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5 things to know for January 10: Iran, Brexit, infrastructure, China, Taiwan

Subaru owners, listen up: Nearly 500,000 vehicles are being recalled because of an issue with the airbags.

Here’s what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

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1. Iran

The US government now believes the Ukrainian International Airlines flight that crashed in Iran this week was brought down by two Iranian surface-to-air missiles. Officials also believe, with increasing certainty, that the attack was accidental. This is all based on analysis of data from satellites, radar and electronic sources routinely collected by US military and intelligence. A US official familiar with this intel says the US saw Iranian radar signals lock onto the jetliner before it came down. A video obtained by CNN also appears to show a missile being fired into the Tehran sky, striking an object. And Canada and the UK say they have intelligence that shows an Iranian missile was responsible. Iran, however, denies the whole thing. A spokesman for the Iranian government called the reports a “big lie” and said the plane’s black box will reveal the true cause of the crash. Initially, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization said it would not share the black box data recovered from the crash with the US or Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer. But now Ukraine and Boeing are invited to take part in the investigation. Follow live updates here.

2. Brexit

Brexit is a go. The House of Commons voted overwhelmingly in favor of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal, which means the path is clear for the country to leave the European Union later this month. Johnson’s deal isn’t too different from the one former UK PM Theresa May struggled to pass, but there is one big difference in how it was executed: You’ll remember that Johnson forced a snap election last month in which his Conservative party won a commanding 365 of the House’s 650 seats, making clearance of his Brexit plan all but inevitable. The UK will now split from the EU on January 31, but don’t expect it to be a clean break. Brexit will then enter its second phase, which involves forming a trade deal with the EU by the end of the year.

3. Infrastructure

The Trump administration plans to rewrite parts of the National Environmental Policy Act to make it easier to build major infrastructure, such as pipelines, mines, highways and water systems. The proposal would set time limits on environmental assessments and reduce the environmental impacts that would have to be considered before starting a project. President Trump and other supporters say the changes are needed to reduce delays in getting these projects done. However, it could mean new projects will more negatively impact the environment and worsen the climate crisis because agencies would no longer have to consider their “cumulative” effects. This could lead to legal pushback from environmental groups.

4. China

China has announced a ban on foreign teaching materials, like textbooks and classic novels, in almost all public primary and secondary schools. Instead, the country’s Ministry of Education says schools must feature materials that “insist on the guiding principles of Marxism and reflect the Chinese style.” (Some international high school settings with be exempt.) Experts say the move is an attempt to tighten China’s control over the thoughts and actions of its citizens. The timing of the announcement also coincides with political turning points in the region. The ongoing protests in Hong Kong are decidedly anti-Communist, and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has openly criticized the Communist Party leading up to Taiwan’s elections this weekend.

5. Taiwan

As we were saying, Taiwanese voters head to the polls tomorrow for a presidential election tinged with political anxiety. President Tsai is expected to win handily, even after 2018 midterm elections brought huge blows to her Democratic Progressive Party and forced her to step down as its head. But since then, a growing fear over relations with China has boosted Tsai’s popularity. Taiwanese people are concerned that China may eventually want to challenge the sovereignty of the self-governing island. The protests in Hong Kong are seen as a cautionary tale and a failure of the “one country, two systems” notion with Beijing. Tsai is staunchly against any such model and is openly critical of many Chinese policies.


The first Harry Potter flagship store is coming to New York City 

Muggles, remain calm. 

FX delays ‘Impeachment’ miniseries because of scheduling conflicts, not controversy

By “scheduling conflicts,” do you mean “the impeachment literally unfolding right now?”

We’ve found the origin of the mystery humming noises heard around the world 

And it’s actually fascinating: People were hearing the formation of an underwater volcano!

Madame Tussauds has already removed the Harry and Meghan statues from its Royal family display 

……… awkward.

Mark Zuckerberg’s 2020 resolution: No more annual goals 

This kinda feels like cheating when you’re already massively rich, successful and famous.


Terrible weekend weather 

A “triple threat” storm will affect much of the country, bringing severe storms and tornadoes, ice and snow, and flooding. Millions of people in the eastern half of the US could be affected, so keep an eye out.


Quiz time!

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its pick for this year’s Oscar host and it’s …

A. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

B. Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel

C. Tom Hanks

D. No one

Play “Total Recall,” CNN’s weekly news quiz, to see if you’re right.


The road to Iowa

CNN and the Des Moines Register will release their sixth Iowa caucus poll today, showing where the 2020 presidential candidates stand in the crucial early voting state.

The state of employment 

The December jobs report will also be released later this morning. It’s expected to be positive.



Just a $1.00 raise in minimum wage could reduce suicide rates, a 25-year observational study reveals. Even an increase this seemingly small could alleviate feelings of financial stress, which are sometimes a factor in suicidal thoughts. To get help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). 


“We believe that the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world. This is why it is important, on both a personal and a global level, that we keep the venues, the Olympic Village and the podium neutral and free from any form of political, religious or ethnic demonstrations.”

The International Olympic Committee’s Athletes’ Commission, which asked athletes at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo to refrain from political gestures like taking a knee. (Athletes can, however, use social media or interviews to express their views.)


Dance like no one but your potential mate is watching 

This clip of some birds of paradise dancing desperately for love, from the BBC’s “Planet Earth,” will never get old or less funny. (Click here to view.)



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