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    United Airlines reported Tuesday that higher revenue and cheaper fuel helped boost its fourth-quarter profit by nearly 40%, to $641 million. The airline's forecast of first-quarter earnings easily beat Wall Street expectations. It is not all clear sailing for United, however. The financial report came the same day that United shares tumbled on fear that a virus outbreak in China could hurt travel between the U.S. and Asia, a key market for the airline. Even before the outbreak, a closely watched measure of revenue per seat was dropping on United's flights to and from Asia. And Boeing again pushed back its timetable for return of the 737 Max, making it almost impossible for United to meet its goal of putting the plane in its schedule by early June. It is more likely that United will go through a second straight summer without the Max, forcing it to cancel thousands of flights and lose the revenue from those ticket sales. Rivals Southwest and American have disclosed how much the loss of their Max jets is costing them in pretax income. United has never given a figure, and declined again on Tuesday. The company has said only that it is talking to Boeing Co. about compensation. United executives were scheduled to discuss the financial results with analysts on Wednesday. U.S. airlines are enjoying strong demand for travel that has allowed them to sell more high-priced seats and amenities while limiting price hikes for average fares. United has been expanding by adding flights from its U.S. hubs such as Denver, Houston and San Francisco to smaller cities. United will change CEOs in May, with Oscar Munoz stepping down and being replaced by Scott Kirby, the company’s president since mid-2016. For the fourth quarter, United said profit excluding what the company deemed non-repeating items was $2.67 per share. That was 3 cents better than the average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue rose 4% to $10.89 billion, in line with analysts' forecasts. United added passenger-carrying capacity despite the loss of its Max jets, and revenue grew about twice as fast as operating expenses. There, labor costs rose 6%, but United's fuel spending dropped more than 5% as fuel prices fell from the same period in 2018. Passenger revenue per mile for each seat, an indication of pricing power, rose nearly 1%, in line with United's forecast of three months ago. The airline predicted that same figure would be flat to up 2% in the January-through-March quarter. United forecast adjusted earnings of 75 cents to $1.25 per share in the first quarter. Analysts are expecting 72 cents per share. Shares of Chicago-based United Airlines Holdings Inc. fell $3.91, or 4.4%, to close Tuesday at $85.79. They were down 64 cents in late trading.
  • Netflix is holding its ground in the streaming wars, passing its first big test since Apple and Disney launched rival services. The company added 8.8 million worldwide subscribers during its fourth quarter, surpassing expectations at a time when it faces heated competition. Netflix had said it expected to add 7.6 million subscribers, and analysts thought the service would fare even better. The increase pales slightly next to the 8.9 million subscribers the service added in the fourth quarter of 2018. The stock dropped about 2.5% immediately in after-hours trading, likely due to a cautious forecast for the first quarter. But shares rebounded and later traded up more than 2%. The company — a pioneer in producing streaming media and binge-worthy shows — now boasts more than 167 million subscribers worldwide, bolstered by a list of well-received movies and shows released late last year. That includes the fantasy show “The Witcher” and Oscar nominees “The Irishman” and “Marriage Story.” The boost helps reaffirm Netflix’s strong standing in the increasingly crowded world of video streaming. The fourth quarter was an important milestone for Netflix, as it was marked its first head-to-head competition with Apple’s $5-per-month streaming service and Disney’s instantly popular $7-a-month option. Still, it’s unlikely to be a smooth road for Netflix. NBC, HBO and startup Quibi are all planning to launch new streaming services soon. Two big questions loom: How much are consumers willing to pay for each video streaming option? And how many will they pay for before reaching subscription fatigue? Netflix CEO Reed Hastings acknowledged the increased competition in a call following earnings, but said he believes the services are mostly capturing new viewers who are transitioning from traditional TV watching. 'It takes away a little bit from us,” he said of the Disney Plus launch. “But again, most of the growth in the future is coming out of linear TV.” Netflix has one major advantage over competitors: it has been collecting data on the shows viewers crave for years. “Netflix's scale allows it to reach mass audiences, which makes it easier for them to create hits when compared to newcomers to the market,' EMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom said. Netflix’s most popular plan costs $13 a month, far more than competitors from Disney, Apple and Quibi. But its price is comparable to HBO Now, and it boasts one of the largest libraries of TV shows and movies, not to mention regularly updated original shows. Hastings reiterated that Netflix isn't interested in introducing ads. Noting that the digital advertising market is dominated by companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook, he said, “there's not easy money there.” It's also less controversial to avoid digital advertising and the scrutiny around companies making customers' personal information that comes with it, he said. In its quarterly letter to shareholders, Netflix included a chart of Google search trends that showed people searching more often for “The Witcher” than for competing shows including “The Mandalorian,” “The Morning Show” and “Jack Ryan,” from Disney, Apple and Amazon, respectively. In the U.S., Netflix added 420,000 subscribers, below its own estimates. Growth in its home country has been slowing in the last year, partly because most people in the U.S. who want Netflix already subscribe. The company reported profit of $587 million on revenue of $5.47 billion, exceeding expectations. Netflix said it expects to add 7 million subscribers during the first three months of this year, well below the 9.6 million subscribers it added in the first quarter last year. — Technology writer Michael Liedtke contribued to this report.
