5 things for February 9: Shutdown, White House, South Korea, Syria, immigration

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While you were sleeping, the federal government shut down again — but it’s on its way back. Let us explain. Everyone thought the $300 billion budget deal announced this week had solved the looming shutdown problem. But then Sen. Rand Paul stood up and complained about all that massive spending. And he talked for so long that he prevented the deal from passing by Thursday’s midnight deadline, triggering the shutdown (the second one in less than a month). But then, the Senate quickly OK’d the plan, and the House approved it at about 5:30 ET this morning. So, this quickie little shutdown will be over as soon as President Trump signs the bill.

    Rand Paul: I never wanted government shutdown

2. White House

    The White House is in full-blown damage-control mode as it deals with the scandal surrounding ex-staffer Rob Porter. Chief of staff John Kelly sent out a memo last night to White House staffers, saying that “we all take matters of domestic violence seriously.” But a lot of people are questioning if that’s really true because Kelly reportedly knew for months about the domestic violence allegations made against Porter by his two ex-wives, yet kept him around anyway. Is Kelly’s job on the line? Not likely, sources tell CNN, because the White House doesn’t exactly have a list of replacements handy right now.

      Porter’s ex-wife: I don’t think he’s changed

    3. South Korea

    The good Olympic vibes on the Korean Peninsula may yield a new breakthrough in relations between the North and South. There’s reportedly a “good chance” Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will invite South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the North. The invitation could come at a welcome luncheon on Saturday. And Moon could make the trip to the North “sometime this year.” If it happens, it would be the first time a South Korean President stepped foot in North Korea in a decade.

      Kim Jong Un’s sister arrives in South Korea

    4. Syria

    What a terribly violent week it’s been in Syria. It’s estimated more than 200 civilians have been killed since Monday because of Syrian airstrikes (backed by Russia) on Eastern Ghouta, a rebel-held area near Damascus. The airstrikes ramped up after a Russian plane was shot down over the weekend near Idlib. Activists say conditions in Eastern Ghouta, which has been surrounded by Syrian forces for more than four years, are rapidly deteriorating for the hundreds of thousands of people trapped there, who struggle with food and medicine shortages.

      CNN goes on patrol with US soldiers in Syria

    5. Immigration

    The Trump administration is looking at new rules that would make it harder for immigrants to get into the US or get green cards if they use certain public benefits, like Medicaid or Head Start. The plan, contained in a draft obtained by CNN, could lead to substantially higher numbers of immigrants being blocked from staying in America. A Homeland Security spokesman wouldn’t confirm the plan, saying only that the administration is concerned about saving taxpayer dollars. The proposal would still need to go through a formal comment period before it could be implemented.

      Sen. Graham: We don’t need $25B for a wall


    OPENING CEREMONY: About 35,000 fans will fill the Olympic stadium as the torch is lit this morning on the 23rd Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The moment everyone’s waiting for will be the entrance of the North and South Korean teams, marching under the Korean Unification Flag.
    SPORTING ACTION: No gold medals can be won today, but American Nathan Chen, a favorite to claim gold in the men’s individual figure skating competition, takes to the ice. There’s also the opening round of mixed doubles curling and the qualification rounds of the men’s and women’s moguls in freestyle skiing.

      The Koreas: Divided by war, united by a flag?


    That’s how many points the Dow dropped yesterday, the second-worst point drop in history (see: Monday). The stock market is officially in correction territory now, off 10% from its record high just two weeks ago.

      Dow plunges 1,000 points, sinks into correction


    People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.
    Not quite ‘Armageddon’
    An asteroid will fly really close to Earth today — about 39,000 miles away — but we won’t need Bruce Willis to nuke it, like in the movies.
    Games people play
    Some of the more obscure Winter Olympic sports get underway today. Be an expert in them in less than five minutes. Guaranteed!
    What a deal
    The San Francisco 49ers just signed Jimmy Garoppolo to the biggest deal in NFL history, and the rest of the league’s QBs are on the phone with their agents.
    Ginger time
    We’re getting new emojis this year, including a partying face and a “cold” face, but the buzz is all about the one for redheads.


    The podcast we’re listening to next …
    “Patty Has a Gun: The Life and Crimes of Patricia Hearst.” It’s one of America’s most bizarre crimes, and CNN’s Brian Stelter and Jeffrey Toobin are revisiting the case’s epic details. For more on the saga, don’t miss CNN’s docuseries, “The Radical Story of Patty Hearst,” premiering Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.


    ‘These men think they are untouchable, but times are changing.’
    Model Kate Upton, opening up about her harassment allegations against Guess co-founder Paul Marciano


    Actor John Mahoney, who died this week at 77, was best known for his role in what show?
    A. “That ’70s Show”
    B. “Frasier”
    C. “I Love Lucy”
    D. “The Twilight Zone”
    Play Total Recall: The CNN news quiz to see if you’re right.


    The walking LEGOs
    LEGOs and zombies? Sounds like a perfect way to kick off the weekend. (Click to view.)

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