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Happening Today: Trump Wall Speech, Paul Manafort, Flu Death, Cancer Deaths, Mario Batali, Lin-Manuel Miranda

What to Know

  • Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his border wall in a somber televised address that was heavy with dark immigration rhetoric
  • A child has died of the flu in New Jersey, marking the first pediatric flu death in the state this season, health officials say
  • Authorities won't file charges against celebrity chef Mario Batali, who's been accused by numerous women of sexual misconduct, a source says

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Trump Links Drugs, Violent Crime to Lack of Border Wall

President Trump urged congressional Democrats to fund his long-promised border wall in a somber televised address that was heavy with dark immigration rhetoric but offered little in the way of concessions or new ideas to break the standoff that has left large swaths of the government shutdown for 18 days. Speaking to the nation from the Oval Office for the first time, Trump argued the wall was needed to resolve a security and humanitarian "crisis," blaming illegal immigration for what he said was a scourge of drugs and violence in the U.S. and asking: "How much more American blood must we shed before Congress does its job?" Democrats in response accused Trump appealing to "fear, not facts" and manufacturing a border crisis for political gain. Using the formal trappings of the White House, Trump hoped to gain the upper hand in the standoff over his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He plans a visit to the border Thursday as he continues to pitch what was a signature promise of his 2016 presidential campaign.

Paul Manafort Accused of Sharing 2016 Election Data With Russians

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data during the 2016 presidential campaign with a business associate accused of having ties to Russian intelligence, and prosecutors say he lied to them about it, according to a court filing. The allegation marks the first time prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller's office have accused Trump's chief campaign aide of sharing election-related information with his Russian contacts. Although the filing does not say whether the polling information was public or what was done with it, it raises the possibility that Russia might have used inside information from the campaign as part of its effort to interfere with the election on Trump's behalf. The accusation could be important evidence in Mueller's ongoing probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. The information was accidentally revealed in a defense filing and was meant to be redacted. The Associated Press was able to review the material because it wasn't properly blacked out.

Child Dies in New Jersey's 1st Pediatric Flu Death of Season

A child has died of the flu in New Jersey, marking the first pediatric flu death in the state this season, health officials say. The child, who's from central Jersey, died in late December. The child is not being identified for reasons of medical privacy, the state health department says. "I am deeply saddened for the family of this young child, who experienced an unthinkable loss," said Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal. New Jersey is experiencing high flu activity, and officials are reminding the public that those who haven't yet gotten a flu shot -- especially health care workers -- to get one. It's also important to take precautions during the flu season, like washing or disinfecting hands frequently, covering any coughs and sneezes, and staying home when sick.

US Cancer Death Rate Hits Major Milestone: 25 Years of Decline

The U.S. cancer death rate has hit a milestone: It's been falling for at least 25 years, according to a new report. Lower smoking rates are translating into fewer deaths. Advances in early detection and treatment also are having a positive impact, experts say. But it's not all good news. Obesity-related cancer deaths are rising, and prostate cancer deaths are no longer dropping, said Rebecca Siegel, lead author of the American Cancer Society report. Cancer also remains the nation's No. 2 killer. The society predicts there will be more than 1.7 million new cancer cases, and more than 600,000 cancer deaths, in the U.S. this year.

No Charges in Claims of Mario Batali Sex Assault, Source Says

Police in New York won't file charges against celebrity chef Mario Batali, who's been accused by numerous women of sexual misconduct. A source familiar with the investigation said police have determined there is not probable cause to make an arrest in connection to claims by two women that they were sexually assaulted. Prosecutors were consulted in the police investigation and agreed there wasn't enough evidence to move forward with a case, the source said. The NYPD had been looking into several allegations against Batali following a "60 Minutes" broadcast last May in which an unnamed woman accused Batali of drugging and sexually assaulting her in 2005. She said she remembered joining him for a glass of wine at a Manhattan restaurant, then waking up on the floor feeling drugged and attacked. She said she talked to the police but never filed a report. Batali denied the accusation of sexual assault that was broadcast on "60 Minutes" last year.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Colleagues Save Iconic NYC Bookstore

Lin-Manuel Miranda can add “literary hero” to his growing list of accolades. The mastermind behind the musicals “Hamilton” and “In the Heights," as well as a handful of his "Hamilton" colleagues, announced they purchased The Drama Book Shop — saving the theatrical institution facing eviction in a last-minute move. The iconic independent bookstore, which has one of the largest selections of plays in the country, was being forced from its longtime midtown Manhattan location by stratospheric rent increases, according to the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. The book shop and theatre venue will be closing its doors Jan. 20 at its West 40th Street location. However, with the help of MOME Commissioner Julie Menin, as well as investment and management from Miranda, Thomas Kail, Jeffrey Seller, and theatre impresario James L. Nederlander, the Drama Book Shop will reopen in the fall of 2019 at a new location in the theater district.

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