2.1.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Feb. 1, and we're covering a mass walkout in Britain, efforts to resurrect the dodo bird, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

The Great British Walkout 

Nearly half a million workers across the United Kingdom are poised to start coordinated nationwide strikes today in protest of the government’s proposed anti-strike legislation and to call for public sector pay raises. See a schedule of the strikes here.

 

The legislation, introduced to Parliament Jan. 9, would require workers in six

sectors—health, rail, education, fire, border security, and nuclear—to provide minimum safety and service levels during strikes. One of the largest-scale strikes in a decade, the walkout will likely shut down thousands of schools, halt rail lines, and cause significant border disruption.

 

Unions are also advocating for pay raises that match inflation, which remains close to the highest level seen in 40 years, while the government contends the demands are unaffordable in the current economic climate. The UK is expected to be the only major industrialized country to see its economy shrink this year.

 

Separately, France yesterday saw its second major nationwide strike this year against the government's proposed pension overhaul. 

 

Colorado River Impasse 

Seven states that rely on the Colorado River to support their cities and farms have, for the second time in six months, failed to reach a full agreement on reducing water usage by a federal deadline. See previous write-up here.

 

Six states—Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming—have outlined a plan to the Interior Department that would reduce water usage by more than 2 million acre-feet. The government had requested to conserve 2 million to 4 million acre-feet of water. The states' proposal would result in the largest cuts for California and Arizona. California, which currently has the largest allocation of the river (see overview), is the lone holdout and said it will release its own plan.

 

The Interior Department will consider the six states' proposal as part of a larger plan to change how it operates the Glen Canyon and Hoover dams on the Colorado River in low-water scenarios. The Glen Canyon creates Lake Powell and the Hoover dams create Lake Mead, which have both reached historic lows amid a 23-year drought.

 

Dodo De-Extinction

Biotechnology startup Colossal announced plans yesterday to develop an organism gene-edited to match the extinct dodo bird, the company's third so-called "de-extinction" project after the woolly mammoth and Tasmanian tiger (see 101). The Texas-based group revealed it had raised $150M in its latest funding round at an estimated $1B valuation. 

 

The last sighting of a dodo, a tall, flightless bird native to the island of Mauritius off the coast of Madagascar, was recorded in the late 17th century, less than one hundred years after Europeans arrived. 

 

The procedure will likely involve the insertion of a bird egg cell modified as a dodo cell into an existing egg, with the fertilized egg expected to mature and harbor dodo-like reproductive cells.  

 

The novel procedure has attracted investment from the venture capital arm of the US Central Intelligence Agency, In-Q-Tel, a firm looking to fund cutting-edge technology it believes could be useful for intelligence gathering. See the projects In-Q-Tel supports here.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Alec Baldwin formally charged with involuntary manslaughter in the shooting death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Rust"; Baldwin and the film's armorer face up to 18 months in prison if convicted (More)

> International Olympic Committee reaffirms sanctions against Russia and Belarus for 2024 Paris Olympics; Ukraine threatened to boycott the games if Russia was allowed to compete without restrictions (More)

> "The Batman Part II" gets 2025 release date as part of slate of upcoming films and TV shows unveiled by DC Studios (More) | "King of the Hill" revival with original cast coming to Hulu more than 13 years after the animated show went off the air (More) | "Dr. Phil" to wrap this spring after 21 seasons (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Independent report finds bankrupt cryptocurrency platform Celsius improperly used customer funds to artificially inflate its own cryptocurrency token, accuses the firm of operating as a Ponzi scheme (More)

> Researchers develop injectable biomaterial that helps repair tissue following heart attacks, brain injuries, and more; health and safety tests expected to begin within the next two years (More)

> First-of-its-kind study shows delivering information in sync with natural brain signals speeds up learning in adults (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.5%, Dow +1.1%, Nasdaq +1.7%), all three indexes close up for January; S&P 500 posts best January since 2019, Nasdaq posts best January since 2001 (More)

> Federal Reserve expected to increase interest rates by 25 basis points at today’s meeting (More)

> Snap (Snapchat) shares fall double digits in after-hours trading after missing Q4 revenue expectations and signaling Q1 revenues will be deflated (More) | PayPal to lay off 7% of workforce, or roughly 2,000 employees (More

From our partners: How many credit cards are in your wallet? Make your answer "one." The Ascent's credit card experts personally signed up for this card because of its perfect mix of benefits. Up to 5% cash back, a big bonus, no annual fee, the list goes on.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Death toll in Pakistan rises to at least 100, with more than 225 injured, following a Monday suicide bombing at a mosque in the city of Peshawar (More) | See previous write-up (More)

> Rep. George Santos (R, NY-3) to voluntarily step down from House committee assignments amid fallout over fabrications made during his campaign (More) | Explaining the Santos scandal (More)

> One person killed, more than 1,700 flights canceled as winter storm moves from Texas to the Midwest (More)

In partnership with Droplette

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Etcetera
 

Ranking countries based on corruption

 

"Mother of Pearl" cloud spotted in Scotland

 

Tracking where people moved in the US in 2022

 

The most romantic weekend getaway in every state.

 

... and the best US cities to get married (in 2023).

 

Turns out coffee isn't giving you energy—it's just borrowing it

 

Behold the world's largest water lily

 

Basketball coach fired for impersonating 13-year-old player.

 

Clickbait: Firefighters extinguish their own flaming breakfast.

 

Historybook: "Oxford English Dictionary" debuts (1884); Film legend Clark Gable born (1901); Harriet Tubman becomes first Black woman on US postage stamp (1978); Harry Styles born (1994); Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates on reentry, all seven astronauts killed (2003).

"Life is a magical thing."

- Laurel Clark, astronaut and medical doctor aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia

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