The New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary got underway early Tuesday when Dixville Notch and two other tiny townships voted just after midnight. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg led in Dixville Notch, while Sen. Amy Klobuchar got the most midnight votes overall, with eight. She was followed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), with four. Sanders led CNN’s last tracking poll before the vote with the support of 29 percent of likely primary voters. Former South Bend, Indiana, mayor Pete Buttigieg, fresh off a razor-thin victory over Sanders in the still-contested Iowa caucuses, trailed with 22 percent, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 11 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) with 10 percent, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) with 7 percent. [CNN, The Boston Globe]


President Trump traveled to New Hampshire Monday on the eve of the state’s presidential primary to hold his first rally since the Senate acquitted him in his impeachment trial. Trump sought to both energize his base and rattle Democrats, noting that Republicans could influence the vote in the state’s open primary. “A lot of Republicans … will vote for the weakest candidate,” he said. “My only problem is I’m trying to figure out who is the weakest candidate. I think they’re all weak.” Trump also stirred up fears that helped him win the 2016 primary in the state, warning that some undocumented immigrants were “murderers, rapists, and some other things.” Trump faces a longshot challenge in his own primary from former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld. [The New York Times]


The Justice Department on Monday charged four members of the Chinese military with hacking Equifax credit reporting agency records and stealing personal data belonging to more than 145 million Americans. The 2017 breach compromised information including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and driver’s license numbers. The suspects, all members of the Chinese military’s People’s Liberation Army, also allegedly stole database designs and other Equifax trade secrets. The hackers allegedly gained access to the company’s computers by exploiting a software vulnerability. “The scale of the theft was staggering,” Attorney General William Barr said. The accused hackers are based in China, whose embassy made no immediate comment. [The Associated Press]


China’s death toll from coronavirus continued to surge on Tuesday, rising above 1,000, Chinese state media reported. China’s Hubei province — epicenter of the epidemic — reported more than 100 new deaths on Tuesday, a one-day record. The number of cases in mainland China reached about 42,300, bringing the global to more than 42,700. To slow the spread of the flu-like virus, Chinese authorities have imposed partial lockdowns on more than 80 cities, and even restricted access to some residential areas. The crisis has dragged down crude oil prices as it reduced China’s demand for oil by up to three million barrels a day. [South China Morning Post, CNBC]


Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has been largely out of view during his country’s coronavirus epidemic, made a public appearance Monday at a Beijing “front line” coronavirus facility. Xi’s absence over the last two weeks as the outbreak’s death toll mounted had triggered questions about whether he was trying to avoid blame for the rapid rise of infections. “Someone has to take responsibility for the ongoing spread of the coronavirus, and he may not want to be that person,” George Washington University China expert Bruce Dickson said last week. Xi, wearing a medical facemask, said the situation was “grim” but told officials they would beat the flu-like virus, calling the outbreak a “major test” for China’s disease control system. [The Washington Post, South China Morning Post]


The number of coronavirus infections on a quarantined cruise ship in Japan nearly doubled on Monday, reaching 135. The 65 new patients included as many as 11 Americans. The rapid spread of the outbreak on the Diamond Princess prompted panicked pleas for help from some of the 3,700 passengers and crew members stuck on board. “Very soon we will all be infected,” said Binay Kumar Sarkar, an Indian national on the 1,000-member crew. Passengers are confined to individual staterooms, but crew members live up to four in a room and have to circulate to deliver meals, increasing exposure to possible infection. Public health experts have started questioning the quarantine strategy imposed Feb. 5, with one saying it had created “almost like a shooting gallery for the virus.” [The Washington Post]


The number of U.S. soldiers who suffered traumatic brain injury from Iran’s missile attack on their Iraq base last month has risen to more than 100, Reuters reported Monday, citing U.S. officials. The figure marks a jump of more than 50 percent from last month, when 64 such injuries were reported. The Pentagon did not immediately comment on the report, but it previously has said numbers can lag because it can take time for service members to report the injuries or experience the symptoms, which include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and extreme sensitivity to light. Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last month that most of the cases were mild. [Reuters]


Federal prosecutors on Monday recommended a seven- to nine-year prison sentence for President Trump’s longtime adviser Roger Stone. A jury in November found Stone guilty on all seven charges he faced, including lying to Congress, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 20. Stone was convicted of lying to hide his role in the 2016 Trump campaign’s effort to get information from WikiLeaks about damaging information on Hillary Clinton that had been stolen from Democrats by Russian military hackers. Stone’s defense team on Monday asked that he be sentenced to probation because of his age (67) and clean record. Trump tweeted that Stone was being treated unfairly, saying: “Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!” [The Washington Post, Donald J. Trump]


North Korea continued to develop its nuclear and ballistic missile programs last year, violating United Nations sanctions, Reuters reported Monday, citing a confidential U.N. report. “In 2019, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) did not halt its illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which it continued to enhance, in violation of Security Council resolutions,” the independent U.N. sanctions monitors wrote. The 67-page report also said North Korea defied restrictions by importing refined petroleum, and exporting $370 million worth of coal. North Korea has faced U.N. sanctions since 2006. [Reuters]


The 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday drew an estimated 23.6 million viewers, the smallest audience in the show’s history, numbers reported Monday showed. This is down from the 29.6 million people who tuned into the 2019 Oscars, which was the first time the ratings for the show had improved in five years. The previous low for the Oscars was 26.5 million viewers in 2018. This continues the trend of awards show ratings slipping after the most recent Emmys, Golden Globes, and Grammys all shed viewership. Sunday’s Academy Awards saw Parasite, which grossed $165 million at the worldwide box office, surprisingly take Best Picture in a history-making upset over 1917. This year’s Oscars was also the second in a row with no host. [Variety]

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