What to Know
The shutdown battle between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing out as a surreal game of constitutional brinkmanship
The nation's top health authorities agree: Teen vaping is an epidemic that affects some 3.6 million underage users of Juul and other e-cigs
Gladys Knight is set to sing the National Anthem at the 2019 Super Bowl, the National Football League announced
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Trump Grounds Pelosi After She Imperils His Big Speech
She imperiled his State of the Union address. He denied her a plane to visit troops abroad. The shutdown battle between President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is playing out as a surreal game of constitutional brinkmanship, with both flexing their political powers from opposite ends of Pennsylvania Avenue as the negotiations to end the monthlong partial government shutdown remain stalled. In dramatic fashion, Trump issued a letter to Pelosi, just before she and other lawmakers were set to depart on the previously undisclosed trip to Afghanistan and Brussels. Trump belittled the trip as a "public relations event" — even though he had just made a similar warzone stop — and said it would be best if Pelosi remained in Washington to negotiate to reopen the government.
Government Shutdown Wreaks More Havoc the Longer It Continues
Southwest Airlines' yearlong effort to launch affordable flights to Hawaii is stalled. Craft brewers haven't been able to ship their seasonal beers. Hundreds of federal rental assistance contracts with private landlords have expired, putting low-income families and seniors at risk of eviction. Across the country, thousands of unpaid government employees and contractors struggling to make ends meet are turning to food banks for assistance. As the partial government shutdown moves through its fourth week with no end in sight, the economic blow is hitting not only federal workers but also business people, households and travelers across the country. And experts warn that if the shutdown drags into February or beyond, as the president has suggested it could, the devastating impact would be widespread. "We'll be in no man's land," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, told NBC News.
No One Knows the Best Way to Stop Teens' Vaping Addictions
The nation's top health authorities agree: Teen vaping is an epidemic that now affects some 3.6 million underage users of Juul and other e-cigarettes. But no one seems to know the best way to help teenagers who may be addicted to nicotine. E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, according to the latest U.S. figures, which show that Juul and similar products have quickly outpaced cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana and other substances that have been tracked over more than four decades. The handheld devices heat a liquid solution that usually contains nicotine into an inhalable vapor. Federal law prohibits sales to those under 18, though many high schoolers report getting them from older students or online. In recent months, government officials have rolled out a series of proposals aimed at keeping the products away from youngsters, including tightening sales in convenience stores and online.
Gladys Knight to Sing the National Anthem at the 2019 Super Bowl
Gladys Knight is set to sing the National Anthem at the 2019 Super Bowl. The National Football League announced the news and released a video showcasing her life and rise to fame. "I hope that this National Anthem will touch people in a different way," the legendary singer said in the clip. "We've been singing it forever. But this time, I would hope that they would feel it so deeply that it would lift them to a higher place. That's what I feel when I sing this song." Over the course of her career, Knight, known as the Empress of Soul, has recorded two no. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles, 11 no. 1 R&B singles and six no. 1 R&B albums. She's also been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Pips and has won seven Grammys, including one for her classic hit "Midnight Train to Georgia." The singer joins an esteemed class of superstars who have performed the National Anthem at the big game. Fans can watch the Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 3.
Beau Sentenced in Killing of Morgan Freeman's Granddaughter
The man convicted of killing Morgan Freeman's granddaughter on a Manhattan street in 2015 has been sentenced to 20 years in prison. Lamar Davenport, 33, was convicted of first-degree manslaughter in a bench trial last May. Prosecutors said he stabbed and killed his 33-year-old girlfriend E'Dena Hines near her Washington Heights apartment building in July 2015 while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. “Ambitious and driven, E’Dena Hines was deeply loved by family and friends before her life was brought to a horrific and tragic end by her boyfriend, Lamar Davenport," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. Freeman mourned Hines in a statement when she died, saying: "The world will never know her artistry and talent, and how much she had to offer.