2.4.2022

ISIS leader Killed, Olympics Begins, and the Trojan Horse Affair Everything you need to know for today in five minutes.

Good morning. It's Friday, Feb. 4, and we're covering a strike in Syria, the start to the Winter Olympics, and much more. Have feedback? Let us know at [email protected].

NEED TO KNOW

 

Islamic State Leader Dead

Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died yesterday during a US military raid on his home in northwest Syria, according to officials. Al-Qurayshi reportedly detonated a suicide bomb, killing himself and members of his family before he could be captured by special forces. 

 

The blast took place on the third floor of a residential building. An unnamed Islamic State lieutenant was also killed after barricading the second floor and engaging with US troops. At least 13 people died, including children and women, according to Syrian first responders. US troops suffered no casualties and were able to evacuate 10 people, the Pentagon said.

The operation comes after US forces last month backed a Kurdish-led militia in retaking a prison seized by Islamic State fighters.

 

Al-Qurayshi took global control of the Islamic State in 2019 after the group’s former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during a US raid. Al-Baghdadi also detonated a suicide bomb.

Winter Olympics Begin

The 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, officially gets underway today with the opening ceremony at the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest (live: 6:30 am ET, NBC; prime time: 8 pm ET, NBC). The competition began Wednesday, with the first medals being awarded tomorrow. See schedule and medal count here.

 

The Games will continue around COVID-19 outbreaks with Beijing’s strict “closed-loop” safety measures. Officials announced that 55 athletes and personnel had tested positive Wednesday, including US bobsledding star Elana Meyers Taylor who was slated to carry the US flag alongside curler John Shuster. Speed skater Brittany Bowe will replace her. A total of 287 positive cases have been reported since Jan. 23; the positive individuals were isolated. See a Belgian athlete’s firsthand account of the isolation here.

 

Separately, China is dealing with an international human rights controversy regarding China’s treatment of its Uyghur population. The US has warned athletes against speaking out about the issue, and the IOC declined to comment.

 

Winter Storm Woes

More than 100 million people were under some form of winter advisory yesterday as a long-ranging winter storm blanketed a region stretching from Texas to Maine. More than 5,000 US flights were canceled yesterday due to weather, with another 1,500 experiencing delays—check the real-time "misery map" for the storm's current impact. More than 200,000 customers were left without power. 

 

The massive system brought bitter cold deep into Texas, with subfreezing temperatures from Dallas to San Antonio. The storm dumped close to a foot of snow in some locations in the Midwest, while its southern boundary generated heavy storms and tornado watches in the Southeast. It marks the fifth major bout of winter weather in the eastern United States this year and follows last week's blizzard that left more than 2 feet of snow in some parts of the Northeast. 

 

The system is expected to clear the US by the weekend. See photos from around the country here.

In partnership with NowRx

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IN THE KNOW

 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> WNBA raises $75M, including from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice; league now valued at roughly $1B (More) | Full NBA All-Star Game roster announced (More)

 

> "Dune," and "Power of the Dog" lead all film nominees for the 2022 British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards (More)

 

> Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to mark seven decades on the throne Sunday; Elizabeth is the longest-reigning British monarch (More)

Science & Technology

> First patients to receive advanced gene therapy to treat cancer still in remission after 12 years, new results show (More) | How CAR-T therapy works (More)

 

> Astronomers identify a new asteroid that has fallen into Earth's orbit around the sun; will follow the planet's trajectory for roughly 4,000 years (More)

 

> Liquid water can exist in two distinct states, according to new experimental evidence; the rarely seen phase occurs under high pressure and low temperatures (More)

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets slide (S&P 500 -2.4%, Dow -1.5%, Nasdaq -3.7%) driven by heavy losses in many tech stocks (More)

 

> Amazon beats earnings expectations as profits nearly doubled in the fourth quarter, increases price of annual Prime membership to $139; shares up near 15% in after-hours trading (More) | Shares of Snap (Snapchat) surge over 50% in after-hours trading after posting its first quarterly profit (More)

 

> Ford shares fall over 5% in after-hours trading after missing revenue and earnings expectations (More)

From our partners: No credit card interest until 2023? Sounds like a deal to us. This card offers an incredibly long 0% APR period to help you save big and pay off debt. Apply today in two minutes.

Politics & World Affairs

> US intelligence suggests Russia is developing false propaganda materials depicting a fabricated attack on its troops as a pretext to invade Ukraine (More)

 

> Sarah Palin v. The New York Times defamation lawsuit begins; jury trial could have ramifications on how libel law is interpreted by courts (More) | Summary overview here (More)

 

> Mississippi becomes the 37th state to legalize medical marijuana (More)

IN-DEPTH

 

The Trojan Horse Affair

Serial/NYT | Brian Reed, Hamza Syed. (Podcast) A pair of journalists attempt to track down the mysterious origins of a 2014 letter that caused an uproar in Birmingham, England. (Listen | Apple | Spotify)

Land Grab

The Hustle | Mark Dent. While much of the US suffers through a housing crunch, some Kansas towns are giving away free land and cheap houses. (Read)

Hacking the Hermit Kingdom

Wired | Andy Greenberg. The rogue hacker responsible for repeatedly knocking out North Korea's internet. (Read, paywall)

PROFITING FROM PRESCRIPTION DELIVERY

 

In partnership with NowRx

 

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Please support our sponsors!

ETCETERA

 

How stock splits work.

 

A brief history of snowmobiling

 

When the person you hired is (literally) not the same person you interviewed.

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Michigan to test roads capable of wirelessly charging electric vehicles.

 

Chicago firefighters save a dog from an icy lake.

 

MacKenzie Scott donates $133M to Communities in School.

 

Miami comes to grips with its peacock crisis

 

Global community makes up for a birthday snub.

 

Clickbait: It's raining iguanas in Florida (again).

 

Historybook: George Washington elected first president of the US (1789); Aviation innovator Charles Lindbergh born (1902); Rosa Parks born (1913); RIP pianist and entertainer Liberace (1987); Facebook is founded (2004).

 

"Each person must live their life as a model for others."

- Rosa Parks

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