1.11.2024

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, Jan. 11, and we're covering rising violence in Ecuador, the departure of a coaching legend, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Ecuador Under Siege

At least 12 people have died and over 130 prison workers have been held hostage amid widespread gang violence—including a brief takeover of a live TV station—in Ecuador sparked by the weekend prison escape of a high-ranking gang leader. The nation’s new president, Daniel Noboa, announced a 60-day state of emergency in response. 

 

The upheaval came on the heels of the Saturday escape of 44-year-old drug lord José Adolfo Macías Villamar—also known as “Fito”—as he was serving a 34-year sentence for homicide and drug crimes. Fito is the leader of Los Choneros, an established drug-trafficking group that has seen its influence decline. Reports allege the group may have been behind last year’s assassination of presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio.

 

Ecuador's homicide rate has increased by over 500% since 2016 amid increased gang warfare, with an estimated quarter of the country’s prisons controlled by various syndicates. The 35-year-old Noboa has promised to build new high-security prisons for gang leaders and plans a referendum to increase security measures against organized crime.

 

Nick Saban Retires

University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban announced his retirement yesterday, stepping down after 17 seasons with the Crimson Tide. The news came 10 days after a 27-20 playoff loss to Michigan, in what became his final game at Alabama.

 

The 72-year-old Saban is widely considered one of the greatest coaches in college football history, leading Toledo (1990), Michigan State (1995-99), LSU (2000-04), and the NFL's Miami Dolphins (2005-07) before heading to Tuscaloosa. He won seven national championships—one with LSU, six with Alabama—becoming only the second coach to win titles at two programs. He amassed a record of 201-29 at Alabama, along with nine conference championships, while coaching four Heisman winners. Saban spent 109 weeks ranked No. 1 at Alabama, more than any other program has in total. 

 

No indication behind the timing of the decision was made. See top candidates to replace him here.

 

Bitcoin Boost

US financial regulators approved yesterday the creation of exchange-traded funds based on bitcoin, a move that allows mainstream investors to invest in the cryptocurrency via their regular brokerage accounts. The decision is expected to significantly increase the number of investors holding bitcoin.

 

The financial vehicles are known as spot bitcoin ETFs (see overview)—the investor purchases shares in the ETF, which in turn directly holds bitcoins as the underlying asset. Such funds tracking, for example, the S&P 500, Nasdaq, and many other assets, have long been available. A spot bitcoin ETF is expected to generally track the movement of bitcoin's value without requiring the investor to directly buy bitcoin. 

 

The widely expected approval came one day after the Securities and Exchange Commission's account on X (formerly Twitter) was hacked, purporting to make the announcement early. 

 

One bitcoin is roughly equal to $46,600 as of this writing (see current price).

In partnership with Autonomix

New Year, New Frontier in Healthcare

 

Investors have a unique opportunity to kick off 2024 with Autonomix, a potential pioneer in medical treatment. In the electrophysiology space where they operate, acquisitions have topped $900M+ for some companies even before receiving FDA approval. That’s just one of several factors that could make investing in Autonomix ahead of their planned Nasdaq listing an exciting opportunity.

 

The startup also joins an all-star list of names like Elon Musk and Google in studying how a variety of health issues can be traced to the nervous system. Their patented microchip-based technology is being developed to detect neuronal signals to locate nerve bundles that cause pain and other ailments. With $100B+ in potential treatment markets worldwide and 100+ patents issued and pending, the company is attempting to take the world by storm.

