1.16.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Monday, Jan. 16, and we're covering a deadly crash in Nepal, a surprise COVID-19 update from China, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Yeti Air Flight 691

At least 68 people were killed, and four others were left missing, after a plane crashed into a gorge while attempting to land near a Nepali resort town yesterday morning. It was the country's worst air disaster in three decades, according to officials. 

 

Operated by Yeti Airlines, the turboprop plane (see 101) was making a short, 27-minute flight from the capital city of Kathmandu to the nearby tourist destination of Pokhara, whose newly constructed airport opened Jan. 1. The cause of the disaster has not been identified; however, video captured moments before impact (warning—sensitive content) showed the plane banking sharply to the left during its landing descent. The aircraft eventually crashed into the bank of the nearby Seti Gandaki river. 

 

Nepal's elevation, rugged geography, and high winds make it one of the most difficult regions to fly. See a history of recent crashes here.

 

China Reveals COVID-19 Toll

Nearly 60,000 people in China died from COVID-related illness between Dec. 8 and Jan. 12, according to Chinese health officials Saturday. The announcement is the first official indicator of the magnitude of the country's outbreak since it lifted its aggressive zero-COVID policies in December.

 

The number is 12 times the total death count in China for the three years since the pandemic began in 2019 (see data), a number many countries suspect has been underreported. After antilockdown protests led to the removal of most COVID-19 safety protocols in November, cases skyrocketed to an estimated 37 million per day. China has long defined COVID-19 death narrowly as deaths due to respiratory failure or pneumonia; Saturday's announcement is the first that included fatalities from underlying issues, which comprised over 54,000 of the latest tally.

 

Officials observed 90% of deaths were in those ages 65 or older, the age group with the lowest vaccination rate. See photos of the wave of infections here

 

Bolsonaro Added to Brazil Probe

Brazil's Supreme Court ordered investigators to include former President Jair Bolsonaro in a probe of last Sunday's storming of the country's Congress by crowds of protesters. Prosecutors allege Bolsonaro, who lost reelection to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva by a 1.8-point margin in October, may have incited his followers in the weeks leading up to the riot with claims of voter fraud.

 

More than 80 people were injured, and almost 2,000 were detained, after pro-Bolsonaro supporters invaded and vandalized buildings housing the country's Congress, supreme court, and presidential residence (see footage). Bolsonaro himself was in Florida at the time, having traveled there postelection, and was reportedly hospitalized Monday with abdominal pain. The former president has struggled with complications since being stabbed in the stomach at a 2018 campaign rally. 

 

Related to the incident, former Bolsonaro justice minister Anderson Torres was arrested on charges he colluded to organize the riot. His specific role in coordinating plans, if any, has not been described by officials.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Miss USA R'Bonney Gabriel becomes first American to win Miss Universe since 2012; Miss Venezuela and Miss Dominican Republic named runner-up and second runner-up (More)

> Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to seven counts of sexual assault in London; Spacey now faces 11 total charges of sexual assault in the UK (More)

> Jacksonville Jaguars edge Los Angeles Chargers 31-30 in AFC wild-card matchup in third-largest comeback in NFL playoff history (More) | See updated NFL playoff bracket and schedule (More

 

Science & Technology

> US Department of Energy grants $700M conditional loan to Australian mining company seeking to build a lithium mine in Nevada; the project would be the second such mine in the US (More) | See lithium's key role in the global electric vehicle and battery market (More)

> Researchers identify a single protein that blocks a wide range of toxins in rattlesnake venom; may lead to improved treatments for snake bites, which cause 120,000 worldwide deaths each year (More)

> Paleogenomic study reveals evolution of the human immune system over the past 10,000 years; key mutations linked to increased protection against disease, higher risk of autoimmune disorders (More)

 

Business & Markets

In partnership with The Ascent

> US stock markets close higher Friday (S&P 500 +0.4%, Dow +0.3%, Nasdaq +0.7%); S&P 500 and Nasdaq post best weekly performance since November (More)

> World Economic Forum kicks off today in the small ski resort town of Davos, Switzerland, hosting government leaders, multinational CEOs, and global financiers (More)

> Big bank stocks post higher earnings as increased interest rates lead to higher income, but leaders signal recession worries (More)

From our partners: Money moves we're making in 2023. Experts at The Ascent say to consider these five strategies to grow your wealth in 2023. And they've got quite a track record, with experience helping people like you since 1993. Learn more about how to get the most out of your cash today.

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Justice officials discover five more classified documents at President Joe Biden's Delaware home while on-site Thursday to collect separate document found in December (More) | House Oversight committee demands visitor logs from Biden's search team, private home (More) | See timeline of document discovery (More)

> At least 30 killed, and 73 injured, after Russian missile hits apartment building in the Ukrainian city of Dnipro Saturday (More) | Britain becomes first Western country to send heavy tanks to Ukraine (More) | See war updates (More

> Supreme Court approves slate of eight cases for spring, including case involving religious rights of employees (More) | Federal Aviation Administration to investigate near miss of two passenger airplanes on runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport Friday (More)

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Etcetera
 

Eight of Martin Luther King Jr.'s most iconic speeches

 

... and how the second half of "I Have a Dream" was spontaneous. (via YouTube)

 

Joshua Tree's "invisible house" is on the market.

 

The $1.35B Mega Millions jackpot sold to customer in Maine.

 

Arctic cocooning, a new item for your bucket list.

 

Ranking 133 celebrity bathrooms

 

Australian man stops highway traffic for a crossing koala.

 

Ring unveils its new home drone patrol.

 

Clickbait: A Lego-swallowing experiment.

 

Historybook: Hiram Revels, first African American to serve in Congress, dies (1901); 18th Amendment ratified, banning alcohol in the US (1919); Pop singer Aaliyah born (1979); "Hamilton" creator Lin-Manuel Miranda born (1980); Persian Gulf War begins (1991).

"You are perfectly cast in your life. I can’t imagine anyone but you in the role. Go play."

- Lin-Manuel Miranda

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