  • Shares of the three U.S. airlines that fly to China fell on Tuesday as fear grew about a virus that authorities say has killed six people and sickened 300 more. The United States reported its first case, a Washington state resident who returned last week from China and was hospitalized in good condition. Investors worried that the virus could spread beyond Asia, like the SARS outbreak in 2002, which hurt travel between the U.S. and Asia. In afternoon trading, shares of Hawaiian Airlines' parent fell 5.8%, United Airlines dropped 4.3%, American Airlines lost 3.9%, and Delta declined 3%. Other stocks in the travel sector also took a hit Tuesday, including hotel chains like Marriott, which fell 4%. Hilton was down 2.8% and Wyndham slipped 1.3%. Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean Cruises slid 4.3%. “We’re obviously watching it carefully, it’s still way too early to talk about,' Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson told CNBC Tuesday. “I think the Chinese authorities have got to make sure they understand what’s going on and we’ll have to watch and see what we learn from it.” The outbreak is believed to have started in Wuhan in central China. None of the U.S. airlines fly to Wuhan, but their Chinese partner airlines do, and some passengers transfer from Chinese carriers to American ones. Fear about the virus increased just as millions of Chinese prepared to travel for the lunar New Year holiday, which starts Saturday. Cases have also been confirmed in Japan, South Korea and Thailand. Last week, U.S. health officials began screening passengers from Wuhan at New York's Kennedy airport, Los Angeles International and the San Francisco airport. Officials say they will expand the screening to Chicago's O'Hare and the Atlanta's airport, and require all U.S.-bound travelers who begin their trips in Wuhan to go to one of those five airports. “There is a legitimate threat to travel,” said Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst in San Francisco. “It’s small now, but with the potential to become much larger with just some innocuous event such as an undetected passenger getting through (health) screening at an arrival airport like San Francisco International, Kennedy or LAX.” Harteveldt said the situation also could become worse for airlines if companies start to restrict travel to China. Some of the airline stocks recovered lost ground as the day went on. Delta fell 5.8% before regaining some of the loss. “Delta being down 5% seems to be an overreaction,” said Joseph DeNardi, an airline analyst for Stifel Nicolaus. “I don’t think Delta’s business is worth 5% less knowing what we know now.” In 2002 and 2003, while U.S. airlines were still reeling from the 9/11 terror attacks, the SARS outbreak hurt their international business. Harteveldt recalled a trip he made back then to Tokyo. “Health workers in hazmat suits came on board and took people’s temperatures before they could disembark,” he said. “It was quite frightening.” Chinese authorities confirmed that the virus can spread from one person to another, not just from animals to humans. So far, however, the virus appears to be less dangerous and infectious than SARS, which also started in China and killed more than 700 people.
