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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. Today was the last full day of the Trump presidency.
President Trump will leave office tomorrow with the possibility of an impeachment conviction by the Senate looming. Senator Mitch McConnell said publicly for the first time that the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 were “provoked by the president.”
“The mob was fed lies,” Mr. McConnell said, referring to attempts by Mr. Trump to overturn the election based on bogus claims of voter fraud. Mr. McConnell, who has privately said that he believed Mr. Trump committed impeachable offenses, has yet to decide how to vote on charges that he incited an insurrection.
In a taped farewell speech, Mr. Trump vowed that his movement “is only just the beginning.”
Since 2015, our reporter has kept track of every single insult that Donald J. Trump posted on Twitter. Read them all in alphabetical or chronological order. Our video team also revisited memorable moments from the past four years.
President-elect Joe Biden is in Washington, where he will be sworn in tomorrow; Kamala Harris will become the first woman sworn in as vice president. More than 25,000 National Guard troops are being deployed to assist in protecting the Capitol and areas in central Washington for potential security concerns.
But at least 12 National Guard troops have been removed from duties related to the event, including two who had possible links to right-wing extremist movements.
“To heal we must remember,” he said.
The president-elect has pledged an aggressive national strategy to beat the virus. He will also propose far-reaching legislation tomorrow to give millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. a pathway to citizenship in as little as eight years.
The Senate worked through a marathon day of confirmation hearings for Mr. Biden’s cabinet. The process has been badly delayed, most likely making Mr. Biden the first president in decades to take office without his national security team in place.
3. Tightened health and security measures will mean less pomp and circumstance, but traditions remain.
Inaugural events will begin around 10 a.m. Eastern. Ms. Harris will first be sworn in as vice president; then, at about 12 p.m. Eastern, Mr. Biden will be sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts. Lady Gaga will perform the national anthem; Amanda Gorman, at 22 the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, will read a work she finished after the Capitol Hill riot.
4. There was a flurry of last-minute activity at the White House.
The U.S. declared that China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity through its wide-scale repression of Uighurs, including in its use of internment camps, above, and forced sterilization. The move could lead the U.S. to impose more sanctions against China under the Biden administration.
5. The pandemic has escalated a longstanding teacher shortage to crisis levels, prompting many schools to shut down in-person instruction for weeks or months on end.
One pre-pandemic study reported that schools nationwide needed more than 100,000 additional full-time licensed teachers. The coronavirus has vastly exacerbating that shortfall, experts say, by prompting many teachers to leave the profession or take early retirement.
Separately, the College Board will drop the SAT’s optional essay section and end subject tests as part of a streamlining process accelerated by the pandemic.
6. The Mets fired their new general manager, Jared Porter, after ESPN reported that he sent more than 60 unsolicited text messages — including one nude photo — to a baseball reporter in 2016.
The swift decision was announced by the team’s new billionaire owner, Steven Cohen, just over a month after the Mets hired Mr. Porter to help rebuild the team.
Mr. Porter acknowledged to ESPN last night that he had sent the messages and photographs.
7. Hold the boeuf bourguignon. I’ll have the dulse seaweed, lemongrass and galangal.
For the first time in France, the Michelin Guide awarded a star to a fully vegan restaurant, ONA, a small restaurant on the Atlantic coastline near Bordeaux.
“We want to show you can eat differently,” said Claire Vallée, the chef at ONA, which stands for “Origine Non Animale,” or “Non-Animal Origin.” She is one of a growing number of chefs in France who are eschewing the country’s traditional, meat-focused cuisine.
AM by Alexandre Mazzia in Marseille was a new addition to the top category; no previous three-star restaurants were demoted.
8. The key to climbing the second tallest mountain in the world: Don’t rush it.
On Saturday, a Nepali mountain-climbing team reached the peak of K2, a feat never before accomplished during winter, the most dangerous climbing season. Also known as Savage Mountain, the gleaming, glacial 28,251-foot monolith, which straddles the border of China and Pakistan, is second only to Mount Everest in height.
“I was just praying to the mountain,” said Nirmal Purja, who led the trek. “This time we needed passage, and the mountain allowed us permission.”
9. This is a 3-D representation of the world’s oldest known all-purpose orifice.
It belongs to a Psittacosaurus, a beaked, dog-size, leaf-munching dinosaur that lived more than 100 million years ago. It’s not technically an anus, but a cloaca: a multifunctional outlet named for the Latin word for “sewer.”
A team at the University of Bristol in England used a pristine fossil unearthed in China decades ago to recreate the area and determined that the orifice most similarly resembles that of a crocodile. Among other features, that sewer-hole may have been used for signaling during courtship.
And the exclusive club of fossilized phalluses has a new member: a 50-million-year-old assassin bug.
10. And finally, what’s in a name?
The pandemic has changed how parents are choosing baby names: Experts are reporting large shifts toward names that represent optimism and strength.
Names on the rise include Zora (“dawn”), Alma (“soul” in Spanish), Felix (“happy”), Frida (“peaceful”), Zuri (“good” in Swahili) and Aurora (Roman goddess of the sunrise) and other god and goddess names. Place names such as Cairo and Milan are also becoming popular.
Names falling out of fashion: Donald, Lachlan, “because it sounds too much like ‘lockdown,’” one expert said, and Corona. “Very pretty, Latin for ‘crown,’” mused another expert. “Not happening.”
Have a poetic night.
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