1.9.2023

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Good morning. It's Monday, Jan. 9, and we're covering unrest in Brazil, a buzzy breakthrough for bees, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Brazil's Congress Stormed

Thousands of supporters of former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro breached security and stormed the country's National Congress yesterday, protesting Bolsonaro's loss in October and calling for new elections. Demonstrators also reportedly broke into the nearby Supreme Court and presidential palace. Congress was not in session and lawmakers were not present at the time, and there were no immediate reports of injuries. 

 

Bolsonaro lost a highly contentious race to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by a 1.8-point margin in an October runoff, Brazil's tightest presidential election since returning to democracy in 1985. In the intervening weeks, his supporters blocked roads in protest, alleging election fraud while calling for military intervention to prevent da Silva from assuming office. It was unclear why the protests reached a tipping point yesterday, with da Silva having been inaugurated into office Jan. 1. 

 

Da Silva was in São Paulo at the time. Bolsonaro, who has not explicitly conceded the election but did not impede the presidential transition, is believed to have traveled to Florida in December and has not commented on the events as of early this morning. 

 

Police cleared the plaza of rioters by the early evening, arresting at least 170 people. See video from the scene here.

 

First-Ever Honeybee Vaccine

US officials have granted conditional approval to a vaccine meant to protect honeybees against a fatal bacteria known to jump easily between hives, wiping out entire colonies as it spreads. It is the first time a vaccine for insects has been approved in the US. 

 

Honeybees are one of the most important pollinating insects, playing a critical role in natural ecosystems and supporting at least $15B in US agricultural production each year. Populations have seen steep declines in recent years, with highly infectious pathogens among a number of causes. The new vaccine targets the bacteria responsible for American foulbrood, a disease that attacks larvae and can lead to colony death within weeks of infection—the typical defense against transmission is to burn diseased colonies. 

 

Instead of treating individual bees, the vaccine is delivered to the queen in a sugar mixture, which prompts an immune response in her offspring. Researchers hope to extend the approach to other insect-related diseases. 

 

Executions in Iran

Iran announced Saturday it had executed national karate champion Mohammad Karami, 22, and volunteer children's coach Seyed Hosseini, 39, as the regime continued to crack down on nationwide protests. The pair was hanged for allegedly killing militia member Seyed Ruhollah Ajamian in November during a protest. The unrest stems from the September death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran's so-called morality police (see background). 

 

The executions of protesters were met with broad condemnation from democratic countries and organizations. Human rights observers believe at least 41 others have received the death sentence in trials with little due process. Reports say at least 517 demonstrators have been killed and over 19,000 arrested—including 62 journalists—in what some analysts describe as Iran's most significant challenge to its rule since the 1979 revolution.

 

The latest executions increase the number of protesters killed by Iran since December to four. Read about them and other protesters on death row here

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with ButcherBox

> Georgia takes on TCU tonight (7:30 pm ET, ESPN) in the College Football Playoff National Championship (More) | NFL regular season wraps; see playoff bracket and schedule (More)

> Owen Roizman, five-time Oscar-nominated cinemaphotographer, dies at 86 (More) | Director James Cameron confirms "Avatar 4" and "5" after "The Way of the Water" tops $1.7B globally (More)

> American skier Mikaela Shiffrin matches Lindsey Vonn's women's World Cup wins record with 82 (More) | Los Angeles Dodgers part ways with pitcher Trevor Bauer following suspension for sexual assault allegations (More)

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Science & Technology

> Apple's long-awaited augmented and virtual reality headset expected to debut this spring, dubbed "Reality Pro"; no major 2023 updates planned for iPad, Apple Watch, and more (More)

> Genomic study reveals average age at which humans have children, with estimates stretching from the late Stone Age to modern day; average age is roughly 26.9 years old, with fathers averaging 30.7 years of age compared to 23.2 years old for mothers (More)

> Seattle Public Schools sues major social media platforms, including TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and others, alleging intentional marketing to children has significantly contributed to a youth mental health crisis (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets rally Friday (S&P 500 +2.3%, Dow +2.1%, Nasdaq +2.6%) to close higher for the week, ending streak of four consecutive weekly losses (More)

> McDonald’s CEO informs employees the company is planning corporate layoffs as part of reorganization (More)

> Lawyers for Elon Musk request Tesla securities fraud trial to be moved from Northern California to Western Texas, arguing local negativity would lead to an unfair trial (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> US House members sworn in after weeklong deadlock in House speaker race; Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-20) becomes 55th speaker of the House (More) | President Joe Biden makes first trip to US-Mexico border since assuming office (More) | See previous write-up here (More)

> Ukraine denies claims Russia killed over 600 Ukrainian personnel in weekend Kramatorsk missile attack (More) | The US to send $3B package of armored vehicles to Ukraine, including several dozen Bradley vehicles (More) | What are Bradley vehicles? (More)

> Virginia teacher in critical condition after being shot by a 6-year-old student Friday in reported altercation (More) | Hundreds of thousands without power in California as storms bring heavy rains, strong winds (More)

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Etcetera
 

Highlights from this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

 

Mapping the world's river basins

 

Announcing the black and white photography awards

 

Bills fans want Damar Hamlin's life-saving trainers in Hall of Fame.

 

Visualizing the world's highest grossing films since 1976.

 

The best movie posters of 2022

 

Babies named after soccer's Messi jump 700% in his home province.

 

Minnesota grandpa builds 200-foot sledding course.

 

Clickbait: A romance novelist returns from the dead

 

Historybook: "Common Sense" published by Thomas Paine (1776); President Richard Nixon born (1913); Activist and singer-songwriter Joan Baez born (1941); Catherine, Princess of Wales born (1982); iPhone makes its debut (2007).

"Action is the antidote to despair."

- Joan Baez

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