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Good evening. Here’s the latest.
1. Iowa, Democrats’ field of dreams.
Iowa awards just 41 of the more than 1,900 delegates the Democratic National Convention requires for a presidential nominee. But candidates who do well in tonight’s first-in-the-nation state contest will carry momentum into New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and beyond.
Polling averages show Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden atop the field, with Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg close behind. Our election forecaster will update with partial results as they roll in.
The caucusing starts at 8 p.m. Eastern. Initial results are expected within an hour and most results in hand within three hours. We’ll have live analysis.
2. With President Trump’s acquittal all but assured, today’s closing arguments in the impeachment trial carried little suspense.
His lawyers argued that the case was rushed and that “the answer is elections, not impeachment.” House managers countered that Mr. Trump would feel free to abuse his power again if not removed from office. Above, Representative Jason Crow of Colorado and Representative Adam Schiff of California heading into the session.
The trial is now officially in recess until Wednesday at 4 p.m. Eastern, when the Senate will cast final votes on the articles of impeachment. But the senators are being allowed 10 minutes each over the next two days to explain how they intend to vote.
Mr. Trump is set to deliver the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.
3. The new coronavirus has killed more than 360 people in mainland China, a toll that exceeds the 349 deaths in the SARS outbreak there in the early 2000s.
Still, the new virus’s apparent death rate of about 2 percent is lower than the 9.6 percent for SARS, and recoveries have risen. U.S. health officials plan to speed up testing for the virus as confirmed cases here rose to 11.
Above, the Shanghai stock exchange today. Chinese stocks plunged on the first day of trading after an extended Lunar New Year break, though U.S. markets recovered from Friday’s sell-off.
4. “Flares on route, as if from a missile.”
Air traffic tapes recorded an exchange between an Iranian controller and a stunned pilot who saw a nearby plane blown up in midair, moments after an Iranian Revolutionary Guards unit mistakenly launched a missile at a Ukrainian passenger jet.
“Should anything like this be happening there?” the pilot asked.
After the transcript was leaked to a Ukrainian news site, Iran ended its cooperation into the investigation of the crash, which killed all 176 people on the Ukrainian plane.
5. You haven’t heard the end of Brexit.
Three days after the U.K.’s formal withdrawal from the European Union, the two sides are squaring off over a trade deal.
Europe’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, adopted a steely tone, insisting that Britain must commit to preventing unfair competition. Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded by threatening to walk away from talks if the European Union tries to tie Britain too closely to its rules.
For an agreement to be struck this year, said Sam Lowe at the Centre for European Reform, “the U.K. will have to move a lot and the E.U. will have to move a little.”
6. Japan plans to build as many as 22 coal-burning power plants in the next five years. “It’s the worst possible thing they could build,” said Satsuki Kanno, above, a homemaker looking at one under construction in Yokosuka.
Some Japanese are fighting the idea. Together, the coal plants would emit almost as much carbon dioxide annually as all the passenger cars sold each year in the U.S. (Britain is set to phase out coal power by 2025, and France is shutting its plants by 2022. In the U.S., no new plants are actively under development.)
But the Fukushima nuclear disaster forced Japan to all but close its nuclear power program.
7. Fireflies may have a dim future.
A new study points out that some firefly habitats, like mangroves and marshes, are being cleared for farming, and toxic chemicals in insecticides are wiping them out.
But there’s another problem that hits them especially hard: light pollution. It’s not that they need a more romantic ambience — it’s that intrusive light can outshine their mating signals.
Even far from billboards, streetlights and houses, bright light pointing to the sky gets diffused in the atmosphere and can be reflected in the wilderness.
8. Two cities, two states, one name. And one high-profile mistake.
Those who live in Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., generally excuse outsiders who confuse them.
But President Trump got some flak when he congratulated the “Great State of Kansas” on Twitter for the Kansas City Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory against the San Francisco 49ers.
Here’s the story: The Missouri city, pictured above, is older and bigger. It took its name from the Kansas River, which referred to Native Americans of the Kaw Nation. Historians say that the smaller neighbor across the state line took on the same name in 1872, aiming to horn in on the Missouri city’s boom.
9. Messaging at the Super Bowl.
Were Beyoncé and Jay-Z making a political statement by sitting during the national anthem? Was Jennifer Lopez alluding to immigration policies by having children sitting in cage-like orbs? And what about her Puerto Rican flag jacket?
Whatever their intent, the Twittersphere seized on these scenes after the game.
One thing was clear, according to our chief fashion critic, Vanessa Friedman: J.Lo proved “dress your age” has no meaning. (Repeat: She is 50. She is 50. She is 50!)
10. And finally, eco-chic meets dusty back roads.
G.M. used a Super Bowl ad to whet our appetite for one of the most counterintuitive passenger vehicles in memory: an electric Hummer.
The old Hummer, a barrel-chested gas guzzler based on the military Humvee, was retired in 2010. The new one, which G.M. says will deliver 1,000 horsepower and hit 60 m.p.h. in three seconds, arrives in May. Two start-ups, Rivian and Bollinger Motors, and Tesla are also planning electric pickup trucks.
In essence, writes our reporter Alex Williams, the auto industry has come up with a product to capitalize on “two colliding mega-trends: the monster-truck-ification of America and the growing push against fossil fuels.”
Hope you can have it all this evening.
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