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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.
Khashoggi Briefing.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed the Senate yesterday on the administration's response to the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The pair downplayed evidence linking Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to the killing and stressed the importance of maintaining the US-Saudi relationship. A number of senators left the meeting upset that CIA director Gina Haspel was not present to discuss findings from the intelligence community - the briefing came ahead of a vote to withdraw US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Observers say such a move would serve as a rebuke of the Crown Prince while extricating the US from a devastating civil war that has drawn international condemnation. 

See background of the Khashoggi saga here
Federal Reserve Hints at Rate Target.
US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that interest rates were just below a target that neither brakes nor boosts the US economy. The move would end a three-year trend of gradual rate hikes, following nearly eight years where rates were held near zero to spur economic activity following the Great Recession (see historic rates). Because higher interest rates mean consumers and businesses spend more on things like buying a car or starting a new plant, the decision reflects the Fed's confidence that the economy can weather higher costs without slowing down. The statement pumped optimism into US stock markets, which rose 2-3% on the news. 

Sort of understand what the Fed is - but sort of don't? Here is a solid primer on its history and how it works. 
Ohio Family Massacre.
Hearings began yesterday for four people accused of carrying out a brutal, execution-style slaying of an Ohio family in 2016. The four, all members of the same family led by their patriarch George Wagner III, allegedly spent months planning an attack on the Rhoden family near the Ohio village of Peebles. Eight members of the Rhoden family were killed, ranging in age from 16 to 44 - police on the scene found a 4-day-old baby, a 6-month-old, and a three-year-old, all of whom survived. While a specific motive has not been identified to date, one of the defendants reportedly fathered a child with one of the deceased members of the Rhoden family. After the murders the Wagner family fled to Alaska, with the mysteries around the slaying capturing the public's attention and sparking the largest criminal inquiry in state history. At least two of the defendants face the death penalty. 
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In The Know.
Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Sundance Film Festival announces its lineup of 112 feature films (More) | Sundance 101 (More)
> 30 years after original novel, Margaret Atwood to write sequel to The Handmaid's Tale; The Testaments will be published in September 2019 (More)
> Magnus Carlsen defeats Fabiano Caruana to retain his World Chess Championship title (More)
Science & Technology.
> Amazon to roll out new machine learning computer chip for cloud services, will compete with processors from Nvidia, Google, others (More)
> Research suggests microbes began pumping oxygen into early Earth's atmosphere 3.5 billion years ago, 1 billion years earlier than previously thought (More)
> Archaeologists reveal first results from dig of ancient Canaan city of Megiddo; shows signs of elaborate medical care and sophisticated spice trade (More)
Business & Markets.
> US new home sales fall 8%+ in October to lowest level since March 2016 (More)
> North Carolina tops Forbes' 2018 list of best US states for business (More)
> Altria - owner of Phillip Morris brands including Marlboro - reportedly in discussions to acquire a "significant minority stake" in e-cigarette giant Juul Labs (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Following Australia, New Zealand blocks Chinese telecom giant Huawei from supplying local carrier with 5G technology over espionage concerns (More)
> Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D, NY-8) defeats Rep. Barbara Lee (D, CA-13) in vote for chair of House Democratic Caucus (More) | Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) nominated as House Speaker, floor vote scheduled for Jan. 3rd (More
> Officials work to corroborate story of Texas inmate who confessed to killing over 90 people; would be the most prolific known serial killer in US history (More)
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In Depth.
An Anti-Vaxxer’s New Crusade.
ProPublica | David Armstrong. The public knows Dr. David Ayoub as the man who claimed that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was committing genocide for trying to increase vaccination rates in poverty-stricken countries, and broadly claiming that vaccines cause autism. Ayoub now has a new venture - being an expert witness for accused child abusers. (Read)
Welcome to the Witch Capital of Norway.
The Outline | Chelsea G. Summers. The history of the Salem witch trials are often glamorized and have been perpetuated by popular culture. Contrast that with the legacy of the gruesome trials of Vardø, Norway, where a devastating false prosecution killed over 130 people in the 17th century. (Read)
The "Fearless Girl" statue is getting a new home
The 100 most influential young people in government around the globe
Happy Holidays: We're giving away a $250 Amazon gift card, and doubling your entries when you share with friends. See details here!
An exhaustive, interactive mapping of the history of philosophy
Survey says people want to live longer but, eh...100 years is probably too long
The most popular baby names of 2018
The 20 best new restaurants in America (via Esquire). 
New digital smell technology will allow us to transmit odors online.
Meet Knickers, the cow who was too heavy to go to the slaughterhouse
Clickbait: Hang glider realizes passenger isn't strapped in halfway through flight (w/ video).
Historybook: HBD Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis (1898); UN General Assembly approves plan to partition Palestine (1947); Warren Commission is established to investigate President Kennedy assassination (1963); RIP social activist Dorothy Day (1980); RIP Beatles guitarist George Harrison (2001).
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