What to Know
- Senate leaders agreed to hold votes this week on dueling proposals to reopen shuttered federal agencies, forcing a political reckoning
- Teachers overwhelmingly approved a new contract and planned to return to the classroom after a six-day strike over funding and staffing
- 'The Sopranos' creator finally cast his Tony Soprano for the prequel film, 'The Many Saints of Newark,' and it's James Gandolfini's son
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Senate Sets Up Showdown Votes on Shutdown Plans
Senate leaders agreed to hold votes this week on dueling proposals to reopen shuttered federal agencies, forcing a political reckoning for senators grappling with the longest shutdown in U.S. history: Side with President Trump or vote to temporarily end the shutdown and keep negotiating. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. set up the two showdown votes, a day before some 800,000 federal workers are due to miss a second paycheck. One vote will be on his own measure, which reflects Trump's offer to trade border wall funding for temporary protections for some immigrants. It was quickly rejected by Democrats. The second vote is set for a bill approved by the Democratic-controlled House reopening government through Feb. 8, with no wall money, to give bargainers time to talk. Both measures are expected fall short of the 60 votes need to pass, leaving little hope they represent the clear path out of the mess. But the plan represents the first test of Senate Republicans' resolve behind Trump's insistence that agencies remain closed until Congress approves $5.7 billion to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. For Democrats, the votes will show whether there are any cracks in the so-far unified rejection of Trump's demand.
Los Angeles Teachers Approve Contract, End Strike
Teachers overwhelmingly approved a new contract and planned to return to the classroom after a six-day strike over funding and staffing in the nation's second-largest school district. Although all votes hadn't been counted, preliminary figures showed that a "vast supermajority" of some 30,000 educators voted in favor of the tentative deal, "therefore ending the strike and heading back to schools tomorrow," said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of United Teachers Los Angeles. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, accompanied by leaders of the union and the Los Angeles Unified School District, announced the agreement at City Hall a few hours after a 21-hour bargaining session ended before dawn. "This is a good agreement. It is a historic agreement," Garcetti said. The deal was broadly described by officials at the news conference as including a 6 percent pay hike and a commitment to reduce class sizes over four years.
Many Videos, Many Interpretations of Viral DC March Encounter
A group of five black men shouting vulgar insults while protesting centuries of oppression. Dozens of white Catholic high school students visiting Washington for a rally to end abortion. And Native Americans marching to end injustice for indigenous peoples across the globe who have seen their lands overrun by outside settlers. The three groups met for just a few minutes Friday at the base of the Lincoln Memorial, an encounter captured in videos that went viral over the weekend — and again cast a spotlight on a polarized nation that doesn't appear to agree on anything. At first the focus was on a short video showing one of the high school students, Nick Sandmann, wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat and appearing to smirk while a crowd of other teens laughed derisively behind him, as he faced off against a 64-year-old Native American, Nathan Phillips, who played a traditional chant on a drum. Pull back further and a different view emerged, however, in a separate video showing members of a group calling itself the Black Hebrew Israelites taunting everyone on the mall that day, calling the Native Americans who had gathered there for the Indigenous Peoples March "Uncle Tomahawks" and "$5 Indians" and the high school students "crackers" and worse.
James Gandolfini's Son Michael Will Play Tony Soprano in Film Prequel
Good news, "Sopranos" fans! The TV show's creator David Chase has finally cast his Tony Soprano for the prequel film, "The Many Saints of Newark." Deadline reports it's none other than -- wait for it -- Michael Gandolfini. He's the son of the late James Gandolfini, who played the organized crime family boss in the hit HBO series. The actor died in 2013. "It's a profound honor to continue my dad's legacy while stepping into the shoes of a young Tony Soprano," the 19-year-old actor tells Deadline exclusively. "I'm thrilled that I'm going to have the opportunity to work with David Chase and the incredible company of talent he has assembled for The Many Saints of Newark." The prequel will take place in the 1960s during the Newark riots, an era when African Americans and Italians were fighting.
Chris Brown Released in Paris After Rape Complaint
U.S. singer Chris Brown and two other people were released from police custody after a woman filed a rape complaint against them, the Paris prosecutor's office said. The Grammy-winning singer was detained with two other suspects on potential charges of aggravated rape and drug infractions. The Paris prosecutor's office said Brown has been authorized to leave France while the investigation is ongoing. A post on Brown's Instagram page strongly denied the accusations. Brown's publicists at Sony Music wouldn't comment on the complaint or say what Brown, 29, was doing in Paris. His U.S. attorney, Mark Geragos, didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Brown has been in repeated legal trouble since pleading guilty to the felony assault in 2009 of his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. He completed his probation in that case in 2015, but has continued to have run-ins with police.