“Never believe anyone who tells you that you don’t deserve what you want.”
🇺🇸🇨🇳 The U.S. & China
President Biden said he spoke “for two hours straight” with Chinese President Xi Jinping late Wednesday in their first conversation since Biden took office.
💬 Relevant Quote:
“I spoke today with President Xi to offer good wishes to the Chinese people for Lunar New Year. I also shared concerns about Beijing’s economic practices, human rights abuses, and coercion of Taiwan. I told him I will work with China when it benefits the American people.”
–President Biden on Twitter (Read the full White House statement)
On the Other Side…
During Wednesday evening’s call with Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping reiterated Beijing’s view that “cooperation is the only correct choice for both sides,” according to a readout from state media.
Xi reportedly said the U.S. and China should work together on issues like the global pandemic, economic recovery, and regional stability.
“China and the U.S. will have different views on certain issues and the key is to respect each other, treat each other equally, and to manage and deal with the issues in a constructive manner,” Mr. Xi was quoted as saying.
Biden’s China plan faces biggest threat from GOP leaders
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❄️ Winter Storm Hits U.S.
A winter storm dropped ice and snow yesterday along a 1,500-mile stretch of land in the central U.S. reaching as far south as Texas.
In Fort Worth, TX, at least six people were killed and 65 injured as slick and icy roads led to a chain-reaction accident involving 133 vehicles.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency yesterday after the ice storm caused power outages for tens of thousands of residents. More than 155k customers were without power Thursday night across Texas, Kentucky, and West Virginia.
More: Close to 20M Americans throughout the country’s midsection can expect to be impacted by winter weather in the coming days.
⚖️ Impeachment Day Three
House impeachment managers concluded their arguments in the Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump yesterday, laying out the case that he incited the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. (Full video – 4hr 24 min)
Trump’s defense team will take the Senate floor at noon ET today to present their arguments, which they said will likely take “three to four hours.”
More: Read the closing statementfrom Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the lead House impeachment manager.
The Congressional Budget Office released a report yesterday predicting a federal deficit of $2.26T for the 2021 fiscal year (ending September 30) – if accurate, this would place the U.S. debt at ~102% of GDP. While the estimate is nearly $900B less than last year’s $3.13T deficit, it would rank as the second-highest annual deficit since 1945. (Note: The estimate does not include the proposed $1.9T COVID relief bill.)
More: If current laws governing taxes and spending generally remain unchanged, the report predicts the federal deficit will drop to around $900B in 2024 then begin climbing to ~$2T by 2031.
✏️ Debt is the total amount of money owed; Deficit is the annual difference between government spending and revenue; GDP is the market value of all finished goods and services made within a country in a given year.
📣 The U.S. signed deals for 200M more doses of Moderna and Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine (100M each), bringing the U.S. total to 600M.
🇨🇳🇬🇧 Chinese regulators banned BBC World News yesterday in a move widely seen as retaliation for the UK banning Chinese state-owned CGTV last week. The British broadcaster also recently published a graphic exposé detailing China’s treatment of women in Xinjiang’s internment camps housing millions of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
💳 Chomping at the Bit(coin)
Bank of New York Mellon, America’s oldest bank, announced plans to hold, transfer and issue bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on behalf of its asset-management clients. The move comes one day after Mastercard said it is preparing to support cryptocurrencies directly on its network later this year.
More: Mastercard in 2019 said it will only partner with cryptocurrencies that meet its list of principles, which “many of today’s 2,600 digital currencies today [sic] fail to do.”
Even More: Bitcoin hit a record high of over $48K after BNY Mellon’s announcement early Thursday, according to data from Coindesk.
🛢️ Oil Change
Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil and gas producer, announced it will reduce oil production, signaling an end to the company’s decades-long strategy focused on growing its oil business. Shell said its oil production peaked in 2019, and it expects output to gradually decline 1-2% annually going forward.
More: The company plans to cut its production of traditional fuels (e.g., diesel and gas) by 55% in the next decade, while simultaneously doubling the amount of electricity it sells and installing 440k new EV charging ports.
🐝 Investors Swipe Right on Bumble
Bumble raised $2.2B in its initial public offering yesterday morning, pricing its shares at $43 with Goldman Sachs and Citigroup serving as the main underwriters. Bumble stock opened at $76 per share before closing at $70.31 (+64% over IPO price; company valued at ~$8B).
More: With the move, 31-year-old Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd became the youngest female founder to take a U.S. company public.
📈📉 In Other Market News…
Disneyposted its Q4 earnings report, revealing Disney+ has more than 94.9M subscribers – up from 86.6M in December.
Federal prosecutors are investigating whether market manipulation or other types of criminal misconduct were behind last month’s rapid rise of stocks like GameStop and AMC, per the WSJ.
🎭 Gaining Influence… SAG-AFTRA, the union representing U.S. film and television actors, voted in favor of extending membership to online influencers as well.
🥜 This is nuts… Kraft Heinz is selling its nuts business (which includes Planters) to Hormel (maker of Spam and Skippy) in a cash deal worth $3.35B.
How many veggies do you eat in a day? Whatever your answer, Chunk the Groundhog probably has it beat.
The furry animal became a YouTube sensation when one family’s hidden camera caught him chowing down on some fresh vegetables from their garden.
Paying it Forward
When 5-year-old Amor Coleman noticed that none of the books in her classroom had characters that looked like her, Amor started a diversity book drive that has already collected more than 300 new books for her Indianapolis elementary school.
Eager to impress your date this V-day? Toss out those store-bought chocolates and grab some Crisco All-Vegetable Shortening to upgrade your homemade cookie game. 😎
Cookies, pie crusts, and brownies, oh my!
Shortening can be used in a variety of ways. Add this pantry staple to your favorite baking recipes to give them that flaky, soft, buttery taste you love with 50% less saturated fat than butter.
Whether you start your Valentine’s Day off with homemade muffins or end the night with a slice of pie, Crisco is there to ensure your V-day is sweet.
👂🎨 Inner Ear… a new project from Google called ‘Play a Kandinsky’ allows users to experience synesthesia – the neurological condition that allowed famed painter Vassily Kandinsky to hear colors and shapes through sound.