  • Boeing said Tuesday that it doesn't expect federal regulators to approve its changes to the grounded 737 Max until this summer, several months longer than the company was saying just a few weeks ago. That timetable — the latest of several delays in the plane's approval process — will create more headaches for airlines by pushing the Max's return further into the peak summer travel season or possibly beyond it. Boeing shares fell nearly 6% at one point, to a 52-week low, and closed down 3.4%. The company said regulators will decide when the Max flies again but that it periodically gives airlines and suppliers its best estimate of when that will happen. “This updated estimate is informed by our experience to date with the certification process,” Boeing said in a statement. “It is subject to our ongoing attempts to address known schedule risks and further developments that may arise in connection with the certification process. It also accounts for the rigorous scrutiny that regulatory authorities are rightly applying at every step of their review” of the plane’s flight controls and pilot-training requirements. The latest timetable is based on work remaining to be done before the Federal Aviation Administration will allow the Max back in the sky including work on flight-control computers, according to two people familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details that Boeing did not provide. The FAA said in a statement that it is conducting “a thorough, deliberate process” to make sure that Boeing’s changes to the Max meet certification standards. The agency said, as it has for months, that it has no timetable for completing its review. The three U.S. airlines that own Maxes — Southwest, American and United — have scrubbed the plane from their schedules until early June. It is possible, however, that they won't use the planes until much later, possibly after the busy summer travel season is over. Even after the FAA certifies Boeing's work, airlines will need several more weeks to prepare their grounded planes and train pilots. After long insisting that training could be done quickly on tablets, Boeing recently reversed course and recommended that pilots go through sessions on flight simulators before operating the plane, adding more time to airline preparations. Shortly after the first Max crash in October 2018 in Indonesia, Boeing began updating software that investigators say was triggered by a faulty sensor and pushed the plane’s nose down. Then in March 2019, another Max crashed in Ethiopia. In all, 346 people died. Boeing has made the software less powerful and tied it to two sensors instead of one. That work was done months ago, but the company is still working on changes to flight-control computers and pilot-training requirements. Another software issue was discovered last week, although one of the people familiar with the situation said it would not cause more delay in the plane's return. News of the latest delay in Boeing's timing was first reported by CNBC. Shares of Chicago-based Boeing Co. fell $10.87 to close at $313.28. Trading was briefly halted before the company issued its announcement about the Max.
  • A federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced a Brazilian broadcast executive to two years of probation Tuesday for acting as an intermediary in a scheme to exchange bribes for the media rights to South American soccer tournaments. Jose Margulies participated in a “massive worldwide conspiracy” between 1991 and 2015 in which he facilitated $80 million in bribes to soccer officials, said Judge Pamela K. Chen, referring to a sprawling prosecution involving more than 40 people and entities in the world of global soccer who faced criminal charges. “This is a serious crime,' the judge said, adding the sport is still recovering from the FIFA scandal that “destroyed the credibility of professional soccer.” The judge also barred Margulies, 80, from working in sports, television and marketing. He has already paid more than $9 million in forfeiture to the government. Prosecutors said Margulies' cooperated from an early stage in the case and pleaded guilty even though he had been immune from extradition living in Brazil. “He didn't have to face justice in the United States,” defense attorney Andres Rivero said. Margulies told Chen he had only himself to blame for bringing shame to his family and the sport he loved. “I knew that what I was doing was wrong,” he said, speaking through a Spanish interpreter. Prosecutors said Margulies facilitated bribes between sports marketing executives and various soccer officials in exchange for the awarding of contracts for the media and marketing rights to Latin American tournaments. The government also charged high-ranking FIFA officials and officials of other soccer governing bodies operating under the FIFA umbrella.
