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A new Congress is sworn in; China’s economy slows down.
New year, new Congress
- The 116th Congress is here! Democrats now control the House of Representatives. There’s more racial diversity — and more women — in the legislative branch than ever before. [NYT / Catie Edmonson and Jasmine C. Lee]
- President Donald Trump should be getting nervous: Democrats now have subpoena power and can demand answers about all kinds of scandals and missteps in the Trump administration over the past two years, plus any more in the future. [Vox]
- The Energy and Commerce Committee’s first hearings will be on climate change, Obamacare, and the Trump administration’s family separation policy. [The Hill / Timothy Cama]
- And California Rep. Brad Sherman, wasting no time, is already planning to introduce articles of impeachment. But many Democrats are still leery of the subject, and the road to actually removing Trump from office is not exactly straightforward from here. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
- Nancy Pelosi was also reelected speaker of the House, making her only the second leader in history to reclaim the gavel after losing a majority. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]
- Her swearing-in included a historic moment in nominating speeches, when Rep. Hakeem Jeffries declared Democrats were “down with NDP” — Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi. [Felicia Sonmez / Twitter]
- In the Senate, Mitt Romney is a senator now, raising questions about whether he’ll back up his Twitter criticism of Trump with any action on the floor. [Washington Post / Dan Balz]
- And the government is still shut down — putting everything from scientific experiments to Native American food pantries at risk. [CNN / Dakin Andone]
Is China headed for a downturn?
- Many signals suggest China’s economy could be faltering — a development that would have big effects not only on the country’s 1.4 billion people but on companies around the world that have depended on the growing Chinese market’s demand for their products. [NYT / Alexandra Stevenson, Li Yuan, and Raymond Zhong]
- The latest sign: Apple blamed a slowing Chinese economy for hurting the company’s earnings, although Apple’s struggles in China could be more deeply rooted. [CNBC / Evelyn Cheng]
- But Apple wasn’t the first: Starbucks, Jaguar, and the luxury conglomerate LVMH have all run into trouble selling to Chinese consumers this year. [Washington Post / Gerry Shih]
- The trade war with the US is one factor weakening the Chinese economy, but changes to domestic banking policy are hurting economic growth as well. The question now is what impact Trump’s trade war will have. [CNN Business / Daniel Shane, Jethro Mullen, and David Goldman]
- The latest manifestation of the push for every aspect of our lives to be as Instagrammable as possible: very fancy, made-for-the-camera restaurant bathrooms. [Vox / Chavie Lieber]
- The New York Times’s editorial board examines the paper’s own contributions to the “crack baby” panic of the 1980s and ‘90s — when the media warned of a “damaged generation” in predictions that played into racist stereotypes, translated into punitive policies that still affect women and families, and turned out to be dramatically overstated. [NYT editorial board]
- China has successfully landed a probe on the far side of the moon — often misnamed the “dark” side (it’s no darker than the side we can see from Earth). [AP / Ken Moritsugu]
- There’s an all-time holy-grail-level panacea to your (likely) tragic lack of perfect skin: Have you tried being rich? [Atlantic / Amanda Mull]
“I’m holding someone’s groin for 20 minutes, they tend to remember me and nobody else.” [Pete Schiavo, a.k.a. “the Groin Crusher,” whose job at a Philadelphia hospital is to compress patients’ femoral artery down for 20 to 40 minutes after surgery, to the Philadelphia Inquirer / Stephanie Farr]