. The wind chill could be as low as -45 F tonight in some parts of the state.

3) Speaker on the spot

The pressure is on Speaker of the House Mike Johnson to avoid a government shutdown -- and protect his job -- this week.

  • Another stopgap: Johnson and Senate Democrats have agreed to a short-term spending patch ahead of a Jan. 19 partial shutdown deadline. The two-tiered bill would fund the government into March and allow time to finalize the framework of the larger deal already struck by Congressional leaders. Senate Republicans are expected to be on-board with the move.

  • Right rancor: Johnson previously vowed he would not agree to another continuing resolution. The reversal could spark more revolt among House Republican hardliners who have already expressed displeasure over Johnson's deal-making with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

  • Big picture: Johnson is grappling with many of the same issues that led to predecessor Kevin McCarthy's overthrow as Speaker. He also has border security and Ukraine aid simmering on the backburner. Democrats have indicated they can help insulate Johnson from a GOP purge ... if he works with them. 

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Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Texas Military Department soldiers prevented U.S. Border Patrol from saving three migrants from drowning, according to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS alleges state officials blocked access near the Rio Grande (More)

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is working but remains hospitalized. White House spokesman John Kirby said Austin, who is recovering from prostate cancer surgery and a urinary tract infection, may need additional care (More)

  • Hunter Biden's attorney told House Republicans his client will comply with a re-issued subpoena for a closed-door deposition. The president's son will be subpoenaed again; Congress is scheduled to vote on a contempt resolution against him this week (More)

World News

  • A volcano in Iceland erupted again, sending lava flowing toward a small fishing village. Grindavik was evacuated for the second time; some homes and structures were set aflame but no deaths or injuries were reported (More)

  • Germany will attempt to intervene as a third-party as Israel faces genocide allegations at the International Court of Justice. If permitted, the German government will present counter-arguments against South Africa, which filed the charges (More)

  • Close to 200 Ecuadorian prison workers were freed after being taken hostage by inmates. The South American country has been engulfed with gang-related violence after a drug cartel leader’s escape from prison (More)

Campaign News

  • President Biden will visit a Philadelphia food bank today for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It will be his third campaign trip to swing-state Pennsylvania this year (More)

  • Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan endorsed Nikki Haley for President. Hogan also dismissed speculation he would mount a third-party candidacy (More)

  • Former Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to resign from Biden's cabinet and join his re-election campaign. Kerry has served as Biden's top climate diplomat (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed mixed on Friday. The Dow Jones was down, but still managed a winning week (Dow -0.31%, Nasdaq +0.02%, S&P 500 +0.08%).

  • Citigroup plans to eliminate 10% of its workforce, or about 20K employees. Language in the bank's Q4 earnings report suggests the layoffs could be spread over several years (More)

  • The NFL is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire an equity stake in ESPN. The proposed deal would see ESPN take control of NFL Network (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • The Emmy Awards are tonight after being delayed four months by the Hollywood actor and writer strikes. Succession leads all shows with 27 nominations (More)

  • Actress Joyce Randolph died at 99. She starred as Trixie, Ed Norton’s wife, on The Honeymooners; she was the last surviving cast member from the sitcom (More)

  • Television critic Tom Shales died at 79. He won a Pulitzer Prize at The Washington Post and co-authored books on the history of ESPN and Saturday Night Live (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: The Hershey Bears set a new team record last week, and it had nothing to do with the hockey team's performance. The Washington Capitals' top minor league club had its annual Teddy Bear Toss, with fans throwing almost 75K stuffed animals onto the ice to donate to charity. Here is the video.

  • Go Deep: Dollar stores have become the fastest-growing food retailer in the U.S. and have sparked plenty of controversy during their rise. Critics say their business model leads to price gouging, a lack of nutritious offerings and a litany of failed government safety inspections. That is why some towns are moving to ban them while the industry claims it is ready to reform.

  • Self Care: Everyone says you should ideally walk 10K steps a day for good health. But do you need to hit that large number? Most experts say no; you can walk far fewer steps and still enjoy immense benefits.

  • Next Wave: Reusable shopping bags have become a way of life and are required by law in some states. Could the reusable drinking cup be next? Starbucks' initiative to encourage multi-use cups for coffee orders could start a new trend.

  • Life Hack: You know that half-empty bottle of champagne you tossed after the New Year's Eve party a few weeks ago? Never fret about the bubbly going to waste again; cook with it to elevate your next seafood entree or delectable dessert.

  • Get Healthy: Pop quiz: What’s the body’s most abundant protein? The answer: Collagen. NativePath's Certified Grass-Fed Collagen Powder is made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows and contains 18 grams of protein per suggested serving. Start incorporating it daily to support skin elasticity, joint health, bone strength, and muscle growth and maintenance.*


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HBO has released the trailer for the final season of Curb Your Enthusiasm and it looks pretty, pretty, pretty good. 

Looking Ahead …

The annual Consumer Electronics Show was held in Las Vegas last week, unveiling new tech gadgets that may soon become part of our everyday life. Here is a look at some of the most popular inventions, including a robotic belt that helps us walk and a desk bike that charges your phone.

Question of the Day

What do you think about the reusable cup trend?

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Last week’s results:

Are you more hesitant to fly after the Alaska Air incident?

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  • Yes (32%)

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