10.22.2019

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Need To Know
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Prime Editing
After weeks of hushed rumors, scientists unveiled a powerful advanced version of the popular CRISPR gene-editing technique that has the potential to treat a vast range of genetic diseases in humans. Known as "prime editing," the new approach can swap any of the DNA building blocks - think of the letters A, T, C, and G - for any other, at precise locations along the genome with a dramatic reduction in errors. Classic CRISPR relies on an enzyme that is guided to a specific location along a DNA strand and chops the genome at that point (see 101). The DNA then either repairs itself on its own or use a template provided by the guiding molecule. To date, scientists have only been able to replace certain letter combinations and often insert or cut the wrong DNA, leading to mutations. The new super-precise approach allows scientists to replace only the DNA segments they want, with any other type of DNA segment they supply - an approach that could theoretically fix roughly 90% of the 75,000 known disease-causing genetic variants, responsible for ailments such as sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, and more. 
Last-Minute Opioid Deal
Four defendants in a landmark federal case against the manufacturers and distributors of opioid pain medications reached a $260M settlement just hours before a trial was set to begin. The deal pauses the highly anticipated trial but only applies to two counties in Ohio which were being used as test cases for federal prosecution. McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen - who collectively control more than 90% of the US drug distribution market - will pay a combined $215M, while Teva Pharmaceuticals will pay $20M and donate $25M in addiction-treatment drugs. Though the deal only applies to the two Ohio counties, it provides a structure for negotiators to hammer out a more comprehensive deal involving a whopping 2,700 cases from across the US (overview here), whose value could near $50B. At the heart of the lawsuits are allegations that companies aggressively pushed prescriptions on doctors and patients while misleading them about their addictive nature, fueling the nation's opioid epidemic.  

Almost 50,000 Americans die each year from opioid overdoses.
Israel Turns to Gantz
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told President Reuven Rivlin he was unable to form a coalition government yesterday, prompting Rivlin to turn to opposition candidate Benny Gantz. Gantz becomes the first person to try and form a government other than the four-term PM Netanyahu in over a decade. The country has been mired in political gridlock since April, when Netanyahu's conservative alliance fell one seat short of a majority in national elections, sparking September elections. Despite his Likud Party losing four seats between April and September, Rivlin gave Netanyahu a final chance to form a government. Gantz will now have 28 days to form his coalition, after which anyone else in the Knesset (see 101) can try. If that fails, the country will likely head to its third national election in less than a year. 
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture
> Michigan State, Kentucky top preseason college basketball poll; Reigning 2019 champion Virginia comes in at #11 (More) | NBA regular season tips off tonight; see preview for all 30 teams (More) | ...and 2019 #1 NBA draft pick Zion Williamson to miss six to eight weeks with injury (More)
> Joker pulls in $737M to date at the box office, projected to become highest grossing R-rated movie of all time (More)
> 2019 Ballon d'Or shortlists announced for best male and female soccer players in the world; Women's World Cup champs Team USA have three on shortlist (More)
Science & Technology
> Scientists demonstrate "artificial leaf" that can produce synthetic gas mixture from sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water (More)
> Transatlantic research coalition receives $52M grant to use on new genetics technologies and imaging techniques to advance early cancer detection (More)
> Facebook removes three propaganda networks originating from Iran and one from Russia; rolls out new measures to prevent election interference (More)
Business & Markets
> Sources say coworking giant WeWork’s board to meet today to evaluate financing offers: an investment which would make SoftBank the majority shareholder at an $8B valuation (last SoftBank valuation was $47B) or a JPMorgan debt package (More)
US stock markets up (S&P 500 +0.7%, Dow +0.2%, Nasdaq +0.9%) due to increased optimism around US/China trade war resolution and corporate Q3 earnings season (More) | Earnings Season: Roughly 25% of S&P 500 companies report earnings this week (More)
> Tech companies Workday, Square, ServiceNow top Fortune’s Future 50 list of companies with the strongest long-term growth potential (More)

7 lucrative cards for people with good credit. If your credit qualifies you for the best, you deserve the best. Take advantage of intro bonuses, long 0% APRs and cash back offers (More) #Ad
Politics & World Affairs
> Supreme Court overturns lower court decision that Michigan's state electoral map must be redrawn due to partisan gerrymandering (More)
> Utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric says 200,000 may lose power in second planned blackout this week (More)
> Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wins reelection but Liberal Party loses majority in Parliament; Conservative party wins popular vote, increases number of seats from 95 to 121 (More)
In-Depth
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The Sinking Megacity
Wired UK | Peter Guest. Indonesia's capital of Jakarta, a bustling metropolis home to more than 30 million people, has sunk over 12 feet in the past few decades. Despite a fierce effort to save the city, Jakarta's future looks impossibly bleak. (Read)
The New Gods of Esports
CNet | Jackson Ryan. Chris Scott was paralyzed from the neck down after colliding with a dust devil during a routine skydive in 2014. Years into recovery, frustrated, and seeking a competitive outlet, Scott became one of the first to use advanced neurological technologies to venture into - and dominate - competitive esports. (Read)

...kind of know about esports, but kind of don't? check out our 1440 guide to esports here.
 
 
Etcetera
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The 30 most haunted places across America.
... and that viral ghost baby has a (disappointingly) simple explanation
Mitt Romney's secret Twitter account has been uncovered

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The US religious landscape continues to change at a rapid pace
How you can watch the Orionid meteor shower this week
Divers find a second sunken warship from the historic Battle of the Midway.
These four grandmothers make for legendary flower girls
See the amazing winners of the Nikon Small World photography contest
Clickbait: The phone cover that absolutely no one asked for (ever). 
Historybook: Metropolitan Opera House opens in NYC (1883); Oscar-winning actress Joan Fontaine born (1917); Actress Annette Funicello born (1942); President Kennedy addresses nation on Cuban Missile Crisis (1962); HBD reggae artist Shaggy (1968).
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- John F. Kennedy
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