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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 22, 2019

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Harold Maass
Senate Republicans alongside Trump
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1.

Senate Republicans release proposal to reopen government with wall funding

Senate Republicans late Monday released their proposal to end the partial federal government shutdown. The measure mirrors the plan President Trump outlined Saturday, with $5.7 billion for Trump's border wall, a three-year extension of DACA, and measures to fund the parts of the government closed for 32 days and counting, plus $12.7 billion in disaster and agricultural relief. Immigration experts also found several big, unheralded changes that would sharply curtail asylum requests. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to bring the bill up for a vote this week, even though Democrats have already rejected it. House Democrats, meanwhile, will likely pass another bill to reopen the government, this one with $1 billion for border security but no wall. [The Associated Press, Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

2.

Trump makes brief visit to MLK memorial

President Trump made a brief visit to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C., on Monday, where he placed a wreath to honor the slain civil rights leader. Trump's official schedule listed no public events marking the holiday honoring King's legacy, a fact that drew criticism from some activists. Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted a presidential proclamation praising King for "standing up for the self-evident truth Americans hold so dear, that no matter what the color of our skin or the place of our birth, we are all created equal by God." Democratic presidential prospects fanned out across the country, calling for more racial justice and reaching out to black voters, who will play a key role in picking the 2020 Democratic nominee to challenge Trump. [CNN, The Washington Post]

3.

Giuliani tries to walk back comments on Trump Tower Moscow

President Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani on Monday walked back claims he made a day earlier that Trump's representatives had continued pushing a proposed Trump Tower Moscow project up to the 2016 election. Trump said through the campaign that he had no business interests in Russia. On Monday, Giuliani said that Trump did not recall whether negotiations on the project, which never came to fruition, continued through the presidential campaign. "My recent statements about discussions during the 2016 campaign between Michael Cohen and then-candidate Donald Trump about a potential Trump Moscow 'project' were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the president," Giuliani said in a statement. "My comments did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any such discussions." [CNN]

4.

TSA says officer absences hit record as shutdown continues

The Transportation Security Administration said Monday that unscheduled absences of U.S. airport security officers had risen to a record 10 percent on Sunday as the partial government shutdown continues. The agency posted the previous high of 7 percent on Saturday. Sunday's absentee rate was more than three times the absence rate of 3.1 percent on the same day last year. The agency's more than 50,000 TSA officers are among the 800,000 federal employees who have been furloughed or ordered to work without pay during the shutdown. The agency said many workers are not reporting to work because of financial hardship. A quarter of the government has been closed since Dec. 22 due to an impasse over President Trump's demand for $5.7 billion for his promised border wall. [Reuters]

5.

Taliban kills dozens in attack on Afghan intelligence base

Taliban fighters infiltrated an Afghan intelligence base on Monday, killing dozens who worked for the agency. Afghan officials described the attack as one of the deadliest against the intelligence service, which has better trained forces than the regular army, in 17 years of war with the Taliban. The attack came hours after the Taliban said it had started fresh talks on "ending the invasion of Afghanistan." President Trump has ordered the Pentagon to prepare for the withdrawal of half of the roughly 14,000 American troops still stationed in Afghanistan to support government security forces. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]

6.

Report: There are as many as 20 secret missile sites in North Korea

Researchers have found an undisclosed ballistic missile base in North Korea, and say there could be as many as 20 secret bases across the country. Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the defense think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, released a report on Monday that revealed the existence of the Sino-ri Missile Operating Base, 130 miles north of the DMZ. Satellite photos of the base taken in late December show an entrance to an underground bunker, hardened shelters, and the headquarters of the Korean People's Army Strategic Rocket Forces missile brigade, NBC News reports. Beyond Parallel says the base has been crucial in the development of ballistic missiles able to reach Japan, South Korea, and Guam. In February, the U.S. and North Korea will meet for a second nuclear summit. [NBC News]

7.

IMF lowers 2019 global economic growth forecast

The International Monetary Fund on Monday cut its growth forecast for 2019 to 3.5 percent from 3.7 percent, citing rising trade tensions and interest rates. "After two years of solid expansion, the world economy is growing more slowly than expected and risks are rising," said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. China's slowing economic growth is another concern. On the same day, China, the world's second-biggest economy, reported that its growth had slowed to the slowest pace in 28 years. The IMF left its forecast of U.S. growth in 2019 unchanged at 2.5 percent, despite concern about the ongoing partial federal government shutdown. [The Associated Press]

8.

Venezuelan military says it put down uprising

Venezuelan security forces on Monday put down an uprising by national guardsmen that provoked street protests. Residents of a poor neighborhood near the presidential palace called for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose policies have been blamed for ruining the economy and unraveling its democracy, to step down. Maduro was inaugurated to a second term last week despite allegations he won in a rigged election. Leaders of the Socialist party said 27 guardsmen had been arrested on Monday, with more detentions possible. Military officials said the rebels' weapons had been seized, and that the "treasonous" acts were motivated by "obscure interests tied to the far right." [The Associated Press]

9.

Fox News apologizes for 'mistake' with Ginsburg graphic

Fox News apologized Monday for airing a graphic that incorrectly suggested Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had died. Ginsburg, 85, is recovering at her home after surgery to remove two malignant growths from her lungs. The graphic, which displayed a photo of Ginsburg with the dates 1933-2019, ran during the Fox & Friends morning show. "This was a technical error that emanated from the graphics team," a Fox News spokesperson told Variety. Co-hosts Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt both apologized on the air. "We don't want to make it seem anything other than that was a mistake. That was an accident," Doocy said. "We apologize," Earhardt said, "big mistake." News organizations often prepare obituaries of notable people in advance. [Variety]

10.

Scientists: Greenland ice melting far faster than thought

Greenland's vast ice sheet is melting far faster than scientists previously thought, and the rate may have reached a "tipping point," according to a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The ice loss in Greenland, which mostly lies above the Arctic Circle, appears to be accelerating in step with warming in the Arctic, where temperatures are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the planet. The speed of the melting really picked up in 2002-2003, and by 2012 the annual rate of ice loss was nearly four times higher than a decade earlier. Much of the new melting was not from glaciers, which have long sent icebergs into the Atlantic, but from the land-fast ice sheet in Greenland's southwest, which "will become a major contributor to sea level rise," the study said. [The New York Times, National Geographic]