12.6.2020

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Need to Know
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Escalation in the Middle East
The fallout from a US strike that killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani at Iraq's Baghdad Airport Friday grew over the weekend, with Iraqi lawmakers voting to end US military presence in the country. The resolution, approved by parliament's Shiite majority but boycotted by Sunni and Kurdish members, would expel roughly 5,000 troops currently in the country. Separately, Iran announced it would end all commitments to the 2015 multiparty nuclear deal, an agreement whose future has looked grim since the US pulled out in May 2018. As head of Iran's elite Quds Force, Soleimani was responsible for clandestine operations for two decades in pursuit of Iranian hegemony in the Middle East. While Friday's strike was a significant escalation of tensions, the White House said it had intelligence - though details were not provided - that Soleimani was planning to ramp up attacks against US interests. President Trump tweeted that the US would target a symbolic 52 sites in Iran for any further retaliation. 

Here's a look at how Iran may retaliate and see photos from Soleimani's funeral procession here.
Methodist Church Proposes Split
Leaders of the United Methodist Church revealed a proposal Friday to split into separate denominations over what they say are irreconcilable differences around same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy. The plan, which will be voted on in May, would create a "traditionalist" Methodist denomination, wholly independent of the current organization (read the nine-page plan). Officials expect the existing United Methodist Church to then repeal current rules banning ordained ministers from performing same-sex marriages and disallowing LGBTQ members to be ordained. Created in 1968, the church is the second-largest Protestant denomination in the US with more than 7 million members (12 million worldwide). It is unclear how many members will move to the new denomination; a slim majority (54%) of all members support allowing same-sex marriage (congregations in Africa and Asia tilt more conservative), and local churches will have four years to decide whether to make the switch.
2020 Golden Globes 
The 77th annual Golden Globes kicked off the awards season last night, with a number of big surprises at the top of the card (see red carpet photos). The big winner was Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood," which walked away with awards for best comedy, best supporting actor (Brad Pitt), and best screenplay. In what was seen as a rebuke to Netflix, Sam Mendes won best director and his "1917" got the nod for best drama, upsetting Martin Scorsese and "The Irishman" which received limited release before moving to the streaming giant. Netflix, whose features have been racking up an increasing number of awards in recent years, notched just two wins despite entering with 34 nominations. Renee Zellweger ("Judy") and Joaquin Phoenix ("Joker") won best actress and actor, respectively, while "Succession" (best drama) and "Fleabag" (best comedy) led on the television side (full list of winners). 

Host Ricky Gervais opened the show with an explosive, expletive-filled monologue
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Defending champion New England Patriots eliminated from playoffs after loss to Tennessee Titans, their earliest playoff exit in 10 years (More) | Tom Brady set to become free agent, says he's unlikely to retire (More) | Texans, Vikings, Seahawks also advance (More)
> Harvey Weinstein's sexual assault trial begins today in New York City; former movie mogul faces felony rape charges that carry a maximum sentence of life in prison (More)
> "Frozen 2" ($1.32B) becomes highest-grossing animated film of all time, topping original "Frozen" ($1.27B) (More) | "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" already nearing $1B at the global box office (More)
Science & Technology
> Massive leak of documents from defunct data company Cambridge Analytica shows 2018 Facebook scandal was part of work in 68 countries (More) | Review the scandal here (More)
> Infectious disease experts warn of new human virus after 44 unexplained cases of pneumonia are reported in China; may be related to other acute respiratory viruses like SARS and MERS (More)
> Scientists move to commercialize super-efficient lithium-sulfur battery; among other applications, electric vehicle range can be increased to more than 620 miles (More)
Business & Markets
> US stock markets down Friday (S&P 500 -0.7%, Dow -0.8%, Nasdaq -0.8%) on Iran tensions (More)
> Tesla shares up 3% after exceeding Wall Street vehicle delivery expectations; delivered 367,000 cars in 2019, 50% increase over 2018 (More)
> Social media giant Snapchat acquires AI Factory, producer of the technology behind selfie-based videos (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> One US service member, two defense contractors killed after al Qaeda-linked terrorist group al Shabaab attacks military base in Kenya (More)
> Death count rises to 24 as searing heat wave fuels raging brushfires across Australia (More) | See photos (More)
> Five dead, 60 hospitalized in multivehicle accident that shut down 86-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike; tour bus hit from behind by tractor-trailer after running into embankment (More)
Etcetera
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Historybook: Joan of Arc born (1412); Telegraph publicly demonstrated for first time (1838); RIP geneticist and botanist Gregor Mendel (1884); First Montessori school is opened (1907); RIP Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (1919).
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