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1. “I’m not a racist.” With extraordinary directness, President Trump addressed a wave of outrage over reports that he made
vulgar remarks at a White House meeting.
Mr. Trump has denied that he made any crude comments, which have infuriated African nations, and a few Republican lawmakers defended him. But the controversy has consumed Washington’s attention even as a critical deadline approaches to avert a government shutdown.
To keep the government funded past Saturday, lawmakers will need to pass a stopgap spending measure by the end of the week, but some Democrats are pushing to oppose any bill that does not also include a deal on DACA, the program protecting young undocumented immigrants. But Mr. Trump’s incendiary comments have dimmed the possibility of reaching such a deal.
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2. North Korea will send a 140-piece orchestra to perform in the Winter Olympics in South Korea, beginning next month. It represents another step in the astonishing ratcheting down of tensions between the neighbors.

But North Korea’s nuclear program remains a concern. While American officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, say they are committed to finding a diplomatic resolution, they are not taking any chances.
Evening Briefing
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern. See all Morning, Weekend and Evening briefings together.
Trump, Haiti, London: Your Friday Evening Briefing
JAN 12
California, Walmart, Eric Greitens: Your Thursday Evening Briefing
JAN 11
7-Eleven, California, Tonya Harding: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

Bannon, North Korea, El Salvador: Your Tuesday Evening Briefing
El Salvador, Oprah Winfrey, Stephen K. Bannon: Your Evening Briefing
The U.S. military has begun conducting exercises across the country (above, in Fort Bragg, N.C.) — preparations for a war that military leaders hope never comes.
3. On Martin Luther King’s Birthday, Americans reflected on the legacy of the civil rights leader.
In interviews on Sunday, black Americans described how they’ve struggled to comprehend what is happening in a country that was so recently led by an African-American president. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement since my college days, and I’m not sure I’ve ever been more confused than I am right now,” said one 94-year-old activist.
Separately, a year after the huge mobilization for the Women’s March event in Washington, the group behind it has encouraged more protests, often at the grass-roots level. But a division over priorities and tactics has led to a split, and a new group, calling itself March On, is focused on winning elections, especially in red states.
4. “Clearly, nothing of this magnitude was imagined.”
Devastating mudslides have left at least 20 dead in Montecito, Calif., a wealthy coastal enclave near Santa Barbara that is home to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Jeff Bridges.
As search-and-rescue efforts continue, residents are starting to reckon with their loss — and weigh the risks of staying.
Recent wildfires denuded much of the landscape, leaving the terrain vulnerable to erosion, and unfortunately for Montecito, California’s rainy season is just beginning.
5. In Iran, people are not buying the official account of three protesters’ deaths. Officials say that two killed themselves in government custody, and that a third man was a terrorist who died in a clash with security forces.
But in a striking show of defiance, many Iranians are pointing to what they call glaring contradictions in the official account, and demanding further investigation into the prison deaths.
Perhaps most meaningfully, President Hassan Rouhani, above center, who has defended the right of peaceful protest, appeared to offer his support to those skeptical of the government’s claims.
6. Dolores O’Riordan, the lead singer of the Irish alternative rock group the Cranberries, has died in London at age 46.

Ms. O’Riordan’s vocal stylings, which showed a clear Celtic influence, were central to the appeal of the group, which had hits like “Zombie” and “Dreams.”
Fans offered tributes on social media. “She was part of my DNA, the soundtrack to my life,” one wrote.

7. The long shadow cast by Intel has made it difficult for computer chip start-ups to scrounge up theinvestment capital needed to break into the industry.
But budding interest in artificial intelligence is providing a foothold for 45 new companies that are dedicated to building processors exclusively for A.I.
At least five of them have raised more than $100 million from investors, as venture capitalists seem to have forgotten all about those forbidding roadblocks to a young company’s success.
8. Nine-hundred-ten carats.
That’s how much a diamond discovered in Lesotho weighs. (At about 6.4 ounces, it’s heavier than a billiard ball.) The stone, the world’s fifth-largest gem-quality diamond to be found, is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars.
Unsurprisingly, shares of the London-based company that owns a majority stake in the African mine jumped sharply on news of the discovery.
9. American tennis fans were dealt three major disappointments in quick succession, with the top U.S. players Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe all falling in the first round of the Australian Open.
Of the four American women to reach the semifinals at the U.S. Open in September, only Madison Keys is still in the singles tournament. You can catch her first match tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern.


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