Partygate, Joe Rogan, and the Power of Regrets Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Feb. 1, and we're covering the release of a highly anticipated report in the UK, the latest in the Joe Rogan Spotify saga, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

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Partygate Report Released

The UK government released the initial findings of its investigation into alleged work parties held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the COVID-19 lockdown. Dubbed "partygate," the investigation included more than 300 photos from 16 parties and concluded the actions showed a failure in Johnson’s leadership. However, many details have been withheld as 12 parties are subject to an ongoing police investigation.


Johnson apologized for his actions, promising to reorganize his political office while touting his record on Brexit and shifting focus to an upcoming visit to Ukraine. Johnson has dismissed calls to resign, and it remains to be seen whether members of his Conservative Party will call for a no-confidence vote. To trigger a vote, 54 of the party's 359 lawmakers must call for the motion. If a majority voted against Johnson, he would be forced to resign. The no-confidence vote could happen sometime this month.


Read the released report here.

Rogan Responds

Popular podcaster Joe Rogan apologized yesterday and said he would seek to add more balance to his shows, his first public comments amid allegations his show promotes COVID-19 misinformation. Rock legend Neil Young pulled his music catalog from Spotify, the streaming platform which hosts Rogan's show, in protest. He was followed by Grammy-winning folk musician Joni Mitchell.    


The standup comedian inked a deal with Spotify in 2020 for $100M. He is currently the platform's top-ranked podcaster, drawing roughly 11 million listeners per episode. Rogan said his intent was not to spur controversy but rather interview those with differing opinions. Spotify said it would add disclaimers to content involving COVID-19, a move Rogan said he supports. Listen to Rogan's explanation here.


Almost 64% of the US population (and 74% of adults) is fully vaccinated. The most recent data suggest unvaccinated adult patients are 12 to 18 times more likely to require hospitalization. 

UN Council Meets Over Ukraine

Russia’s military buildup on the border of Ukraine took center stage yesterday at an open UN Security Council meeting as the US and its Western allies tried to de-escalate the situation through negotiations. They say Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine, and have threatened sanctions on Moscow. Russia denies any plans to attack. 


The vote to hold the emergency meeting passed 10-2, with China and Russia opposing. The US sought the meeting as Norway ended its rotating presidency of the council yesterday and Russia is set to take over this month. Talks between the US and Russia have so far failed to smooth out tensions over Ukraine, according to reports. 


About 100,000 Russian troops have been stationed near Ukraine’s eastern border for months. Russia has demanded NATO to pull out forces from Eastern Europe, halt deployment of weapons near its borders, and promise that Ukraine will never join the organization. 


Watch the meeting here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

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> Popular online word puzzle game Wordle bought by The New York Times; will remain free for now (More) | Try Wordle out for yourself (More)


> Tom Brady still mulling decision to retire, says he's "still going through the process" on deciding whether to return for another season (More)


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Science & Technology

> US health officials grant full approval to Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine; drug will be marketed under the name Spikevax (More) | Average US COVID-19 cases fall below 500,000 per day; average daily deaths near 2,400 (More)


> First evidence of nonrandom mutations in human genes observed, according to new study; researchers say an antimalarial mutation arises preferentially in African populations without being inherited from parents (More)


> Astronomers identify exoplanet with a layered, Earth-like atmospheric structure filled with metallic gas; known as a "hot Jupiter," the planet orbits its host star in under 10 days (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets climb (S&P 500 +1.9%, Dow +1.2%, Nasdaq +3.4%) but S&P 500 sees worst monthly return since March 2020 (More)


> Software giant Citrix to be taken private by private equity firms Vista Equity and Elliott Management in $16.5B deal (More)


> Sony to acquire Bungie—maker of multiplayer video games including "Halo"—for $3.6B (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Fertilizer plant fire overnight in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, forces evacuations within 1 mile of facility, prompts fears of potential chemical explosions (More)


> Judge rejects plea deal in federal hate crime case for two Georgia men convicted of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery; Greg and Travis McMichael were sentenced to life in prison without parole in criminal trial (More)


> Another major winter storm to affect region stretching from the Rockies through the Midwest into the Northeast between Tuesday and Friday; storm comes just days after some Northeast locations saw more than 2 feet of snow (More)



'No Regrets' is No Way to Live

Daniel Pink | Wall Street Journal. "Never look back" may sound empowering, but here's how looking backward to embrace regrets can help one move forward. (Read)

The Secret Cult of Nyau Dancers

Maptia | Vlad Sokhin. A look at the secret societies of the Chewa, an ethnic group within Africa's Bantu people, whose traditions and rituals form the basis for the community's religious beliefs. (Read)



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The history of Black History Month


Americans are on a tipping spree.


... and they're sour on the country's direction but satisfied at home.


Can music playlists predict market returns?


Singer Rihanna announces she is expecting.


Hollywood stars are moving into trophy neighborhoods.


Polar bears move into abandoned weather station.


Drones have been deployed to the apple orchards.


The most exciting new museums opening this year.


Clickbait: When you try to clear snow with a flamethrower.


Historybook: "Oxford English Dictionary" debuts (1884); Film legend Clark Gable born (1901); Harriet Tubman becomes first Black woman on US postage stamp (1978); HBD Harry Styles (1994); Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates on reentry, all seven astronauts killed (2003).


"Life is a magical thing."

- Laurel Clark, astronaut and medical doctor aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

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