Shutdown, Nancy Pelosi, Apple: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. No deal.

With the partial government shutdown now in its 12th day — and with Democrats taking control of the House on Thursday — President Trump invited congressional leaders from both parties to a gathering in the Situation Room billed as a border security briefing.

The meeting yielded no agreement. It only served to highlight the gulf between the president, who has dug in on his demand for Congress to fund a border wall, his signature campaign promise, and Democrats, who have refused to do so.

Earlier, Mr. Trump rejected a plan that Vice President Mike Pence privately floated to Democrats last month, saying $2.5 billion for border security — rather than the $5.6 billion that the president has requested — was insufficient. He also rejected a compromise that would pair money for a wall with legislation to protect young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children. Above, at a cabinet meeting.

Among the services curtailed: a food program that fed 90,000 people last year.

Generations ago, tribes negotiated treaties with the U.S. government that guaranteed money for services like health care and education in exchange for huge swaths of territory. Above, at a New Year’s powwow in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

“The federal government owes us this,” said the chairman of one tribe. “We prepaid with millions of acres of land.”

Also, the Smithsonian Institution’s museums, along with many other federally funded tourist attractions, are closing because of the government shutdown.


3. Savvy legislator. Prolific fund-raiser. Colleague both feared and admired.

Nancy Pelosi is poised to reclaim her former title as speaker of the House.

She will be the first lawmaker in more than half a century to hold the office twice, making her the highest-ranking and most powerful elected woman in American political history. Our video team takes a look inside her leadership playbook.

Ms. Pelosi, above, is facing some self-imposed time constraints. To satisfy House Democrats who pressed for a younger generation of leaders, she has agreed to limit her term to four years. Some say that could weaken her, a notion she dismissed.

“I’m used to, shall we say, enthusiasms from all elements of the party,” she said. “I can roll with that.”


4. Women who worked for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign in 2016 say complaints of sexism and mistreatment were not addressed.

Discussions about sexual harassment, demeaning behavior and pay disparities in the campaign have circulated in recent weeks in emails, online comments and private discussions among former supporters.

Now, as the Vermont senator tries to build support for a second run at the White House, his perceived failure to address this issue has damaged his progressive credentials, delegates and nearly a dozen former staff members told us in interviews over the last month. Above, at a rally in Ames, Iowa.

The senator’s campaign committee said it had developed a new harassment policy and was reviewing pay disparity claims.


5. Apple cut its first-quarter revenue forecast, citing a steep drop in sales in China.

In a letter to shareholders, the company said it expected revenue of about $84 billion in the quarter that ended Dec. 29, down from a previous estimate of $89 billion to $93 billion.

The company’s announcement added to concerns about the ability of U.S. tech giants to navigate an increasingly uncertain economy and a continuing trade war with China. Above, a retail store in Beijing.

China has become Apple’s third-largest market in recent years, driven mostly by iPhone sales.

Separately, Wall Street stocks opened sharply lower but recovered after a rise in oil prices lifted shares of energy producers. And Tesla reported record quarterly production and deliveries — but also announced a price cut that sent shares nearly 7 percent lower.

6. The Army is rolling out a new recruiting strategy.

For decades, the Army has relied disproportionately on the South, where young people enlist at two to three times the rate of other regions.

But after falling 6,500 soldiers short of its nationwide recruiting goal in 2018, the Army is planning a big push in 22 left-leaning cities, like Chicago, San Francisco and Seattle, places where relatively few recruits have signed up. Above, in Seattle.

The Army’s head of recruiting wants to frame enlistment as a patriotic opportunity for public service, travel and adventure. “Come do your gap year in the Army,” he said. (Figuratively speaking, that is: Enlistees commit to serve for two to six years.)


7. President Xi Jinping urged unification with Taiwan and demanded greater progress in Beijing’s decades-long quest to win control of the disputed island.

Mr. Xi gave Taiwan two options: He could use military force if the self-ruled territory grasped for independence, or he could offer a “one country, two systems” deal, similar to the framework used in Hong Kong. But the president didn’t lay down a timetable for either path.

Only 3 percent of Taiwan’s population favors immediate unification with China, according to a recent survey. Above, in Taipei, Taiwan.

Separately, our New New World columnist takes a look at companies in China where thousands of low-wage workers help the government monitor and scrub content online.


8. California is feeling the effects of a marijuana glut.

When the state legalized recreational marijuana a year ago, supporters predicted soaring sales and tax revenue. But instead, sales have fallen since 2017, when only medical marijuana was legal.

The industry is hampered by disputes over regulations and taxes, and angry residents who don’t want cannabis grown in their neighborhoods. Above, in Berkeley, Calif.

At the same time, a black market continues to thrive. California’s surplus — equal to 13 times Colorado’s total annual production — is being smuggled eastward to other states where the wholesale price is much higher.


9. A new crop of animal film stars is emerging, our culture critic writes.

They don’t talk like humans. They don’t shake hands or roll over. Instead they are captured somewhat naturalistically.

The cat Towne, above, spends much of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” gazing languidly from a couch. In “Roma,” a family dog barks incessantly. And in “Widows,” a fluffy white terrier named Olivia pants calmly as violent criminals creep around her.

10. Finally, does a matched pair of socks — your own or someone else’s — give you joy?

Marie Kondo, above, the Japanese tidying guru whose 2014 book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has sold over 8.5 million copies sold in over 40 languages, now has a reality TV show.

Have a neat evening.

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