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January 11, 2019

China's lunar probe wants to share its most historic moment.

After becoming the first spacecraft to land on the far side of the moon last week, the Chang'e 4 probe showed off its discovery with some panoramic pictures released Monday. On Friday, China's space agency shared video of when Chang'e 4 first made its revolutionary achievement.

Chang'e 4 took off from China on Dec. 8 and successfully landed Jan. 3. The lunar lander released its Yutu 2 rover a few hours later, and, after taking a "noon nap" to avoid hot sunlight earlier this week, the rover is ready to roll, Space.com says. Yutu 2 is set to investigate one of the solar system's largest and deepest impact craters. It'll also check out how solar wind affects the moon's surface and see how seeds and silkworm eggs grow and change in the moon's environment, per Popular Mechanics. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:40 a.m.

Russell Baker, a journalist, humorist, and TV host, died Monday at 93. He died due to complications from a fall, his family tells The Associated Press.

Baker grew up in New Jersey and Baltimore and served in the U.S. Navy before begininng his career reporting at The Baltimore Sun. He transferred to the paper's London bureau at age 27, then came back to Washington, D.C. to work as a national reporter for The New York Times. He eventually got "bored with reporting," the Sun wrote in 1999, and at 37, launched a 36-year run as a columnist at the Times.

Writing more than 5,000 Observer columns, Baker won a 1979 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary. His second Pulitzer came from his 1983 memoir Growing Up, among several other awards. He retired from column-writing in 1998, but continued to host PBS' Masterpiece Theater until 2004. One of Baker's three children, his son Allen Baker, told the Sun on Tuesday he "couldn't have asked for a better father." Read more about Baker's life at The New York Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:22 a.m.

The Catholic high school student at the center of a viral video controversy says he wishes things had gone differently but that he didn't do anything wrong.

Nick Sandmann, the student wearing a Make America Great Again hat whose confrontation with a Native American man, Nathan Phillips, went viral over the weekend, spoke with Today. He was asked whether he has anything to apologize for. "As far as standing there, I had every right to do so," Sandmann said. "My position is that I was not disrespectful to Mr. Phillips."

Phillips says he was trying to "defuse" a confrontation between the students and a group of protesters, but Sandmann told Today he was "unsure" of what Phillips was trying to accomplish. Several times throughout the interview, Sandmann said he wishes he had walked away from the encounter, and when asked why he did not so, he said he "didn't want to be disrespectful to Mr. Phillips and walk away if he was trying to talk to me" and that he did "not want to bump into anyone."

While the video was seen by many as Sandmann and his peers gleefully mocking Phillips, Sandmann said he behaved the way he did in an attempt to prevent any aggression. As far as his smile in the video goes, Sandmann told Today that, "I see it as a smile saying, 'This is the best you're going to get out of me. You won't get any further reaction of aggression, and I'm willing to stand here as long as you want to hit this drum in my face."

Watch the full interview below. Brendan Morrow

8:46 a.m.

The majority of American voters think President Trump may have been compromised by a foreign power, a new poll suggests.

In the latest survey from Politico/Morning Consult, 57 percent of registered voters said it is either "very" or "somewhat" likely that Russia has compromising information on Trump. A plurality, 36 percent, said it's "very" likely, while another 21 percent said it's "somewhat" likely. This is compared to 31 percent who said it's either not very likely or not likely at all, and 13 percent who weren't sure.

Additionally, 43 percent of voters believe Trump's presidential campaign worked with Russia to influence the outcome of the 2016 race, while 38 percent said they don't think the campaign did so, and 19 percent weren't sure. Even more voters, 49 percent, said they believe Trump has tried to "impede or obstruct" the investigation into Russian interference in the election.

These findings come on a catastrophically bad polling day for Trump, whose disapproval rating in this survey has reached a new high of 57 percent. The poll also shows that 72 percent of voters oppose funding the president's proposed border wall if it's the only way to end the government shutdown. Another poll from CBS released Wednesday, in which Trump's disapproval rating is also at its all-time high, shows that 71 percent of Americans believe the border wall is not worth the shutdown fight.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll was conducted from Jan. 18-22 by speaking to 1,996 registered voters. The margin of error is 2 percentage points. Read more results at Politico. Brendan Morrow

7:44 a.m.

