Want to wield the world’s most powerful passport? Then you better head east. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Jayme Closs
Jayme Closs is alive. The missing Wisconsin teen was found yesterday in a town about 66 miles north of where she was last seen 87 days ago. Jayme, 13, vanished in October after her parents were found shot to death in their home. A suspect is in custody. We expect more details when authorities hold a news conference this morning. A woman out walking her dog said Jayme, with unkempt hair and oversized shoes, walked right up to her and asked for help, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. The woman said she recognized Jayme immediately. They rushed to a nearby home and called police. While they waited, Jayme declined an offer of food and played with a puppy instead.
2. Government shutdown
The partial government shutdown is now three weeks old and, if it lasts into tomorrow, would be the longest shutdown in US history. Here’s where things stand:
• Shutdown pain hits home for many federal employees, who will experience their first missed paycheck today.
• Federal employees have protested the shutdown in Washington, Atlanta, Utah and other places.
• Miami’s airport will close one terminal early for three days because of TSA absences.
• A deal GOP senators worked on to end the shutdown fell apart.
• President Trump says he’s close to declaring an emergency over the border, which would allow him to use Defense Department funds to build the border wall. Those funds might come from disaster aid money meant for Puerto Rico, Texas and other areas.
3. Michael Cohen
Go ahead and mark down this date: February 7. That’s when Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former lawyer and ex-fixer, will testify publicly before the House oversight committee. This will be must-see TV. Will Cohen divulge any new info on the hush-money payments made on Trump’s behalf to women who allege affairs with him? Don’t forget, those payments became the basis for the campaign finance violations that Cohen pleaded guilty to. Cohen goes to prison in March for these crimes, which prosecutors say Trump told Cohen to commit. And, of course, we’ll want to hear what Cohen has to say about the Russia investigation.
One of America’s largest universities warns students and faculty not to use social media and messaging apps while in China. The University of California specifically says not to use WhatsApp and WeChat over fear Chinese authorities might use what’s in those communications against them. There have been several cases in recent weeks of Western travelers being detained in China on what some consider politically motivated allegations and charges. The moves could be China’s way of striking back at the West after the December arrest of Chinese tech executive Meng Wanzhou. Meng, who was detained in Canada at the request of US authorities, still faces possible extradition to the US on suspicion of violating US sanctions against Iran.
5. Fertility rate
We’re not having enough babies here in the US to replace the population. That’s the finding of a new report from the National Center for Health Statistics, which found that the fertility rate for the US in 2017 continued to dip below what’s needed for the population to replace itself. The rate in 2017 was 1,765.5 per 1,000 women — 16% below what’s needed for population replacement, the report said. South Dakota and Utah were the only states that had rates above replacement level. About 3.8 million babies were born in the US in 2017, the lowest number of births in 30 years.
Guess their divorce was really amicable
Gwyneth Paltrow went on her honeymoon with husband Brad Falchuk — and ex-husband Chris Martin tagged along, because celebs ARE NOT like the rest of us.
That irritating “Baby Shark” song is now a Top 40 hit, and Western civilization is officially over.
Safe and sound
A barefoot baby walking around Milwaukee in the freezing cold was rescued by a bus driver.
But of course
Football great Tim Tebow is engaged to an ex-Miss Universe because, well, he’s Tim Tebow.
Taco Bell will start testing out a vegetarian menu, and the rest of us meat-eaters are left to wonder why.
Actress Emma Stone yelled out this when Sandra Oh made a joke about “whitewashing” at the Golden Globes.
A. “Don’t worry about it!”
B. “I had no idea!”
C. “I’m sorry!”
D. “Let’s do lunch!”
Play “Total Recall: The CNN news quiz” to see if you’re right. And don’t forget, you can also find a version of the quiz on your Amazon devices. Just say, “Alexa, ask CNN for a quiz.”
The number of passengers and crew aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship who got sick with a gastrointestinal illness. The ship returns to Florida on Saturday, a day earlier than expected.
“We wish they had confiscated her phone instead of her passport.”
Saudi Arabian official Abdalelah Mohammed A. al-Shuaibi, after Saudi teen Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun fled to Thailand to escape her allegedly abusive family. Qunun used her phone to post about her plight on social media, and now she’s been granted asylum in Australia.
Ring my bell
Cuteness alert! This little pup just keeps tapping this bell to get food, but no one minds because she’s so adorable. (Click to view.)
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