‘Spreading Explosively.’ Concern is growing among global health officials as the Zika virus, which may be linked to a rise in birth defects, spreads. Margaret Chan, the director general of the WHO, said she’ll convene an emergency meeting on Monday to decide whether to declare a public health emergency. (Sabrina Tavernise, The New York Times)
He’s Back. Ethan Couch, the Texas teenager who used an “affluenza” defense in a drunk-driving wreck that killed four people, arrived at a Texas airport Thursday after being deported from Mexico. He and his mother fled the U.S. in December during an investigation into whether he had violated his probation. He’s scheduled to appear in court Friday, where a judge could decide to move him to an adult jail. (Emily Schmall and Mark Stevenson, Associated Press)
Energy Overhaul. The Senate approved four amendments to a bill that seeks to overhaul energy laws in the U.S. The legislation, the first energy rewrite in seven years, would speed up the exportation of liquefied natural gas, indefinitely expand a conservation fund, and update the electricity grid—among other policy updates. (Devin Henry, The Hill)
Tomorrow in One Paragraph: All three Democratic presidential candidates will be in Iowa, along with the entire field of Republicans, except for Donald Trump and John Kasich, who will return to New Hampshire.
Follow stories throughout the day with our new Politics & Policy page. And keep on top of the campaign with our 2016 Distilled election dashboard.
“The noise over ethanol may make little difference when it comes time for Iowans to vote on Feb. 1. While the vast majority of Iowa voters approve of policies that support the state’s ethanol industry, the issue doesn’t rank among their top three concerns.” Time’s Justin Worland on the diminishing importance of ethanol for Iowa voters.
App(s) for That. The parties’ approaches to campaign technology seem to be as different as their political ideologies: The various Republican teams are creating a mini “marketplace,” while the Democrats’ system is “too big to fail.” (Sasha Issenberg, Bloomberg Politics)
Out of Sight. For most of the Oregon standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the FBI was nowhere to be seen. But behind the “quiet facade,” agents were running surveillance and gathering information on the group. (Nigel Duara, The Los Angeles Times)
What Is Trump’s Ground Game? That’s the question stumping political experts watching the Republican frontrunner’s mysterious turnout operation ahead of the Iowa caucuses. (S.V. Dáte, National Journal)
Day-to-Day in Iowa. Monday’s caucuses will mark the end of a year of nonstop presidential-campaign visits. This New York Times interactive tracks the lives of some Iowans leading up to the big day.
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