Get '5 Things' in your inbox
A university that published its annual list of “banished” words and phrases has named the ones it’d like to see less of in 2021. Among them: “unprecedented” and “uncertain times.” Sounds about right.
1. White House transition
The great State of the Union Skirmish of 2019 is over. But the war over the government shutdown rolls on. President Trump gave in to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi late last night and agreed not to give the State of the Union address until after the shutdown is over. Earlier in the day, Trump had tried to force Pelosi’s hand by insisting he would give the speech next week in the House chamber, despite her concerns about security due to the shutdown. She responded by refusing to bring up for a vote the resolution that would allow Trump to speak. That caught the White House off guard and, after mulling a few alternatives they didn’t really like, the President and his team backed down.
Meanwhile, the shutdown enters its 34th day. The Senate will vote on a pair of competing proposals today to end the shutdown that are both expected to fail, but they could be the first steps to finding a solution. You can read all our stories about the shutdown here, including the 102 (and counting) very real direct effects of the shutdown and how you can help federal workers hurt by it.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro kicked out US diplomats and wants to cut ties with the US after President Trump said he recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the nation’s legitimate president. Other countries – including Canada, Brazil, Chile and Colombia – also say Guaido is the embattled country’s true leader. Guaido swore himself into office and said Maduro had been deposed, but there’s no sign Maduro is stepping down. Venezuelans held mass protests yesterday, and Maduro took to the balcony of the presidential palace to accuse the US of trying to engineer a coup. Trump’s declaration sets the stage for more drama that’s sure to reverberate in US domestic politics.
At least five people were shot to death in a bank in central Florida. Police say a 21-year-old man entered a SunTrust Bank in Sebring, about 85 miles south of Orlando, and started shooting before barricading himself in the bank. It’s not clear if the victims were bank employees or customers. The suspect, Zephen Xaver, later surrendered and was arrested. There’s no word on a motive. The suspect’s father said he was “heartbroken,” both for the victims and his son.
Juan Guaido faced arrest if he returned to Venezuela. He came home anyway. Guaido, Venezuela’s self-declared interim president, was greeted by raucous crowds, both at the airport in Caracas and at a later rally. Guaido, who’s fighting President Nicolas Maduro for control of the country, had been on a tour of sorts, meeting with the presidents of several South American countries as well as US Vice President Mike Pence. Guaido’s hoping to keep up the pressure on Maduro, who faces intense criticism over Venezuela’s mounting humanitarian crisis. Most Western countries and regional neighbors now recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s leader, but Maduro is hanging on to power because the military remains loyal to him.
4. California shooting
A nurse is suspected to be the person who impregnated a woman in a vegetative state in a Phoenix health care facility. The woman, 29, unexpectedly gave birth last month. The nurse, 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, was caring for the woman at the Hacienda HealthCare facility. He’s charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. Sutherland’s DNA matched the baby’s DNA, police said. This is a nightmare situation that lots of people worry about. Here’s how you can protect a loved one from sexual assault or abuse in a nursing home or health care facility.
Some of the world’s largest consumer-goods companies are trying to tackle the globe’s plastics problem by offering people an alternative to recycling. Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo and others are partnering on a project called Loop, in which their products, like detergents and shampoos, would all be sold in reusable packaging. After using the products, customers put the empty containers in a Loop tote on their doorstep. The containers are then picked up by a delivery service, cleaned and refilled, then shipped back out to consumers. Details of this innovation will be announced today at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. You can follow live Davos updates here.
Luke Perry played a lot of roles during his acting career, but to us he’ll always be Dylan, the brooding but cool teen from “Beverly Hills, 90210.” Perry, 52, died Monday after suffering a massive stroke, a death that shocked Hollywood and the world. Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar spoke for many when she tweeted her “entire high school experience was shaped” by Dylan and his friends in that most famous of ZIP codes. But Perry did a lot of other stuff, too, including roles in movies such as “Good Intentions” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” appearances on Broadway in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and other stints on the small screen, including the role of Archie’s dad on “Riverdale,” the CW’s drama based on the Archie comics.
“This is a time where Mr. Cohen had to put his family and their safety first.”
Attorney Lanny Davis, announcing his client, ex-Trump fixer Michael Cohen, is postponing his public congressional testimony, scheduled for February 7, citing “ongoing threats against his family” from the President.
“(It’s so quiet) I can hear my eyelids blink.”
A message from a person hiding in a hotel complex in Kenya during last week’s terror attack that left 21 people dead. During the attack, a Red Cross volunteer put together a WhatsApp group chat for those trapped in the hotel.
The $768.4 million man
The late James Gandolfini’s son, Michael Gandolfini, will play a young Tony Soprano in an upcoming “Sopranos” movie prequel.
Congrats to singer Carrie Underwood. The country music superstar gave birth this week to a son.
Pack your bags … and a spacesuit
Ready to go to space? Blue Origin, Jeff Bezo’s rocket company, says it’s on track to start taking tourists to the edge of the atmosphere in about six months.
Holy high tech
Check out the cool new helmets the guards at the Vatican wear. They were produced by 3D printers.
THIS JUST IN …
Malaysia has a new king. Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was named the new ruler after the shock abdication this month of Sultan Muhammad V.
Carlos Ghosn resigned as chairman and CEO of Renault. Ghosn, the ex-Nissan chief who is in jail in Japan, is fighting financial misconduct charges.
The reward kidnapped teen Jayme Closs will get for essentially saving herself from captivity. This gripping story, by our colleague Ray Sanchez, stitches together everything we know about Jayme’s ordeal.
The amount of revenue that the Smithsonian museums are losing each week because of the partial government shutdown
Too much of a good thing
Riding along in your snowmobile is all fun and games until it’s not. (Click to view.)
The Slow Mo Guys are back. This time they travel to a volcanic island in Iceland to capture the beauty of a geyser in super slow motion. (Click to view.)