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The 116th Congress convenes today, and one of its first orders of business will be the government shutdown. We’re also looking at harassment complaints during the 2016 Sanders campaign, and at China’s space milestone.
New Congress begins during a partial shutdown
The 116th Congress convenes today, and one of its first challenges will be reaching a budget deal. President Trump and Democratic leaders held a contentious meeting on Wednesday over the partial government shutdown, which is nearing the two-week mark and has affected 800,000 federal employees.
Mr. Trump was adamant in his demands for $5.6 billion in funding for a border wall, and he rejected Democrats’ proposals to fund the government while the two sides negotiated further. The Democrats refused to increase their offer of $1.3 billion for border security.
Mr. Trump asked congressional leaders to return to the White House on Friday to resume talks, an official said.
Go deeper: Nancy Pelosi is poised to reclaim the title of speaker of the House today. How she deals with Mr. Trump will define her tenure.
The Daily: In today’s episode, Senator Chuck Schumer discusses the shutdown and the era of divided government.
Claims of sexual harassment on the Sanders campaign
Women who worked for Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign in 2016 say that complaints of sexual harassment, demeaning treatment and pay disparities went unaddressed. One former staffer said she was marginalized after refusing a manager’s invitation to his hotel room.
Asked if he knew about the staff complaints, Mr. Sanders told CNN, “I was a little bit busy running around the country trying to make the case.” He added: “I certainly apologize to any woman who felt she was not treated appropriately, and of course if I run we will do better the next time.”
Why it matters: The Vermont senator’s perceived failure to address the issues could hinder any potential plans for another run in 2020.
Chinese make history on the moon
China has reached a milestone in space exploration, landing a vehicle on the far side of the moon for the first time in history, the country’s space agency announced this morning. The probe, called Chang’e-4 after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology, made the first in a series of planned missions to make China a contender in the space race.
Experts say the country is quickly catching up in its capacity for space exploration, and could soon challenge the U.S. for supremacy in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and other fields.
Looking ahead: The side of the moon we never see from Earth contains secrets about our solar system’s early days. Here’s what China and the world hope to find.
Apple cuts its outlook over China’s slump
The Silicon Valley giant cut its revenue forecast for the first time in 16 years on Wednesday, citing poor iPhone sales in China. The company said it expected revenue of about $84 billion in the quarter that ended Saturday, down from a previous estimate of $89 billion to $93 billion. That would be a decline of nearly 5 percent from the same quarter a year earlier.
What it means: The surprise announcement highlighted the slowing Chinese economy and raised fears of further turmoil in global markets.
Yesterday: The markets reacted to uncertainty at Tesla, too. The automaker said sales of its Model 3 sedan increased 13 percent, but it announced a price cut that sent shares plunging.
If you have 24 minutes, this is worth it
The killing of a Gaza medic
Rouzan al-Najjar, 20, was killed in June while she treated the wounded at protests over Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip. To Palestinians, she was an innocent martyr, killed in cold blood. To Israelis, she was part of a violent demonstration aimed at destroying their country.
Our investigation found realities even more complicated.
Here’s what else is happening
A rash of child cancers: A growing number of pediatric cancers in Johnson County, Ind., led residents to an old industrial site, where tests revealed a carcinogenic plume spreading underground. The discovery prompted residents to confront the Trump administration over its rollbacks of health and environmental regulations.
Turks take their assets and go: As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tightened his grip on Turkey, more than a quarter of a million people have left the country, 42 percent more than the previous year.
Let down by legalization: One year after marijuana was legalized in California, sales are down, tax revenues are below forecasts, and the black market is thriving.
A Manhattan apartment, now yours for $999,000: The median price for apartments in the borough dipped below $1 million for the first time since 2015.
In memoriam: Daryl Dragon, one half of the soft-rock duo Captain and Tennille whose 1970s hits included “Love Will Keep Us Together” and “Muskrat Love,” died at 76.
Snapshot: Above, icebiking and icechairing — poling along while seated — are wintertime passions in northern China. Here, Beijing’s frozen Houhai Lake.
What we’re listening to: This podcast from Glamour. It tells “the horrific tale of two women who adopted six children and then apparently drove four of them and themselves off a cliff,” writes Jodi Rudoren, an associate managing editor. “The meticulous and empathetic storytelling, by my friend Elisabeth Egan and her co-host, Justine Harman, unspools the devastating mystery at the perfect pace.”
Now, a break from the news
Cook: Salmon marinated in miso paste and maple syrup, a quick, delicious meal.
Plan: Our critics highlight 10 things — performances, movies, albums and books — worth looking forward to this year, including a novel by Marlon James and Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s return to the stage in a new production of “Fleabag.”
Read: Josh Malerman’s “Bird Box,” the basis of the Netflix film starring Sandra Bullock, is new this week on our combined print and e-book fiction best-seller list. (But don’t, Netflix begs you, get lured into doing the birdbrained Bird Box Challenge.)
Smarter Living: Worried about your job? Asking for direct feedback — “What can I do to make it easier to work with me?” — can help you figure out if your concerns are grounded. And be ready to hit the ground running by keeping your medical appointments up-to-date and your necessary contacts copied over.
We also have tips on getting better at dealing with your money.
And now for the Back Story on …
How do you acknowledge a colleague’s message? After a recent digital exchange, this writer looked into the history of one of his favored responses: “Roger that.”
In the days of Morse code, an R was sent to indicate that a message had been received.
That system evolved with the introduction of radio communications. Early transmissions were often of poor quality, so, to avoid misunderstandings, spelling alphabets were developed. Also called phonetic alphabets, they replaced letters with words that started with the corresponding letter.
By World War II, the U.S. and British militaries had settled on a standard: Able for A, Baker for B … and Roger for R. (Previously, the British had used Robert.)
In the 1950s, a new alphabet — commonly referred to as the NATO phonetic alphabet — was adopted, and is now the most widely used. It replaced Roger with Romeo. (I’m planning to stick with Roger.)
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Aisha Harris for the cultural planning, Chris Harcum for the reading guidance and Kenneth R. Rosen for the Smarter Living smarts. Chris Stanford, our regular Morning Briefing writer, wrote today’s Back Story instead. You can reach the team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” In today’s episode, Senator Chuck Schumer discusses his newly emboldened approach in a divided Washington.
• Here’s today’s mini crossword puzzle, and a clue: J’adore perfume maker (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Each day, our editors collect interesting or delightful facts from articles throughout the paper. Here are their highlights for 2018.