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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.
Virginia Political Crisis Deepens.
Virginia's political leadership is in disarray after its top three officials found themselves embroiled in scandals within the span of one week. The newest revelation came from Attorney General Mark Herring (D), who admitted in a statement to wearing blackface at a costume party as an undergraduate in 1980. The admission came just days after a photo was uncovered of a man in blackface and another person in KKK robes on Governor Ralph Northam's (D) personal page in his med school yearbook. Finally, a woman accusing Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax (D) of sexual assault over a 2004 incident came public yesterday. Fairfax had denied the allegations when they surfaced on Monday. Fairfax and Herring were first and second in line to replace Northam should he step down over the uncovered photos. 

Fourth in line is the Speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, Kirk Cox.
Venezuela Blocks Aid.
The Venezuelan military blocked a bridge at the country's western border to prevent an aid shipment arriving from neighboring Colombia yesterday. The shipment had been organized by opposition leader Juan Guaido, partly as a test of the military's loyalty to the current regime. Maduro has overseen a years-long economic crisis, leading to shortages of food and medical supplies (see background). Despite the deteriorating situation, the administration has shunned aid, viewing it as a means of foreign intervention. Guaido declared himself interim president two weeks ago - the US, Canada, and almost 40 other nations have officially recognized his claim - and many believe the country's military will be the deciding factor in whether Maduro is ultimately pushed out. 
ISIS Territory Nearly Reclaimed.
The areas once controlled by the ISIS caliphate are close to being 100% reclaimed, according to an announcement being prepped by the White House. The announcement comes as US-led forces have surrounded a handful of villages along the Middle Euphrates River Valley, where a final concentration of fighters hold the final 0.5% of the area once controlled by the group. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told senior coalition officials that the US would remain leading the regional fight against the remnants of ISIS despite the country's planned withdraw from Syria. 

Check out a real-time map of who controls which areas in the region. 
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In The Know.
Sports, Entertainment & Culture.
> The Simpsons renewed for 31st and 32nd season on Fox, extending its record as longest-running primetime scripted show in history (More)
> New York Knicks ($4B) lead Forbes Magazine list of most valuable NBA franchise for 4th consecutive year; LA Lakers ($3.7B) and Golden State Warriors ($3.5B) round out top 3 (More)
> Lady Gaga, Travis Scott among artists added to list of performers at 2019 Grammy Awards (More) | Meanwhile, Ariana Grande pulls out of show over disagreement with producers (More)
Science & Technology.
> New pacemakers draw power from the heart's beat, opening path to avoiding risky battery-replacement surgery (More)
> US Government study says 2018 was fourth hottest year since records began 139 years ago; follows 2016, 2015, and 2017 as warmest years recorded (More)
> Swedish amputee receives first dexterous, sentient prosthetic; neuromuscular implant relies on signals that come from direct connections to nerves in patient's arm (More)
Business & Markets.
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> Streaming music giant Spotify acquires two podcasting businesses, picking up Gimlet Media network and podcast creation tool provider Anchor (More)
> Earnings Season: Shares rise as General Motors beats earnings expectations (More) | New York Times shares surge 10% on strong digital subscription growth (More)
> Social news aggregator Reddit raising up to $300M at reported $2.7B valuation (More)

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Politics & World Affairs.
> Gas line explosion ignites 30-foot-high flames, two-hour blaze in San Francisco neighborhood (More)
> Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to roll back bulk of regulations around payday lending services (More)
> Taliban begins peace negotiations with non-governmental Afghan leaders in Moscow; claims US committed to withdrawing from country within two months (More)
In Depth.
Was the Godfather of Soul Murdered?
CNN | Thomas Lake. Even though James Brown's mysterious private life was largely fueled by lies, shady dealings, and intimidation, the generational icon's illustrious music career is still how most remember him. But 12 years after his death, many people - including Brown's doctor - want his death to be investigated for foul play. (Read)
The All-American Nightmares of Jordan Peele.
Rolling Stone | Brian Hiatt. After the social thriller Get Out broke the box office and grossed over $250 million, most people only had one question for director Jordan Peele - what's next? His newest film Us is set to hit the theaters on March 22nd, and Peele has made it abundantly clear that this time his goal is simply to scare. (Read)
A zen master explains how you can walk more mindfully
Girl scout's cookie-inspired rap remix of Cardi B goes viral
HBO unveils photos from Game of Thrones Season 8.
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Harvard scientists find link between smoking pot and increased fertility
Chinese satellite captures epic photo of Earth from the far side of the Moon
Foodie millennials have reversed the decline in hunting
230 new emojis are set to be released in 2019.
Joshua Trump, bullied for last name, falls asleep during the State of the Union
Dog saves 87-year-old Minnesota woman during last week's bitter cold snap
Clickbait: Man sues parents for being born without his consent
Historybook: HBD Charles Dickens (1812); All Cuban imports and exports banned in US (1962); HBD Garth Brooks (1962); ‘Beatlemania’ arrives in America (1964); RIP author and pilot Anne Morrow Lindbergh (2001).
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- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
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