“It’s like taking a bunch of gasoline and pouring it on top of the fire.” So said Republican Sen. Marco Rubio on the wisdom of putting former President Donald Trump through an impeachment trial. That reasoning makes it look improbable that 17 GOP senators could join Democrats in voting to convict Trump — and it may also stymie President Joe Biden’s efforts to achieve other legislative aims. Meanwhile, authorities are investigating Trump-supporting extremists’ threats to assassinate legislators, which has reportedly prompted National Guard troops to continue guarding the Capitol through the impeachment, which is set to begin Feb. 8.
2. US Cases Hit 25 Million as Vaccine Recipient Dies
Health authorities in California are investigating the death of a person who tested positive for COVID-19 in late December, was vaccinated on Thursday and died hours later. Such incidents threaten to complicate efforts to accelerate inoculations in the U.S., where infections surpassed 25 million Sunday. President Biden’s nominee for health secretary pledged to improve sputtering vaccination efforts, while CDC Director Rochelle Walensky admitted she “can’t tell you how much vaccine we have,” leaving state officials unable to plan ahead. But an anticipated new Johnson & Johnson vaccine combined with two others being distributed should help alleviate supply problems.
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3. China Overtook US in 2020 Foreign Investment
It’s the long-awaited pivot to Asia, with a little viral help. Investors’ cash sought safety in China last year, for the first time eclipsing the U.S. in foreign direct investment, according to a U.N. report yesterday. In an American economy battered by the pandemic, FDI dropped 49 percent to $134 billion, while in China, where aggressive COVID-19 lockdowns allowed relative commercial recovery, foreign investments actually rose 4 percent to $163 billion. The U.S. did better than many developed nations, where average FDI dropped 69 percent, while developing nations averaged a modest 12 percent loss.
4. Fauci, Birx Discuss Battling Virus and Its Deniers
America’s most prominent pandemic authority, Dr. Anthony Fauci, felt like “the skunk at the picnic” for speaking his mind about COVID-19. Dr. Deborah Birx, former White House virus task force coordinator, knew President Trump was getting “parallel” data from people trying to minimize the deadly realities facing America. With Trump out of office, his top scientists are finally revealing what it was like battling a pandemic amid a fierce political headwind — and death threats. Fauci said he resisted the urge (and his wife’s suggestion) to quit, believing someone had to say, “Hold it folks, this is serious business.”
Carlos tries to twerk. Meet the Queen Diva, Big Freedia. You may know her voice from her famous Beyoncé sample, but Freedia is credited with popularizing bounce music, a New Orleans subgenre of hip-hop known for its booty-popping beats — a far cry from her church upbringing. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind episode.
It’s time for #RealTalk. What does the American dream mean, and how can we positively reset it? OZY and Chevrolet are teaming up for an innovative discussion, taking on the toughest questions in our society today. Hosted by OZY co-founder and multi-Emmy Award-winning journalist Carlos Watson and joined by key leaders from across the country, we’re having pointed conversations to identify problems and arm you with solutions. Put aside the shouting matches and talking heads, and be an ally: Join us now on YouTube for a real conversation you won’t want to miss.
The kids were at it again. But this time it wasn’t funky dance moves or athletic tricks on TikTok, but dissent in the name of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny. The hijinks, including videos of young people replacing classroom pictures of Russian President Vladimir Putin with Navalny’s image, helped organize protests that erupted across the nation Saturday — which were also captured on viral videos. So in addition to police cracking down hard on protesters, digital enforcers mobilized, claiming to have taken down 38 percent of the prohibited TikTok videos, along with many YouTube and Instagram posts.
Maybe we all need a mental health gym. That odd-sounding concept, which includes therapy and emotional fitness classes, comes from California-based Coa, one of the companies offering tools to deal with employee burnout. While not a new phenomenon, it’s become a major concern with so many working from home and work/life boundaries breaking down. While Coa’s business has grown ninefold, OZY reports, it’s part of a wider trend in stress-reduction outfits. That’s no surprise, experts say, given that in normal times people cope with burnout using social interaction, something that’s currently out of reach for many.
It’s a cosmic rideshare. A Falcon 9 rocket hurtled a record 143 little satellites into orbit Sunday morning, a high point for the company’s high-altitude taxi service. The Transporter-1 mission that launched from Florida included 10 of SpaceX’s own Starlink internet satellites to provide broadband to polar areas. But it may not be smooth sailing up there, as China has reportedly been developing anti-satellite weapons such as sensor-blinding lasers. That may pose a challenge for President Biden, who may want to back away from former President Trump’s Space Force while quietly preparing for the orbital threat.
He was an “American treasure.” One of the best known broadcasters in the U.S. with his trademark suspenders and raspy voice, the 87-year-old died Saturday in Los Angeles after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Over six decades, King interviewed 50,000 people from all walks of life, from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to actress Elizabeth Taylor and from scandal-ridden celebrities to former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Fellow star interviewer Katie Couric called him a “broadcasting legend,” while Oprah Winfrey tweeted, “It was always a treat to sit at your table.”
It’s the old GOAT vs. the new hotness. Six-time champion quarterback Tom Brady, 43, will lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his 10th Super Bowl appearance, facing off against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs Feb. 7. He did it by staring down another legendary QB, Aaron Rodgers, and beating the Green Bay Packers 31-26 Sunday. Relative newcomer Patrick Mahomes, 25, then dispatched the Buffalo Bills 38-24 for a chance at back-to-back titles. But the Bucs will enjoy an advantage no other team’s ever had: The big game is coincidentally scheduled for their home stadium.