2.10.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Feb. 10, and in this weekend edition, we're covering the next phase of Israel's military operation in Gaza, this year's NFL MVP, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

PS—Happy Lunar New Year to those who celebrate today, and welcome to the Year of the Dragon. 

 

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

One Big Headline
 

Rafah Ground Operation

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered his military to prepare plans to evacuate nearly 1.5 million civilians from Gaza's southern city of Rafah, considered one of the last refuges for displaced Palestinian civilians. The order comes ahead of an expected Israeli ground operation, with Netanyahu seeking to dismantle four of Hamas' battalions that are believed to be in Rafah. 

 

Rafah sits near Egypt's border and was once a major commercial hub of roughly 280,000 people before the Israel-Hamas war began four months ago. Earlier in the war, Israel had ordered civilians from the northern Gaza Strip to move either west toward the Mediterranean coast or south toward Rafah (see maps). Since then, more than 1 million Palestinians (about half of Gaza's original 2.3 million people) have been sheltering in Rafah, with humanitarian groups expressing concern over spreading diseases and lack of food, water, and medical aid. See before and after satellite images of Rafah here.

 

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby has said the US would not support an intensive Israeli military operation in Rafah under current conditions.

 

See updates on the war here.

Quick Hits
 

Baltimore Ravens' Lamar Jackson wins second MVP award.

The 27-year-old Ravens quarterback made history as the youngest two-time MVP since the National Football League and the American Football League merged more than 50 years ago. Jackson is the ninth NFL player to win more than one Associated Press NFL MVP award since 1967 but is the only one who hasn't won a Super Bowl. Separately, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024 has been revealed; see here.

 

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announces US Senate bid.

Hogan (R) announced Friday his decision to run for retiring Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin's (D) seat. The 67-year-old Hogan was first elected governor in 2014 and then again in 2018, winning reelection by 12 percentage points. He left office in 2023 with high approval ratings (see here). Maryland has not had a Republican senator since 1987.

 

Former President Donald Trump wins Nevada's GOP caucuses.  

Trump was expected to secure a victory in Nevada's Republican caucuses as he faced no major challengers and as former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley chose to instead compete in the state's primary earlier this week. The Nevada caucuses is the fourth contest Trump has won, claiming all 26 of Nevada's GOP delegates. See an overview on how the delegate process works here

 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman seeks up to $7T for new project.

Altman is reportedly in talks with investors, including the United Arab Emirates government, to raise funding for a new initiative related to the global semiconductor industry and artificial intelligence. The project is expected to need as much as $5T to $7T in funding, a range that is far greater than the current size of the worldwide semiconductor industry. Global chip sales were $527B in 2023. 

 

SNL's Colin Jost to host White House Correspondents' Dinner.

The 41-year-old joined "Saturday Night Live" as a writer in 2005 and has cohosted the late-night show's "Weekend Update" segment since 2014. The White House Correspondents' Dinner, set for April 27, is one of Washington, DC's biggest events, with White House officials, lawmakers, celebrities, and journalists in attendance. 

 

Oscars add new best casting category for 2026 and beyond.

The award for casting directors is the first new category introduced since 2001, when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced a new category for best animated feature. Currently, 23 awards are handed out during the live on-air ceremony. 

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Humankind
 

America's oldest living person (and the second-oldest in the world) celebrates her 116th birthday. (More)

 

... and a 102-year-old British vet flies a World War II plane to raise money for a charity he cofounded 80 years ago. (More

 

Brave 8-year-old Wisconsin girl saves herself and her 2-year-old sister after a carjacking at a gas station. (More)

 

GoFundMe reports $30B has been raised on its crowdfunding platform since 2010, with 150 million people either sending or receiving money. (More

 

Group of 30 current and former Kentucky middle school employees wins $1M Powerball jackpot. (More)

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Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Shawna G. in San Manuel, Arizona.

 

"In January of 1997 I was discharged from the Marines in Quantico, VA. I had a Ryder truck, tow dolly with my car hitched to the back and a 6-month-old son and was ready to head to Arizona. I had one stop before heading out. As I turned down a road in a residential area, I realized it was a dead end and there was no place to turn. As I tried turning the truck and car, they slid down an icy embankment. I had to have a tow truck pull them out and it cost $200, leaving me $300 to get home (which was not possible)."

 

"People from homes came out to see what was going on. Among them was a fellow female Marine and her daughter; they saw how distraught I was and offered to let me and my son stay at her house for the night, since it was dark and late. As I was getting ready to leave in the morning, she gave me $300 to help me get home. That was 27 years ago, and I still get emotional at that random act of kindness. I don't know how I would have gotten home without that help. I hope this reaches that lady and to tell her I still have not forgotten, nor will I ever forget, and it reminds me to continue doing random acts of kindness."

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Australian biologist catches 32-inch goldfish, believed to be world's longest.

> Americans expected to spend record $14B on their partners for Valentine's Day.

> Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" up 38,000% in sales after Grammys performance.

 

Browse 

> America's best hotels in 2024.

> Rare speckled dolphin spotted off Australian coast.

Graffiti artists tag 27 floors of abandoned Los Angeles skyscraper.

> Study claims children of attractive parents earn more

> US Senator meets his doppelgänger: Germany's chancellor (w/photos).

 

Listen 

> Into the Huluverse: The evolution of the streaming service's sonic branding.

 

Watch 

> The best Super Bowl LVIII commercials (so far). 

> ... and why artists don't get paid for the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

What happens if we kill every mosquito on Earth

 

Long Read 

> The story of the modern NFL's first Black quarterback: Willie Thrower.

What your brain is doing when you are not doing anything.

> An audio-visual dive into how reggaeton became the sound of global pop

 

Best of the Week: What in tarnation is "tarnation?"

 

Historybook: French and Indian War ends (1763); “Roots” author Alex Haley dies (1992); American playwright Arthur Miller dies (2005); Hollywood legend and diplomat Shirley Temple dies (2014).

"Be brave and clear. Follow your heart and don’t be overly influenced by outside factors. Be true to yourself."

- Shirley Temple

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