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Good morning. It's Tuesday, Feb. 7, and we're covering deadly quakes in the Middle East, President Joe Biden's second State of the Union, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.


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Need To Know

Quakes Rock Turkey, Syria

More than 5,000 people were killed after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake and a major aftershock hit northern Syria and southern Turkey Monday, with thousands more injured. At least 120 more aftershocks were recorded, with more expected in one of the region's largest recorded seismic events.


The region sits over the East Anatolian fault zone, a highly active conjunction of three tectonics: the Anatolia, Arabia, and Africa plates (see map). Yesterday's quakes resulted from two plates sliding horizontally against each other in what's called a strike-slip movement


In Turkey, search teams had rescued at least 7,800 people from the rubble of thousands of collapsed buildings. Aid was complicated in civil war-torn northern Syria, where millions of displaced Syrians live in substandard housing. The US Geological Survey estimates damage from the pair of quakes may reach over $1B; the World Health Organization warned casualties may increase eightfold.


See images of the aftermath here (warning—sensitive content). 


State of the Union 

President Joe Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address tonight, a speech given against the backdrop of rising consumer prices, a strong labor market, a new Republican House majority, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.


The address comes at a time of mixed economic indicators. The preceding 12 months saw the highest inflation in more than four decades, with consumer prices surging and the cost of financing home purchases almost doubling. At the same time, an estimated 517,000 jobs were added in January with unemployment hitting a five-decade low at 3.4%.


Biden is also expected to argue for continuing support of Ukraine in its war against Russia, as the conflict nears its one-year mark Feb. 24. The US provided more than $50B in aid to Ukraine last year (see breakdown).


The address will be aired on major networks beginning at 9 pm ET, with Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders providing the GOP response.


See a history of the State of the Union here.


Ohio Train Derailment

Authorities in Ohio yesterday released toxic chemicals into the air from five tanker cars of a derailed train to prevent an explosion along the border of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The train, which had been carrying hazardous materials, went off the tracks Friday night in East Palestine, Ohio, causing a large chemical fire that has continued to burn. The area's nearly 5,000 residents were ordered to evacuate Sunday. No injuries have been reported. 


The five cars were transporting the industrially produced chemical vinyl chloride (see 101), which is used to make polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a hard plastic resin in plastic products. The chemical is associated with an increased risk of liver, brain, and lung cancers, among other diseases.


As part of the controlled release of the chemical, a small charge was used to blow a hole in the cars, allowing the chemical to go into a trench and burn off before being released into the air. See photos from the train wreckage here.

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In The Know

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with CanvasPeople

> Harry Styles wins top prize of Album of the Year at Grammy Awards; Beyoncé hauls in a record 33rd award (More) | Grammys telecast brings in 12.4 million viewers, up 30% from 2022 (More)

> Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James just 36 points from breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time NBA points record; has chance to break the record tonight (10 pm ET, TNT) against Oklahoma City Thunder (More) | Tom Brady to make on-air debut with Fox Sports in 2024 after signing a reported 10-year, $375M deal (More)

> AMC Theatres, the world's largest theater chain, introduces sightline seating with variable pricing based on seat location (More)

From our partners: Free large canvas?! Bring beautiful photos from the camera roll to the living room, with CanvasPeople. They print your favorite images onto high-quality canvases, and today they're giving 1440 readers one free 16x20 canvas print (over $120 in value). Just pay S&H; create yours today!


Science & Technology

> Getty Images sues the maker of text-to-image AI platform Stable Diffusion, alleging it trained its program on 12 million Getty stock photos without permission or compensation (More) | Google reveals Bard, a competitor to ChatGPT currently in closed beta testing (More)

> Geologists confirm the presence of a new layer in the Earth's mantle, with a zone of partially melted rock sitting beneath the planet's tectonic plates (More)

> Scientists grow human-like intestinal tracts with working immune responses inside mice; technique may allow experiments on gut disorders without requiring sick patients as test subjects (More)


Business & Markets

> US stock markets fall (S&P 500 -0.6%, Dow -0.1%, Nasdaq -1.0%) to kick off the week (More

> Dell Technologies announces plans to cut 6,650 jobs, or roughly 5% of its global workforce (More)

> Indian conglomerate Adani Group to prepay debt in move to ease shareholder confidence; stock has lost over 50% of value following January short seller report (More)


Politics & World Affairs

> China claims ownership of second suspected balloon over Latin America after the US shoots down Chinese spy balloon over South Carolina; China maintains both balloons were for monitoring weather (More

> UK healthcare workers strike for better pay amid rising costs of living; strike is considered the biggest demonstration in the history of the country's health system (More)

> US Department of Justice charges Maryland woman and neo-Nazi leader over alleged plot to attack electrical substations in Baltimore, Maryland, area (More



> The World’s Aging Population

Grid News | Staff. Many countries are searching for answers as they face a declining population and an aging demographic, which could soon put a strain on their ability to provide care for the elderly. (Read)


> The Case the Internet Got Wrong

Capital Daily | Zander Sherman and Jon Miller. An extensive, three-year investigation—aimed at uncovering new information about one of true crime’s more frequently cited unsolved murders—is now ready to reveal its findings. (Read)

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Historybook: Charles Dickens born (1812); The US bans all Cuban imports and exports (1962); Garth Brooks born (1962); "Beatlemania" arrives in America (1964); Author and pilot Anne Morrow Lindbergh dies (2001).

"A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self."

- Charles Dickens, "A Tale of Two Cities"

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