If you've filled up your car's tank lately, you've probably noticed that gas prices have dropped. Here's why that's both good and bad for the economy. And here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
Many have called the Trump presidency a reality TV show. If that's true, the curtain rises today on a new season, with an episode that could be called, "The Democrats Strike Back." The Dems take control of the House today, led by Nancy Pelosi as speaker. They promise to investigate the heck out of the Trump administration and try to get their hands on his tax returns. And they don't seem inclined to budge an inch in their standoff with the President over funding for his border wall, which has led to a partial government shutdown, now almost two weeks old. Trump, still a relative newbie to politics, has only dealt with an obedient Republican Party for the past two years. Now that he has an empowered opposition to deal with, it'll be fascinating to see how he reacts.
2019's off to a rough start for Apple. The tech giant's stock fell as much as 8% and lost $55 billion in value late yesterday after CEO Tim Cook released a letter saying Apple had lower sales during the holiday period because of "lower than anticipated" iPhone sales in China. Apple pinned the blame on the ongoing trade skirmish with the US and the slowdown of China's economy. Growth in China, the world's second-largest economy, in 2018 was the weakest since 1990. And it will probably be worse in 2019. If that happens, Apple won't be the only casualty. Other Western brands, like General Motors and Starbucks, could get hurt, too.
Two women who entered one of Hinduism's holiest sites -- and broke a centuries-old gender ban in the process -- are now in hiding. They were the first women to visit the 800-year-old Sabarimala shrine since India's Supreme Court overturned the ban back in September. The ban barred women ages 10 to 50 from entering the site. The shrine is considered the spiritual home of a celibate Hindu god. Women of menstrual age had been banned for centuries because it was thought allowing them into the temple would be disrespectful. The court said that was discriminatory and tossed the ban out. That hasn't sat well with religious hard-liners, who've staged some violent protests ever since, trying to keep the court's decision from being enacted.
4. SAT dispute
Kamilah Campbell feels like she's been called a cheater. And she's not having it. The Florida teen took the SAT for a second time last year, trying to improve her score. But instead of getting test results, she got a letter from the testing company, The College Board, saying her scores were invalid. Campbell thinks her score was flagged because it's much higher than her first test. "I did not cheat. I studied, and I focused to achieve my dream," said Campbell, who wants to go to Florida State. She's hired a high-profile civil rights attorney to try to force The College Board to validate her score in time for her to get into FSU. The College Board says it never flags scores for review solely on gains, though scores could be flagged when test takers' sheets have similar answers.
China successfully landed a rover on the far side of the moon this morning. The spacecraft, named Chang'e 4, landed in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, the moon's largest and oldest impact crater. It's the first time a spacecraft has ever landed on the far side, which never faces Earth. The rover also sent back the world's first close-range image of that side of the moon. China has big plans for space, including possibly sending a Chinese astronaut to the moon.
Meanwhile, NASA revealed clearer images of Ultima Thule, the object at the edge of the solar system that the New Horizons spacecraft took pictures of during its flyby on New Year's Day. And Ultima Thule looks just like a ... red snowman? Yep. And studying this "space snowman" is important because Ultima Thule is part of the Kuiper Belt, which is a remnant of the original disk from which the sun and planets formed. So, studying Ultima Thule is like looking back in time.
The number of hours Alejandro Aparicio served as mayor of Tlaxiaco, Mexico, before he was shot and killed. A 34-year-old suspect was arrested in Aparicio's death.
Rest in peace, Part 1
The world lost Daryl Dragon, the Captain from The Captain & Tennille. And, of course, Toni Tennille was at his side when he passed away.
Rest in peace, Part 2
A little too hot
Hey, if you've got some Zeigler Red Hots sausages in your fridge, you may need to toss them. They're being recalled because of possible metal contamination.
In their feelings
The Krispy Kreme truck in Kentucky crashed, and cops across the country expressed their deep sense of loss.
Do you like words like "ghosting," "optics" or "accoutrements?" Well, dump them, because they're on the list of banished words for 2019.
Kanye and Kim K. are going to be parents again. The celeb couple is expecting child No. 4, via surrogate.
'Take me home ...'
They were having a nice little jam session to "Country Roads." Then, the dog joined in. (Click to view.)
- Cops mourn loss of doughnut truck
- Friends mourn loss of missing fisherman
- National Donut Day: What's behind the cops-doughnut love fest and where to score free ones
- Customers buy out doughnuts for this reason
- Dunkin' Donuts says goodbye to artificial dyes in its doughnuts
- Officers pay it forward -- with doughnuts, of course!
- Community mourns shooting victims
- Fantasia Barrino mourns murdered nephew
- Bush family mourns beloved patriarch
- Community mourns the loss of one of the last holocaust survivors