There have been at least 22 confirmed case of measles in Clark County, Washington, and three more suspected cases, since Jan. 1. One adult has been infected with the highly contagious airborne disease, and most of the 21 children are age 10 or younger; one has been hospitalized. Nineteen of the people infected were not immunized against the disease, which — thanks to vaccines — was eliminated from the U.S. in 2000.

Clark County, which borders Portland, Oregon, has the lowest vaccination rate in Washington, with 77.4 percent of public school students having completed their vaccinations, The Oregonian reports. "The outbreak has hit religious and private schools in Clark County especially hard." Schools and a church have been identified as possible infection spots, and infected people also visited Portland International Airport, stores and restaurants, and a Jan. 11 Portland Trail Blazers game at Portland's Moda Center. No Oregonians have yet been diagnosed with measles.

There has been a rise in children not being vaccinated, raising concerns among public health officials. Before the vaccine became widely used in the early 1960s, about 400 to 500 people died every year and tens of thousands more were hospitalized. In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, 349 people in 26 states were confirmed infected with measles. Peter Weber

7:42 a.m.

Another Democrat has entered the increasingly packed 2020 presidential race.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced Wednesday morning that he is launching a 2020 exploratory committee, the first step in a presidential run. In a video released on Twitter, Buttigieg said "there's a new generation of voices emerging in our country" who are "walking away from the politics of the past." Buttigieg was considered a likely 2020 candidate, especially since he announced he would not seek another term as mayor.

Buttigieg turns 39 in January 2021. If elected, he would be the youngest president in American history. He would also be the first openly gay nominee for a major political party if he were to pull off a major upset and actually win the Democratic nomination, NBC News reports.

The announcement comes two days after Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) threw her hat in the 2020 ring, joining 37-year-old Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. Other candidates widely expected to join the race, like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), have not yet announced their decisions.

Watch Buttigieg's announcement below. Brendan Morrow

6:42 a.m.

President Trump said on camera he would proudly shut down the government to get his border wall, he did shut it down, and a majority of Americans blame him for the longest shutdown in U.S. history. But Trump is convinced he has the leverage, The Washington Post reports, and as often is the case with Trump, it's leverage of his own making.

Trump "creates — or threatens to create — a calamity, and then insists he will address the problem only if his adversary capitulates to a separate demand," the Post says, counting at least eight times he has used this technique in office, with mixed success. "Trump has described this approach as creating leverage and negotiating, but Democrats and other opponents have said it amounts to 'hostage taking.'" On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) compared it to "bartering with stolen goods." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) explained why Trump's hardball tactic won't bring Democrats to the table:

Using self-generated leverage — in this case, 800,000 unpaid federal employees and a million immigrants whose protections he's moved to strip — to force concessions "is a well-worn tactic from Trump's business career, but this is the first time the livelihoods of so many U.S. workers and households have hung in the balance," the Post says, and the first time he's used it with Congress. Democrats are standing firm in part because they don't want him to use it again with must-pass funding bills and the debt ceiling.

Ironically, Peter Baker says at The New York Times, "among the hostages has been his own presidency," because "his single-minded pursuit of a border wall" has frozen the rest of his agenda. Peter Weber

5:08 a.m.

On Monday, Gizmodo reported that President Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts have in recent months featured several photos of him that were digitally manipulated to make him look thinner, less wrinkled, fuller-haired, "and in one of the strangest alterations, Trump's fingers have been made slightly longer. Seriously."

"Well, it's nice to know that even during the shutdown, we've still got a functioning Department of Homeland Insecurity," Stephen Colbert joked on Tuesday's Late Show. He showed Trump's slimmed waist line and then his elongated finger. "You know what they say about a man with long photoshopped fingers," he said, eschewing subtlety: "Sad little ding-dong." Also, Colbert added, "Photoshop has its limits. We see him in real life. What's he going to do, give the State of the Union in Hulk hands?" (Subtle changes are "the point of using an app like Facetune," Gizmodo notes. "The goal is to make sure that no one notices. Everyone knows what President Trump looks like, so drastic alterations are going to be obvious immediately.")

Still, "if they're trying to make Trump more appealing, I say they just go farther," Colbert said, and his demonstration was the deepest cut of all.

The Late Show also teed off Rudy Giuliani's New Yorker interview to come up with some rough drafts for his tombstone epitaph. Watch below. Peter Weber

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