US Cancer Mortality Continues Long Decline.
US cancer deaths fell 1.7% between 2014 and 2015, according to a new comprehensive report on cancer statistics released yesterday. The drop continues a decades-long decline, with mortality rates dropping 26% since 1991 - adding up to over 2.4 million fewer cancer deaths in that time frame. The overall decline is driven by the four major cancer killers - lung, breast (in females), prostate, and colorectal - and is likely due to less smoking and increased (and better) early detection. Racial and gender disparities still exist, with the death rate for non-Hispanic blacks 14% higher than whites in 2015. You can read the full report here

Security Aid to Pakistan Suspended.
The Trump administration announced plans to suspend nearly all security aid to Pakistan over frustration with the lack of government response to terrorists within its borders. The US gives about $550M each year in total assistance (not counting up to $1B in direct payments for military support), with about $330M going to security aid (see breakout). Tension between the two countries is not new as Pakistan has largely accommodated the presence of US-designated terrorist groups like the Haqqani Network in its tribal regions that border Afghanistan (read background). However, previous administrations have hesitated on withdrawing funding for fear that Pakistan's nuclear weapons could ultimately fall into the hands of terrorist groups. Administration officials stressed the freeze was temporary and could be lifted if Pakistan cut ties with militants. 

Obama-Era Pot Policy Rolled Back.
The Department of Justice will ease restrictions on prosecuting federal drug crimes in states where marijuana has been decriminalized. The previous Obama-era rules discouraged federal prosecutors from pursuing pot-related offenses in states where the drug had been decriminalized. The rollback also threatens to add uncertainty to the emerging US marijuana industry, where retail sales of recreational and medicinal pot combined for almost $8B in sales in 2017. A recent Gallup poll found American's support for legalization at an all-time high of 64%. 
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.

> HBO confirms Season 8 of Game of Thrones won't return until 2019 (More)
> 'Jeopardy!' host Alex Trebek on leave after unexpected brain surgery (More)
> NFL ratings down nearly 10% for 2017 (More) | Still favorite sport for Americans to watch (More

Science & Technology.

> Researchers develop potential non-addictive opioid alternative (More
> Trump administration proposes dramatic expansion of offshore oil and gas drilling, would open 90% of outer continental shelf to access (More)
> Acetaldehyde from alcohol can break and damage DNA in stem cells, may explain known link between alcohol and increased cancer rates (More)

Business & Markets.

> Macy's grows 1% during holidays, to close 11 stores and cut 5k jobs while stock falls 7% (More) | Sears Holdings to close 100+ Sears & Kmart stores (More
> Dow index passes all time high of 25,000 - S&P and Nasdaq indexes also close at record highs (More)
> Intel CEO Brian Krzanich under fire for selling $39M shares before general public was made aware of chip design flaw (More)

Politics & World Affairs.

> David Yancey (R) wins random draw to break tie in VA district race, GOP will retain control of state House of Delegates (More)
> Steve Bannon loses top financial backer Rebekah Mercer after leaked book excerpt (More)
> Reports say North Korea accidentally crashed a missile into its own town last summer (More)

The Black Swans of 2018. 

Politico | Michael P. Dempsey. A look at the most high risk, but below-the-radar, national security threats that may unfold during 2018. (Read)

The Biggest Secret. 

The Intercept | James Risen. Reflections from a NYT defense reporter on how the War on Terror has changed press freedoms, beginning during the Bush administration and accelerating under Obama. (Read)

Inside Silicon Valley's Dark Side. 

Vanity Fair | Emily Chang. An inside look at the widely known, but little talked about, seedy Silicon Valley parties where make-or-break relationships with venture capitalists are formed. (Read)

What is Kyrie Irving Chasing?

ESPN | Jackie MacMullan. Behind Kyrie Irving's motivation to leave LeBron James and the Cavs and chase his own destiny in Boston. (Read)

My Daughter Died, But I’m Still Mothering Her. 

LongReads | Jacqueline Dooley. A personal essay from the author on the grieving process from finding out her 15-year-old daughter's cancer had progressed through her death. Warning - it's powerful but a tearjerker. (Read)
Oregonians freak out over new rule allowing citizens to pump gas.

What Fitbit's 6 billion nights of sleep data can tell us about ourselves.

The newest, largest prime number discovered has more than 23 million digits

Ugh Millennials: Tend to be more perfectionist than other generations.  

Raw water - unfiltered, untreated spring water - is the hottest trend in Silicon Valley (and a terrible idea).

Holiday gun sales in America drop for second year in a row.

The best investment bet over the last 150 years was...housing

Pawternity leave for new pet owners is the latest cushy benefit.

Clickbait: After two dying memoirists wrote bestsellers about their impending deaths, their spouses fell in love.

Historybook: HBD Walter Mondale (1928); HBD Alvin Ailey (1931); RIP Calvin Coolidge (1933); Construction of Golden Gate Bridge begins (1933); Sonny Bono dies in skiing accident (1998).
-Alvin Ailey
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