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All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
Need To Know.
China Lands on Moon.
China's emerging space program announced a milestone overnight, saying it had landed an unmanned spacecraft on the so-called "dark" side of the Moon, a first in world history. It is the country's second visit to the Moon since 2013 and just the third Moon landing by any country since 1976. A gravitational effect called tidal locking (see 101) forces the moon to rotate on its axis at about the same frequency as it rotates around the earth (roughly 27 days) - the result is that the same side of the Moon always appears to face the Earth. The probe landed on the side that faces away, which has been unexplored by surface probes to date. The dark side of the Moon is also shielded from terrestrial radio waves and other ambient noise from Earth, allowing the craft to make certain astronomical measurements free from interference. 

See the first photos beamed back from the spacecraft (via Twitter). 
Democrats Take Over House.
 Democrats officially assume leadership of the US House today, the first time they've held control of the lower chamber of Congress since 2011. With most votes requiring a simple majority to pass the House, Democrats will hold a decisive 235-199 edge - one final seat in North Carolina is being challenged amidst fraud allegations. Ahead of the power transfer, leadership unveiled a rules package that would institute a number of changes from last year's Congress, including requiring bills to be made public 72 hours before a vote. At the top of the agenda will be ending the partial government shutdown, now in its 13th day - President Trump met with leaders from both parties yesterday to discuss his request for $5B in border wall funding. Trump has said he won't sign a funding bill without border wall funding, while Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to be elected Speaker today, has said she won't pass a bill including the added funding. 
300-Mile-Long Protest.
Women in the southern Indian state of Kerala formed a 385-mile-long human chain yesterday to protest a lack of gender equality in the region. Organizers estimated nearly 5 million women joined hands, nearly 2 million more than expected. The protests were sparked after conservative protesters attacked women trying to enter the prominent Hindu Sabarimala shrine - the temple was historically closed to women between the ages of 10 and 50, but the country's Supreme Court overturned the ban last September. The decision quickly became political, with Hindu nationalists arguing the decision amounted to an attack on Hindu traditions. 

Two women entered the temple shortly after the chain was formed, sparking counter-protests and compelling priests to shut down the temple and perform a purification ritual.
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In The Know.
Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Chelsea signs American soccer star Christian Pulisic from Dortmund for $73M transfer fee; largest deal for any American soccer player in history (More)
> To Kill a Mockingbird breaks single-week record for highest grossing American play on Broadway, bringing in $1.7M (More)
> Pro wrestling icon 'Mean' Gene Okerlund dies at 76 (More) | Daryl Dragon, Grammy Award-winning musician of The Captain and Tennille, dies at 76 (More) | Curb Your Enthusiasm actor Bob Einstein dies...also at 76 (More)
Science & Technology.
> Norway breaks electric car sales record, with one-third of new cars sold in 2018 being fully electric (More)
> New electric implant acts as "pacemaker for the brain" can simultaneously record and deliver electrical stimulation in the brain; may potentially treat neurological disorders like  epilepsy and Parkinson’s (More)
> FCC grants approval to Google to deploy radar-based sensors that can detect hand gestures, meant to enable touchless control of devices (More)
Business & Markets.
> Apple cuts quarterly sales forecast in rare revenue guidance warning due to weak China sales, shares drop 7% in after-hours trading (More)
> Electric carmaker Tesla drops price of all cars by $2k, misses Q4 delivery estimates; shares down 7% (More)
> Drugmakers increase prices on 250+ drugs in US despite pressure from Trump administration (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> New mayor in Oaxaca, Mexico shot and killed two hours after swearing-in ceremony while en route to City Hall (More)
> Chinese President Xi says Taiwan must be reunited with China, either by force or under a "one country, two systems" approach; Taiwan is currently self-governed and de facto independent, but US does not recognize its independence (More)
> Australia under extreme heat wave warning, with some areas expecting temperatures up to 114 degrees F, almost 28 degrees above average (More)
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In Depth.
Inside the Markle Family Breakdown. 
Vanity Fair | Vanessa Grigordiadis. For many, the addition of Meghan Markle to the royal family has been a breath of fresh air. But despite her success in the new family, there still remains much friction with her biological family back in America - throwing a wrench in her new fairy tale. (Read)
Everybody is a Potential Target.
Washington Post | Drew Harwell. Computer-generated videos which realistically impersonate celebrities, known as "deepfakes", are more abundant and convincing than ever. As the technology to create them becomes more advanced, the realistic videos can become tools of humiliation and abuse, with anonymous creators generating reams of fake pornography. See inside the fight against these videos, and the struggle of ordinary women who have been targeted. (Read, paywall)

Editor's Note: Also check out this piece from last week on how to spot fake, AI-generated images.
Americans are optimistic for prosperity, pessimistic for peace in the upcoming year.
Workaholics give tips on getting back into the swing of things after the holidays
10 of the strangest items TSA uncovered in luggage last year
Photographer captures beautiful timelapse photos of planes streaking around airports across the globe
Really want to commit to being green? Instead of cremation, check out human composting
Netflix's Bird Box inspires the newest social media challenge you should not try
TSA to stop scaring children, will switch to floppy-eared dogs
Kentucky cops go viral for mourning the loss of a Krispy Kreme delivery truck
Clickbait: Pete "The Groin Crusher" has crushed over 10,000 groins to help patients recover from surgery.
Historybook: HBD J.R.R. Tolkien (1892); US cuts diplomatic ties with Cuba (1961); Apple is incorporated (1977); Author Joy Adamson murdered (1980); Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to US (1990).
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