China, Novak Djokovic, and America's Most Expensive Real Estate Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Jan. 18, and we're covering the impact of COVID-19 on the upcoming Winter Olympics, the ongoing saga surrounding the world's top men's tennis player, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Olympic Attendance Restricted

China announced it will no longer sell tickets to the general public for the Beijing Winter Olympics (Feb. 4-20) and Paralympics (March 4-13) two days after Beijing reported its first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant. Beijing has announced strict “closed loop” safety measures for the Games, including daily testing for participants and requiring all athletes and staff to be fully vaccinated (or face a 21-day quarantine).


The news comes as China continues to tighten restrictions to contain the highly transmissible variant. China has reported 1,389 cases over the last week (although believed to be underreported), while the US has reported over 5 million cases in the same period.


Separately, the US will not send diplomatic staff as a statement against China’s treatment of its Uyghur population. In addition, US athletes have been advised not to bring their cell phones to avoid potential surveillance and other security concerns.


Meet some of the Olympians and Paralympians representing the US.

France Warns Djokovic

Tennis star Novak Djokovic may be barred from participating in the French Open over his COVID-19 vaccination status, officials said yesterday. The comments come one day after the Serbian athlete was deported from Australia following a back-and-forth legal battle over the country's rules regarding unvaccinated foreign visitors as he prepared for the Australian Open.


Ranked as the world's No. 1 men's tennis player, Djokovic is tied with rivals Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for all-time men's Grand Slam victories at 20. He has said he was previously infected with the virus and was initially granted a medical exemption to compete in Australia, before his visa was revoked. Djokovic had won eight of the past 11 Australian Opens and is the defending French Open champion. 


The French Open gets underway in late May.

Abu Dhabi Targeted 

A drone strike claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels hit a key oil facility in Abu Dhabi Monday, causing three deaths and six injuries after three oil tankers owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. exploded. Another fire tied to the drone strike ignited at an under-construction extension of the Abu Dhabi International Airport, causing flight cancellations and delays. 


The drone attack comes about two weeks after the Houthi rebels seized a UAE cargo vessel in the Red Sea, a key route for international trade. The United Arab Emirates has been involved in an international Saudi-led coalition war against the Houthi rebels since 2015. It vowed to retaliate against the Houthi rebels.


The civil war in Yemen between the Iran-allied Houthis and Yemen's government, which began in late 2014, has led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, including civilians, and has exacerbated famine and poverty in the region. 

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Los Angeles Rams top Arizona Cardinals 34-11 to move on to the Divisional Round NFL playoffs (More) | See updated NFL playoff bracket (More)


> "The Harder They Fall" wins top prize at African American Film Critics Association Awards (More) | “The Power of the Dog” breaks Netflix record in winning its 21st best picture award (More)


> FC Barcelona's Alexia Putellas and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski win FIFA Best Awards for top female and male soccer players (More)

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Science & Technology

> NASA's Curiosity rover detects carbon isotopes in sediment samples on Mars potentially linked to past life; other sources include cosmic dust and degradation of atmospheric carbon dioxide (More)


> Researchers demonstrate nanoparticle-based therapy to potentially replace daily insulin injections for Type 1 diabetes patients (More)


> Physicists measure the curvature of space-time at the atomic scale; the effect, predicted by Einstein's general relativity, is typically observed around stars and black hole-sized objects (More) | What is space-time? (More)

Business & Markets

> Winter storm sweeps up US East Coast Monday, canceling over 1,600 flights and leaving over 200,000 businesses and homes without power (More) | See photos (More)


> Sources say gaming giant Activision Blizzard has fired over three dozen employees following widespread sexual harassment allegations at company (More)


> Parents of one of the six victims sue Amazon for alleged wrongful death after tornado hit an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, in December (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> At least one death reported following massive underwater eruption near the coast of Tonga Saturday; island nation remains largely cut off from outside contact as of this writing (More)


> Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko returns to the country to face treason charges (More) | Trial comes as Russia postures for potential invasion in Eastern Ukraine (More)


> Chinese birth rate continues decadelong downward trend, falls 12% between 2020 and 2021 to 10.6 million births; marks the lowest number of annual births in the country's modern history (More)



Making Baseball Fun Again

GQ | Daniel Riley. A sit-down with Shohei Ohtani, who—as one of baseball's best pitchers and hitters—is performing in a way not seen since the era of Babe Ruth. (Read)

'Two Sleeps'

BBC Future | Zaria Gorvett. For centuries, humans enjoyed two shifts of sleep per day—does the practice hold any benefit in modern society? (Read)



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The past year's most expensive real estate sales.


French salad dressing gets deregulated.


Divers catch a glimpse of the rare blanket octopus. (w/video)


The curious history of the potato chip.


Kenyan vigilantes take on avocado gangs.


Unlivable San Francisco home sells for $2M


Michigan robbery suspects arrested after stopping for pancakes.


Athletic deer goes viral on social media


Clickbait: When you mess with a smooth criminal.


Historybook: President John Tyler dies (1862); WWI Paris Peace Conference begins (1919); RIP Rudyard Kipling (1936); Willie O’Ree becomes first Black player in the National Hockey League (1958); Martin Luther King Jr. Day is first observed in all 50 US states (1993). 


"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

- Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

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