Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 23, 2018

President Trump signs a deal ending the government shutdown, Pence says the U.S. will open its embassy in Jerusalem in 2019, and more


Trump signs deal to end government shutdown

Congress voted late Monday to end a three-day government shutdown. President Trump promptly signed the stopgap spending measure, saying he was pleased Democrats had "come to their senses." The deal funds the government through Feb. 8, a period one week shorter than an earlier version blocked by Senate Democrats. It reauthorizes the Children's Health Insurance Program and rolls back several taxes included in the Affordable Care Act. Senate Democrats went along after Republicans promised to hold a vote on restoring protections for so-called DREAMers, young undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children. "The Republican majority now has 17 days to prevent the DREAMers from being deported," said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), or the "Trump shutdown" will resume.


Pence says U.S. to accelerate move of embassy to Jerusalem to 2019

Vice President Mike Pence said Monday that the U.S. would move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem next year, a speedier timetable than previously discussed. "Jerusalem is Israel's capital — and, as such, President Trump has directed the State Department to immediately begin preparations to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," Pence told members of Israel's Parliament. Israeli lawmakers cheered. Palestinians, who view East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, have angrily condemned Trump's decision, saying it shows that the U.S. sides with Israel and cannot be a neutral broker in peace negotiations.


Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down congressional map

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court on Monday threw out the state's congressional district map, saying it "clearly, plainly, and palpably" violates the state Constitution. Democrats had sued, accusing Republicans of going too far in manipulating district lines for partisan advantage. In a 4-3 ruling, the justices ordered lawmakers to file a redrawn map with the court by Feb. 15 so it can be ready in time for the May 15 primary election, subject to the governor's approval. The order invites "all parties and interveners" to propose their own replacement maps. Republicans were named as defendants in the case because they controlled the state General Assembly the last two times the maps were redrawn. Republicans said they would ask the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a stay, calling the deadline "impossible."


Trump imposes tariffs on solar-energy components and washing machines

President Trump on Monday approved tariffs on imported solar-energy products and large washing machines to help American manufacturers gain an edge on foreign rivals. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement announcing the move that it showed Trump "will always defend American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses." Most imported solar components will incur a 30 percent tariff that will be reduced, then phased out after four years. Industrial washing machines will face tariffs reaching 50 percent before they phase out after three years. Suniva Inc. and the U.S. subsidiary of Germany's SolarWorld sought the tariffs last year, saying they were needed to keep U.S. manufacturers in business after a nearly 500 percent increase in imported solar panels caused prices to collapse.


7.9-magnitude earthquake off Alaska triggers West Coast tsunami panic

U.S. authorities issued a panic-inducing tsunami watch for the West Coast from Washington to California, and for Hawaii, parts of Alaska, and British Columbia in Canada on Tuesday after an 7.9-magnitude earthquake struck in the Gulf of Alaska. "Based on the preliminary earthquake parameters [...] widespread hazardous tsunami waves are possible," the National Weather Service Tsunami Warning Center said. However, the tsunami watch issued for the U.S. West Coast was later canceled. The earthquake epicenter was about 170 miles southeast of Kodiak, Alaska, at a depth of six miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.


Watchdog files complaints over alleged payment by Trump lawyer to porn star

The nonprofit government watchdog group Common Cause on Monday filed two federal complaints accusing President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen of paying $130,000 in October 2016 to an adult film star in exchange for her silence about a 2006 affair with Trump. In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Common Cause campaign finance expert Paul S. Ryan wrote that "because the funds were paid for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential general election," this payment should have been considered an expense under campaign finance laws, but it was never reported. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Cohen made the payment to Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, shortly before the 2016 election.


Netflix shares soar as it adds more subscribers than expected

Netflix attracted two million more subscribers than Wall Street expected in the final quarter of 2017, piling up 117.6 million streaming subscribers worldwide. The streaming video powerhouse also tripled its profits after raising prices in October and continuing to spend big on original programming to build on its dominance. "Netflix is pouring more and more money into making content, and it is directly translating into more subscribers," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield said. The news sent Netflix shares soaring by 9 percent in after-hours trading to $248, a new high. The jump lifted Netflix's market capitalization above $100 billion for the first time. The company's stock rose by 53 percent last year.


3 USA Gymnastics board members resign under pressure after sex abuse by doctor

Three members of the USA Gymnastics board resigned Monday in the wake of the scandal surrounding former team doctor Larry Nassar, who is accused of sexually abusing more than 130 of his patients over three decades. "Nobody was protecting us from being taken advantage of," said Olympic gold medalist Jordyn Wieber during her victim impact statement at Nassar's sentencing Friday. Board of directors chairman Paul Parilla, vice chairman Jay Binder, and treasurer Bitsy Kelley all resigned, a decision that president and CEO Kerry Perry said "will allow us to more effectively move forward in implementing change within our organization." An investigator said last summer that USA Gymnastics needs a "complete culture change" to protect athletes.


Neil Diamond retires from touring after Parkinson's diagnosis

Singer and songwriter Neil Diamond, who turns 77 this week, announced Monday night that he was retiring from touring after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. He is canceling the third leg of his 50th Anniversary tour in March. "It is with great reluctance and disappointment that I announce my retirement from concert touring," Diamond said in a statement, going on to reference his most famous song, "Sweet Caroline." "My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement. This ride has been 'so good, so good, so good' thanks to you." He said he still plans to write and record songs, and develop new projects.


Michigan man charged with threatening to kill CNN broadcasters over 'fake news'

Authorities arrested a Michigan man, Brandon Griesemer, last week for allegedly making a series of phone calls on Jan. 9 and Jan. 10 threatening to kill CNN employees in Atlanta, according to an arrest affidavit unsealed on Monday. He was accused of calling CNN's public contact number and making the threats and disparaging Jewish people and African Americans. "Fake news. I'm coming to gun you all down," the caller said in one of the calls. Thirty minutes later, the caller reached the switchboard again, and said, "I'm coming for you CNN. I'm smarter than you. More powerful than you. I have more guns than you." Several months earlier, Griesemer admitted calling a Michigan mosque and making disparaging comments about Muslims, according to the affidavit.


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