  • Portuguese bank EuroBic said it will stop doing business with companies and people linked to its main shareholder Isabel dos Santos after an investigation accused the billionaire daughter of Angola’s former ruler of murky dealings. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists this week accused Dos Santos, who is reputed to be Africa's richest woman, of using “unscrupulous deals” to build her fortune, estimated at $2 billion. She has denied any wrongdoing. The allegations were based on more than 715,000 confidential financial and business records provided by the Platform to Protect Whistleblowers in Africa, an advocacy group based in Paris, as well as hundreds of interviews. The cache of documents is known as Luanda Leaks, named for Angola's capital, Luanda. Dos Santos owns a 42.5% share of EuroBic, based in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, and is believed to have used it to move funds internationally. The bank has assets of around 7.8 billion euros ($8.6 billion). EuroBic's board said in a statement late Monday it is cutting ties with Dos Santos' companies and people close to her and is undertaking an immediate audit. It said the moves are due to “the public perception that this bank might not be complying with the rules because Isabel dos Santos is one of its principal shareholders.” Portugal’s central bank said it wants to review EuroBic’s financial operations, including its procedures to prevent money-laundering. The Bank of Portugal said it had been closely monitoring EuroBic's operations in recent years. Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel's father, ruled oil- and diamond-rich Angola for 38 years until 2017. Human rights groups have long accused the former president of stealing vast amounts of state money during his rule. Before stepping down, he appointed his daughter head of the state oil company, Sonangol. Last December, a Luanda court froze Isabel dos Santos' major assets, which include banks and a telecom company. The government says it is trying to recover $1.1 billion it says the country is owed by Dos Santos, her husband and a close associate of the couple. Angola's minister for economic coordination, Manuel Jose Nunes Junior, said in a speech at Chatham House in London on Tuesday that his country is trying to crack down on corruption. “After a six-month grace period, when assets taken illegally from (Angola) could have been brought back without any penalties, the state is now (taking) all judicial, legal and diplomatic and other measures available to ensure the repatriation of those resources and ensure the recovery of assets to national soil,” he said. Dos Santos says the legal action against her is a “witch hunt” launched by officials who replaced her father. ___ Associated Press journalist Andrew Drake contributed to this report from London.
  • Krystal Co., the Georgia-based restaurant chain known for tiny hamburgers and late-night service across the Southeast, has filed for bankruptcy, but said Tuesday that all of its locations would remain open. Federal court documents showed Krystal sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Atlanta on Sunday. The company said it owed between $50 million and $100 million to food suppliers, equipment companies and others. Krystal has about 300 restaurants in 10 states, 182 of which employ 4,890 people and are operated by the company, restructuring officer Jonathan M. Tibus said in a court filing. Another 116 are run by franchisees, he said. The company previously closed more than 40 restaurants, including 13 that shut down in December, over the past year, according to court documents. Shifting consumer tastes, growing costs, tight labor markets and the growth of online food ordering all contributed to the company's financial problems, Tibus said. “The actions we are taking are intended to enable Krystal to establish a stronger business for the future and to achieve a restructuring in a fast and efficient manner,” the company said in a statement Tuesday. In November, Krystal announced the hiring of two new senior executives, chief operating officer Tim Ward and chief financial officer Bruce Vermilyea, during what it called a revitalization plan. Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in 1932 during the depths of the Great Depression, Krystal is best known for little, square hamburgers served with steamed buns and chopped onions. The company, which calls itself the South’s oldest fast-food chain, moved its headquarters to metro Atlanta in 2013. Many of its restaurants are open 24 hours a day or until the early morning hours, making Krystal a favorite stop for many after a night of partying. A huge Krystal located on Bourbon Street in New Orleans often has long lines after midnight. Krystal was founded by Rody Davenport Jr. and Glenn Sherrill about 11 years after White Castle opened in the Midwest selling a nearly identical type of small hamburger. Krystal said in a court document that it has restaurants in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin formed his new Cabinet Tuesday, replacing many of its members but keeping his foreign, defense and finance ministers in place. The Cabinet shake-up comes as Putin has launched a sweeping constitutional reform that is widely seen as an attempt to secure his grip on power well after his current term ends in 2024. Immediately after announcing the proposed changes last week, Putin fired Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who had the job for eight years, and named tax chief Mikhail Mishustin to succeed him. On Tuesday, Putin issued a decree outlining the structure of the new Cabinet and named its members. He appointed his economic adviser Andrei Belousov as first deputy prime minister and named eight deputy prime ministers, including some new names, such