12.30.2022

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Good morning. It's Friday, Dec. 30, and we're covering the death of a soccer legend, a probe into an incoming congressman's past, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Editor's note: 1440 staff will be off for the New Year's holiday tomorrow, but keep an eye out tomorrow for our end-of-the-year wrap-up. See you Monday!

Pelé Passes Away

Brazilian soccer legend Pelé, considered one of the greatest players of all time, died yesterday in São Paulo from colon cancer complications at the age of 82. His health had been deteriorating since late November.

 

Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, the 5-foot-8-inch Pelé played 18 seasons with the São Paulo-based Santos FC where he started at age 15. Known for his clever footwork, he shot to fame as a member of Brazil's winning 1958 World Cup team, going on to win two more—the most by an individual player. He racked up over 1,000 official and exhibition goals over his career and was declared a national treasure by the Brazilian government to prevent him being traded to a European club. In the final two years of his career, he helped popularize soccer in the US by playing for the New York Cosmos. Post-soccer, he led a successful business career and served as Brazil's Extraordinary Minister for Sport.

 

In 2000, he was awarded FIFA's Player of the Century alongside Argentine player Diego Maradona. Get a sense of his footwork with this highlight video

 

Southwest Stabilizes

Southwest Airlines preemptively canceled 39 flights for today, as opposed to 2,300 yesterday, as the airline shows signs of steadying after days of mass cancellations following a winter storm last week. 

 

Details behind the logistical collapse have emerged in recent days. While most airlines operate off a hub-and-spoke model, where most aircraft and crew are based out of a few major hubs, Southwest operates on a point-to-point model, where flights can travel from city to city without needing to stop at a central hub. The storm created a snowball effect of cancellations that overwhelmed Southwest’s outdated internal scheduling system and resulted in planes and crew being stranded throughout the country while the airline attempted to manually reset operations.

 

Exacerbating issues, Southwest lacks agreements allowing passengers to rebook with other airlines during emergencies. The airline now faces an investigation from the Department of Transportation.

 

Meanwhile, thousands of unclaimed bags are piled up outside baggage claim carousels nationwide. See scenes from the airports here.

 

Feds Probe Santos

Federal officials have opened a probe into the finances, including campaign financial disclosures, of Rep.-elect George Santos (R, NY-3). Santos won the redrawn, but traditionally Democratic, New York district in November but has faced allegations he fabricated or exaggerated many parts of his resume and personal history. Santos, also being investigated by county officials, unsuccessfully ran for the seat in 2020. 

 

Initial reports accused Santos of false claims regarding his educational history, his employment with top Wall Street firms, being Jewish, and more. Santos has since admitted to allegations (watch here), referring to them as mistakes but saying he would not step down. Santos' 2020 campaign disclosure forms listed no major assets, while his 2022 forms reported a net worth of up to $11.5M. Legal experts noted falsifying federal forms carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

 

Barring new revelations or his resignation, Santos is expected to be sworn in to the new Congress Jan. 3. Any future expulsion would require approval by two-thirds of the House.

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> The 2022 College Football Playoff kicks off tomorrow with No. 2 Michigan against No. 3 TCU (4 pm ET, ESPN) and No. 1 Georgia taking on No. 4 Ohio State (8 pm ET, ESPN) (More)

> Controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate arrested in Romania on charges of human trafficking and rape (More)

> Vivienne Westwood, influential British fashion designer known for the punk style movement, dies at 81 (More)

From our partners: Make 2023 your year for a one-card wallet. This card offers up to 5% cash back at places you likely already shop and 0% APR until 2024 on purchases and balance transfers. All with no annual fee. Possibly making this card the only one you need.

 

Science & Technology

> Food and Drug Administration officials broke protocol, collaborated inappropriately with Biogen executives during the approval process of the company's controversial Alzheimer's drug, Aduhelm, congressional report finds (More) | See background (More)

> Scientists discover protein mutation that lengthens the circadian clock in fruit flies at higher temperatures; study sheds light on longstanding question of why internal clocks are usually temperature insensitive, unlike other physiological processes (More)

> NASA's Surface Water and Ocean Topography satellite successfully unfolds solar panel and antenna arrays in orbit; mission is the agency's first high-resolution survey of global water surfaces (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close higher (S&P 500 +1.8%, Dow +1.1%, Nasdaq +2.6%) ahead of today’s last trading day of 2022 (More)

> Goldman Sachs CEO says the firm is preparing to reduce headcount in the coming weeks; sources say 4,000 jobs (8% of firm) could be targeted (More)

> ExxonMobil sues the European Union to stop its new “windfall tax”; tax passed in September would charge a tax of 33% on energy company profits over the average of the last three years (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Russia launches new wave of missiles targeting cities across Ukraine; Ukrainian officials say 54 of 69 missiles were intercepted by air defenses (More) | See updates on the war here (More)

> Benjamin Netanyahu sworn in as Israeli prime minister; Netanyahu's return to power marks his sixth term holding the office (More) | Kris Mayes (D) wins recount in Arizona attorney general race by 280 votes, or a 0.02% margin (More)

> House Ways and Means Committee expected to publish 2015 to 2020 tax returns from former President Donald Trump this morning; documents were obtained from the IRS last month (More)

 

In-Depth

> Inside the Ukrainian Counteroffensive

WashPo | Staff. The stunning account pulled from dozens of interviews with Ukrainian troops and generals who took back hundreds of square miles of territory from Russia in late summer. (Read)

 

> Rethinking Alzheimer's

Quanta | Yasemin Saplakoglu. A long-praised hypothesis in the fight against Alzheimer's isn't proving as effective as hoped, so researchers are digging up old forgotten theories. (Read)

> The Tylenol Murders

Criminal | Phoebe Judge. (Podcast) This top true crime podcast delves into a horrifying string of 1980s murders involving poisoned Tylenol bottles. (Listen)

 

> The Future of Brain Implants

Economist | Staff. Advancements are quickly turning brain-computer interfaces into plausible and life-changing devices. (Watch)

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Etcetera
 

A strange year, in charts.

 

The year's best news bloopers.

 

... and the best news headlines

 

... and some positive news.

 

... and the worst fashion trends.

 

... and 25 videos that went viral

 

... and the best the internet had to offer

 

... and the whole year in seven minutes.

 

Clickbait: Five predictions for 2023. (via YouTube)

 

Historybook: Author Rudyard Kipling born (1865); The Soviet Union is formed (1922); Tiger Woods born (1975); LeBron James born (1984); Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein executed (2006); Oscar-winning actress Luise Rainer dies (2014)

"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

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