2.11.2020

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Need to Know
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Next Up, New Hampshire
The second nominating contest in the 2020 election cycle takes place today, with primary voters heading to the polls across New Hampshire. The early contest has always enjoyed a spotlight but has attracted added attention this cycle following delayed Iowa results crippled by a buggy mobile reporting process. Entering the day, Pete Buttigieg trails Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the average of New Hampshire polls 26% to 21%; Buttigieg looks to have edged out Sanders to win in Iowa. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Joe Biden are roughly tied, both near 13% (see polls). Biden - who finished fourth in Iowa - will aim for a respectable finish while chasing a primary strategy planned around winning South Carolina's Feb. 29 primary as a vault into Super Tuesday's 15 primaries March 3. Billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is skipping early primaries in favor of ad spending, won the state's traditional first primary at midnight in the five-voter town of Dixville Notch.

Candidates need to win 1,990 out of 3,979 delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot. Iowa and New Hampshire account for just 65 combined - here are the big targets
China Behind Equifax Hack
The Justice Department has charged four members of the Chinese military over a 2017 hack of credit reporting agency Equifax, allegedly stealing the personal information of an estimated 145 million Americans. The cyberattack operated for almost two months before being noticed and was the second-biggest hack targeting a financial services company in history. It came after the company failed to install a patch for a known security vulnerability. The hack came despite a 2015 agreement in which Beijing promised to refrain from cyberattacks against the US. Though the four hackers are currently in China and are unlikely to stand trial, the indictment reflects the Trump administration's willingness to publicly name foreign governments it believes are behind such intrusions. Attorney General William Barr said the data could potentially be combed by algorithms to identify and target American intelligence assets in the field. 
White House Budget Proposal
The White House released its proposed fiscal year 2021 budget today, mirroring the administration's past proposals in making steep cuts to nondefense spending while boosting military funding. The total cost comes in at $4.8T with a projected deficit of $966B that shrinks to $261B by 2030 - though analysts say those numbers are based on an overly optimistic 3% annual growth and rely on cuts to food assistance and Medicaid. Federal agencies taking cuts include the Commerce Department (-37% compared to current funding), the EPA (-27%), and the State Department (-21%). The Pentagon will see a slight increase (+0.3%), while NASA (+12%) and Veterans Affairs (+13%) both receive a significant boost (see full budget). Like all presidential budgets, the proposal also serves as a value statement and is submitted to Congress for lawmakers to borrow from or discard as they develop a detailed budget over the summer. 

The federal budget process is complicated, but here is a great primer to get started.
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> An estimated 23.6M viewers tuned in to 92nd Academy Awards, an all-time low for the Oscars and a 20% drop from last year (More)
> LeBron James, Stephen Curry headline 44 finalists for the 2020 Olympics roster; Team USA will try to win its fourth straight gold medal and will be coached by the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich (More)
> Black News Channel, founded by former Rep. JC Watts (R-OK.), launched yesterday across the US; BNC is first 24/7 news network targeted toward African Americans (More)
Science & Technology
> Fossil of first new tyrannosaur species discovered in 50 years found in Canada; named Thanatotheristes, or "reaper of death" in Greek (More)
> Samsung holds its flagship Unpacked press event today, expected to unveil its Galaxy Z Flip foldable smartphone (More)
> Repository of protein structures imaged using cryo-electron microscopy passes 10,000 entries; milestone reflects the success of the technique that flash freezes molecules and uses electron beams to produce 3D structures (More)
Business & Markets
> Amazon seeks to depose President Trump in legal battle to overturn Pentagon’s decision to award $10B defense cloud computing contract to Microsoft (More)
> Shares of Popeyes’ owner Restaurant Brands International pop 4% as sales jump 42% in Q4 due to strong Popeyes’ chicken sandwich sales (More) | Online consumer products startup Brandless to lay off 90% of staff and shut down, marking first Softbank Vision Fund-backed company to shutter (More)
> Cloud computing data lake provider Snowflake reportedly raising capital at $12B+ valuation, would become one of the highest-valued private startups (More) | What’s a data lake? (More)
Politics & World Affairs
> At least six dead, hundreds of thousands without power as Storm Ciara batters Europe; storm hit Great Britain Sunday with 100 mph winds before moving into mainland Europe (More)
> Designated successor to German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she won't run for federal office, to step down from leadership of Christian Democratic Union (More)
> Federal prosecutors ask judge to sentence former Trump associate Roger Stone to seven to nine years in prison for crimes including witness tampering and lying to Congress (More)
In-Depth
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The Mammoth Pirates
RadioFreeEurope | Amos Chapple. With a crackdown on the elephant ivory trade squashing business, tusk-hunters have turned to a new source - wooly mammoth fossils buried deep in the Russian wilderness. (Read)
Unspoiled Places
Nautilus | Chris Fisher. LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, is the foundation of technologies that use advanced imaging systems, including self-driving vehicles. But it's also creating a revolution in archaeology, performing work in hours that used to take decades. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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Bill and Melinda Gates reflect on two decades of philanthropy.
...and they may or may not be considering this hydrogen-powered superyacht.
A stunning visualization of every (large) object in the solar system.

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The best podcasts of 2020 you can listen to right now.
Take a peek inside those $225,000 Oscar gift bags.
Ontario teen finds $30,000, turns it in to police.
Even the podiums are falling apart in Iowa.
Watch Cosmo the Cougar dunk from the three-point line.
Clickbait: A 40-foot sperm whale was pulled from near the River Thames.
Historybook: Inventor Thomas Edison born (1847); HBD Jennifer Aniston (1969); Iranian Revolution begins as Ayatollah Khomeini comes to power (1979); Nelson Mandela released from prison in South Africa after 27 years (1990); RIP Whitney Houston (2012).
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