as Dmitry Chernyshenko who was the head of the organizing committee for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov have retained their jobs. Siluanov, however, was stripped of his additional role of first deputy prime minister, which he had in the old Cabinet. Other leading figures in the previous Cabinet, including Energy Minister Alexander Novak, Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev and Emergencies Minister Yevgeny Zinichev, also stayed. Medvedev's longtime associate, Alexander Konovalov, lost the job of justice minister, and Konstantin Chuikchenko, who was chief of staff in the old Cabinet, was moved to succeed him. Others who lost their jobs include Economics Minister Maxim Oreshkin, Sports Minister Pavel Kolobkov, Health Minister Veronika Skvortsova and Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky. Kolobkov was replaced with Oleg Matytsin, who served as president of the International University Sports Federation, a body which often works closely with Olympic sports bodies. His connections could be important as Russia appeals against a ban on its name and flag at events like the Olympics over doping-related issues. Along with the Cabinet members, Putin also dismissed Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and replaced him with Igor Krasnov. Putin met with members of the new Cabinet on Tuesday, hailing it as “well-balanced.' “The most important tasks are to increase the well-being of our people and to strengthen our state and its global standing,” he said. Putin, 67, has been in power for more than 20 years, longer than any other Russian or Soviet leader since Josef Stalin, who led from 1924 until his death in 1953. Under the current constitution, Putin must step down as president when his current term ends in 2024, and the set of constitutional changes he proposed last week are widely seen as part of his efforts to continue calling the shots. Putin's proposes that parliament will have a broader say over Cabinet appointments, but maintain and even strengthen the powers of the presidency. Putin also suggested that the constitution must specify the authority of the State Council, an advisory body that consists of regional governors and top federal officials. The Kremlin's constitutional bill submitted to parliament empowers the council to “determine the main directions of home and foreign policy,” its specific authority yet to be spelled out in a separate law. It remains unclear what position Putin may take to continue calling the shots, but observers say that the proposed changes could allow him to stay in charge by shifting into the position of the State Council's head. The lower house quickly scheduled the first of three required readings of the constitutional bill for Thursday. Putin said that the constitutional changes need to be approved by the entire nation, but it wasn't immediately clear how such a vote would be organized. Russia's leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny, and other Kremlin foes have denounced Putin's move as an attempt to secure his rule for life, but the proposals didn't immediately trigger any major protest. The public response was muted by the vagueness of Putin's constitutional changes, and the dismissal of the unpopular Medvedev also helped divert attention from the suggested amendments. ___ James Ellingworth in Dusseldorf, Germany, contributed to this report.
  • One of the five contenders to lead Britain’s main opposition Labour Party dropped out of the race on Tuesday after struggling to build momentum behind her campaign. Lawmaker Jess Phillips said in a video message that the party needed “a candidate that can unite all parts of our movement - the union movement, the members, the elected representatives.” Phillips, who has been a member of Parliament since 2010, added that “at this time, that person isn’t me.” Four contenders remain in the race to lead the left-of-center party as as it tries to rebuild support and regain power after last month's electoral drubbing. Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry are vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down after Labour suffered its worst election result since 1935 in Britain's Dec. 12 election. Labour is one of Britain’s two dominant political parties, but hasn’t won a national election since Tony Blair's third consecutive victory in 2005. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won 365 of the 650 House of Commons seats in the Dec. 12 election, while Labour took 203, its worst total since 1935. The party is enmeshed in a blame game for the defeat, with some members accusing the socialist Corbyn of veering too far to the left and making lavish spending promises that voters regarded as unrealistic. Labour is also agonizing over its Brexit stance — which tried unsuccessfully to satisfy voters who wanted to leave the European Union as well as those who wished to remain — and continuing claims of anti-Semitism in party ranks. Candidates must secure support from fellow lawmakers, local Labour associations and trade unions. Starmer is the current front-runner after securing backing from almost 90 legislators and endorsement by key unions. Those who make the cut will be put to a postal vote of the party’s half-million members and registered supporters between Feb. 21 and April 2. The winner will be announced on April 4. ___ Follow AP’s full coverage of Brexit and British politics at https://www.apnews.com/Brexit
