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The Spill: Year of the Rat

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Trump Impeachment Trial Underway

The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump has started. The trial is being conducted in the Senate, after the House of Representatives voted to impeach the president.

As the trial began, Democrat impeachment managers gave their case for why President Trump was guilty of abusing his power and of stopping the House from investigating his actions. The impeachment managers said that Trump tried to force the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Next came the defense team. They argued that House Democrats are trying to influence the 2020 election by criticizing President Trump. The defense lawyers pointed out flaws in the evidence given by Democrats.

After time for questions, the 100 members of the Senate must vote on whether to call more witnesses. For this vote to pass, it requires just a simple majority, 51 votes.

When all arguments and evidence are given, the Senate must vote on Trump’s guilt or innocence. It will require a two-thirds majority to remove President Trump from office.

Mysterious Coronavirus Crosses Borders

A new disease has spread around the world from its starting point in the city of Wuhan, China.

China has quarantined Wuhan and eleven other cities. Nearly 3,000 cases of the illness have been recorded. Over ten countries have confirmed cases, including the United States.

The disease is a type of coronavirus. A coronavirus is a family of virus that includes the flu and common cold, as well as more harmful sicknesses like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The official name for this new strain is 2019-nCoV, and it causes pneumonia-like symptoms.

Nancy Messonnier, director of the U.S. National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters that risk to the American public is “low,” but added, “We don’t have all the information at the level of detail that our scientists would prefer … We are in more of a waiting mode, waiting to see what our colleagues from China are releasing.”

Nobody is sure where the virus came from. Some have suggested that eating different species of animal has transmitted it to humans.

President Trump stayed calm and stated that the U.S. has a plan to deal with the disease. He said, “We do have a plan and we think it is going to be handled very well. We’ve already handled it very well.”

World Celebrates Lunar New Year

Despite the virus in China, people are still celebrating Chinese New Year. This holiday is based on the Lunar Calendar, which is used across Asia. The Lunar Calendar observes the cycles of the moon, rather than the sun.

The Chinese tradition is based around 12 animals. Each year is given an animal in a cycle that repeats every 12 years: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. 2020 is the Year of the Rat.

The Chinese zodiac suggests that people born in the Year of the Rat are optimistic, creative, adaptable, energetic, and well-liked. However, they may be stubborn. According to, “Rats are clever, quick thinkers; successful, but content with living a quiet and peaceful life.”

Other recent years of the rat were 1996 and 2008, while 2019 was the Year of the Pig. What Chinese zodiac animal were you born under – and do you think it reflects your personality? These ancient horoscopes are still important in modern China – do you think there is any place for astrology today, or is it just superstition?

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