12.27.2021

Desmond Tutu, Verdict in Minnesota, and the Year's Happiest Stories Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Monday, Dec. 27, and we're covering the passing of a human rights icon, a verdict in the killing of Daunte Wright, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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NEED TO KNOW

 

Desmond Tutu Dies

South African religious leader and human rights activist Desmond Tutu passed away yesterday at the age of 90 from prostate cancer. He was first diagnosed with the disease in 1997, experiencing a number of recurrences over the past two-and-a-half decades. 

 

A member of the Anglican clergy, Tutu served as the bishop of Johannesburg and the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town. A vocal opponent of South African apartheid—an oppressive system of legalized segregation (see history)—Tutu was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. Following the country's first democratic elections in 1994, Tutu led a commission that documented a wide range of abuses during the apartheid era. He used his later years to campaign for global rights causes beyond South Africa's borders. 

 

See Tutu's life in photos here.

Kim Potter Found Guilty

Former police officer Kim Potter was found guilty Thursday on manslaughter charges for the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb in April. The verdict came after roughly four days of jury deliberation. 

 

Potter engaged 20-year-old Wright, a Black man, while training a younger officer during a traffic stop. Officers attempted to detain Wright after finding he had an outstanding warrant; Wright attempted to get back in the vehicle and flee. Body camera footage (view here, warning: sensitive content) recorded Potter yelling "Taser" before discharging her firearm, killing Wright. She maintains she accidentally grabbed her gun instead of her Taser, something experts say is real but rare

 

Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 18. Watch the verdict be announced here.

Massacre in Myanmar

International aid groups reported yesterday at least 38 people in eastern Myanmar were shot and killed Christmas Eve, caught in a conflict between military forces and antigovernment groups. Sources say a number of women and children were among the dead, with one aid group reporting two of its staff as missing following the bloodshed. 

 

The violence is the latest in a string of incidents involving civilians stretching back to late 2016, when government forces carried out a widespread purge of the country's Muslim Rohingya population in the western part of the country. The military deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a February coup, and has increasingly cracked down on both armed and nonviolent opposition groups. 

 

See why the US still officially refers to the country as Burma

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EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

 

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with obé Fitness

> Joan Didion, acclaimed novelist and journalist, dies at 87 from Parkinson's complications (More) | Pop art painter Wayne Thiebaud dies at 101 (More)

 

> "Bridgerton" season 2 to premiere March 25 on Netflix (More) | Times Square New Year's Eve celebration capacity limited to 15,000 amid omicron fears (More)

 

> "Spider-Man: No Way Home" becomes first pandemic-era film to top $1B at global box office and third-fastest to hit the benchmark (More)

From our partners: This is your year to make moves. Whether you’ve got 10 minutes or 30, no equipment or all the gear, space at home or in the gym—obé Fitness makes it easy to reach your goals and have fun along the way. With 20+ class types, motivating instructors, and music that gets you going, you’ll fall in love with every move you make. Sign up today and get your first year for $199 $99 with code MOVE1440. 

Science & Technology

> James Webb Space Telescope launches; the largest and most complex space telescope ever put in orbit, the craft will detect signals from some of the most distant objects in the universe (More) | How the JWST will "see back in time" (More)

 

> The Internet Association, an influential joint lobbying group for Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies, to close by end of year; reports say split was driven by increasing tensions companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Meta (Facebook), and others (More)

 

> Prototype device allows doctors to monitor the electrical signals within individual heart cells; may provide unprecedented details of irregular cardiac behavior in real time (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets up Thursday (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.6%, Nasdaq +0.9%) as investors continue to weigh omicron risks; S&P 500 closes at all-time high (More)

 

> US airlines cancel hundreds of flights over the holiday weekend due to staffing shortages from the omicron variant (More)

 

> TikTok overtakes Google as the world’s most visited website in 2021 per analysis from website security provider Cloudflare (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> France reports more than 100,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day for the first time during the pandemic (More) | New US cases averaging just under 200,000 per day, up almost 60% over two weeks (More) | Hospitalizations up 3% over the past week, now around 71,400 (More)

 

> Ghislaine Maxwell trial enters day three of jury deliberations; Maxwell is accused of overseeing underage sex trafficking ring for deceased sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein (More) | Jury deliberations resume in trial of former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes (More)

 

> Former President Donald Trump asks Supreme Court to block National Archives records request by the Jan. 6 select committee (More) | Trump pushes back on criticism of COVID-19 vaccines, rejects vaccine mandates in interview (More)

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ETCETERA

 

Twelve of the happiest stories from 2021

 

The science behind Champagne bubbles.

 

Drawing bought for $30 at an estate sale may be $50M Renaissance work

 

A year of COVID-19, visualized.

 

Remembering inspirational figures who passed in 2021. (paywall, NYT)

 

X-ray analysis confirms forged date on Lincoln Civil War pardon.

 

America's favorite vacation spot for 2021.

 

Google Earth captures a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber.

 

Clickbait: This delicious lickable screen imitates food flavors.

 

Historybook: Chemist Louis Pasteur born (1822); Actress and singer Marlene Dietrich born (1901); Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City (1932); Benazir Bhutto assassinated (2007); RIP Carrie Fisher (2016).

 

"I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art."

- Carrie Fisher

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