1.6.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Jan. 6, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the first state to receive federal approval to import medications from Canada, the death of a 1970s TV star, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

You share, we listen. As always, send us feedback at [email protected].

One Big Headline
 

Drug Importation Plan

The Food and Drug Administration, for the first time Friday, approved a two-year plan allowing Florida to import certain prescription drugs from Canada at a lower price than in the US. The approval is seen as a step toward reducing the cost of medications for American consumers and paves the way for other states to request permission to import prescription drugs from Canada. 

 

The news comes amid the federal government's scrutiny of the US drug-pricing system, which results in the world's highest per capita out-of-pocket spending on prescription drugs (see data). The US Government Accountability Office previously found US prices for selected brand name drugs were two to four times higher on average than the prices for the same drugs in Australia, Canada, and France. 

 

Florida has estimated it will save $150M in the first year of the bulk importation program; however, the FDA will need to approve the specific drugs Florida seeks before shipments can begin. The pharmaceutical industry's main lobbying group opposed the FDA's decision Friday. 

Quick Hits
 

Israeli defense minister outlines plans for Gaza after the war.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant's proposals envision Gaza being run by a Palestinian body under the overall control of Israeli security and include a multinational task force taking charge of rebuilding the enclave. Relatedly, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in the Middle East Friday for talks about postwar plans for Gaza, marking his fourth trip to the region since the war began. See updates on the war here

 

US Supreme Court to hear Trump's Colorado ballot disqualification case.

The Supreme Court agreed to review whether former President Donald Trump is ineligible for Colorado's GOP primary ballot. Oral arguments are scheduled for Feb. 8. The high court's move comes two days after Trump appealed the Colorado Supreme Court's December ruling, which disqualified Trump from the state’s ballot under a 14th Amendment clause that bars those supporting government uprising. 

 

NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre steps down ahead of civil corruption trial.

The 74-year-old LaPierre, who led the National Rifle Association for more than three decades, announced his resignation Friday, citing health reasons. The news comes as the gun rights group is set to begin a corruption trial in New York Monday. A lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Letitia James accused the NRA's leadership of diverting millions of dollars for their personal use. LaPierre and ex-NRA President Oliver North are expected to testify in the trial.

 

"Starsky & Hutch" actor David Soul dies at 80.

Born as David Richard Solberg in Chicago in 1943, Soul rose to fame in the 1970s when he starred as the blonde half of the crime-fighting duo in the TV series "Starsky & Hutch." The series inspired a 2004 film starring Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson. Soul also released music albums in the 1970s and 1980s, which included his No. 1 single "Don’t Give Up on Us." He later moved to the UK and became a British citizen in 2004.

 

US adds 216,000 jobs in December, more than expected.

The figure is above the 170,000 jobs economists had expected and up from  November's downwardly revised 173,000 jobs, according to the latest government data. The unemployment rate held at 3.7%, marking a two-year period in which the unemployment rate has been below 4%, a feat last seen in the late 1960s (see chart). Overall, the US labor market in 2023 added 2.7 million jobs.

 

Fire engulfs historic Singer sewing machine factory in New Jersey. 

More than 100 firefighters were tackling the blaze at the industrial building Friday, which sits along the waterfront of Elizabeth, New Jersey, near the Newark Liberty International Airport. The fire, which broke out early morning Friday, caused the warehouse to partially collapse and is expected to burn through the weekend. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The building was once home to the first large Singer sewing machine factory in the US. See photos from the fire here.

 

The 81st Golden Globes airs tomorrow after undergoing revamp. 

The Golden Globes returns to its Sunday night slot (8 pm ET, CBS) after two years. The awards show wasn't broadcast in 2022 and was aired on a Tuesday in 2023 because of football. Since then, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which organized the Golden Globes, shut down after selling the show's rights to a private owner. The changes include a new diversified voting body of more than 300 entertainment journalists. See predictions for tomorrow's awards here.

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Humankind
 

Burger King employee, who never missed a day of work for 27 years, buys his first house after going viral and receiving donations from strangers. (More

 

Maui jewelry store owner restores jewelry damaged by last year's wildfires for free. (More)

 

A daughter gifts her parents toys they always wanted as children but never received. (More, w/video) 

 

Letter from 1943 delivered to surviving family member after resurfacing in Illinois post office. (More

 

US veteran celebrates his 101st birthday at a California Air Force base. (More)

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Fritz S. in Memphis, Tennessee.

 

"It was a Sunday afternoon in the early 1970s and I was in my freshman year of college. My roommate and I had driven his car from Providence, Rhode Island, to his home in North Carolina for spring break, and we were headed back up I-95 to Rhode Island. Suddenly, at the exit for Newark, Delaware, the car died. It just stopped. We pushed it off the interstate and into the first service station that we could find. Gas stations often worked on cars in those days .... We had two problems: first, the gas station was closing in a half-hour and it was getting dark, and, second, we had a total of about $3 between us and no credit cards."

 

"We began calling everyone we knew back at school, scrabbling for ideas. Eventually, someone got to my dorm's Resident Advisor, whose parents just happened to live in Newark, Delaware. He called his parents, who knew neither of us, and they drove over to the gas station, picked us up, fed us a delightful dinner, and gave us each a bedroom for the night. The next morning, they drove us back to the gas station and loaned us the money for the repairs and we were on our way. It has been 50 years; I have never forgotten their kindness."

 

What act(s) of kindness did you experience this week? Tell us here.

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Americans spent a record $222B shopping online from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31, up 4.9% from the previous holiday season, new analysis finds.

> The 2024 Golden Globes swag bag (given to attendees) is worth $500,000 and includes six bottles of the world's most expensive wine. See what's in the bag.

 

Browse 

> New images reveal Uranus and Neptune's true colors.

US Mint issues coins commemorating Harriet Tubman.

> ... and the British postal service launches Spice Girls stamps.

> Photos from an international snow and ice festival in China.

Explore and create your own ambient noise.

> World's deadliest—and cutest—cat joins Utah zoo.

> Why is urine yellow

 

Listen 

> The economics of card counting.

 

Watch 

> How to use strategic thinking to build the life you want.

> Colorized and restored footage of Dublin, Ireland, in the 1960s.

 

Long Read 

> Why are snails and slugs so slow

> How the tiny Caribbean island of Gardi Sugdub is disappearing

 

Best of the Week: Forget Gen Z, meet Gen Alpha.

 

Historybook: Joan of Arc born (1412); President Teddy Roosevelt dies (1919); Telegraph publicly demonstrated for first time (1838); US Capitol stormed in attempt to disrupt certification of 2020 electoral results (2021); Actor Sidney Poitier dies (2022). 

"It will take guts to admit that you have behaved in a way that prevents you from being your better self, and then choose to act differently."

- Sidney Poitier

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