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Need To Know.
USA Gymnastics Goes Bankrupt.
USA Gymnastics, the national governing body for women's and men's gymnastics in the US, filed for bankruptcy yesterday. The move follows a year in which the reverberations from the Larry Nassar sexual abuse scandal rocked the gymnastics world and caused the resignation of several high-profile people affiliated with the program (see top names). Nassar, who was the organization's head physician from 1996 to 2015, was let go in 2015 after officials learned of potential misconduct. He eventually pleaded guilty to 10 separate counts of sexual assault stemming from his time with the gymnastics program, though over 150 women gave victim impact statements at his trials. Michigan State, which was affiliated with the program, ultimately settled with the victims for $500M. The organization filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would temporarily halt a number of large-scale lawsuits against the organization.
In related news, applications to Michigan State dropped 8.3% over the past year.
First Self-Driving Taxi Service Launched.
In a milestone for the use of autonomous vehicles, Google sister company Waymo officially launched a ride-sharing service using self-driving cars. Customers will be able to hail a self-driving car on an app and request a ride for up to three adults and one child, much like current ride-sharing programs like Uber and Lyft. The company is easing into a fully-automated service - the initial rollout is limited to parts of the Phoenix, AZ metro area and will employ a human backup in its early stages. The company will also be slow to expand outside of Phoenix, placing a premium on safety after a crash over the summer involving one of Waymo's self-driving minivans. The human safety driver in the crash had reportedly fallen asleep at the wheel during the test.
State Funeral for Bush.
The formal state service for former President George Bush was held yesterday at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. The funeral featured speeches from a wide range of former Bush associates and was attended by all five living former US Presidents (see photos). State funerals follow a long tradition that goes back to the mid-1800s, with each President determining the details of their funeral schedule before passing. Highlights included an emotional speech (w/ video) by former president George W. Bush, and Bush's loyal service dog Sully - photos of Sully laying by Bush's casket went viral earlier in the week. Bush's body traveled overnight to Texas for a final memorial service, before being buried in College Station, TX.
> Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg tapped to host 76th Golden Globe Awards on January 6th (More)
> 2018 Eater Award Winners announced; Samin Nosrat named Chef of the Year (More) | Awards for best dining in 24 cities across the US & world also released (More)
> XFL, American football league founded by WWE chairman Vince McMahon, announces 8 cities that will launch with league in 2020 (More) | Here's how XFL is different than NFL (More)
Science & Technology.
> He Jiankui, the Chinese scientist who made bombshell announcement of lab-produced, genetically engineered human babies, has been missing since last Wednesday (More)
> In medical first, a healthy baby was born from a uterus transplant from a deceased donor (More)
> Led by India and China, global carbon emissions set to rise by 2.7% in 2018 to 37 billion tons of CO2, the highest amount on record (More)
Business & Markets.
> Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Chinese tech company Huawei, arrested in Canada at request of US, related to violation of US sanctions (More)
> General Motors CEO Mary Barra in Washington DC to discuss recently-announced plant closure plans (More)
> France is the most taxed of the world’s 36 richest countries at 46% of economic output (More, paywall)
Want to dive deeper in finance?Finimize is finance’s best-kept secret, giving you all the tools and information you need to make savvy investment decisions. Stay up to date on markets and get a 3-minute breakdown of the 2 most important financial stories in your inbox every day—without jargon. Join more than 250k daily readers.
Politics & World Affairs.
> Six missing after US military aircraft crashes off coast of Japan; reports say midair collision may have been cause of accident (More)
> Wisconsin lame duck legislature passes bills to weaken governor's office; outgoing Governor Scott Walker (R) has signaled support of bills (More)
> UN-backed peace talks to end Yemen's civil war begin in Sweden amid skepticism (More)
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The Enormous Life of Anthony Bourdain.
GQ | Drew Magary. More than just a world-class chef, Anthony Bourdain was also an extremely accomplished author and entertainment personality that touched a multitude of countries, cultures, and people. Here the people who knew him best describe Bourdain's influence on them. (Read)
For some extra color, check out Bourdain's life as told through these photos.
Just Don't Ask How It Works.
The Intercept | Sam Biddle. Airport travel has long been filled with secret cameras, watch lists, and numerous other surveillance methods. But now the Department of Homeland Security is paying a private firm to create an algorithm to predict who might be terrorists before they board planes - but no peeking under the hood. (Read)
Historybook: 13th Amendment of U.S. Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery (1865); Washington Monument completed in Washington, DC (1884); Confederate president Jefferson Davis dies (1889); HBD Hollywood actress Agnes Moorehead (1900); NASA photographs suggest presence of liquid on Mars (2006).
"Fear of life closes off more opportunities for us than fear of death ever does." - Agnes Moorehead
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