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Good morning. It's Thursday, Jan. 19, and we're covering debt ceiling drama, the passing of a supercentenarian, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Debt Limit Reached

The $31.4T statutory cap on the federal issuance of debt is set to be reached today, prompting the Treasury Department to adopt a series of accounting maneuvers to continue borrowing until June. Congress must pass legislation to raise or suspend the debt ceiling (see 101) by that time or risk failing to pay its bills. The US paid roughly $475B in interest last year.


Although the debt limit has been increased dozens of times over the last century, the debt-to-GDP ratio has eclipsed 100% for the last nine years; a number reached only at the height of World War II. Some Republican members of the House of Representatives are looking to reduce spending in exchange for supporting a raise in the debt cap. The White House, in turn, has indicated it won't negotiate the debt limit, setting up the possibility of a government default.


In the meantime, the Treasury will enact "extraordinary measures" involving the suspension of investments in several intragovernmental funds. Watch a quick explainer here.


Ukraine Helicopter Crash

Ukraine's top interior ministry officials were killed yesterday morning after a government helicopter crashed near a nursery during foggy conditions in Brovary, a residential suburb east of the capital of Kyiv. At least 14 people died, including a child, and 25 were injured. It wasn't clear whether the crash was an accident or connected to the war. Officials are investigating the cause.


Interior Minister Denys Monastyrskyi (see background), who oversaw Ukraine's police and emergency services, is the most senior official killed since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. First Deputy Minister Yevhen Yenin and Internal Affairs Chief Yuri Lubkovych were also killed in the crash.


Separately, Ukrainian forces continued to fight Russia in the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, which has become a key battlefield. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged political leaders via video at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to send Western supplies of weapons quickly to fend off Russia's missile strikes. The US is expected to announce another military package for Ukraine.


See map updates of the war here.


Oldest Known Person Dies

A French nun believed to be the world's oldest known person passed away yesterday at the age of 118. Lucile Randon, also known as Sister André, passed away from natural causes in the city of Toulon. Randon, was born while Teddy Roosevelt was president, a year after the first baseball World Series, and four years before the introduction of the Ford Model T. She would have turned 119 years old Feb. 11. 


In the US, demographers estimate one in roughly 5,000 people are above the age of 100, a figure that has doubled since 1990. Roughly 85% of centenarians are women—a phenomenon that is not well understood. Supercentenarians, those 110 years old and above, are exceptionally rare, with only 0.1% of people who hit the 100-year milestone living past their 110th birthday. 


American Maria Branyas Morera becomes the oldest known person at age 115 (turning 116 in March). See a list of world's oldest known people here.

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Athena Club

> Sundance Film Festival returns in person today (Jan. 19-29) to Park City, Utah, after two years of virtual festivals; see list of some of the most anticipated films (More)

> "Chrisley Knows Best," stars Todd and Julie Chrisley began prison sentences, will serve a combined 19 years for bank fraud and tax evasion (More)

> Defending champ and top seed Rafael Nadal eliminated in second round of Australian Open (More) | American teen Coco Gauff advances to third round after defeating British No. 1 Emma Raducanu (More) | See latest brackets (More

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Science & Technology

> TikTok rolls out labels identifying content made by state-controlled media to more than 40 countries (More)

> Scientists bioengineer ants whose antennae glow when observed under a microscope, allowing study of how the insects' brains respond to pheromones signaling danger (More)

> New ice core analysis shows Greenland has warmed by 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average since 1995; current temperatures are the warmest in 1,000 years, data suggest (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets close lower (S&P 500 -1.6%, Dow -1.8%, Nasdaq -1.2%) as December US retail sales fell 1.1% over the previous month, despite increasing 5% over last year (More)

> Microsoft joins growing list of tech firms reducing headcount, will lay off 10,000 employees or roughly 4.5% of workforce (More)

> Party City files for bankruptcy protection to reduce debt load, will continue to operate party supply stores and employ its 16,000 workers (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces she is stepping down Feb. 7 after more than five years as the country's leader (More) | See background on Ardern, who became the youngest female head of a government at the time at age 37 (More)

> Israel's Supreme Court strikes down Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's appointment of Aryeh Deri as senior minister, ruling 10-1 that Deri is disqualified from serving because of his tax fraud conviction last year (More)

> US Justice Department opens civil rights investigation into the death of 29-year-old Tyre Nichols, who died three days after a Jan. 7 traffic stop by Memphis police that left him hospitalized; a cause of death has not been determined (More)



> Born That Way

Aeon | Gina Mireault. A look at how our temperament—that is, differences in our emotional and physical behavior—are baked-in at birth and how it influences our lives. (Read)


> Victory: A Big Little League Story

Truly*Adventurous | Lucy Sherriff. At 11 years old, Victoria Brucker wanted to play Little League with the boys in San Pedro, California. She was told to cook and clean. Instead, she became the first girl to pitch in the Little League World Series. (Read)

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Historybook: Author Edgar Allan Poe born (1809); Musician Dolly Parton born (1946); Indira Gandhi becomes first female prime minister of India (1966); Actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr dies (2000).

"The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."

- Dolly Parton

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