2.15.2019

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All your news in a single email. We scour 100+ sources so you don't have to. Culture, science, sports, politics, business, and more - all packaged in a 5-minute read below.
Need To Know.
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A Budget...And a National Emergency.
According to reports, President Trump will approve a package funding the government through the remainder of the fiscal year while declaring a national emergency to secure funds to expand a US-Mexico border wall. The $333B funding package averts a second government shutdown (what's in the bill?) and includes $1.375B for 55 miles of border barriers in the Rio Grande Valley, billions less than the $5.7B requested by the White House. Declaring a national emergency would allow the White House to access pots of money across different departments largely without congressional approval - the Pentagon had previously drafted options that would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to oversee construction. Legal experts expect a court battle over the order, speculating the Supreme Court would back the President but may not allow the use of military money. 
Amazon Backs Out.
Online retail giant Amazon canceled plans to locate a partial second headquarters in New York City after an unexpected amount of backlash from local organizations. The deal, which would bring an estimated 25,000 new jobs to the area, was criticized by some lawmakers, unions, and community groups over roughly $3B in incentives (see breakdown) offered by the city and state - one of the largest such packages ever. After a highly-publicized search throughout 2018, Amazon announced that it would split a 50,000-person East Coast headquarters between the Washington, DC and NYC metro areas in November. While the DC expansion is still on track, the company said it would not reopen the search for a new location, preferring to expand current investments instead. 

Read Amazon's statement here.
Denver Teachers' Strike Ends.
The first teachers' strike in the Denver Public School District came to an end yesterday morning following a marathon, 20-hour negotiating session. Nearly 2,600 educators, who walked off the job beginning on Monday, will receive an average 11.7% raise next year (read agreement). District officials also agreed to full cost-of-living increases in the second and third years of the agreement and a 20-step pay schedule that begins at $45,800 and tops out at $100,000 for teacher's with 20 years of experience and a doctorate. Both officials and teachers had grappled with a recently-installed incentive-based system meant to retain teachers in underperforming schools.  
 
Monday is President's Day in the US - see you on Tuesday! 
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In The Know.
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Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> NBA All-Star game set for this Sunday at 8 PM; see full preview and schedule of NBA All-Star weekend events (More)
> New video surfaces allegedly showing musician R. Kelly engaging in sexual acts with underage teen (More)
> Sources say Empire star Jussie Smollett orchestrated attacks against him using extras from the popular show (More) | Chicago police investigating, say reports are unconfirmed (More)
Science & Technology.
> Research team finds fossil from new species of titanosaur with unusual heart-shaped tail (More)
> EPA says it will set regulatory guidelines for levels of two key toxic chemicals in drinking water this year; substances are types of polyfluoroalkyls (PFAs), commonly found in water-resistant and non-stick consumer goods (More)
> Study of 1994 earthquake in Bolivia reveals "mountains" deep in the Earth's mantle, roughly 400 miles beneath the surface (More)
Business & Markets.
> US December retail sales see largest decline in nine years, Dow and S&P 500 indices down slightly on the news (More)
> General Electric to scale back plans for new Boston headquarters, to reimburse $87M incentive payments to Massachusetts (More)
> JPMorgan introduces the first US bank-backed cryptocurrency for payments (More)
Politics & World Affairs.
> Senate confirms William Barr as US attorney general; Barr held the same office under George HW Bush (More) | Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe resurfaces claim that Justice Department officials informally discussed removing President Trump from office via 25th Amendment (More) | Trump fires back (More)
> Sources say former Vice President Joe Biden "95% likely" to enter 2020 presidential race (More)
> Egyptian parliament backs constitutional amendment that would allow President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to stay in power until 2034; change still requires national referendum (More)
Denim beyond the rest.
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Weekend Reads.
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The World's Most Precious Spice is on the Verge of Disappearing.
Eater | Sharanya Deepak. Kashmiri saffron is widely considered the sweetest and, at $1,550 per pound, most precious spice in the world. But its supply is dwindling rapidly due to violence, climate change, droughts, and more. (Read)
Why Does it Feel Like Everyone Has More Money Than You?
Harper's Bazaar | Jen Doll. Three out of four parents help their kids with debt and living expenses, but millennials have still built up a tremendous stigma around receiving support from families. (Read)
 
Our People.
Medium | Michael Scott Moore. Somali refugees living in a small meatpacking town in southwestern Kansas loved America. So did the three local men who wanted to kill them. (Read)
 
Damn, it Feels Good to be a White-Collar Worker.
The Outline | Danny Schwartz. Twenty years ago, the movie Office Space illustrated the harsh realities of working in a cubicle through the sweet sounds of gangster rap. (Read)
Etcetera.
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Check out Fortune's 2019 best companies to work for

Stunning photos capturing the end of summer in Antarctica
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Americans lost $143M in dating scams last year. 
Watch an ant-inspired robot that navigates using the angle of sunshine.
Celebrate solitude at 20 of the most peaceful places on Earth.
Children in the US are speaking in British accents after too much Peppa Pig
From texture to taste, the official fast-food french fry power rankings
Netflix says that we all have 6 shows in common
Watch dashcam video from a wild police chase through a Florida golf course
 
Clickbait: Bill Cosby compares himself to history's great political prisoners
Historybook: HBD Galileo Galilei (1564); HBD Susan B. Anthony (1820); RIP Nat King Cole (1965); Soviet-Afghan War ends as all Soviet troops depart Afghanistan (1989); 30M people in 600 cities protest Iraq War (2003).
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