Tonga Eruption, Dallas Standoff, and a Record-Breaking Skillet Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Monday, Jan. 17, and communities across the US are honoring Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. today. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Tonga Eruption

The Polynesian nation of Tonga was rocked Saturday by the massive eruption of an underwater volcano, a seismic event that sent an ash cloud 12 miles high and pushed a 4-foot-high tsunami onto land. Officials are still assessing the damage; tsunami waves reached the western coasts of the Americas, with the blast heard as far away as Alaska, nearly 6,000 miles from Tonga. More than 100,000 people live in the island nation. 


The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano sits about 50 miles north of the main island and reaches more than a mile off the seafloor. The region experiences significant seismic activity—Tonga's archipelago sits along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," an area defined by multiple tectonic plate boundaries responsible for 75% of the world's volcanoes and 90% of its earthquakes. In particular, the country resides above the Tonga Trench, where the Pacific Plate is being rapidly pulled westward. 


See satellite images of the eruption, and watch the video of the ocean surge here

NFL Playoff Picture

The path to Super Bowl LVI solidified over the weekend, with five of six wild card playoff games being held. 


The Cincinnati Bengals were Saturday's top story, beating the Las Vegas Raiders 26-19 to secure their first playoff win in 31 years. Later in the evening, the Buffalo Bills dominated the New England Patriots 47-17 in an outdoor night game that featured single-digit temperatures


In Sunday's action, the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Philadelphia Eagles 35-15, while the Dallas Cowboys fell at home to rival the San Francisco 49ers 23-17. In the late game, the Kansas City Chiefs topped the Pittsburgh Steelers 42-21 in what was likely Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's final game. The Los Angeles Rams and the Arizona Cardinals face off tonight (8:15 pm ET, ESPN) to close out wild card weekend.


The top-seeded teams in each conference, the Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans, had the weekend off. See an updated playoff bracket here.

Dallas Hostage Standoff

Four people taken hostage were rescued unharmed Saturday after an 11-hour standoff with a gunman inside a Dallas-area synagogue. The suspect was shot and killed in an engagement with responding officers after hostages had been evacuated.


Officials identified the suspect as 44-year-old Malik Faisal Akram, a British national. Among his demands, Akram reportedly called for the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani national being held in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison for attempting to kill American officials in Afghanistan. Siddiqui, the first female terrorism defendant arrested after 9/11, has become a cause célèbre for al-Qaida sympathizers who believe her conviction was unjust. 


The standoff was reportedly ended after the involvement of the FBI's hostage rescue team, who flew in from Virginia as the situation began to unfold. 

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Novak Djokovic departs Australia after court dismisses his visa cancellation appeal (More) | See full Australian Open schedule (More)


> Iconic country music broadcaster Ralph Emery dies at 88 (More) | Jon Lind, songwriter for Madonna and Earth, Wind & Fire, dies at 73 (More)


> University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel ousted over an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate (More)

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Science & Technology

> The Epstein-Barr virus found to be a potential leading cause of multiple sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease affecting almost 1 million Americans (More)


> Study uncovers the earliest known example of bioengineered hybrid animals; kungas were a cross of domesticated and wild donkeys, bred to pull carts in ancient Mesopotamia (More)


> Russia says it has arrested 14 people associated with the prominent hacker group REvil; the group was responsible for an attack on Microsoft Exchange servers that affected more than 30,000 US organizations (More)

Business & Markets

> Netflix raises prices in the US and Canada; basic plan now $1 higher at $9.99 per month, shares up 1% (More)


> Eyecare giant Bausch & Lomb files for initial public offering; to spinoff from Bausch Health (More)


> Federal judge bars “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli—former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO currently imprisoned—from pharma industry for life; orders the return of $64M profits his firm made from increasing drug prices over 5,000% (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Average US COVID-19 cases pass 800,000 per day; deaths rise slower, near 1,800 per day (More) | Biden administration creates website where Americans can request free at-home tests, starting Jan. 19 (More)


> Rep. John Katko (R, NY-24), one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, to retire after current term (More) | Trump holds Arizona rally amid competitive GOP Senate primary (More) | Ohio Supreme Court rules new congressional map violates partisan fairness requirement (More)


> US intelligence reports Russia is considering a "false flag" incident as a pretense to invade Ukraine (More) | Kazakhstan officials raise death toll in recent antigovernment protests to at least 225, more than 10,000 arrested (More)



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Five of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most memorable speeches.


... and this 1964 interview on his philosophy of nonviolence.


The man who was on the phone with Coretta Scott King during her husband's assassination.


Tuskegee Airman Charles McGee passes away at age 102


TikTok stars are out-earning CEOs.


Deep-sea researchers spot the rare bigfin squid.


Ancient Roman figurine uncovered during railway excavation.


Meet NASA's new silent supersonic jet.


Clickbait: The world's largest cast-iron skillet.


Historybook: Benjamin Franklin born (1706); Actress Betty White born (1922); Muhammad Ali born (1942); UN Security Council holds its first meeting (1946); HBD Michelle Obama (1964).


"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."

- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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