11.1.2019

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Need To Know
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A New ISIS Leader
Officials from the Islamic State announced Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi as the terrorist group's new head yesterday, officially confirming the death of longtime leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Saturday raid. The statement also confirmed the top ISIS spokesman, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, had been killed in a separate attack. Not much is known about Hashimi outside of the organization, though intelligence analysts said the news was received with enthusiasm by the group's online supporters, where he was referred to as the "emir of the believers." Despite losing nearly all of the 40,000 square miles of territory held at its 2014 peak, the group has evolved into a borderless network intent on international terror attacks. Experts also say the decline of ISIS may result in a stronger al-Qaida - the two split in 2014 but retain many similar ideologies among core followers. 

Also yesterday, the Pentagon released the first images from the Baghdadi raid. 
Cystic Fibrosis Breakthrough
A new therapy for cystic fibrosis may help treat the underlying cause of symptoms in up to 90% of patients suffering from the debilitating genetic disorder, according to two breakthrough studies published yesterday. The treatment, a culmination of decades of research, combines three separate drugs that act together to improve the function of a key protein defective in patients with CF. The inherited disease causes mucus buildup and persistent infection in the lungs and other major organs and is often fatal in early adulthood, affecting about 1 in 3,000 people in the US. Data from the trials were conclusive enough that the Federal Drug Administration approved the drug regimen (named Trikafta) for use a week ahead of the studies becoming public and five months ahead of its deadline. 
Chicago Teacher Strike Ends
More than 360,000 students return to school in Chicago today after teachers in the nation's third-largest school district announced a deal with city officials. The news ends an 11-day teacher strike, with both sides settling on a 16% pay raise over five years, new funding for support staff, and $35M committed to reducing classroom size. The union also reportedly pushed to have all 11 days made up in the school schedule - negotiators ultimately added five days to the calendar. Roughly three-quarters of the students in Chicago Public Schools are considered economically disadvantaged (see stats). The strike followed a wave of similar protests that rippled across the country over the past year. Parents across the city rejoiced, with many having to miss work or change shifts in order to supervise their children during the day. 
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Deadspin writers quit en masse following management memo requesting journalists focus coverage solely on sports (More)
> Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. pleads not guilty to new sexual misconduct charge, the third such allegation against Gooding (More)
> Academy Awards make major changes, allow all members to vote on best international feature film (More)
Science & Technology
> China announces its state telecoms will roll out 5G networks tomorrow, months ahead of schedule (More) | What is the big deal about 5G? (More)
> Interstellar comet 2I/Borislav may be carrying water; reflected light from comet's surface shows presence of oxygen, likely from breakdown of surface water (More)
> Google's AI lab DeepMind says its software beats 99.8% of human players at notoriously complex video game "Starcraft II" after just 44 days of training (More)
Business & Markets
> Automakers Peugeot and Fiat Chrysler announce $48B merger to create world’s third-largest carmaker; shareholders of each company will own 50% of combined entity, Fiat shareholders to receive about $6B dividend (More)
> Tobacco giant Altria to take $4.5B write-down on value of Juul investment after purchasing 35% for $13B last year (More)
> Earnings Season: Kraft Heinz tops earnings expectations despite continued sales decline, shares up 13% (More) | Social media giant Pinterest grows 47% quarterly over last year but misses revenue guidance, shares slide about 20% (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> House votes to formalize impeachment inquiry, establishing processes for public hearings; vote almost completely along party lines, with only two Democrats and no Republicans breaking ranks (More)
> Iraqi Prime Minister on verge of stepping down following weeks of violent protests over corruption and lack of social services (More)
> At least 74 people killed after a fire sweeps through a Pakistani train; survivors say it took 20 minutes for train to stop after fire began (More)
Weekend Reads
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The Ransomware Superhero
ProPublica | Renee Dudley. While law enforcement struggles to adapt to international hackers that paralyze computer systems and demand ransom, one man - an employee at the Nerds on Call repair shop in Normal, Ill. - has helped hundreds of thousands of victims break free. (Read)
The Drone Wars Are Already Here
Bloomberg Businessweek | Staff. No longer just for advanced militaries, drone technology has filtered down to the battlegrounds in developing countries. As weaponry becomes cheaper, experts worry about how drones will shift the future landscape of war. (Read, $$)
Interstellar and Beyond
Wired | Daniel Oberhaus. Only two spacecraft have ever ventured into interstellar space, the area outside of our solar system which begins roughly 10 billion miles from Earth. Both were launched in 1977 and are about to die, prompting NASA to get serious about a modern interstellar mission. (Read, $$)
 
 
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Best of Etcetera - October 2019
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Editor's Note: More than 500,000 clicks can't be wrong - here are the most-read articles from last month...

(10/8) The most unaffordable city in the world to own a home.

(10/21) Science says parents who raise successful children do these nine things.

(10/3) Fat Bear Week is finally back!

(10/26) Baby raves are the hottest new parenting fad.

(10/17) The Paris Zoo unveils a disturbing new... animal?

(10/9) Meet Victoria's Secret's first plus-sized model.

(10/23) Science determines precisely how to wash your hands.

(10/3) The definitive ranking of the country's wealthiest Americans.

(10/16) Scientists pinpoint the most unhappy year in US history.

(10/2) Street artist Banksy opens a dystopian hardware store.

(10/15) The best places to retire in the US.

(10/28) OK Boomers: Gen Z declares war on Baby Boomers.

(10/22) The US religious landscape continues to change at a rapid pace.

(10/25) Superstar gymnast Simone Biles throws out an amazing first pitch.

(10/28) Clickbait: Bus-sized fatberg pulled from London sewer.
Historybook: Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling exhibited to public for first time (1512); Earthquake and tsunami in Lisbon kills 60-90K (1755); Silent film star Laura LaPlante born (1904); HBD Apple CEO Tim Cook (1960); RIP football great Walter Payton (1999).
Readers in the US, remember to set your clocks back Saturday night!
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"When you're good at something, you'll tell everyone. When you're great at something, they'll tell you."
- Walter Payton
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