Impeachment, China, Super Bowl: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. It was a breathtaking news day. Here’s the latest.

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Credit…Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

1. Republicans prevailed in blocking a key witness vote in the impeachment trial of President Trump, setting the stage for his likely acquittal.

The vote was 49 to 51. Two Republican senators voted for the measure.

Representative Adam Schiff, the lead House manager, implored senators in one last attempt to allow new evidence and witness testimony in the trial, or risk “long-lasting and harmful consequences long after this impeachment trial is over.”

The vote came hours after The Times reported new revelations from the forthcoming book by John Bolton, the former national security adviser, who said Mr. Trump had involved him in the Ukraine pressure campaign earlier than previously known.

A final vote on whether to convict the president could come as late as Wednesday — after the Iowa caucuses and the State of the Union address — though Democrats said they would not be held to that timeline.

The move came as major airlines — American, Delta and United — stopped flights to and from mainland China, some effective immediately. The U.S. government also imposed a 14-day quarantine on 195 people who were evacuated on Wednesday from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, to a California military base.

U.S. stock markets had their worst day in months, as investors raised alarms about the impact of the coronavirus on global growth.

More than 200 people have died, with about 9,800 infections confirmed. How bad will the virus get? Here are six key factors that will determine whether it can be contained.

3. And there were more travel restrictions: The Trump administration will almost completely block immigration from six countries as it extends its stringent travel ban.

Travel will be restricted with varying degrees of severity from Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Tanzania and Belarus. That brings the number of countries on the list to 13. The effect on Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, could be particularly severe. Seen above is Lagos, the country’s biggest city.

The administration has argued that the ban, originally enacted in 2017 to restrict travel from a group of Muslim-majority countries, is necessary to ensure that countries satisfy security requirements for travel into the U.S.


3. “This is the moment when the dawn breaks and the curtain goes up on a new act.”

That was Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a national address as Britain formally withdrew from the European Union after nearly half a century of membership. The move went into effect at 6 p.m. Eastern, or 11 p.m. local time, three years after a pivotal vote on the country’s future.

Very little is set to change immediately, but the moment carries enormous legal and symbolic weight. The mood was varied across the country — celebratory, somber and even a sense of relief. Here’s the day in photos.

6. A loophole in the F.D.A.’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes is helping teenagers to vape their preferred types of nicotine with disposable devices.

The policy allows mint, dessert and fruit flavors to continue to be sold in disposable e-cigarettes. Some of the devices even have a higher nicotine level than Juul, which has been widely blamed for igniting the youth vaping epidemic.

Separately, Altria reported a $4.1 billion write-down on its Juul Labs investment, which is now worth $4.2 billion — a significant drop from the $12.8 billion it paid in 2018. The tobacco giant said the devaluation was largely because of the growing number of legal cases pending against the e-cigarette maker.


7. The new frontier in medicine: TikTok.

Doctors have long taken to social media to share healthy messages or promote their work, but now the short-form video app is being used to counter medical misinformation to a surging audience.

“It’s a good way to give information to people who need it and meet them where they are,” said Dr. Danielle Jones, above.

It also poses a new set of challenges, including packing nuanced health lessons into short frames. Some physicians have also found themselves the targets of harassment.


8. “The blessed grace of our existence is we don’t know what happens one second from now.”

That was the actor Mandy Patinkin, who after nearly a decade on the Emmy-winning show “Homeland” sat down with his co-star Claire Danes to reflect on their characters’ relationship, spy camp and what their lives will look like without the espionage drama. The show begins its final season on Feb. 9.

In other TV news, “The Crown” will end after its fifth season. Imelda Staunton will play Queen Elizabeth II in the final installment of the Netflix series. The third season debuted last year.

10. And finally, new month, new books.

Tomorrow is February (yes, you made it through January!) and with it comes a slew of new titles our editors are excited about. There are fraught friendships, coming-of-age stories, Supreme Court drama and more. Here are 14 books to watch for in the coming weeks.

Our children’s books editor also recommends these picture books to set the imagination free.

Have a page-turning weekend.


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