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Need to Know
"An Unforgivable Mistake"
The Iranian military admitted over the weekend that it shot down Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 last week, killing all 176 people on board. Officials said the plane, which took off shortly after Iran fired a series of missiles at US troops in Iraq, had turned toward a sensitive site and was mistaken for a cruise missile. It was a dramatic shift from Iranian officials who had steadfastly denied any involvement in the aftermath of the strike, despite reports an Iranian military commander raised the possibility within hours of the crash. The incident has also sparked a resurgence of internal tensions in the country. The US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani Jan. 3 provided a moment of national unity that interrupted escalating, monthslong anti-government protests over fuel prices and a faltering economy. By yesterday, riot police had been deployed in the capital of Tehran as demonstrators returned to the streets

In related news, Iran's only female Olympic medalist defected.
Playoff Surprise 
The NFL Playoffs will have at least one Cinderella story heading into the conference championships after the Tennessee Titans upset the AFC's No. 1-seeded Baltimore Ravens, 28-12, in Baltimore Saturday. Running back Derrick Henry ran for 195 yards and threw for a touchdown in a win that came one week after the team went to Foxboro and beat the defending champion New England Patriots, 20-13. While the upstart Titans finished with just a 9-7 record, they won seven of their final 10 regular-season games and quarterback Ryan Tannehill posted the fourth-highest passer rating in NFL history after taking over in week seven. Tennessee will head to Kansas City next weekend to face the No. 2-seeded Chiefs in the AFC championship game (Sunday, 3:05pm ET, CBS) after the Chiefs completed a historic comeback over the Houston Texans yesterday. The No. 1-seeded San Francisco 49ers will host the No. 2-seeded Green Bay Packers (Sunday, 6:40pm ET, Fox) in the NFC championship.

No. 1 LSU takes on No. 3 Clemson in the college football championship tonight (8pm ET, ESPN).
More Quakes Hit Puerto Rico
A 5.9 magnitude earthquake rocked the island of Puerto Rico Saturday, the latest in a week of convulsions that has killed at least one person and caused at least $110M in damage so far. The most recent tremor follows Tuesday's 6.4 magnitude quake - the territory's worst in over a century - that damaged the Costa Sur Power Plant and knocked out electricity across the island. The plant supplies 25% of Puerto Rico's power and could take up to a year to repair, forcing every remaining plant to run at full capacity to meet demand. The region sits just south of a boundary where the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates slide horizontally to each other (see 101), and scientists say the island is experiencing an earthquake "swarm," where many smaller tremors occur, instead of a single devastating quake.

A volcano erupted in the Philippines yesterday (see video), with experts warning of more explosive activity possible today.
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In the Know
Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards announced this morning (8:18am ET); here’s how to watch (More) | Oscar nomination predictions for all 24 categories (More)
> Neil Peart, Rush drummer and author, dies at 67 (More) | Sultan Qaboos, Oman ruler for 50 years, dies at 79; he was the Arab world’s longest-serving monarch (More)
> 2019 global box office sets yearly record high of $42.5B (More) | Movie "1917" hauls in $56M after Golden Globes win; "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" to top $1B globally (More)
Science & Technology
> Study finds parrots will help each other even when no immediate benefit to themselves is returned; represents first observation of such behavior in birds (More) | Watch Bella and Kimmi do each other a solid (More)
> Analysis says alcohol played a role in 2.6% of US deaths in 2017; alcohol-related deaths increased 85% for women, 35% for men between 1999-2017 (More)
> China releases genetic data on new mystery coronavirus that has killed one and infected more than 40 in city of Wuhan (More)
Business & Markets
> US economy adds 145K jobs in December, slightly below expectations of 164K; unemployment rate remains at 3.5% (More)
> Boeing reports former CEO Dennis Muilenburg did not receive severance but leaves company with about $80M stock options and other compensation (More)
> Online mattress retailer Casper files for IPO; had $358M in revenue and $92M net loss last year, was last privately valued at $1.1B (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> Queen Elizabeth II to hold emergency meeting of Royal Family today following abrupt announcement that Prince Harry and wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, will scale back royal duties (More)
> Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen wins landslide reelection running on anti-Beijing platform; Chinese Communist Party was accused of trying to influence the outcome on the disputed island (More)
> House expected to send articles of impeachment this week, initiating Senate trial (More) | Election 2020: Long shot presidential candidate Marianne Williamson ends campaign (More)
Americans are not quite as happy as they used to be.
The counties where you should buy, not rent
The 100 best books ever written by African American women

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Why 2020 may be the year of the robot pet.
Japanese billionaire seeks girlfriend for date to the moon.
The center of the US population is moving west at a foot an hour.
Please ignore that text warning of a nuclear emergency.
Border Patrol now has to contend with defecating vultures
Clickbait: Psychedelic coach dispenses drug-fueled career advice.
Historybook: RIP author James Joyce (1941); HBD actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1961); Robert C. Weaver becomes first African American US cabinet member (1966); Douglas Wilder becomes first elected African American US governor (1990); 32 die as cruise ship Costa Concordia sinks off coast of Italy (2012).
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"Mistakes are the portals of discovery."
- James Joyce
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