1.10.2024

 

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Good morning. It's Wednesday, Jan. 10, and we're covering an array of extreme weather, France's youngest prime minister, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Winter Storm Disruption

Extreme weather barreled across much of the US yesterday. Severe storms and tornadoes swept through the South, heavy rains and strong winds pummeled the East Coast, snow fell in the Midwest, and blizzard conditions blanketed the Pacific Northwest. 

 

More than 25 million people from Florida to Virginia were under tornado watches through yesterday evening, with expected wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour in parts of North Carolina and Virginia. At least 10 tornadoes were reported across Texas, Florida, and Alabama since Monday, with at least four touching down in Florida. A state of emergency was declared for 49 counties in northern Florida. At least three deaths were attributed to the storm. See photos and videos here.

 

The storm system from the South moved to the Northeast, prompting flood watches, including in Philadelphia, New York City, Boston, and Washington, DC. About 2 to 4 inches of rain was expected in the Northeast. A separate storm triggered a rare blizzard warning for Oregon and Washington, with some areas expecting over a foot of snow through today. Meanwhile, a wintery mix moved across the Plains and the Midwest. 

 

Hottest Year on Record

Last year was the hottest year in 173 years of recorded measurements, according to scientists from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service yesterday.  The rise in global average temperatures in 2023 was just shy of the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit set in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. See an explainer on the benchmark here.

 

The year 2023 saw global average temperatures of 14.98 degrees Celsius—0.6 degrees warmer than the last 30 years, 1.48 degrees warmer than the preindustrial average (1850-1900), and 0.17 degrees warmer than the previous hottest year in 2016. Each day during 2023 was at least 1 degree warmer than the day's average during the preindustrial period (see full report), while the 12-month period ending in January or February is expected to average 1.5 degrees warmer than preindustrial levels. 

 

NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Berkeley Earth are scheduled to release their 2023 data later this week. See background on global warming here

 

France's New Premier

French President Emmanuel Macron appointed 34-year-old Gabriel Attal prime minister yesterday, making Attal both the youngest and first openly gay head of France's government since the current constitution's establishment in 1958. The appointment follows the Monday resignation of Élisabeth Borne, who served for the first 18 months of Macron's second term and was the second woman in the role

 

Analysts viewed the cabinet reshuffle as a reset of Macron's final term, as the 46-year-old vies for votes with Marine Le Pen's ascendant National Rally party ahead of European Parliament elections this summer. The president's approval rating has dropped to 27% amid last year's unpopular retirement age and immigration reforms, while Attal's is the highest of all current French politicians (40%). Attal has served under Macron since his 2016 campaign, most recently as education minister, and reportedly shares Macron's centrist, pragmatic approach to governance.

 

Prime ministers in France are appointed by the president and typically enact the president's policies in collaboration with a cabinet of ministers. Learn more here

In partnership with LMNT

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with The Ascent

> Tom Cruise and Warner Bros. Discovery sign partnership to jointly develop and produce films starring Cruise (More) | Jon Favreau to direct new "Star Wars" film "The Mandalorian & Grogu" (More)

> Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone among headliners tapped for 2024 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee (June 13-16); see full lineup (More)

> Adan Canto, actor known for starring role in "Designated Survivor," dies of cancer at 42 (More) | Sinéad O’Connor's cause of death at 56 ruled to be of natural causes (More)

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Science & Technology

> MIT Technology Review reveals its top 10 breakthrough technologies for 2024; areas include AI for everyday applications, weight loss drugs, advanced heat pumps, and more (More)

> NASA delays phases II and III of its Artemis mission, which would be the first to return humans to the moon in 50 years; Artemis III crewed landing mission pushed to 2026 (More)

> Study pinpoints genetic adaptation in fruit bats that allows the animals to consume twice their body weight in sugar each day; findings may lead to new therapies for diabetes (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.4%, Nasdaq +0.1%) ahead of inflation data this week (More) | Hewlett Packard Enterprise to acquire Juniper Networks for $14B; Juniper Networks shares have risen 22% since Monday (More) | BlackRock to cut 600 jobs, or 3% of workforce (More)

> World Bank forecasts global economic growth of 2.4% this year, down from 2.6% in 2023 and 3% in 2022; slowed growth attributed to rising geopolitical tensions and tighter credit conditions (More

> US Labor Department issues rule reviving Obama-era guidelines for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor; Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash say rule won't affect current worker classifications (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was hospitalized for complications arising from a Dec. 22 surgery to treat prostate cancer; Austin did not disclose the treatment or subsequent recovery to the White House or Congress (More)

> Former President Donald Trump attends oral arguments in Washington, DC, over whether presidential immunity shields him from election subversion charges (More) | Final GOP primary debate before Iowa caucus tonight (9 pm ET, CNN); Gov. Ron DeSantis (FL) and former Gov. Nikki Haley (SC) to appear, Trump to skip (More)

> Armed attacks carried out across Ecuador following the escape of a top gang leader from prison; police arrest one group of attackers who reportedly took hostages during live television broadcast (More

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Etcetera
 

Researcher documents a shark regenerating its fin.

 

Wearable airbags help protect the elderly from falls.

 

Adorable capybaras take a relaxing bath at a zoo. (via Reddit)

 

Sip your way through 20 of the world's best soups.

 

Huge floating pool to open on New York City river

 

How a 2012 Louisiana sinkhole devoured a town.

 

Visualizing 2024's popular cocktails.

 

... and freshen up with beer-flavored mints.

 

Clickbait: Glowing blue waves return to California beaches.

 

Historybook: UN General Assembly gathers for first time (1946); Boxer George Foreman born (1949); The US and Holy See establish diplomatic relations (1984); David Bowie dies (2016).

"Heroes always have their scars. Some you can see, some you read about later on."

- George Foreman

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