3.2.2023

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Good morning. It's Thursday, March 2, and we're covering a new report on illnesses affecting US diplomats, a settlement with former NBA star Kobe Bryant's family, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Havana Syndrome Refuted

Cases of what has become known as "Havana Syndrome" were unlikely to have been caused by a foreign adversary or some type of directed energy weapon, according to US intelligence. The new analysis does not pinpoint a cause for the reported illnesses but points to possible environmental factors and preexisting medical conditions in many cases.

 

The number of cases reported has surpassed 1,500 across 96 countries, afflicting diplomatic staff and military personnel with symptoms including vertigo, nausea, brain fog, and more. Previous reports have noted both that similar physiological effects may be caused by pulsed microwave or radio frequencies and that the Soviet Union carried out a program to irradiate the US embassy with microwaves during the Cold War. Analysts said the intelligence update likely means a specific cause, if any, may never be determined. 

 

The new report is the result of a yearslong probe into the illnesses; find the full documents here.

 

Greece Train Crash

Greek police have arrested a 59-year-old stationmaster after a passenger train and a freight train collided in northern Greece, killing at least 43 people, derailing several carriages, and causing an explosion. Roughly 80 people were hospitalized. 

 

The stationmaster, in the nearby city of Larissa, was seen as responsible for the trains ending up on the same track in opposite directions and was arrested on charges of manslaughter by negligence and grievous bodily harm by negligence. Two others are being questioned. The Greek transport minister also resigned Wednesday. Officials are still investigating the cause of the crash, though the Greek prime minister attributed it to human error.

 

Approximately 350 people were traveling on the passenger train. The fire department said temperatures in the burning carriages reached 2,370 degrees Fahrenheit, making it difficult to identify the dead. See photos of the aftermath here.

 

Bryant Photos Settlement

Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, accepted a $29M settlement with Los Angeles County Tuesday over the unauthorized capturing and sharing of images of the deceased Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The two were killed in January 2020 with seven others when their helicopter crashed en route to a youth basketball game northwest of Los Angeles. 

 

The amount includes $15M in compensation for emotional distress to Bryant, awarded by a civil jury in August, with the remainder settling future claims from Bryant's three daughters. While no images were disseminated publicly, reports arose that first responders had taken and shared photos of the remains of the victims. California passed a law banning unauthorized photos of the dead at accident scenes later that year.

 

A 2021 federal report concluded the crash occurred due to pilot error resulting from that day's disorienting fog. In June 2021, Bryant settled with the helicopter operator and pilot's estate on undisclosed terms. 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Justin Bieber cancels previously postponed world tour dates; Bieber revealed last year that Ramsay Hunt syndrome left his face partially paralyzed (More) | Rapper Travis Scott sought by NYPD over alleged nightclub assault (More)

> Former Georgia star Jalen Carter, a potential top 2023 NFL draft pick, charged with reckless driving connected to fatal crash that killed teammate in January (More) | French soccer legend Just Fontaine dies at 89 (More)

> "Stranger Things" prequel play adaptation tapped for London's West End later this year (More) | "Back to the Future" Broadway musical, opening this summer, reveals its full cast (More)

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Science & Technology

> Scientists analyze one of the oldest human genomes to date from southern Spain, dating to roughly 23,000 years ago; area was likely the warmest region in Europe during the ice age, study provides details on how humans spread as ice retreated (More)

> Mouse study reveals artificially raising heart rates can induce anxiety; study is one of the most direct demonstrations that physiological changes can induce varying emotional states (More)

> Researchers detail how bacteria hijack nerve cells in the brain's protective layer to evade the immune system and cause meningitis; roughly 1.2 million people contract the infection each year, with a 70% fatality rate if untreated (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.5%, Dow +0.02%, Nasdaq -0.7%) as 10-year US treasury yield passes 4% for first time since November (More) | Shares of cloud software giant Salesforce up double digits in after-hours trading after beating expectations (More

> Eli Lilly caps costs of insulin at $35 per month; company is one of three large players serving 8.4 million Americans using insulin for diabetes (More)

> Delta pilots approve new contract to increase compensation by more than 30% over four years (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Norfolk Southern CEO agrees to appear before a Senate committee during a March 9 hearing on last month's toxic train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio (More)

> Israeli police and protesters clash in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in the latest round of mass antigovernment protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to overhaul Israel's judiciary (More)

> Bola Tinubu, former governor of Lagos state, wins Nigeria's presidential election to succeed outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari and keep Nigeria's ruling party in power (More)

 

In-Depth

> The Parisian Underground

MIT Press Reader | Félix Nadar. Translated excerpts from the memoir of a celebrated 19th-century photographer, depicting his descent into the sewers and catacombs of Paris as well as the early decades of photography. (Read)

 

> The Unraveling of a '90s Band 

Rolling Stone | Andy Greene. How legal drama, interpersonal conflict, and an alleged con man tore apart Live, one of the biggest alt-rock bands of the '90s. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Archaeologists find a long-lost Lake Huron shipwreck.

 

The history behind Women's History Month.

 

See the winners of this year’s Gizmodo science fair.

 

Examining the business of camel cloning in Dubai.

 

DNA from former US presidents to be launched into space.

 

The emergence of companies offering autograph makeovers.

 

One diary entry per day in 2023, written by a different person from history.

 

Top 100 colleges that produce the highest-earning graduates.

 

Clickbait: Making a case for the shower orange.

 

Historybook: Children’s author Dr. Seuss born (1904); Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Jones born (1919); Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev born (1931); Wilt Chamberlain sets NBA record with 100 points in a single game (1962).

"Everybody pulls for David, nobody roots for Goliath."

- Wilt Chamberlain

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