12.2.2023

 

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Good morning. It's Saturday, Dec. 2, and in this weekend edition, we're covering a historic vote in Congress, the death of a trailblazing US Supreme Court justice, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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

One Big Headline
 

House Expels Santos  

Rep. George Santos (R, NY-3) was expelled from Congress yesterday after the House voted 311-114 to oust the 35-year-old lawmaker. Santos is the sixth member of the House to be expelled in US history and the first to be removed without being convicted of a crime. 

 

Santos has been at the center of a scandal since beginning his first term in office last year. Shortly after Santos was elected in November 2022, reports surfaced alleging he embellished his background, including his college degree and Wall Street career. Federal investigators hit Santos with 23 federal charges, including money laundering, wire fraud, identity theft, and lying to Congress. Santos has pleaded not guilty. The House Ethics Committee also uncovered similar allegations in a report released last month following its own probe into Santos. See a timeline of events here

 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) has 10 days to set a special election to fill Santos' open seat, which is likely to occur in February or March. Local party leaders—rather than voters—will choose the Democratic and Republican nominees ahead of the vote. See potential candidates here.

Quick Hits
 

Sandra Day O'Connor, first female US Supreme Court justice, dies at 93.

O'Connor died from complications related to advanced dementia and a respiratory illness. She was born in 1930 in Texas, raised at her family's Lazy B ranch in Arizona, and attended Stanford University at age 16, where she later graduated from its law school. O'Connor eventually became an Arizona state judge and was nominated to the Supreme Court in 1981 by then-President Ronald Regan. She was the court's first female justice in 191 years and later retired in 2006 to care for her husband who had Alzheimer's. See her notable court opinions here. View her life in pictures here.   

 

Israel, Hamas resume fighting after temporary cease-fire expires.

Israel claimed Hamas fired rockets toward its territory in the last hour of their cease-fire deal, after which Israel struck more than 200 targets in Gaza, including areas of the southern city of Khan Younis. Israeli forces reportedly left leaflets in the city ordering residents to move further south to Rafah near Egypt's border. Another truce deal between the two sides does not appear to be likely, according to reports.

 

Venezuela set to hold referendum altering Guyana's control over disputed land.

Venezuelans are expected to vote tomorrow on whether to establish a new state in a disputed oil-rich territory currently controlled by neighboring Guyana. While the land is governed by Guyana, Venezuela has laid claim to the region in a long-running dispute. The UN's International Court of Justice has ordered Venezuela to refrain from taking any action, but it's unclear if Venezuela will halt the referendum. 

 

Federal appeals court rules Jan. 6 lawsuits against Trump can continue.

Former President Donald Trump had sought to dismiss cases accusing him of encouraging the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the US Capitol. Trump claimed he should be immune from the lawsuits because he was acting in his official capacity as president. The three-judge panel ruled Trump was acting under his personal capacity as a presidential candidate at the time, not as president.

 

Federal judge blocks Montana's first-in-nation TikTok ban. 

A US district judge issued a preliminary injunction in a case filed by TikTok's Beijing-based parent ByteDance, ruling Montana's ban on the video-sharing app was unconstitutional. Montana's ban, which was set to take effect Jan. 1, would have prohibited downloads of TikTok in the state and fined an entity $10K each time someone in the state was able to access the platform. 

 

Panera Bread reportedly preparing to go public in 2024.

The restaurant chain, known for its sandwiches, salads, and soups, confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering for next year. Panera, founded in St. Louis in 1987, last publicly traded in 2017 when German conglomerate JAB Holding bought it for $7.5B.

 

Bottlenose dolphins can sense weak electric fields, study finds.

Researchers have discovered adult bottlenose dolphins use dimples on their snouts, known as vibrissal pits, to sense electric fields produced by lifeforms underwater. The ability to sense these electric fields helps the dolphins detect prey hidden in the sand.

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Humankind
 

Vietnam veteran and decades-old pen pal meet for the first time in 56 years. (More)

 

A California Girl Scouts troop is created for members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing community. (More

 

Mississippi 6-year-old honored for saving her mother who had a stroke and seizure. (More, w/video)

 

Judge dismayed at number of minors headed to prison creates an alternative vocational program. (More

 

High school dance team helps surprise their director with a marriage proposal. (More, w/video)

 

Six strangers help Michigan couple find a missing wedding ring. (More)

From our partners: Need something new to watch? Curiosity Stream is the best place to find and watch shows and series about science, history, technology, nature, travel, and so much more. Use code "1440ws" for 25% off annual plans.

Humankind(ness)
 

Today, we're sharing a story from reader Amanda M. in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

 

"When visiting Brooklyn for my niece’s wedding, I slipped on a wet metal grate and broke my kneecap. Six wonderful people stayed with me as we waited for an ambulance to come. They continually called to find out the status of the EMTs and stood around me to protect me from passing pedestrians. One man, Pedro, had some medical training and was particularly encouraging and kept me engaged in conversation to keep my mind off the pain. This group of angels stayed with me for two hours until my brother arrived (the ambulance never did come) and took me to an emergency room near his home. As they dispersed, they exchanged numbers with my brother and asked him to notify them about my condition later that evening. I will never forget their kindness and care for me when I was at my most vulnerable."

 

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

Etcetera
 

Bookkeeping

> Chinstrap penguins survive on four-second naps more than 10,000 times a day.

> Red Lobster raises price of its "ultimate endless shrimp" after citing it as a reason for its roughly $11M loss in the third quarter of 2023

 

Browse 

> The world's most expensive cities in 2023.

> Halloumi cheese, camel milk, and more: food trends for 2024.

> ... and Subway plans to introduce footlong cookies.

Mexico wants you to virtually adopt an axolotl—the "Peter Pan" of amphibians.

> A glimpse into the National Park Service's humorous tweets.

 

Listen 

> The power of apologies and the mental barriers that keep us from saying sorry

 

Watch 

> Three tips in the art of persuasion

Dog ticks are changing their diet—and it includes humans.

> Can Sashimi the octopus figure out an underwater maze?  

 

Long Read 

> Could humans live underwater in ocean stations

How playing Flo from Progressive altered Stephanie Courtney's life as an actor.

> An interactive dive examining Earth's growing population, how we've changed the planet over time to feed ourselves, and the land required to continue to do so.

 

Best of the Week: Compare your tipping behavior to the average American.

 

Historybook: Abolitionist John Brown dies (1859); US Environmental Protection Agency formed (1970); Britney Spears born (1981); Benazir Bhutto becomes first female prime minister of Pakistan (1988); Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is killed (1993).

"To make peace, one must be an uncompromising leader. To make peace, one must also embody compromise."

- Benazir Bhutto

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