12.21.2018

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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.
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Government Shutdown Approaches.
President Trump reportedly rejected a stopgap spending bill after meeting with members of the House GOP yesterday, as frustration mounted over a Senate-passed bill that would extend federal government funding until February 8th. A number of House Republicans were frustrated that the bill, which funds agencies like Homeland Security and the State Department, did not include the full $5B requested for a border wall. Punting on a longer-term solution means that the next round of negotiations will take place after Democrats have taken control of the House - meaning now is the most leverage the GOP will have to control discussions in the near-term. The House ultimately passed a version of the bill including the full $5B for the wall, sending it back to the Senate for consideration - where 60 votes are needed to pass. 

The deadline to avoid a shutdown is midnight tonight.  
Mattis Resigns.
Secretary of Defense Gen. James Mattis abruptly submitted his resignation yesterday, citing differences in policy with President Trump. Mattis, the former Commander of the US Central Command who had led the Defense Department since January 2017, will step down in February and pledged to help with a smooth transition (read his resignation letter here). Reports suggested the recent announcement that the administration will pull troops out of Syria played a large part in Mattis' decision. Early names being floated to fill the role include Retired Army Gen. Jack Keane and Former Sen. Jim Talent, among others

Separately, the administration said it would begin drawing down the nearly 14,000-strong US presence in Afghanistan. 
Storm Pummels East Coast.
The eastern half of the US is being slammed with a major storm, dumping rain and bringing gusty winds and poor visibility to areas from the Gulf to New York. The system arrived on the busiest travel weekend of the year, and over 7,000 flights had been delayed and 231 had been canceled as of yesterday. The storm arrived riding a warm front, with unseasonably high temperatures keeping the precipitation mostly to rain, though a few inches of snow are expected in the Great Lakes and Northeast region. According to AAA, nearly 102 million people are expected to hit the road for the holidays. Meanwhile, a powerful storm on the other side of the country brought wind gusts of up to 117 miles-per-hour in Washington and knocked out power to 55,000 homes. 

Check out the MiseryMap - a real-time tracker of delays across the country. 

Editor's note: We're going to take a few days off to hang with family and friends over the holidays. We wish the best to you and yours, and we'll see you again on Thursday, December 27th. 

P.S. - Keep an eye out for a special email on Monday morning! 
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Rapper Travis Scott tapped to join Maroon 5 at Super Bowl LIII halftime show (More)
> Spotify settles $1.6B lawsuit over alleged use of thousands of songs without proper licenses (More)
> NY judge rejects film producer Harvey Weinstein's request to drop charges; Weinstein to face trial on five felony sex crimes (More)
Science & Technology.
> Scientist achieve long-coveted goal of finding a material with near-room temperature superconductivity; so far, material only works at pressures 2 million times atmospheric pressure (More) | Superconductivity 101 (More)
> NASA's deep space explorer New Horizons approaching Ultima Thule, the oldest and farthest object ever examined, over 4 billion miles from Earth (More)
> Engineered bandage generates electricity at wound interface, speeds healing in lab tests (More)
Business & Markets.
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> US stock markets down 1.5-2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq index briefly entered bear market territory; bear markets signal a drop of at least 20% since the previous high, which was in late August (More)
> Nike shares jump 7% with strong online sales growth (More) | Twitter shares fall 11% on short-seller report (More)
> Uber resumes self-driving car tests in Pittsburgh, 9 months after fatal crash in AZ (More)

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Politics & World Affairs.
> US reaches deal to have asylum seekers remain in Mexico while awaiting processing by US officials (More)
> Justice Dept. charges two Chinese nationals with hacking into at least 45 US tech companies and government agencies (More)
> Sweeping bipartisan criminal reform bill passes House, heads to White House for signature (More)
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Weekend Reads.
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What Johnson & Johnson Knew.
Reuters | Lisa Girion. As Johnson & Johnson faces a number of lawsuits claiming their talc powder contained carcinogenic asbestos, the company's internal documents show they may have known about the asbestos for years - but kept silent. (Read)
The Opioid Epidemic Nobody Talks About.
Washington Post | Peter Jamison. Despite the severity, the opioid crisis in big cities - like Washington, DC - are rarely talked about in comparison to their suburban counterparts. Urban opioid use is claiming more lives every day, and in the nation's capital, the deaths are 80% black. (Read)
 
A Ride Through Elon Musk's New Tunnel.
The Verge | Elizabeth Lopatto. As another one of Elon Musk's captivating companies, the Boring Company seeks to revolutionize the tunneling industry - and sell the bricks from the digging. (Read)
 
The Story of Dyngo.
Smithsonian Magazine | Rebecca Frankel. Dyngo, a veteran dog who served in Afghanistan, came home to retire and live out his days in a peaceful home. Once his owner brought him home, she realized the war hero might need some time to adjust. (Read)
Etcetera.
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Hashing out the 20 best Christmas movies of all time
The year in photos, as ranked by Bloomberg
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Check out the most amazing art installations of the past year
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Aquarium blasted for fat shaming full-figured otter
Clickbait: Parents take out classified ads to help marry single children
Historybook: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premieres (1937); HBD actress Jane Fonda (1937); RIP F. Scott Fitzgerald (1940); HBD French President Emmanuel Macron (1977); Bomb explodes on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270 (1988).
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