Good morning. Here are some of the stories we're following today:
1. Three Takeaways From the Iowa GOP Debate
With no Donald Trump in Thursday night's debate, the other candidates were less combative early on — and there were longer and more substantive answers on policy, such as Rand Paul discussing Ferguson and Jeb Bush talking about veterans' issues. Overall, there was a lot less spectacle and even fewer ad hominem attacks. Read more in POLITICS.
2. Trump Skipped Debate Out of ‘Respect for Myself’
Speaking just miles away from the Republican debate that he chose to boycott, Trump reiterated that he was skipping the FOX News debate because of what he says is unfair treatment by the network, particularly by debate moderator Megyn Kelly. Read more in POLITICS.
3. FBI Releases Video of Shooting of Oregon Occupier
The footage shows Tuesday's fatal shooting of Arizona rancher LaVoy Finicum, who was killed as authorities arrested leaders of an armed group occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge. The video, taken from an aircraft, appears to show Finicum reaching into a front shirt pocket before being shot by a state police trooper, the FBI said. Read more in NEWS.
4. Pipe Dream? Dems Propose $400M for Flint
Senate Democrats introduced legislation Thursday that calls for up to $400 million in federal funding to replace lead pipes in water-tainted Flint, Michigan, as long as the state agrees to cough up just as much. Read more in NEWS.
5. What is Zika Virus? Seven Burning Questions
The World Health Organization meets next week to decide whether to declare Zika a global emergency. The virus is spreading fast across the Americas, and WHO expects 3-4 million people to be infected over the next year. Read more in HEALTH.
6. Billionaire’s Yacht Damaged Protected Reef: Report
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's firm is working with authorities in the Cayman Islands amid reports that the billionaire's 300-foot luxury yacht destroyed 14,000 square feet of protected coral reef. Read more in NEWS.
7. Jefferson Airplane Co-Founder Dies at 74
Paul Kantner, one of the founding members of legendary rock group Jefferson Airplane, died Thursday surrounded by his family, his son told NBC News. The band, known for classic tunes like "White Rabbit" and "Somebody to Love," is set to receive a lifetime achievement award at the Grammys in February. Read more in POP CULTURE.
Toymaker Mattel has released three new Barbie body types — petite, tall and curvy — that the company says is "a better reflection" of the shapes and sizes of real women.