2.23.2023

Facts, without motives.
 

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Good morning. It's Thursday, Feb. 23, and we're covering a winter storm barreling through the Upper Midwest, a raid in the West Bank, and much more. First time reading? Sign up here.

 

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Need To Know
 

Cross-Country Winter Storm

Nearly 75 million Americans have been under a winter storm warning or a winter weather advisory, as blizzard conditions sweep across the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and the Northeast. Weather conditions have caused power outages in California and Arizona, blocked interstate highways from Arizona to Wyoming, and triggered more than 1,500 flight cancellations across the country.

 

The northern states are expected to be hardest hit as schools shut down in the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. More than 20 inches of snow is forecast for parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin over three days this week, with Minneapolis on track for its second-biggest snowfall on record. Wind gusts could reach as high as 50 mph in some places, while temperatures in Grand Forks, North Dakota, could fall as low as minus 25 degrees.

 

In contrast, warm weather as high as 90 degrees is expected in the Southeast. Some areas of the country, including the Mid-Atlantic, could see temperatures as much as 20 to 30 degrees above normal.

 

West Bank Raid

Ten Palestinians were killed and over 100 injured as Israeli forces attempted to arrest three alleged terror suspects in the northern West Bank city of Nablus yesterday. All three suspects were killed, as well as several civilians, including a 72-year-old man, during the midday gunfight.

 

As part of a campaign to tamp down on insurgents in territory it has occupied since 1967 (see map), Israeli forces regularly raid West Bank residences believed to hold suspects—though analysts noted daytime raids are less common. Israeli forces claimed they were targeting gunmen suspected of planning attacks, two of whom belonged to the newly formed Lion's Den, a faction of young Palestinian men focused on combating the Israeli occupation (see explainer). 

 

The incident comes less than a month after a similar raid in Jenin, where nine Palestinians were killed, followed by a mass shooting where seven Israelis died outside a Jerusalem synagogue. See background on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict here.

 

Sentencing in Sarah Lawrence Cult

A woman who served as a top deputy to the leader of a sex cult at Sarah Lawrence College was sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison yesterday for her role in the scheme. Isabella Pollok, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to launder money last year, is said to have run financial accounts and acted as an enforcer for leader Lawrence Ray for more than a decade. 

 

The scandal roiled the liberal arts campus located just outside New York City. According to reports, then-50-year-old Ray moved into his college daughter's dorm room in 2010. For more than a decade, Ray is said to have coerced and manipulated a group of female students (see overview), including carrying out psychological abuse and establishing a prostitution ring. Ray was sentenced to 60 years in prison in January. 

 

The story initially came to light in a 2019 expose (paywall), and was documented in a number of podcasts and a newly released Hulu series (view trailer). 

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In The Know
 

Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

In partnership with ButcherBox

> "Rust" film to resume production in Montana this spring amid criminal cases related to October 2021 shooting death in New Mexico of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (More)

> Men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic seeks special permission to enter the US to compete in tennis tournaments despite being unvaccinated (More) | UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg wraps up; see scores and schedule (More)

> Gunman sentenced to 60 years to life in prison for 2019 fatal shooting of rapper Nipsey Hussle (More)

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Science & Technology

> Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Twitter v. Taamneh, considering whether social media platforms violated antiterrorism law in hosting ISIS content; marks the second case this week with potential impact on content moderation regulation (More

> Researchers develop microchip employing a universal algorithm capable of decoding encoded transmissions with 10 to 100 times greater efficiency than current hardware (More)

> James Webb Space Telescope spots six distant galaxies, roughly 13 billion years old, whose size is much bigger than predicted by current theories (More)

 

Business & Markets

> US stock markets close mixed (S&P 500 -0.2%, Dow -0.3%, Nasdaq +0.1%); S&P 500 sees fourth consecutive decline (More)

> Electric vehicle maker Lucid misses earnings expectations, shares drop over 8% in after-hours trading (More) | Tesla announces new engineering headquarters in Palo Alto, California (More

> Chip giant Intel to cut dividend by 66% to lowest level in 16 years (More)

 

Politics & World Affairs

> President Joe Biden calls Russia's nuclear remarks a mistake as he ends four-day visit to Poland and Ukraine to meet with leaders of the most eastern nations of the NATO alliance, known as the Bucharest Nine (More) | See war updates (More)

> Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) to seek reelection for a fourth term (More) | Jennifer McClellan (D) becomes first Black congresswoman from Virginia after winning race to fill open seat in the House after the death of Rep. Donald McEachin (D, VA-4) (More

> Southern Baptist Convention ousts five congregations, including its second largest congregation, Saddleback Church, for having women pastors (More) | Discarded cigarette butt leads to suspect in 1971 strangling of Vermont school teacher (More

 

In-Depth

> How Fear Ruined John McAfee

Bloomberg | Jamie Tarabay, Matthew Bremner. A look into the cybersecurity pioneer's long (and strange) journey, from starting up in Silicon Valley to landing in a Spanish prison. (Read)

 

> The Ancient Promise of Water

Archaeology | Staff. How the people of the past harnessed and managed water for many of the most innovative engineering solutions and lavish displays of wealth and power. (Read)

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Etcetera
 

Artist creates stunning outdoor frozen flower sculptures.

 

The evolution of the Barbie Dream House.

 

National Geographic releases its Photo of the Year.

 

Korean food replaces Italian as the most popular cuisine.

 

A mysterious metal sphere appears on the coast of Japan.

 

Spotify debuts a personalized AI DJ.

 

… and a popular Instagram account reveals AI-generated images.

 

A simplified explanation of time travel and quantum physics.

 

Clickbait: Would you like cream or olive oil in your coffee?

 

Historybook: Gutenberg Bible is published (1455); President John Quincy Adams dies (1848); Sociologist and civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois born (1868); Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima photo taken (1945); Actress Emily Blunt born (1983).

"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression."

- W.E.B. Du Bois

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