10 things you need to know today: January 9, 2018

Alabama wins the college football national championship, North Korea agrees to go to South Korea's Winter Olympics, and more

Alabama Crimson Tide team members celebrate their win
(Image credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

1. Alabama wins college football championship

Alabama beat Georgia 26-23 in overtime to win the college football National Championship Game on Monday. Georgia led for most of the game, going into halftime up 13-0. Alabama coach Nick Saban benched quarterback Jalen Hurts and brought in freshman QB Tua Tagovailoa, and the team's offense caught fire. Tagovailoa's second touchdown pass of the night tied the game at 20 with 3:49 left. Alabama then forced Georgia to punt and drove down the field, but missed what would have been the game-winning field goal. The game went into overtime, and Tagovailoa hit DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard touchdown pass to seal the victory and give Saban his fifth national championship at Alabama. Tagovailoa "stepped in and did his thing," Hurts said.

Yahoo Sports USA Today

2. North Korea agrees to send delegation to South Korea's Winter Olympics

North Korea has agreed to send a delegation of officials, athletes, cheerleaders, and journalists to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea, South Korean Deputy Unification Minister Chun Hae-sung said Tuesday. The breakthrough came during the first direct high-level talks in more than two years between the two countries. The discussions were hastily set up after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said in a New Year's Day speech that the two countries needed to work on restarting a dialogue. South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the Winter Olympic Games presented a "groundbreaking chance" to improve relations, which have been increasingly strained over North Korea's recent missile and nuclear weapons tests.

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3. Mueller indicates desire to question Trump

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has informed President Trump's lawyers that his investigators probably will seek an interview with Trump, The Washington Post reported Monday. Mueller reportedly raised the possibility at a late-December meeting with Trump lawyers John Dowd and Jay Sekulow. Trump's attorneys are reluctant to grant an open-ended interview in connection with Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates, but Trump might answer a limited selection of questions within several weeks, the Post reported, citing a person close to Trump. "This is moving faster than anyone really realizes," the person said, adding that Trump wants to answer questions to put to rest suspicions that his campaign coordinated with Moscow during the 2016 campaign.

The Washington Post

4. Trump administration ends protections for 200,000 Salvadorans

The Trump administration announced Monday that roughly 200,000 people from El Salvador who have been allowed to live in the U.S. for more than a decade will have to leave. Homeland Security officials said they were ending the refugees' Temporary Protected Status, a humanitarian designation that let them stay and work legally following a pair of devastating 2001 earthquakes in their home country. Salvadorans were the largest group granted the temporary protected status. More than 45,000 Haitians who were granted the same protection from deportation following a devastating 2010 earthquake lost the status just weeks ago.

The New York Times

5. Spy satellite launched by SpaceX believed lost

A U.S. spy satellite launched Sunday in a SpaceX rocket failed to reach orbit and is believed lost, two U.S. officials said Monday. SpaceX had called the launch successful after the Falcon 9 rocket's reusable first stage landed in one piece. The classified intelligence satellite built by Northrop Grumman, possibly costing billions of dollars, failed to separate from the second stage, however, and is assumed to be a "write-off," one of the officials said. An investigation is underway. A SpaceX spokesman said the company does not comment "on missions of this nature."

The Wall Street Journal Reuters

6. Regulators reject Perry's plan to boost coal industry

Federal regulators on Monday rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry's proposal to subsidize struggling coal and nuclear plants. The decision marked a setback for the Trump administration's push to revive the coal industry, which has declined over the last decade as power companies shifted to cheap natural gas and renewable energy. Perry argued in September that losing coal plants could threaten the power grid's "reliability and resiliency." Federal Energy Regulatory Commission members rejected that logic. "There is no evidence in the record to suggest that temporarily delaying the retirement of uncompetitive coal and nuclear generators would meaningfully improve the resilience of the grid," wrote Commissioner Richard Glick.

The New York Times

7. Judge says prosecutors can't retry Bundy over standoff

A federal judge ruled Monday that federal prosecutors could not retry rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons for an armed standoff in Nevada four years ago. U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial last month after determining that prosecutors had improperly withheld evidence that defense lawyers could have used on behalf of Bundy and alleged co-conspirator Ryan Payne. Navarro said government lawyers had violated the Brady rule requiring prosecutors to hand over evidence that could benefit defendants. "The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated," Navarro said. It was the second time in a year that members of the Bundy family were cleared in trials stemming from standoffs over access to public land.

Los Angeles Times

8. Thousands of Californians evacuate due to mudslide threat

Southern California authorities issued fresh evacuation orders affecting thousands of people in some areas recently scorched by wildfires as rainstorms threatened to cause dangerous mudslides and flash floods. "This strong storm is expected to produce heavy rain, high winds, and extremely dangerous flash flooding, mud, and debris flows," Santa Barbara County officials warned. "Flash floods, mud, and debris flows can happen with little or no warning." Los Angeles County residents in the Creek Fire burn area were under a mandatory evacuation order. Santa Barbara County ordered evacuations in areas affected by several wildfires.

NBC News

9. Ex-Google engineer who wrote gender memo sues

Former Google engineer James Damore, who was fired over a memo in which he argued that biological differences explained gender inequality in the tech industry, filed a lawsuit against the company on Monday, saying it discriminated against him. Google said when it fired him in August that he had violated its code of conduct by supporting harmful gender stereotypes in the workplace. Damore and another white former Google engineer, David Gudeman, argued in a proposed class action lawsuit in Santa Clara County, California, Superior Court that Google had "ostracized, belittled, and punished" them and others "for their heterodox political views, and for the added sin of their birth circumstances of being Caucasians and/or males."


10. Winfrey's Golden Globes speech sparks presidential buzz

After her rousing speech at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony, Oprah Winfrey has sparked rumors of a future presidential run. Accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award, Winfrey said the tides are shifting when it comes to sexual harassment and misconduct from powerful men. "For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men — but their time is up," she said. Winfrey additionally told viewers that "a new day is on the horizon." CNN Money reported Monday that two of Winfrey's confidantes said she is "actively thinking" about mounting a presidential run in 2020, while her partner Stedman Graham told the Los Angeles Times that "she would absolutely do it."


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