☕️ Good Thursday morning.
Situational awareness: President Trump departs the White House at 10 a.m. for the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, "where the homebody commander in chief will spend just 48 hours on the ground yet pack in eight high-level meetings with foreign leaders." (AP)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
The possibility that babies from genetically edited embryos may have been born in China has pushed the science into a frightening new stage, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly writes:
Why it matters: The scientific world is now talking more seriously about the implications of gene editing embryos than when it was just a prospect.
The international reaction has been mostly outrage:
Between the lines: Not everyone viewed it as a 100% disaster. In fact, some scientists are ready to move ahead.
What they're saying: There are concerns about the safety and efficacy of editing genes in adults. And editing embryos raises an even bigger ethical concern: The genetic changes and all the unknowns around them can be passed down to future generations.
What to watch: Scientists are cautious about predicting what the impact will be, in part because the details of this claim are thin.
The bottom line: The alarm over what could be next is real. Moreno says this week's announcement could hinder current research projects, while Hsu says there's hope it may spur more needed transparency in research.
Life expectancy for Americans fell again last year because of the opioid and suicide crises, continuing the longest sustained decline in a century, the WashPost's Lenny Bernstein reports.
Why it matters: This was "an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918, [which] included World War I and a flu pandemic."
The reasons, per The Wall Street Journal, include "the sharpest annual increase in suicides in nearly a decade and a continued rise in deaths from powerful opioid drugs like fentanyl."
A secret ballot by House Democrats overwhelmingly nominated Nancy Pelosi to be House speaker.
Above, Pelosi speaks to the media in the lobby of Longworth House Office Building, along with (from left) Rep. Adam Schiff (Calif.), Rep. John Lewis (Ga.), Rep. Eric Swalwell (Calif.), Rep. Joyce Beatty (Ohio), Rep. Kathy Castor (Fla.), Rep. Joe Kennedy (Mass.) and Rep.-elect Ann Kirkpatrick (Ariz.).
Counter snipers are seen on the roof of the White House as birds fly past yesterday.
One of the most dire, and expensive, scenarios of climate change damage in the Trump administration's Black Friday report is the rising sea levels that are already causing problems in coastal cities from New Orleans to Boston, Axios science editor Andrew Freedman writes.
These charts, which were adapted from the assessment, show possible trajectories that global average sea level rise may follow.
The backstory: The right side of the figure shows how sea level rise could affect the U.S. economy by damaging valuable real estate and infrastructure in coastal communities.
A trove of text messages details an effort by former CBS chairman and CEO Les Moonves to bury a sexual assault allegation. The scheme helped sink him — and may cost him $120 million, the N.Y. Times' James Stewart, Rachel Abrams and Ellen Gabler report:
On Aug. 11, the mogul told a Hollywood talent manager, Marv Dauer: "If Bobbie [Phillips] talks, I’m finished."
Why it matters: "Whether Mr. Moonves was honest with CBS’s investigators could determine whether he collects a $120 million severance payment. If he was fired for cause, CBS doesn’t have to pay him anything. Under his contract, failing to cooperate fully in a company investigation constitutes 'cause.'"
Women are far more pessimistic about the U.S. economy than men: Nearly half of female voters rate it "not so good" or "poor," compared to 26% of men, according to a SurveyMonkey/S&P Global Post-Election poll you're seeing first on Axios.
The big picture: A record number of women were elected to Congress this year. Women are also becoming increasingly politically active at all levels of government and are poised to shift the political landscape — and priorities — across the country.
By the numbers:
Health care is the most important issue for women, dwarfing "jobs and the economy," which was the most important issue for men.
Teslas and other electric vehicles in China constantly send information about the precise location of cars to the government, AP's Erika Kinetz reports.
"More than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and U.S.-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to [Chinese] government-backed monitoring centers."
The responses: "The automakers say they are merely complying with local laws, which apply only to alternative energy vehicles."
Steven Rattner, who led the restructuring of the auto industry in 2009 as head of President Obama's Auto Task Force, writes in the N.Y. Times:
Trump "called on G.M. to close one of its plants in China, even though G.M. doesn’t import a meaningful number of cars from there."
Fourteen Republicans joined every Senate Democrat to take a step toward directing the removal of U.S. support in Yemen, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.
Many senators were dissatisfied with the administration's briefing earlier yesterday on Yemen.
The measure is expected to get a final vote in the Senate. This was a procedural vote, meaning that no senator is obliged to vote "yes" again.
The Republicans who voted for the measure were an interesting mix of the usual independent-minded members (Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Bob Corker) and senators who have been less inclined to directly challenge the administration (Mike Lee, Lindsey Graham, Todd Young and Rand Paul).
Commercial hits look strong in this year's Oscars race, which could become a "Battle of the Blockbusters," The Hollywood Reporter's Pamela McClintock writes: