Here are notes about top 3 stories, as per 1/24/19 New York Times news report by Chris Standford and Inyoung Kang:
Opposition leader claims control of Venezuela
“Juan Guaidó, cheered on by tens of thousands of demonstrators, declared himself Venezuela’s legitimate president on Wednesday, and the U.S., Canada and many Latin American nations recognized his leadership.”
“It’s the biggest direct challenge yet to the authoritarian government of President Nicolás Maduro, whose re-election last year was widely regarded as rigged. Mr. Maduro has given American diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, but Washington said it would ignore the deadline.”
“Looking ahead: The challenge to Mr. Maduro’s authority could lead to violent confrontations, and much will depend on how the military responds.”
For more details about crisis in Venezuela, see: More NYT coverage.
Update: Officials from the UK, Canada and the US are backing the presidency of Juan Guaidó, but the countries of Cuba and Mexico are backing the incumbent President Nicolás Maduro who currently has the support of the Venezuelan military.
The Venezuelan military needs to be persuaded to change alliances.
President Trump delays his State of the Union speech/ (Shutdown News)
“The president announced on Wednesday (1/23/19) that he would deliver his annual address after the government shutdown ends, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi said he wasn’t welcome to do so in the House while the government was partly closed.”
“House Democrats have said they are prepared to roughly double the amount of money they had previously offered for border security, but not for a border wall and not until the government reopens.”
“Explainer: We answered some common questions about the State of the Union address, including when and where it’s usually delivered.”
“What’s next: The Senate plans to vote (1/24/19) on 2 competing proposals to end the shutdown, although neither is expected to pass. It now seems all but certain that 800,000 federal employees will miss another paycheck on (1/25/19).”
“Another angle: The unions representing 130,000 aviation workers called the shutdown an “unprecedented” and “unconscionable” safety threat.”
Michael Cohen suspends congressional testimony
“President Trump’s former lawyer has indefinitely postponed an appearance before Congress next month because of verbal attacks on his family, his lawyer said.”
“Mr. Cohen, who was sentenced last month to 3 years in prison for lying to Congress and other crimes, had originally pledged to give “a full and credible account” of his work for Mr. Trump. The president said Mr. Cohen was “threatened by the truth.”
“What’s next: House Democrats must now decide whether to force Mr. Cohen to testify or walk away from what promised to be a blockbuster hearing.”
Update: CNN was the first media outlet to report the news, that the president’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has been subpoenaed to testify in mid-February 2019 by the US Senate Intelligence Committee before he has to report to federal prison in March.
Here’s what else is happening
“Florida bank shooting: Five people were killed in Sebring, a city about 80 miles south of Orlando, on Wednesday. A 21-year-old man was taken into custody.”
“Call for tech regulation: Leaders at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, highlighted a need for global oversight of a sector long led by the U.S.”
“El Chapo trial: The wife of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the Mexican drug kingpin known as El Chapo, was implicated in his notorious 2015 prison escape.”
“Media cuts: Buzzfeed plans to lay off about 200 employees, or roughly 15 percent of its work force.”