12.6.2019

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Need To Know
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France Shuts Down
France's labor unions largely shut down major cities across the country yesterday, as hundreds of thousands of workers took to the streets protesting changes to the national pension system. Proposed by President Emmanuel Macron, the reforms attempt to fix a fractured system that provides an after-tax average of $1,500 per month to every French retiree, but has more than 40 separate systems providing additional benefits depending on a person's profession. The proposal would move toward a one-size-fits-all system giving each retiree similar benefits, but critics say the reforms would ultimately result in lower income and later retirement for most workers, eroding gains protesters say they've spent decades fighting for. Aides said Macron remained steadfast in his goal of passing pension reform next year, while organizers said they are prepared for extended strikes. 

The protests resemble the crippling demonstrations of 1995, also over retirement reform.
Pelosi Pushes Impeachment Forward
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) directed the House Judiciary Committee to begin drafting articles of impeachment, saying the hearings to date adequately showed the president abused his power for political gain. The decision accelerates the time frame for a final House vote on whether to impeach the president; typically, the committee would hold additional hearings before voting on whether to begin drafting articles of impeachment. Some Democrats have expressed concern that the process will last deep into the 2020 election cycle, prompting Pelosi to target a full vote before Congress breaks for the holidays. 

What's next? The committee looks likely to vote next week, followed by a full House vote in the third week of December. After the holidays, the Republican-controlled Senate will determine how to try the charges. Feel lost? Here's a good overview of the nuts and bolts of impeachment. 
A Record-Smashing IPO
The state-owned Saudi Arabian Oil Co. priced the world's largest-ever initial public offering yesterday, raising $25.6B and beating Alibaba's $25B in 2014. Known informally as Saudi Aramco, the company will sell 3 billion shares at a per-share price of 32 riyals (about $8.53), a level that will make Aramco the world's most valuable listed company at $1.7T, selling 1.5% of the oil giant to the public, including close to 5 million Saudi retail investors. A critical cog in global oil production, it supplies roughly 10% of the world's oil and reported almost $68B in net income during the first nine months of the year (in a weak oil market), far outpacing Apple's $31.5B, previously the world's most profitable public company. Trading is expected to begin on the Saudi stock market Dec. 11. 

The IPO comes as the International Energy Agency projects world oil demand will flatten out by 2030.
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In The Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Leonard Goldberg, former TV and film exec and "Charlie's Angels" producer, dies at 85 (More)
> R. Kelly charged with bribing public official to create fake ID so he could marry late-singer Aaliyah when she was 15; new charge brings total federal charges against the singer to 19 (More)
> Former model Karen McDougal files slander lawsuit against Fox News, alleging host Tucker Carlson falsely accused her of extortion in President Trump affair allegation (More)
Science & Technology
> Research links certain stresses in early life, like exercise and calorie restriction, to longer overall lifespans (More)
> NASA probe makes closest-ever measurements of the solar wind, the charged stream of particles flowing out of the Sun's upper atmosphere (More)
> Study of gene that controls facial structure development provides evidence ancient humans domesticated themselves, weeding out aggressive traits over multiple generations (More)
Business & Markets
> Uber releases first safety report detailing the company’s safety progress; 3,000+ sexual assaults reported during 1.3B rides in 2018 (More) | Read report (More)
> General Motors and Korean chemical giant LG Chem to invest $2.3B by 2023 in joint venture for battery cell production for electric vehicles (More)
> United Airlines CEO will step down in May, to be replaced by current president of the company (More)

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Politics & World Affairs
> Concern grows over government funding as legislators face Dec. 20 deadline with impeachment proceedings occupying schedule (More) | Election 2020: Former Secretary of State John Kerry endorses Joe Biden (More
> "Normandy Summit" - Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany - meet Monday to negotiate an ending to the 5-year war sparked by Russia's annexation of Crimean peninsula (More)
> Rush-hour chase with stolen UPS truck in Miami ends in four deaths; suspects hijacked truck after robbing a jewelry store (More)
Weekend Reads
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A Dangerous Match
Buzzfeed/ProPublica | Staff. This investigative report has generated buzz around the loose, and in some cases nonexistent, standards for policing the use of dating apps by known sex offenders. (Read)
Chaos at the Top of the World
GQ | Joshua Hammer. The photo of a line of people stuck atop Mount Everest went viral, but it failed to capture the deadly reality of the overcrowding. Read the untold accounts of those who were there. (Read)
Podcast
The Truth About Vaping
Freakonomics | Stephen Dubner. This breakdown is the best we've heard on what is known - and unknown - about the health crisis surrounding electronic cigarettes. (Listen)
What is Voters' Highest Priority?
NYT/The Upshot | Staff. Voters on both sides say there are issues they care about more than impeachment. The data tell a different story. (Read)
 
 
Etcetera
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Watch the National Christmas Tree light up on the White House lawn.
... meanwhile Britain's tree is just making people sad

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From Megan Rapinoe to the Notre Dame fire, Reuters' best pictures of 2019.
The 22 best things that happened for the first time in 2019 ($$, NYT).
Drama dominated YouTube's trending page this year.
Analysis says there are 57 routes to the c-suite
Celebrities are now digitally cloning themselves
Subway sues over claims its chicken is only 50% chicken... and loses.
Clickbait: A banana duct-taped to a wall sells for $120,000
Historybook: 13th Amendment of US Constitution is ratified, abolishing slavery (1865); Washington Monument completed in Washington, DC (1884); Confederacy president Jefferson Davis dies (1889); Hollywood actress Agnes Moorehead born (1900); NASA photographs suggest presence of liquid on Mars (2006).
You made it. Have a great weekend.
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"Fear of life closes off more opportunities for us than fear of death ever does."
- Agnes Moorehead
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