Basketball great Kobe Bryant and his teenage daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles. The former Los Angeles Laker star retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history. Bryant, who had four daughters with his wife, Vanessa, dedicated himself to boosting women’s sports in recent years, coaching and mentoring basketball players. “Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved. He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash.
2. The John Bolton Factor. President Donald Trump’s defense team goes to work in earnest Monday in the Senate impeachment trial. But John Bolton isn’t helping the defense. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the former national security advisor’s not-yet-published book says that President Trump personally told Mr. Bolton that $391 million in U.S. aid to Ukraine should be frozen until Ukrainian officials announced investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden. The president’s lawyers argued Saturday that there was no evidence that Trump made the U.S. aid contingent on Ukraine announcing an investigation. Mr. Bolton is one of the witnesses that Democrats would like to call in the Senate trial. On Saturday, a video of a 2018 meeting with GOP donors was released in which President Trump inquired how long Ukraine would be able to resist Russian aggression without U.S. assistance. “How long would they last in a fight with Russia?” Trump asks, moments before he calls for the firing of U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
3. Eilish is It. Singer Billie Eilish, who gave voice to young people struggling with depression on an album she made at home with her older brother, dominated the Grammy Awards Sunday. Not only was the 18-year-old the youngest person to win record, song and album of the year, and best new artist, Eilish is the first artist to sweep all four since Christopher Cross in 1981. Her triumph came on a night made somber by the death of former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant. It also ended a tumultuous week that included the ousted recording academy CEO accusing the Grammys nominations process of being rigged, and Diddy calling out the organization for not giving enough respect to R&B and hip-hop.
Monday, Jan. 27
Impeachment defense: President Trump’s attorney’s continue their rebuttal (begun Saturday) of the House manager’s arguments. They have up to 24 hours, but say they’ll use less. A Senate verdict could come this week.
Liberation anniversary: The 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is commemorated at the site of the former Nazi German death camp in Poland.
Tuesday, Jan. 28
Peace plan politics: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his political rival Benny Gantz are expected to meet with President Trump Monday in Washington before the unveiling of a Palestinian-Israeli peace plan on Tuesday. The Palestinians have not been consulted on the U.S. deal.
Wednesday, Jan. 29
An updated free trade deal: President Trump is expected to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The revised version of NAFTA includes new minimum wages ($16 per hour) for auto workers, requires 75% of a vehicle's parts to be made in one of the three countries (up from 62.5%), and more open trade for U.S. and Canadian dairy farmers.
No change: Given the current strength of the U.S. economy, the Federal Reserve is not expected to change interest rates. But we may see an economic outlook emerge from a news conference with Fed Chair Jerome Powell.
Sunday, Feb. 2
Sports & marketing extravaganza: Super Bowl LIV (No. 54) in Miami, Florida. The Kansas City Chiefs are playing in the Super Bowl for the first time in 50 years against the San Francisco 49ers, who have a chance to win their first NFL title in 25 years. The halftime show: Shakira and Jennifer Lopez. Game time: 6:30 p.m. E.T. National anthem: Demi Lovato.
Finders, keepers? Not if you’re George Condash.
On Tuesday, Mr. Condash spotted a metal box on the ground next to the ATM drive-through lane at a Michigan credit union. Video cameras show he stopped, got out and picked up the box. A green tag on the box read $40K (it actually held $27,000). Did he drive away with the money? No. Mr. Condash parked his car and carried the box inside and gave it to surprised tellers at the Wayne Westland Federal Credit Union. Apparently, a security guard had unloaded several cash boxes from ATM machines, but left this one behind. Did Mr. Condash consider keeping the money? "It's not mine and any honest person, I would hope, would take it back in,"he told WDIV-TV in Detroit.
Start your week with a recent video story that inspired Monitor readers:
In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story about a library that straddles the U.S.-Canadian border, and what it tells us about cross-cultural cooperation today.
Finally, check out the Monitor’s five selected stories from Friday's subscription-only Daily Edition:
- They’re local heroes. But do Australia’s unpaid ‘firies’ deserve more?
- Some Americans wonder if diversity can ‘be too much of a good thing’
- After a deadly year, some Mexicans ask AMLO: When is change coming?
- How protecting au pair rights could hinder cultural exchange
- Suppressed under apartheid, Namibia’s music survives in ‘Stolen Moments’
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