2.7.2020

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Need to Know
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Virus Whistleblower Dies
A Chinese doctor who tried to raise an alarm in the early stages of China's coronavirus outbreak died yesterday from the illness. According to reports, Dr. Li Wenliang grew concerned when seven patients from a local seafood market were hospitalized with a SARS-like respiratory illness at the Wuhan Central Hospital, where Li worked. Instead, the 34-year-old ophthalmologist was reprimanded, accused of spreading rumors. Li's death has sparked outrage in China, where more than 45 million people remain quarantined, having become a symbol of the government's effort to deny and cover-up the virus in the outbreak's early stages. At least 638 people have died, mostly in China, while confirmed cases topped 31,000. Meanwhile, 41 more people on a quarantined cruise ship have been diagnosed with the virus; stranded passengers have called the ship "a floating prison."

Read a deep dive into Li's struggle to notify authorities here.
Oscars Set for Sunday
The major awards season comes to a close Sunday with the 92nd Academy Awards, live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood (8pm ET, ABC). The ceremony is top-heavy with favorites, with Joaquin Phoenix's brooding "Joker" entering with 11 nominations and "1917," "Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood," and "The Irishman" each up for 10 awards. The show's most-coveted category of Best Picture has seen surprise winners for the past four years. This year's leading contender for the award is "1917," though the underdog favorite is "Parasite," the first South Korean film to compete for Best Picture (more predictions here). One anonymous Academy voter pulled the curtain back slightly on the normally opaque selection process, with a viral post ravaging a number of contenders. The ceremony will once again be hostless; last year's show went without a master of ceremonies after Kevin Hart bowed out, giving organizers heartburn but ultimately receiving positive reviews. 

For laughs, check out Honest Trailers' take on the top flicks here.
Friday Night Debates
Democrats will hold their eighth presidential primary debate tonight live from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH (8pm ET, ABC). The slowly narrowing field will feature seven candidates on the stage, including Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Joe Biden, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang. The event, the first of three debates this month, comes just before Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and just after the disastrous Iowa caucuses. Monday's results, delayed and thrown into question by a buggy mobile app, show Buttigieg with a slight 0.1% lead over Sanders, though the Democratic National Committee called for a recanvassing after reports ($$, NYT) of inconsistencies. Meanwhile, Biden, who had a poor fourth-place showing in Iowa, is banking on a strong performance in New Hampshire before heading to South Carolina, where his yearlong lead has narrowed. 
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In the Know
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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture
> Taylor Swift moves on from Sony/ATV to sign global publishing deal with Universal; move reunites her with former Nashville music exec who signed her at age 14 (More)
> Inaugural XFL season kicks off this weekend; here's everything you need to know about the rebooted football league founded by WWE CEO Vince McMahon (More)
> Golden State Warriors trade D'Angelo Russell to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and draft picks (More) | NBA trade deadline recap here (More)
Science & Technology
> New platform developed for all-optical computing that performs calculations using solely beams of light; traditional optoelectronics couple light to solid materials like wires and chips (More)
> NASA astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after 328 days in space, the longest continuous spaceflight by a woman (More)
> US Department of Transportation to allow first limited operation of autonomous delivery vehicles with no pedals, steering wheels, or human occupants (More)
Business & Markets
> China to slash tariffs in half on $75B of US goods as part of phase one trade deal (More)
> Activist fund Elliott Management reveals it has amassed a large stake in Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which has recently come under scrutiny for its $100B Vision Fund’s bets on Uber, WeWork and others (More) | Activist Investor 101 (More)
> CEO of cannabis giant Aurora Cannabis to retire, company to cut 500 jobs; shares sink more than 10% (More)

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Politics & World Affairs
> President Trump delivers remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast decrying impeachment process, criticizing Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) (More
> Ireland to hold general elections Sunday as country's center-right governing coalition at risk of falling out of power (More)
> Nicolás Maduro regime moves six American oil executives working in the Venezuela from house arrest to prison as US-recognized Interim President Juan Guaidó visits the White House (More)
Weekend Reads
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'People Have Been Waiting for This to Blow Up'
Recode | Emily Stewart. A look at Acronym, the political technology group that backed the mobile app that broke the Iowa caucuses. (Read)
 Podcast 
The Opioid Tragedy, Part 2
Freakonomics | Stephen Dubner. How stigma and a fatal faith in abstinence prevents wider use of a drug that can prevent opioid deaths. (Listen)
The Economics of Potty Training
MIT Press Reader | Joshua Gans. The comfort of the disposable diaper has skewed the incentives of one of the riskiest ventures in parenting. (Read)
 
 
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Etcetera
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The best and worst states in America for singles
Britain's X-files are about to go public.
Roughly 90% of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives.
Robots are illuminating the world under the Arctic ice.
The year's 10 most valuable sneakers.
Why some are paying thousands to confront their privilege.
A Russian hit squad is causing chaos across Europe
Brothers spend eight years recreating "Toy Story 3" with real toys and stop animation.
Clickbait: Burger King has a killer Valentine's Day deal.
Historybook: Charles Dickens born (1912); 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).
You made it. Have a great weekend.
 ;
"A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self."
- Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities"
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