1.30.2019

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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.
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EU Says No Changes to Brexit Deal.
European Union officials said they would stand firm on a deal overseeing the exit of the United Kingdom from the 28-member bloc yesterday. The statement came after the British Parliament held a day-long string of votes amending a previously negotiated package. Any deal requires a thumbs up by both EU and UK leaders, and the original package was negotiated by British Prime Minister Theresa May's team last year but was crushed by lawmakers two weeks ago. Parliament did vote 317-300 to support the current deal if changes to were made to what is known as the Irish backstop, which governs the border between EU member Ireland and UK-controlled Northern Ireland.

The current standoff risks a "no-deal" Brexit when the deadline is reached on March 29th.
Threat Assessment.
North Korea is unlikely to give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons, according to a report from the US intelligence community released yesterday. The conclusion was part of the larger Worldwide Threat Assessment, a document released in conjunction with testimony from the Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats to the Senate Intelligence Committee. The conclusion comes despite a high-level summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un where the North Korean leader stressed his commitment to denuclearization - a second summit is being planned for the end of February. Coats also testified that, according to current intelligence, Iran is not seeking nuclear weapons at the moment and ISIS remains a powerful force in Iraq and Syria. The report itself stressed cyberthreats from Russia and China, saying the two countries were more aligned than any time since the 1950s. 

Read the 42-page report here.
Thought-to-Speech Breakthrough.
Researchers have demonstrated an unprecedented step forward in translating electrical brain signals into intelligible, recognizable speech, according to reports yesterday. The study, performed by a  team of neuroengineers at Columbia University, recorded brain activity in epilepsy patients already undergoing brain surgery as they listened to a series of numbers. While scientists have known for decades that unique brain activity occurs when a person hears or speaks, the signals were too complex to interpret using existing technology. In this case, engineers used an artificial intelligence program similar to those used by home assistants like Siri and Alexa to translate the patients' brain activity into recognizable words. The results also represent a significant step forward for more general computer-brain interfaces (overview here). 

Listen to examples of the audio translations here
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> James Ingram, two-time Grammy-winning R&B singer, dies at 66 (More)
> UFC fighters Conor McGregor, Khabib Nurmagomedov suspended for roles in brawl following their lightweight championship fight last October (More)
> Empire actor Jussie Smollett assaulted in Chicago; police investigating attack as possible hate crime (More)
Science & Technology.
> Apple disables "devastating" bug that allows Group FaceTime users to spy on people they call before they pick up (More)
> Researchers demonstrate metal structure - nickel with self-assembled nanoscale pores - that is as strong as titanium but 4-5x lighter (More)
> Chinese scientists perform first-ever cloning of gene-edited mammal; test subject was a macaque monkey with a gene regulating its sleep cycle disabled (More)
Business & Markets.
> Earnings Season: Apple reports growth in services despite iPhone sales drop; shares up 5% in after-hours (More) |  Apple partners with Aetna to launch health app using Apple watch info (More)
eBay announces first dividend, shares up 3% after-hours (More) | Harley-Davidson shares down 5% after reporting declining sales, especially in US (More)
> US consumer confidence falls for 3rd straight month to 18 month low (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Party leaders select Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams to provide party's response to President Trump's State of the Union address on Feb. 5th (More)
> Brazil issues five arrest warrants over mining dam collapse that left at least 65 dead and almost 280 missing (More)
> Record-breaking temperatures in Northern US hit minus 27 degrees (F), with wind chills of minus 59 degrees (F) (More) | Arctic blast due to pocket of warm air above North Pole, which pushed the polar vortex south into Canada, US (More)
Etcetera.
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Mapping how much snow it usually takes to cancel class
Too much screen time for two-year-olds can delay development.
Why some people stay thin no matter how much they eat
NBA star Steph Curry wipes out trying to celebrate a dunk
Actor Ashton Kutcher just posted his phone number and wants you to text him
14 tips for raising kind and generous kids.
When you're late to class but make the perfect entrance (via Reddit). 
Minor fender bender turns into massive road rage on the Massachusetts Turnpike (w/ video). 
Clickbait: Oblivious tourist in Australia holds one of the world's most poisonous animals.
Historybook: RIP American flag designer Betsy Ross (1836); HBD Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882); Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany (1933); Mahatma Gandhi assassinated (1948); 14 killed on Bloody Sunday in Northern Ireland (1972).
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- Franklin D. Roosevelt
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