11.10.2023

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Good morning. It's Friday, Nov. 10. Thank you to all of our veterans, active military, and their families for your service and sacrifice—we hope everyone has a happy and safe Veterans Day. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Attack in Madrid

A Spanish politician representing the semiautonomous region of Catalonia was shot in the face yesterday on the streets of Madrid in what appeared to be an attempted assassination. The attack came as acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez closed a deal to secure power by offering Catalonia lawmakers amnesty from crimes committed during the territory's 2017-18 attempt to break away from Spain. 

 

Set in the country's upper northeast, Catalonia includes the city of Barcelona and accounts for roughly 20% of Spain's economy. Historians say its long history of independence until the 15th century gave the region a sense of unique identity—most recently as a separatist movement. In October 2017, Catalonia passed a referendum to leave Spain (albeit with a 43% voter turnout), which ultimately ended with government forces entering Barcelona and arresting separatist leaders. 

 

Sánchez's deal has sparked small but intense protests in recent days (see photos).

 

Transplant Breakthrough

Doctors have successfully performed the world's first full eyeball transplant, according to results revealed yesterday. Aaron James, a 46-year-old veteran from Arkansas, suffered a high-voltage electricity injury in 2021, which severely damaged most of his face, left eye, and left arm. James cannot currently see out of the transplanted eye—experts say it remains to be seen whether vision will be restored. 

 

Doctors originally aimed to have James only undergo a face transplant. Eye transplants are typically avoided due to the low chance of restoring vision, the risk of a brain infection, and the rejection of the organ by the body. Because James required similar immune-suppressing medications to prevent his body from rejecting the facial transplants, the eye transplant was considered low risk.

 

Five months after surgery, blood appears to be flowing to the retina and the organ appears healthy (see 3D eye structure). Doctors are waiting to see whether the transplanted organ's optic nerves grow sufficiently to restore vision. 

 

Hollywood Returns to Work

The union representing over 160,000 actors, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, announced Wednesday it reached a tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents major TV and movie studios, likely ending the longest strike against the studios in SAG-AFTRA history.

 

Details of the agreement will be revealed today after review by the SAG-AFTRA National Board. Union members would then need to vote to ratify the agreement. The three-year agreement, estimated to cost over $1B, is expected to include the largest increase in minimum wages in the last 40 years, better residual compensation for streaming programs, and protection of actors' images and performances from AI. The deal comes more than a month after the writers strike concluded.

 

The strike, which lasted 118 days, is estimated to have had at least a $6.5B impact on the California economy. See when you can expect shows and movies to return here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Tracy Chapman becomes first Black songwriter to win Song of the Year in 56-year history of CMA Awards; Luke Combs' cover of "Fast Car" won the award 35 years after its original release (More)

> Picasso's "Woman with a Watch" hauls in $139M at auction, the second highest ever for the artist (More)

> Female-focused media site Jezebel shuts down 16 years after its founding (More) | National Women's Soccer League signs four-year media rights deal with ESPN, CBS, Prime Video, and Scripps Sports (More)

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Science & Technology

> James Webb Space Telescope finds the amount of oxygen within galaxies increased rapidly 500 million to 700 million years after the Big Bang, suggesting the early universe possessed the chemical ingredients for life (More)

> Researchers discover the earliest known case of ovarian teratoma—a tumor presenting embryonic features including teeth—in the remains of an ancient Egyptian woman buried 3,400 years ago (More)

> Plans for the first small modular nuclear reactor power plant in the US canceled by NuScale and its utility partner, citing lack of subscribed customers (More) | How SMRs work (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close down (S&P 500 -0.8%, Dow -0.6%, Nasdaq -0.9%); S&P 500 ends eight-day winning streak (More)

> IRS releases updated income tax brackets for 2024, raising the threshold for all seven brackets by 5.4% (More) | How tax brackets work (More)

> Apple settles with Department of Justice over claims of citizenship-status employment discrimination, will pay $25M fine (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Israel to pause military operations during daily four-hour windows in northern Gaza to allow for evacuation of civilians (More) | ... also reportedly considering a three-day pause in exchange for around a dozen of roughly 240 hostages held by Hamas (More) | See map of fighting (More)

> NewsNation to host fourth GOP primary debate Dec. 6, with former Fox anchor Megyn Kelly to moderate (More) | Comes six weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, the first primary vote in the 2024 race (More

> Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) says he will not run for reelection in 2024; decision increases GOP chances for Senate control (More) | Federal trial begins for man charged with assaulting Paul Pelosi, the husband of Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-11), in their San Francisco home last October (More)

 

In-Depth

> War Stories

NY Times | Staff. (2018) Family members recount stories of relatives who fought in the First World War. (Read)

 

> The Battle That Changed the Vietnam War

Newseum | John Olson. A collection from photojournalist John Olson, who was embedded with US Marines during the 1968 Tet Offensive. (View)

> After Globalization

Bloomberg | Staff. Decades of open trade linked nearly every corner of the world economically. New wars, pandemics, and shifting geopolitical alignments are reversing that trend. (Watch)

 

> How Netflix Conquered Hollywood

Hollywood Reporter | Peter Biskind. The streaming giant ushered in the binge-watching era when it commissioned two seasons of "House of Cards" and released all 13 episodes in one night. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

The Kansas shoe repairman responsible for Veterans Day

 

Guarding the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, even in a storm.

 

Portraits of World War II veterans.

 

Cities with the highest (and lowest) cost of living.

 

Everything you ever wondered about onions in America.

 

Test your art knowledge with this painting guessing game.

 

Mystery man on Led Zeppelin album cover identified.

 

Britain's loneliest sheep returns to society

 

Clickbait: Kevin Bacon lured home with drug-filled sticky bun.

 

Historybook: Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther born (1483); US Marine Corps is founded (1775); Singer and actress Jane Froman born (1907); "Sesame Street" debuts (1969); Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0 to public (1983).

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