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5 things to know for January 8: Shutdown, Brexit, Cyntoia Brown, Cuba, screen time

Congrats to the Clemson Tigers, who handed Nick Saban his worst loss ever at Alabama as they ...

Posted: Jan 8, 2019 11:53 AM
Updated: Jan 8, 2019 11:53 AM

Congrats to the Clemson Tigers, who handed Nick Saban his worst loss ever at Alabama as they won their third college football national title last night. 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.)

1. Government shutdown

Brexit

Continents and regions

Europe

European Union

Government organizations - Intl

Northern Europe

United Kingdom

Caribbean

Cuba

Latin America

The Americas

President Trump takes his battle to build a border wall into overdrive tonight. He'll address the nation in prime time in his first Oval Office address, and he's expected to describe the situation on the southern border with Mexico as a national security crisis. (There are already 31 active national emergencies, some dating back to the Clinton administration.) Trump will follow that up with a trip to the border later this week. Political observers think the President is trying to break the logjam with Democrats over his $5 billion border wall funding request -- and the government shutdown it's created -- by building a case to bypass Congress for the money and use Defense Department funds to build it instead. That's guaranteed to spark a lengthy court battle.

2. Brexit

Brexit doesn't happen for another two months, but it's already sucking money out of the UK. A new report from accounting firm EY says banks and other financial companies have moved at least $1 trillion worth of assets out of the UK and into the EU because of Brexit. That's about 10% of total assets in the country's banking sector. Firms are moving money to protect against possible sudden regulation changes stemming from Brexit and to protect clients from market volatility. The UK Parliament is set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal next week.

3. Cyntoia Brown

Cyntoia Brown will soon be a free woman. Brown, who got a life sentence for killing a man who bought her for sex when she was 16, was granted clemency by GOP Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee. She'll be released on parole in August after serving 15 years. Brown, 30, had a lot of high-profile people advocating for her release, including lawmakers and A-list celebs. A pastor who lobbied Haslam for Brown's release -- and who spoke of forgiveness and second chances -- says he'll "walk her out" of prison and "hold her hand."

4. Cuba sonic attacks

Were those bizarre noises that US diplomats reported hearing in 2016 and 2017 in Cuba caused by insects? A pair of scientists who analyzed recordings of the "buzzing" and "grinding" sounds say they could be the echoing call of a cricket. The diplomats and their families experienced pain, dizziness, vertigo and ringing in the ears from the sounds. State Department officials feared they had fallen victim to an "acoustic attack" from sonic devices, something Cuban officials denied any involvement in. This cricket theory hasn't been reviewed by other scientists, though, so some form of audio attack can't be ruled out yet.

5. Kids and screen time

We've all been told repeatedly that letting children stare at screens for hours on end is bad for them. But a group of British pediatricians says there's really little evidence to back that up. The guidance from the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in the UK says there's not an "evidence base" for a direct link between screen time and problems like obesity, mental health issues, heart disease and educational problems. The group does recommend getting screens away from kids an hour before bedtime so they can sleep better. (That's good advice for us adults as well.) The group's view contrasts with guidance on screen time issued by most other health organizations.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

'Star' attraction

Disney's raising ticket prices at Disneyland. Maybe we can blame it on the Jedi. The price hike comes ahead of the opening of the new "Star Wars" attraction.

Tell me no lies

"Big Little Lies" fans get ready. This photo, tweeted out by Reese Witherspoon, hints that the HBO drama will be criminally good in Season 2.

Car talk

The cars of the future won't just cruise the roads. They'll "talk" to traffic lights, road signs and pedestrians, too.

Going, going, gone?

Great Barrier Reef. The Galapagos Islands. Venice. You might want to see these UNESCO sites sooner than later because climate change puts them at risk.

THIS JUST IN ...

Surprise visit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in Beijing to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. It's Kim's fourth visit to China.

TODAY'S NUMBER

86%

That's how much the population of monarch butterflies in California dropped in just a year

TODAY'S QUOTES

"It seems it was a group of troublemakers ..."

Gabon government spokesman Guy-Bertrand Mapangou, saying the "situation is under control" in the Central African country after an apparent coup attempt by armed men

"I'm sorry!"

Actress Emma Stone, yelling out from the audience after Sandra Oh's whitewash joke at the Golden Globes. Stone, who is white, was accused of "whitewashing" after she was cast to play a character of Chinese and Hawaiian descent in 2015's "Aloha."

AND FINALLY

The new math

Cats + remote control cars = comedy gold. (Click to view.)

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