 

This could be the final opportunity to invest while they’re still private. See how you can become an Autonomix shareholder before the opportunity closes on Jan. 15.*

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with Future

> NFL games averaged 17.9 million television viewers, up 7% from last year and the best ratings since 2015 (More) | Pete Carroll out as head coach of the Seattle Seahawks after 14 seasons and a 2013 Super Bowl win (More)

> "Barbie," "Oppenheimer," and "Succession" lead TV and film nominations for the 2024 Screen Actors Guild Awards (More) | ... and also headline nominations at 2024 Directors Guild of America Awards (More)

>  Screen Actors Guild and music recording industry support bipartisan legislation that would penalize the unauthorized use of AI video deepfakes and voice clones (More)

From our partners: 50% off your first month of fitness coaching. Looking for real fitness results? Future pairs you with your own dedicated expert fitness coach to provide daily support and accountability. Each week, your coach builds a new training plan to fit your schedule, goals, equipment, and travel. They design guided workouts and incorporate activities you already love. Join today for 50% off your first month.

 

Science & Technology

> OpenAI launches store allowing users to build and share customized versions of its ChatGPT chatbot; analysts liken the marketplace to an early version of Apple's App Store (More

> Genetic analysis finds variants associated with multiple sclerosis arrived in Europe roughly 5,000 years ago, as populations migrated from Western Asia (More)

> Study links snowpack decline in the US Southwest and Northeast—key water sources for major population centers—with rising global temperatures; some areas decreased by 10% or more per decade since 1981 (More)

 

Business & Markets

> Markets close up (S&P 500 +0.6%, Dow +0.5%, Nasdaq +0.8%), with investors expecting positive data on inflation to be released later this morning (More)

> Amazon lays off "several hundreds" of employees in Prime Video and MGM divisions; Amazon-owned Twitch to cut headcount by 35%, or around 500 employees (More)

> Software giant SAP to pay $220M in a coordinated global settlement over charges it bribed various government officials across the world between 2014 and 2022 (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Former Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) drops out of GOP presidential primary, just ahead of Monday's Iowa caucuses (More) | GOP holds primary debate with Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) and former Gov. Nikki Haley (SC); former President Donald Trump appears on Fox (More)

> Closing arguments to begin today in civil fraud trial against former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization (More) | See trial overview (More) | House Oversight Committee advances Hunter Biden contempt charges for ignoring subpoena for private testimony, full floor vote to follow (More)

> US and British naval forces repel largest drone and missile launched by Houthi rebels into the Red Sea to date (More) | Al-Shabab militants capture United Nations helicopter after craft is forced to make an emergency landing in central Somalia (More)

 

In-Depth

> How SEO Killed the Internet

The Verge | Mia Sato. The internet once offered the promise of unlimited knowledge at the click of a button. Instead, it has become dominated by content whose only purpose is to land on Google's front page. (Read)

 

> Big Village, Tiny Homes

Texas Tribune | Lucy Tompkins. Austin, Texas, is carrying out one of the most ambitious efforts to address chronic homelessness. Can its combination of secure housing and community structure offer a nationwide solution? (Read)

In partnership with Autonomix

Invest Before This Planned Nasdaq Listing

 

Autonomix, the company developing first-in-class electrophysiology technology, is planning a Nasdaq listing (ticker symbol: AMIX)—and they’re starting the new year by inviting you to become a shareholder.

 

The company already has 100+ patents (issued and pending across 15 patent families) and an estimated $100B market opportunity ahead of them. And, their management team has approximately $600M in previous exits. Consider joining the excitement and invest in Autonomix by Jan. 15.*

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Etcetera
 

The best (and worst) states to raise a family in 2024.

 

... and this year's most (and least) powerful passports.

 

A look at some vintage entertaining advice

 

The most anticipated music tours this year.

 

Orange juice brand decides to drop AI

 

State of Alaska grows in size by nearly a Texas

 

Gen Z trades in electronic beats for vintage jazz.

 

Researchers capture saltwater crocodile love song

 

Clickbait: Would you trek a mile through knee-deep snow for cheese?

 

Historybook: Alexander Hamilton born (1755 or 1757); Grand Canyon becomes a national monument (1908); First use of insulin to treat diabetes in humans (1922); Mary J. Blige born (1971); Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first two people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, dies (2008).

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*Disclosure: This is a paid advertisement for Autonomix’s Regulation A+ Offering. Please read the offering circular at invest.autonomix.com

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