  • The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to consider a fast-track review of a lawsuit that threatens the Obama-era health care law, making it highly unlikely that the justices would decide the case before the 2020 election. The court denied a request by 20 mainly Democratic states and the Democratic-led House of Representatives to decide quickly on a lower-court ruling that declared part of the statute unconstitutional and cast a cloud over the rest. Defenders of the Affordable Care Act argued that the issues raised by the case are too important to let the litigation drag on for months or years in lower courts, and that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans erred when it struck down the health law's now toothless requirement that Americans have health insurance. The justices did not comment on their order. They will consider the appeal on their normal timetable and could decide in the coming months whether to take up the case. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading the states' appeal, said he hopes the court eventually agrees to hear the case. “The health and wellbeing of millions of our loved ones who rely on the ACA for healthcare is too important,' Becerra said on Twitter.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A lot of listeners to News 96.5 WDBO have been calling the newsroom and using the open mic feature in our app to ask about smoke all over Orange and southern Seminole County on Tuesday afternoon. According to the St. Johns River Water Management District, there’s a 1400 acre prescribed burn happening within the Lake Apopka North Shore, west of Lake Level Canal road.   “The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems,” SJRWMD said. Orange County Fire and Rescue tweeted there are also two burns on the east side of Orange County at 528 and 520, as well as 528 and Dallas. (App users tap here to see tweet) Our meteorologist George Waldenberger says the winds today are driving the smoke over Orlando. (App users tap here to see tweet) Waldenberger later tweeted an aerial view of the smoke: (Tweet)
  • Lucky's Market will close all but ONE of its stores in Florida. It was confirmed by the Sun Sentinel Tuesday morning.  All five stores in Central Florida will close including the Colonial Landing shop that opened 8 months ago.  The only location to survive will be the store in Melbourne.  After an unfavorable portfolio review last year, Kroger pulled out its investment.  Lucky’s hasn’t made a public statement yet but the closures would effect 2,500 employees.
  • A California mother of two died during childbirth last week while acting as a surrogate for another family, according to multiple reports. Community members came together to support the family of Michelle Reaves after she died Thursday, according to KGTV and a GoFundMe campaign set up to support Reaves’ family. Jamie Herwehe, a close family friend of Reaves', launched the GoFundMe campaign last week, with donations slated to go toward covering funeral costs and supporting Reaves’ husband and children, CNN reported. “For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Michelle, she will always be known for the love she had for her family,” Herwehe wrote on the campaign page. “Michelle has the best, most sarcastic, funny personality and always had you laughing.” Herwehe said Reaves was acting for the second time as a surrogate for a family when 'one complication led to the next.' She died during childbirth, but Herwehe said the baby she was carrying survived. 'I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Chris and her two babies are going through,' Herwehe wrote. 'No one deserves to lose their mama so young or the mother of their children.' Reaves was survived by her husband and their children, Gage and Monroe, Herwehe said.
  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.

Washington Insider

  • Facing opposition from within Republican ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented an amended rules proposal on Tuesday to govern the start of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, most significantly giving more time for House prosecutors and the President's lawyers to make their opening arguments. The changes came after a lunch meeting of GOP Senators, where Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and others expressed reservations about the idea of forcing each side to cram 24 hours of opening arguments into just two days. 'She and others raised concerns about the 24 hrs of opening statements in 2 days,' a spokeswoman for Collins told reporters. Along with that change, McConnell backed off a provision which would not allow evidence from the House impeachment investigation to be put in the record without a vote of the Senate. The changes were made as House prosecutors and the President's legal team made their first extended statements of the Trump impeachment trial. 'Why should this trial be any different than any other trial? The short answer is, it shouldn't,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he made the case that the Senate rules would not pass muster in a regular courtroom. 'This idea that we should ignore what has taken place over the last three years is outrageous,' said Jay Sekulow, the President's personal attorney, who joined White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in arguing against the impeachment charges. 'It's very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told,' Cipollone said, in one of the first direct jabs of the impeachment trial. “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” Cipollone added. While there were GOP differences on the rules package offered by Republican leaders, GOP Senators stuck together on the first substantive vote of the impeachment trial, defeating an effort by Democrats to subpoena certain materials from the White House. The first vote was 53-47 to block an amendment offered by the Democratic Leader, Sen. Schumer.  It was straight along party lines. A second vote along party lines blocked a call by Democrats to subpoena documents from the State Department. Opening arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday.