1.3.2024

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Jan. 3, and we're covering fallout at one of the world's top universities, a strike against Hamas in Lebanon, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Gay Resigns

Harvard President Claudine Gay resigned yesterday, stepping down amid mounting claims of plagiarism and criticism over recent congressional testimony on campus antisemitism. It marks the shortest presidential tenure in the university's history. 

 

Public scrutiny of Gay began after she joined a Dec. 5 House panel, providing testimony in which she appeared to equivocate on the question of whether extreme antisemitism violated the student code of conduct (see clip). Following the testimony, allegations Gay copied from other scholars in both her thesis and scholarly articles emerged (they had reportedly been brought to Harvard's attention prior to the congressional panel). 

 

The university board backed Gay following the testimony and the initial claims of plagiarism, with an independent probe finding she used duplicative language but did not commit serious misconduct. Her resignation came after another round of allegations was published late Monday in the Washington Free Beacon

 

Gay is the second of the three witnesses from the Dec. 5 hearing to leave her post, following University of Pennsylvania's Liz Magill. 

 

Hamas Cofounder Killed

Saleh al-Arouri, Hamas’ political leader in the West Bank and a founder of its military wing, was killed in an explosion outside Beirut in Lebanon Tuesday alongside two senior commanders, an assassination reportedly carried out by Israel. The attack marks the first such killing of a Hamas leader outside the Palestinian territories since the start of the war. 

 

The attack comes as Israel has begun reducing troop levels in the Gaza Strip, where it has battled Hamas’ military wing—aligned with, but distinct from, its Qatar-based political counterpart (see explainer)—since the militant group launched a surprise attack in southern Israel Oct. 7. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently indicated Israel would target Hamas leaders located around the region. 

 

Israel Defense Forces also claimed to have captured Hamas’ headquarters in Gaza City yesterday. An estimated 80% of the northern city’s structures have been damaged since the start of the war, while over 22,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry. See war updates here (w/maps).

 

Tokyo Collision 

Five crew members on a Japanese Coast Guard aircraft were killed after it collided with a passenger plane yesterday that was landing at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. All 379 passengers and crew onboard Japan Airlines flight JAL-516 from Shin Chitose Airport near Sapporo were evacuated safely before the plane was engulfed in flames; the other plane's pilot survived with injuries.

 

The accident marked the first significant damage to an Airbus A350 since its introduction in 2015. It is also the first serious commercial aviation accident in Japan since 1985, when an aircraft flying from Tokyo to Osaka crashed, killing 520 passengers and crew. The Coast Guard surveillance prop plane was scheduled for a relief mission to the Noto Peninsula, where at least 48 people have died due to the 7.6 magnitude earthquake that hit New Year’s Day.

 

See video of the incident here (warning—sensitive content). Officials say investigations are ongoing, including communication between the flights and air traffic control.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Women's World Cup star Jenni Hermoso testifies against former Spanish soccer chief Luis Rubiales at Rubiales' sexual assault trial (More

> ABC's "Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve" special haul's in 22.2 million viewers, a 35% increase over last year (More) | Universal tops Disney at 2023 global box office; first time since 2015 that Disney wasn't highest-earning studio (More)

> Melissa Hoskins, two-time Australian Olympic track cyclist, dies at 32 after being hit by car; Hoskins' husband reportedly charged with driving car that killed her (More) | Ken Bowman, three-time NFL champion, dies at 81 (More)

 

Science & Technology

> Dutch firm ASML, the world's leading supplier of tools needed to make advanced computer chips, barred from exporting deep ultraviolet lithography machines to China (More) | How the tech industry relies on ASML (More)

> Tomato plants produce a waxy substance known as suberin during times of drought, which lets them ration water intake, new study finds (More)

> Libido in male mice linked to single brain circuit; researchers say the structure likely developed early in the evolution of mammals, findings may shed light on the development of human sexuality (More)

 

Business & Markets

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> Markets mostly down on first day of trading for 2024 (S&P 500 -0.6%, Dow +0.1%, Nasdaq -1.6%); Nasdaq records worst day since October (More) | Apple shares fall 4%, driven by fears of weak iPhone 15 sales (More)

> Tesla meets sales target, selling more than 1.8 million vehicles in 2023; figure for the Elon Musk-led company is up almost 40% from 2022 (More) | Fidelity marks down its shares of Musk-owned X (formerly Twitter), estimating the company's value has dropped by almost 72% since October 2022 (More)

> Shipping giant Maersk halts cargo transit through the Red Sea until further notice due to attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels operating out of Yemen (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> Former President Donald Trump to appeal Maine GOP primary ballot ban; secretary of state's decision accused Trump of violating the 14th Amendment for his role in the events of Jan. 6, 2021 (More) | Trump to skip Wednesday GOP primary debate, only Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) and former Gov. Nikki Haley (SC) to participate (More)

> South Korean opposition leader Lee Jae-myung stabbed in neck during public appearance in the city of Busan; motive of attacker not yet identified, Lee expected to survive attack (More)

> Armed suspect enters, fires shots inside Colorado's Supreme Court; no injuries reported or motive revealed, suspect surrendered to police (More)

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Etcetera
 

Study suggests East Coast cities are slowly sinking

 

The top geopolitical trends to watch in the new year.

 

The best places to visit in 2024 across the globe.

 

Renowned architecture firm plans out "Mindfulness City."

 

For teenagers online, YouTube remains king.

 

New state flag divides Minnesotans.

 

Have $20M to burn? Buy a baby tyrannosaur.

 

How New Year's Eve confetti is dispersed in Times Square. (via Instagram)

 

Clickbait: Company denies body butter attracts giant spiders.

 

Historybook: "The Lord of the Rings" author JRR Tolkien born (1892); The US cuts diplomatic ties with Cuba (1961); Apple is incorporated (1977); Author Joy Adamson murdered (1980); Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to the US (1990).

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