Brazilian Mudslides, San Francisco Recall, and the Secret Life of Flour Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Thursday, Feb. 17, and we're covering torrential downpours in Brazil, recall results in San Francisco, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].



Brazilian Mudslides

At least 94 people have died in Brazil after mudslides and flooding triggered by torrential rains hit the region Tuesday. The city of Petropolis, north of Rio de Janeiro, saw more than 10 inches of rain—nearly a month’s worth—in only three hours. Cars and homes were hauled away by the landslide; see video here (warning—sensitive content).


The death toll is expected to rise in an area that saw more than 900 deaths from torrential rainfall in 2011. The region has declared a state of emergency, and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro sent support to the affected areas while on a trip to Russia.


The country has been battered by floods and landslides this year, including an incident in São Paulo in January that killed at least 24 people, including eight children.

Ex-Honduran Leader Extradited 

Former Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández could face extradition to the US over drug trafficking charges after Honduran authorities publicly arrested him earlier in the week. The US government alleges Hernández took bribes in exchange for protecting drug traffickers and facilitating shipments of more than 1 million pounds of cocaine to the US since 2004. Hernández has denied any involvement. 


Hernández, who left office last month after eight years, appeared in court yesterday for his first extradition hearing. If extradited, he will stand trial in the US on charges of drug trafficking, using weapons for drug trafficking, and conspiracy to use weapons in drug trafficking.


Last year, Hernández's brother, Juan Antonio “Tony” Hernández, a former Honduran congressman, was sentenced to life in prison following a drug trafficking trial in 2019. The ex-Honduran president was implicated in that trial and was also named as a co-conspirator in the trial of convicted drug trafficker Geovanny Fuentes Ramírez.  

San Francisco Recall

Three members of the San Francisco school board have been recalled from their positions in an overwhelming vote during a special election held Tuesday. Nearly 80% of voters supported ousting Alison Collins, followed by Gabriela López (75%) and Faauuga Moliga (72%). Four of the seven total board members, all Democrats, were not eligible for recall. 


The outcome is one of the starkest examples of the divisions sparked by COVID-19 restrictions in various parts of the US. The effort was spearheaded by parents frustrated with the board's pace in devising a plan to return to in-person learning. Collins also came under fire for alleged anti-Asian tweets and a separate $87M lawsuit brought against the board itself. Mayor London Breed (D), who butted heads with the board and championed the recall, will now select interim members.


Separately, average US COVID-19 cases have fallen to near 136,000 per day, down more than 80% since a mid-January peak (see data). The number of current COVID-19 hospitalizations has dropped by more than half over the same time frame, while average deaths have decreased slightly to around 2,250 per day.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Public Rec

> Canada defeats the US 3-2 in women's hockey gold medal match (More) | See latest medal count (More)


> Britney Spears invited by two members of Congress to testify on conservatorships (More)


> P.J. O'Rourke, political satirist and New York Times bestselling author, dies at 74 of lung cancer (More) | Character actor Frank Pesce, known for "Beverly Hills Cop" and "Top Gun," dies at 75 (More)

From our partners: Go to dinner in our everyday sweatpants? No thanks. But Public Rec doesn't make normal sweatpants. Their bestselling All Day Every Day Pant is available in over 40 sizing combinations and (most importantly) they actually look good. Now your favorite lounge pants can double as your go-to pants for work, happy hour, or the gym. And with their new line of women's apparel—along with elevated shorts, t-shirts, and golf gear—all 1440 readers can enjoy something they have to offer. Public Rec rarely discounts, but 1440 readers can use the exclusive code 1440 for 10% off.

Science & Technology

> Intelligence officials say Russian state-sponsored hackers had access to Defense Department contractors, retrieved sensitive technologies and intellectual property (More)


> Time dilation measured across a millimeter-sized atomic gas cloud; study marks the smallest time scale at which Einstein's theory of general relativity has been confirmed (More) | How gravity (and mass) slows time and bends space (More, w/video)


> Scientists uncover a key mechanism for how the brain organizes memory in time; progressions of experiences are encoded in neural networks in the hippocampus (More)

Business & Markets

> US stock markets end mixed (S&P 500 +0.1%, Dow -0.2%, Nasdaq -0.1%) as investors weigh potential Ukraine invasion risk (More)


> US retail sales increased 3.8% in January amid inflation jump (More) | US consumer sentiment index falls to lowest level since 2011 (More)


> DoorDash shares pop over 30% as food delivery giant posts annual revenue growth of 69% to $4.9B in 2021 (More) | Chipmaker Nvidia posts record quarterly sales amid growing chip demand (More)

Politics & World Affairs

> Ottawa Police Chief Peter Sloly steps down amid trucker-led protests over COVID-19 restrictions after being criticized for inaction against demonstrators (More) | All routes between the US and Canada currently clear, police threaten arrest (More)


> NATO officials say there is no evidence of Russia de-escalating the troop buildup at the Ukrainian border (More) | Ukraine hit with largest cyberattack in country's history; analysts say Russia has gained access to critical military and financial institutions (More)


> Biden administration orders National Archives to provide White House visitor logs from the Trump administration to the House Jan. 6 committee (More)



The Secret Life of Flour

Eater | Dayna Evans. During the pandemic, millions of Americans turned to baking to pass the time at home. But how many really know the journey from grain to the table? (Read)

More than Love

Knowable | Bob Holmes. Neuroscientists are beginning to more fully understand the effects of oxytocin, the so-called love hormone—and it's much more complicated than previously believed. (Read)



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"I can accept failure. Everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying."

- Michael Jordan

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