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5 things to know for February 9: Impeachment, Covid, stimulus, Myanmar, North Korea


After a full year of being pulled down by the pandemic, global oil prices are roaring back.

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1. Impeachment

The second impeachment trial of former President Trump begins today. Here’s how it will go: Things will get going in the afternoon with up to four hours of debate, followed by a vote on the constitutionality of the trial (it needs just a simple majority to pass). Then, we’ll see up to a few days of arguments, followed by a period when senators can question the legal teams. Then, there will be more debate, closing arguments and deliberation. During the trial, senators and witnesses will revisit the events of the Capitol riot on January 6, so things may get emotional. Sen. Patrick Leahy, president pro tempore of the Senate, will preside over the trial. Security around the Capitol is being beefed up ahead of the proceedings, with razor wire-topped fences looming and National Guard members standing by.

2. Coronavirus

School districts across the US are considering plans to restart in-person learning, including at some middle schools in New York City. But experts warn that it’s extremely risky for local and state leaders to lift Covid-19 restrictions right now because of the rising threat of coronavirus variants. In fact, the Biden administration is considering more restrictions, like a Covid-19 testing requirement for domestic air travel. Meanwhile, other countries are seeing some improvements: Germany is seeing a drop in Covid-19 incidence rates, and Iran and Peru are rolling out new vaccine initiatives. Drugmaker Pfizer says it’s hiked its production rate to double vaccine output and keep up with demand. In the US, coronavirus has claimed the life of GOP Rep. Ron Wright, the first sitting member of Congress to die after contracting the virus.

3. Stimulus

March 14. That’s the date by which Democratic lawmakers hope to finally pass the long-awaited coronavirus relief bill. There’s a lot to do before then, though. House committees are aiming to get their parts of the bill over to the Budget Committee by February 16. Then in the Senate, Democrats need the support of legislators who may be on the fence about some provisions, like moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, who has argued against the $15 minimum wage hike included in the bill and disagrees with some proposed income thresholds for that all-important $1,400 stimulus check.

4. Myanmar

Myanmar’s new military junta has warned the public not to “destroy” democracy, despite overturning the results of democratic elections when it seized power last week. In the last four days, tens of thousands of people have taken part in protests against the February 1 coup. In response, the military imposed new restrictions on public gatherings and instituted a curfew for major towns and cities. It also warned that those who break these rules or continue to protest could face consequences. A United Nations spokesperson called the Myanmar junta’s new measures “concerning.”

5. North Korea

North Korean hackers stole hundreds of millions of dollars in 2020 to fund the country’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, according to a confidential United Nations report. The report says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime encouraged these operations to pay for weapons in violation of international law and to help the country’s economy stay afloat. By some estimates, hackers stole virtual assets worth $316.4 million dollars between 2019 and last November. Now, at least one unnamed country has said it is “highly likely” North Korea could mount a nuclear device to a ballistic missile of any range. The report containing this information has yet to be released, and it’s unclear how North Korea and other countries will respond to the leak.


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Imagine trying to match the fitness routine of a guy who plays a literal god.


Mary Wilson, a founding member of “The Supremes,” has died at the age of 76. Aside from breaking gender, racial and social barriers with the legendary Motown group, Wilson was also a best-selling author, motivational speaker, businesswoman and US Cultural Ambassador.


February is Black History Month, and every day we’re highlighting Black pioneers in American history. Learn more here.

Charles Richard Drew, scientist, 1904-1950

Drew is known as the “father of the blood bank” for his hand in developing America’s first large-scale blood bank program in the 1940s. Before that, Drew was the first Black student to earn a medical doctorate from Columbia University, where his interest in the science of blood transfusions led to groundbreaking work separating plasma from blood. This made it possible to store blood for a week — a huge breakthrough for doctors treating wounded soldiers in World War II.



That’s how many people died last week in avalanches in the US, setting a tragic and unusual record.


“It is very sad where we are as a country, but we will continue to fight to save our country from this wannabe dictator.”

Velina Élysées Charlier, a Haitian activist, who is one of many criticizing Haitian President Jovenel Moise and calling for his removal. Moise was due to step down over the weekend in line with constitutional term limits, but Moise has argued he gets another year in office due to a time technicality. People are now calling on the Haitian Supreme Court to install a transitional government and force Moise to leave.


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Everyone deserves something that makes them as happy as this drum makes this bird. (Click here to view.)

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