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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.
Cohen Gets Prison Time.
Michael Cohen, the former personal lawyer to President Trump, was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of tax evasion, lying to Congress, and campaign finance violations. The latter charges stem from payments of hush money to allegedly keep women from going public about past affairs with the President. During the 2016 election cycle, financial documents show Cohen paid a combined $280,000 to two women - because the payments could be construed as services for an electoral candidate (and exceeded the $2,700 ceiling), the transactions technically violated campaign finance laws. During sentencing, Cohen said he felt it was his "duty" to cover up any potential misdeeds committed by Trump. 

One of the women, adult film star Stormy Daniels, was ordered to pay Trump $293,000 in legal fees after a failed defamation lawsuit. 
Church Sex Abuse.
Australian Cardinal George Pell was convicted on five charges stemming from sexual misconduct involving two boys at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne in the 1990s. Pell, a Cardinal in the Catholic Church and the third-ranking Vatican official, served as the Vatican treasurer and is the highest-ranking Catholic official to face such charges. He helped establish the Catholic Church's first formal system to handle child sex abuse claims in 1997, and was appointed in 2012 to an 8-member committee on church reform (see timeline). Pell was originally accused of mishandling sexual misconduct cases of other clergy members in 2016, before accusations against Pell himself surfaced in 2017. Pope Francis announced that Pell would be removed from his post following the conviction. 
Geminid Meteor Shower.
The brightest meteor shower of the year takes place late tonight, when the Geminid meteors reach peak intensity. The shower is caused by debris from 3200 Phaethon - an asteroid that will come within 10 million kilometers of Earth. The meteors will put on a show primarily in the Southeast US, but should be visible from all parts of the country (see map). The Geminids, along with the Quadrantids, are one of two major meteor showers not originating from a comet - see the difference between the two here

Last year's photos should give you a good idea of what to expect. 
Editor's Note: Yesterday's link on the subterranean biosphere incorrectly said the study examined subsurface levels 2.5-5 billion km deep. That's really deep. Like...really, really deep. So deep, it would go through the Earth and almost all the way to Pluto. We meant to say 2.5-5 km deep. 
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In The Know.
Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> A Star Is Born, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Ozark top nominations for 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards with four apiece; see full list of nominations (More)
> Sesame Street introduces its first homeless character, Muppet Lily (More) | See the show's history of tackling social issues (More)
> Library of Congress announces 25 new films added to the National Film Registry, including Cinderella, Jurassic Park, and Brokeback Mountain (More) | See complete list of all 725 films in the Registry (More)
Science & Technology.
> Arctic experiences second-warmest year on record, with average temperatures increasing at twice the rate of global temperature increase (More)
> Water, locked in rocks and minerals, discovered via spectral analysis on the asteroid Bennu; the OSIRIS-REx mission will bring samples of asteroid back to Earth in 2023 (More)
> Intel unveils new computer chip architecture for 2019; new chips will have hardware to accelerate computations around cryptography and compression (More)
Business & Markets.
> US inflation increases - the core consumer price index increased 0.2% from last month & 2.2% over last year (More)
> Boy Scouts of America considering bankruptcy given sinking membership and increasing legal costs from sexual abuse lawsuits (More)
> Consumer packaged goods (CPG) giant Procter & Gamble to acquire Walker & Company - maker of health & beauty products (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) nears deal with opposing Democrats to limit potential speakership to 4 years (More)
> British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly wins no-confidence vote as Brexit deal hangs in balance (More)
> New CDC data says that Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid about 100x stronger than morphine, became the deadliest drug in the US; caused 28.8% of overdose deaths (More)
Feel good for the holidays.

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"Why not get just any bone broth?" you may ask.

Well, because Kettle & Fire towers above their competition in health and sustainability. They're the world's only eco-packaged bone broth: no need to freeze until use, their vacuum-sealed broths have a shelf-life of 2 years. And they're deeply committed to the ingredients: 100% grass-fed cattle and chicken, with no hormones, antibiotics, additives, or preservatives. Just the ingredients listed online.

So give Kettle & Fire a try - 1440 readers get 20% off any beef or chicken bone broth, free shipping, and a free ebook to teach you all about the health benefits of bone broth. And, of course, 100% money back if it's not your thing. Check it out now to finish 2018 right.
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In Depth.
The Next Great Chess Boom is Here.
The Ringer | David Hill. After a hard-fought battle with 26-year old prodigy Fabiano Caruana, reigning world champion of chess Magnus Carlsen is more popular than ever. See how a Twitch-streaming culture and unpredictable rivalries are giving professional chess a rebirth. (Read)
16 and Struggling to Read.
Chalkbeat | Adeshina Emmanuel. In Chicago, three out of every ten adults don't have basic literacy skills. Join Javion Grayer, a 16-year-old Chicago student, on his journey to avoid becoming another statistic. (Read)
The top internet searches of 2018 according to Google Trends
Lin-Manuel Miranda shares unreleased Hamilton song.
Social media outpaces newsprint as a source of information for Americans
The metaphorical Washington, DC swamp is being overrun with actual vermin
The best holiday window displays in the world
Wheelchair-bound college graduate uses exoskeleton to walk across stage.
More than ever, older Americans are aging alone (paywall). 
No dog has ever been angrier about going to the vet
A German chocolate factory broke, flooding an entire street with chocolate
Clickbait: Michigan State University now offers students therapy cows
Historybook: HBD Dick Van Dyke (1925); HBD Jamie Foxx (1967); HBD Taylor Swift (1989); 10 new countries join European Union (2002); Saddam Hussein captured by American forces (2003).
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