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Today's News: Jan. 14, 2017

Trump prepares for his inauguration, the U.S. Mint unveils a black Lady Liberty, and more from the United States and around the world.

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).

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Ringling Bros. Circus Will Close After 146 Years

Andrew Kelly / Reuters

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, an iconic staple of American culture throughout the 20th century, will hold its final show later this year. Billed as “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the 146-year-old traveling circus announced Saturday that its last events will be held in May. In a statement, Feld Entertainment CEO Kenneth Feld attributed the decision to increased production costs and declining ticket sales, especially following the retirement of the circus’s elephant acts. Shifting cultural tastes in an increasingly digital world had also taken a steady toll on what was once among the most well-known entertainment acts in the world. The circus’s earliest incarnation dates back to P.T. Barnum’s traveling shows in the late 19th century; the Ringling brothers purchased it in 1907 and merged it into their own displays of equestrian feats, jugglers and acrobats, and elephant acts soon thereafter. Feld said the final show would take place on May 21 in Uniondale, New York, closing a long, colorful chapter in American history.

Zhou Youguang, Groundbreaking Chinese Linguist, Dies at 111

Vivek Prakash / Reuters

Zhou Youguang, a linguist whose method of transliterating Chinese words into the Roman alphabet helped tear down linguistic barriers between his country and the wider world in the mid-20th century, died Saturday. He was 111 years old. Zhou was known as the father of Pinyin, the development of which he oversaw in a committee in the 1950s. Because written Chinese uses individual logograms to represent each individual word, learning the entire written form posed formidable challenges for both lower-class Chinese citizens as well as foreigners accustomed to alphabet-based languages. Pinyin, which translates to “spelled sounds,” soon became the most widely accepted method by which words and names can be translated from Chinese characters into Romanized words like “Beijing” or “Mao Zedong.” In addition to making it easier for foreign students to learn Chinese as a second language, it also paved the way for wider literacy among China’s poorer citizens. Zhou also spent his later years as a dissident, relying on both his advanced age and renown to criticize China’s government and encourage democratization.

In New Coin, U.S. Mint Will Depict Lady Liberty as Black

U.S. Mint / Reuters

The U.S. Mint plans to release a commemorate gold coin in April depicting Lady Liberty as a black woman, the agency announced Friday. It will be the first coin in American history to portray the allegorical personification of freedom—a longtime staple of U.S. currency designs—as a woman who isn’t white. The 2017 American Liberty 225th Anniversary Gold Coin will be released to celebrate the 225th anniversary of the Mint’s founding in 1792. In a statement, the Mint says the coin will be the first in a biennial series that will also include “designs representing Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and Indian-Americans among others to reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of the United States.” The one-ounce, 24-karat gold coin carries a face value of $100 and is scheduled for release in limited quantities on April 6.