12.27.2022

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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Dec. 27, and we're covering the aftermath of a historic winter storm, reports of surging COVID-19 infections in China, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Blizzard in Buffalo

At least 28 people died over the weekend as a severe blizzard brought single-digit temperatures and more than 4 feet of snow to western New York. Officials say a number of residents were trapped in cars in near white-out conditions, or stuck in homes without power and were unable to leave. The death toll is expected to rise as search and rescue efforts continue across the region. See photos here.

 

In Buffalo, the front of the storm dropped almost 2 inches of rain—breaking the city's single-day rainfall record—before snow arrived. Wind gusts of more than 40 mph created massive snow drifts, preventing emergency responders from reaching those in need. City officials say the storm rivaled the historic blizzard of 1977 in intensity. 

 

The blizzard was part of a system that brought freezing temperatures across much of the US last week, with at least 55 deaths linked to the weather, including a 50-vehicle pileup in Ohio that killed four people. 

 

Ukrainian Drone Strike

A drone believed to be operated by Ukraine caused damage at a military air base hundreds of miles into Russian territory, according to reports yesterday. It marked the second attack in the past month against the base, which acts as the primary staging area for Russian bombers used in the war with Ukraine.

 

While the drone did not successfully detonate—air defense at the base shot it down, with the debris killing three troops—analysts say it demonstrated Ukraine's ability to reach key targets beyond its borders.

 

In related news, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said yesterday the country would push for a peace summit by the end of February, but also said direct talks with Russia would only proceed if Russia first faced a war crimes tribunal. 

 

See updates on the war here

 

China's COVID-19 Surge

The Chinese government said over the weekend it would stop publishing daily reports of COVID-19 cases and deaths, a decision that comes amid reports of a surge in infections after strict lockdown measures were relaxed last week. Observers say the move raises concerns China is deliberately undercounting the toll of the virus. 

 

Since early 2020, China has pursued an aggressive "zero-COVID" approach, at times ordering the complete lockdown of tens of millions of people. November protests over the restrictions led officials to relax policies, which health officials say should likely lead to an increase in transmission. 

 

Analysts have noted the significant discrepancy between official numbers and local reports suggesting hospitals in smaller cities and towns are overwhelmed with patients. China claims just over 5,200 people have died from the virus since late 2019; some models suggest its true final death toll could eclipse 1 million

 

The country has also faced challenges in vaccinating its senior population, the demographic most susceptible to the virus. 

In partnership with The Motley Fool

Stocks on Sale?

 

A $1,000 investment in Amazon in December 1999 would be worth $15,676 today. Not too shabby. But if you'd made a $1,000 investment in Amazon two years later, when the stock dipped 95% in September 2001 ... you'd have a whopping $295,566 today. Wow.

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Returns as of 12/19/22

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Family of soccer legend Pelé gathers at his hospital bed in Brazil as his health condition worsens (More) | Kathy Whitworth, whose 88 victories made her the winningest golfer on a single tour in history, dies at 83 (More)

> Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin passes Gordie Howe to become second all-time in NHL career goals with 802; Wayne Gretzky holds record with 894 (More)

> Rapper Tory Lanez found guilty in 2020 shooting of hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion; Lanez faces up to 22 years in prison at Jan. 25 sentencing (More)

 

Science & Technology

> The Bering land bridge, which is believed to have allowed prehistoric cultures from Northeast Asia to migrate to the Americas, formed later in the Ice Age than previously thought (More)

> Archaeologists discover oldest-known human-made pointed projectiles in the Americas, roughly 15,700 years old; find provides insights on the behaviors of the earliest Indigenous American cultures (More)

> Researchers develop new 3D bioprinting approach to create functional eye tissue; will allow study of retinal diseases without the need for human subjects (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher Friday (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.5%, Nasdaq +0.2%) but fall for third consecutive week (More)

> Meta (Facebook) to pay $725M to settle Cambridge Analytica data harvesting class-action lawsuit (More)

> Personal Consumption Expenditures price index, a key inflation metric, rose 5.5% annually in November, a decrease from October’s 6.1% reading; on a monthly basis prices rose 0.1% from October (More)

From our partners: Delay credit card interest until mid-2024? Sounds like a deal to us. This card does just that, providing you up to 21 months for the important stuff: travel, education, good food, time with family, or paying off debt. Apply today in minutes.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> China makes military show-of-force near Taiwan, mobilizing more than 71 warplanes and seven naval vessels; move reportedly came in response to a pro-Taiwan provision in the US omnibus bill (More)

> President Joe Biden signs $1.7T omnibus spending bill to fund fiscal year 2023 federal government operations (More) | See what's included in the bill here (More)

> Rep.-elect George Santos (R, NY-3) admits to significantly embellishing his credentials and qualifications, dismisses calls to resign; Santos flipped the redistricted seat in the recent midterms (More) | See overview of allegations (More)

 

In-Depth

> John Wall Is Still Here

Players' Tribune | John Wall. The NBA star opens up about his journey back from a devastating injury, the loss of his mother, and considering taking his own life. (Read, warning—language)

 

> The Sneaky Economics of Ticketmaster

Hustle | Mark Dent. Once a disruptive startup, the ticketing behemoth's opaque fees and ability to force exclusive contracts with various venues have left many wondering if it has grown too big. (Read)

In partnership with The Motley Fool

5 Pullback Stocks

 

In December 1999, Amazon traded at $106.70. Just two years later, in September 2001, share prices declined 95% to $5.97.

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Etcetera
 

Explaining the best memes of 2022.

 

Inside Germany's swine decline

 

The science of snowflakes. (w/video)

 

When the sports guy is forced to cover the weather.

 

The year's most fascinating deep-sea discoveries.

 

Inside the world's highest apartment. (via YouTube)

 

Visualizing the extinction crisis

 

Bear cub helpfully adjusts a wildlife camera.

 

Clickbait: Drunk Santas roll a tank through English villages.

 

Historybook: Chemist Louis Pasteur born (1822); Actress and singer Marlene Dietrich born (1901); Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City (1932); Pakistan politician Benazir Bhutto assassinated (2007); Carrie Fisher dies (2016).

"I don't want life to imitate art. I want life to be art."

- Carrie Fisher

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