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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.
Bush Sr. Passes Away.
Former President George Herbert Walker Bush passed away over the weekend at the age of 94, surrounded by friends and family at the Bushs' Houston home. The former president was well known for his dedication to public service, having served in Congress, the United Nations, the CIA, and as vice president for Ronald Reagan before arriving in the Oval Office in 1989 (see more). He is widely recognized as having led the transition into a post-Cold War world for the US. Bush will lay in state in the Capitol Rotunda before being transported and buried next to his wife and former first lady Barbara Bush in College Station, Texas. President Trump has declared a day of mourning - even Supreme Court hearings will be delayed - on Wednesday. See the former president's life in photos here.

Read the letter Bush left to incoming president Bill Clinton, and how the words "make us proud and congratulations" shaped the life of this FBI agent. 
Déjà Vu in College Football.
The 2019 College Football Playoffs were announced last night with #1 Alabama grabbing the top spot, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson, and Oklahoma. Three of the four teams - Notre Dame is this year's newcomer - competed for last year's championship. After beating #5 Georgia 35-28, defending champion Alabama are the odds-on favorites to repeat, opening as 14-point favorites over Big 12 champions Oklahoma (Dec. 29th on ESPN, 8pm ET), who beat #15 Texas on Saturday. In the second semifinals, true freshman Trevor Lawrence leads undefeated Clemson (favored by 11.5) against undefeated Notre Dame (4pm ET). Left outside the playoffs for the second straight year were the #8 Central Florida Golden Knights, who have won 25 straight games - UCF will play #11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st.

See all bowl matchups here
Trade War Paused.
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping reached an agreement to pause the escalating trade war between the two countries over the weekend. Under the short-term deal, the US will hold off on applying a slew of tariffs while China agreed to increase purchases of US agricultural and industrial goods from the US. The original tariffs were leveled largely in response to Chinese theft of intellectual property from US firms, and would make Chinese goods more expensive (and therefore less competitive) in the US marketplace. Less of a long-term solution to the two countries' trade tensions - the deal will expire in 90 days - the agreement gives both sides a chance to pause while exploring longer-term arrangements. The US exported $170B in goods and services to China in 2016, importing $479B.

Separately, the US officially signed a deal with Mexico and Canada meant to replace NAFTA. 
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In The Know.
Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> Michelle Obama's Becoming is bestselling book of 2018 two weeks after release, having sold more than 2 million copies (More)
> Actress Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas get married in India (More) | See photos (More)
> Florida State beats North Carolina 1-0 to win NCAA Women's Soccer National Championship (More) | Gregg Berhalter hired as head coach of US men's national soccer team (More)
Science & Technology.
> Scientists find intermediate link in whale evolution in fossil that had neither teeth nor baleen plates; many consider the development of large mammals able to subsist off tiny organisms like plankton to rival the evolution of feathers in reptiles (More)
> Prominent astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson denies allegations of sexual misconduct (More)
> Study suggests electrical stimulation targeting specific brain region - the lateral orbitofrontal cortex - can help reduce chronic depression (More)
Business & Markets.
> Hackers breached a Marriott database and potentially accessed information on 500M hotel guests (More)
> Nexstar Media to acquire Tribune Media for $4.1B - deal would make combined company the largest local US TV station operator (More)
> Apple, Amazon, Microsoft top WSJ's 2018 list of best-run US companies (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador lays out strong anti-crime stance in first speech (More)
> Iran launches first domestically-made destroyer, joins country's fleet in the Persian Gulf (More)
> Former FBI director James Comey reaches agreement to testify to US House Judiciary Committee under condition that transcript of hearing be made public (More)
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Hanukkah began yesterday - here's the history of the ancient holiday.
Body cam footage captures a California deputy helping people escape the devastating Camp wildfire.
How to spend your time in America's 25 most fun cities.
Reminisce with photos from a snow-covered 1920s Chicago
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Ugh Millennials: The Federal Reserve says you're exactly like your parents - only poorer.  
The top 100 innovations from 2018.
Payless punks fashionistas with a faux luxury shoe brand called "Palessi"
Clickbait: Atlantic City mayor caught on video brawling outside casino
Historybook: RIP novelist Robert Louis Stevenson (1894); HBD rock star Ozzy Osbourne (1948); HBD actress Julianne Moore (1960); First human heart transplant carried out (1967); Mikhail Gorbachev and George HW Bush declare end to Cold War (1989).
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