OBAMA'S LAST STATE OF THE UNION "President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address will unmistakably attempt to frame the choice facing Americans as they select his successor, doling out an optimistic vision of the country's future in contrast with what he sees as the pessimism that's pervasive in the Republican primary." Tune in tonight for the final State of the Union address at 9 p.m. EST. [AP]
AT LEAST 10 KILLED IN DEADLY ISTANBUL EXPLOSION Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the reported suicide bomber, who detonated in the middle of Istanbul's Sultanahmet tourist district, had "Syrian roots." [Reuters]
ROLL TIDE Alabama beat undefeated Clemson 45-40 to take the National Championship in a college football title game many are calling an "instant classic." Here's how that gutsy onside kick call was the mortal wound in Clemson's momentum, and the case for Nick Saban surpassing Bear Bryant as the greatest college football coach of all time. [ESPN]
HOW CHINA'S DECLINE AFFECTS THE REST OF THE WORLD "China’s economic slowdown and financial mayhem are fostering a cycle of decline and panic across much of the world, as countries on nearly every continent see escalating risks of prolonged slumps, political disruption and financial losses." [WaPo]
UN: PEACEKEEPERS PAYING 13-YEAR-OLDS FOR SEX "The United Nations has been grappling with so many sexual abuse allegations involving its peacekeepers that Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon recently called them 'a cancer in our system.' Now, officials have learned about what appears to be a fresh scandal. Investigators discovered this month that at least four U.N. peacekeepers in the Central African Republic allegedly paid young girls as little as 50 cents in exchange for sex." [WaPo]
TWO MORE BITE THE DUST FOR THE NEXT GOP DEBATE STAGE Rand Paul and Carly Fiorina didn't make the cut for the main stage Thursday for the Fox Business debate. [Mollie Reilly]
EBOLA SURVIVORS, THROUGH THE LENS "It's about creating agency for communities who previously didn't have very much agency to tell their own story." [HuffPost]
WHAT COULD HALT ALZHEIMER'S IN ITS TRACKS Stopping brain inflammation may be the key to combating the deadly disease. [HuffPost]
HOW 'MAKING THEM SMALLER' YIELDS NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT ARE EASIER TO USE "But critics, including a number of former Obama administration officials, look at the same set of facts and see a very different future. The explosive innards of the revitalized weapons may not be entirely new, they argue, but the smaller yields and better targeting can make the arms more tempting to use -- even to use first, rather than in retaliation." [NYT]
FIGURING OUT THE NEW SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM PEACH Prepare yourself for an onslaught of GIFs. [HuffPost]
HOW MUCH TAX MONEY WOULD COME OUT OF YOUR POWERBALL WIN Because let's be real; we all bought one. [CNBC]
UNDERSTANDING THE ASSISTED SUICIDE MOVEMENT TODAY "But either way, I won't have to die before I want to out of fear that I'll lose the capacity to control my own destiny if I wait too long. Nor will I have to die alone out of fear that anyone present runs the risk of being hauled in by an overzealous sheriff's deputy." [Mother Jones]
TELLING OF THE SYRIAN REFUGEE CRISIS, IN VIRTUAL REALITY "VR provides a combination of storytelling and technology. As a storyteller, I am always asking, 'How can we bring the viewer closer into the story?'” [HuffPost]
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ON THE BLOG
HOW TO SPOT BEDBUGS Before you start itching. [HuffPost]
BEFORE YOU GO
~ Media titan Rupert Murdoch announced his engagement to former supermodel Jerry Hall, who is the ex-wife of Mick Jagger.
~ Controversial owner Chris Hughes is selling The New Republic.
~ Ted Cruz has too many super PACs to choose from.
~ When your car gets frozen into a block of ice.
~ As Vulture put it, "Hello, it's the Biebs." Justin Bieber has finally dethroned Adele on the Billboard Hot 100.
~ These codes might be the key to Netflix.
~ Why all the fruits and vegetables in the U.S. are disappearing.
~ Maybe don't try to steal a python by shoving it down your pants.
~ The "longest armed standoff in American history" might be finished.
Send tips/quips/quotes/stories/photos/events/scoops to Lauren Weber at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter @LaurenWeberHP. And like what you're reading? Sign up here to get The Morning Email delivered to you.