The Starting 5: Impeachment Arguments, Zion's Debut, Conversion Therapy Ban, and Coronavirus Spreads

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Pivotal moments are happening today, in sport and society. Donald Trump's impeachment trial continues, with arguments over the possibility of summoning additional witnesses. Zion Williamson, perhaps the most anticipated NBA prospect since LeBron James, is making his professional debut after undergoing knee surgery. Utah is joining 18 other states in banning conversion therapy for minors. The coronavirus which originated in China has now been diagnosed on American shores.

Here's what you need to know today:

"Who Has Ever Heard of a Trial With No Witnesses?"

In an unexpected setback for the White House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had to concede the possibility of summoning additional witnesses at President Donald Trump's impeachment trial—although the final decision has been deferred until later in the process. Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, House Manager for the trial, used his time on the floor yesterday to remind senators that no other impeachment in American history ever declined to take witness statements altogether. "Who has ever heard of a trial with no witnesses?" he asked. "But that is exactly what some are contemplating here today."

Impeachment managers Senate
U.S. House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving leads the seven impeachment managers, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), and Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) to the Senate chamber of the U.S. Capitol January 16, 2020 in Washington, DC. The Senate is beginning pre-trial impeachment proceedings today. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) Alex Wong/Getty Images

Zion, Finally

Zion Williamson is the most anticipated NBA rookie since LeBron James. The former Blue Devil makes his debut tonight with the New Orleans Pelicans, taking on the San Antonio Spurs at 9:30 p.m. ET in a nationally-televised slot. After tearing up college basketball during his solitary season at Duke, he was the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA draft. The 19-year-old underwent arthroscopic knee surgery days before the start of the NBA regular season, putting the media hype on hold for the last four months.

Zion's Debut
Zion Williamson makes his NBA debut for the Pelicans Jonathan Bachman/Contributor/Getty

No More Conversion

Today, Utah becomes the 19th—and most conservative—state to ban conversion therapy for minors. Linked to suicide and rejected by every mainstream medical organization, the dangerous practice sees therapists try to change a person's gender identity or sexual orientation. After a bill was shelved last year, prompting an outcry, Utah's Republican Governor Gary Herbert asked the state's Board of Psychologists to draft a rule which he could adopt without legislators' approval. It is hoped the move will bring down Utah's tragically high youth suicide rate, but as adult survivors of the practice pointed out to Newsweek, over 18s can suffer just as much from its effects.

Utah LGBTQ Contention
LGBTQ rights and Mormon Church philosophies conflict in Utah George Frey/Stringer/Getty

Deadly Coronavirus

There are now more than 300 confirmed cases of a new coronavirus in central China. The origin of this new strain, in the same family as the deadly SARS coronavirus that killed hundreds in 2002-2003, has been traced to a seafood market in the city of Wuhan. Cases have been reported in China's major cities, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and now the United States. The new virus has claimed six lives since early January and is confirmed to be transmissible between humans. Authorities are monitoring airports and other modes of international travel through which so-called "super-spreader" pathogens can proliferate as the Chinese New Year approaches, one of the busiest travel periods in China.

Chinese scientists contend with disease in Wuhan, China Anthony Wallace/Contributor/Getty/Getty

Storms Brewing

The storm system sweeping the nation, starting in the west and heading east, is now drawing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, causing a band of precipitation down the middle of the country. Rain is expected in the south while snow and/or wintery mixes are geared to hit the Central Plains and the northern Midwest, west of the Mississippi. Those in the splash zone should expect travel delays.

Inclement Weather
Snow and rain fall on the Midwest Scott Eisen/Stringer/Getty