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Measles Cases Spark Concern

Your unbiased daily news brief

Good morning and happy Wednesday. Billy Joel will end his record-setting Madison Square Garden residency later this year, but it appears the Piano Man plans to keep busy. Joel will release his first single in 17 years next month; Turn The Lights Back On will debut Feb. 1 on streaming services. Have a great day!

In Today’s Brief

  • Austin: Returns to public duties

  • China: Not ready to invade Taiwan

  • AI: Fake Biden robocall investigation

  • J&J: $700M baby powder settlement

  • Netflix: Lands WWE broadcast deal

... and more

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Top Tips

1) Public health issue

A recent spat of measles cases in the U.S. and United Kingdom has caused some alarm.

  • What happened: A dozen cases have been reported in three states over the last few weeks, including a cluster of nine in Philadelphia. The UK has had nearly 150 reported cases this year. The disease has been considered eradicated in the U.S. for 20 years.

  • Likely causes: Declining vaccination rates are jeopardizing herd immunity, according to health officials. International travel is also a focus; some of the recent U.S. cases were traced to people who had returned from abroad. Europe saw a 450% increase in measles cases last year.

  • Need to know: Measles is highly contagious and can be potentially fatal in small children. It can take 2-3 weeks to incubate and can cause a rash, fever and inflamed eyes, among other symptoms.

2) Trump 2, GOP field 0

Former President Donald Trump rolled to victory in yesterday's New Hampshire primary.

  • Another win: Trump beat Republican rival and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley by a roughly 55% to 44% spread with 80% of the votes reported. Trump was predicted to post a double-digit victory by most polls prior to the vote.

  • Still going: Haley said she will continue her campaign in an address to her supporters, saying the race is far from over. Haley will focus on her home state's primary on Feb. 24, her next head-to-head opportunity against Trump.

  • The other side: President Joe Biden won the semi-official Democratic primary as a write-in candidate. He did not file for the ballot after asking the party to make South Carolina its first nominating contest.

3) Barbie snubs backlash

Much of the focus surrounding this year's Academy Awards nominations was on who did not get a nod.

  • Shut outBarbie director Greta Gerwig and lead actress Margot Robbie were not nominated for Oscars, leading to significant outcry. The $1.5B film did receive eight nominations, including America Ferrara and Ryan Gosling for Best Supporting Actress and Actor, respectively.

  • Oppenheimer leads way: The blockbuster about the creation of the atomic bomb received 13 nominations, including Christopher Nolan for Best Director and Cillian Murphy for Best Actor. Emma Stone's Poor Things was second with 11 nominations.

  • History made: Lily Gladstone is the first Native American nominated for Best Actress for Killers of the Flower Moon, which had 10 nominations. Martin Scorcese, 81, was nominated for Best Director for his work on the film, becoming the oldest nominee ever in the category.

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Quick Tips

U.S. News

  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin made his first public appearance after his hospitalization for prostate cancer surgery and a urinary tract infection. Footage of Austin's video conference with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group was released by the Pentagon (More

  • Mexico's $10B lawsuit against U.S. gunmakers can proceed, a federal appeals court ruled. The Mexican government alleges military weapons not available to civilians are smuggled across the border to supply drug cartels (More)

  • The California State University system reached a labor deal with 29K faculty members and workers after a one-day strike. The agreement includes a 5% pay increase and expanded parental leave time (More)

World News

  • Most experts do not believe China is currently capable of invading Taiwan, according to a new survey. But analysts think the Chinese could launch a blockade or quarantine after the election of President Lai Ching-te, who is pro-independence (More)

  • Turkey's parliament formally approved Sweden's bid to join NATO yesterday. Hungary is the only alliance member remaining that has not yet ratified the addition (More)

  • There are 245K living Holocaust survivors worldwide, according to the Claims Conference. The advocacy group's report is the first official count; about half the living survivors reside in Israel with 16% in the U.S. (More)

Campaign News

  • New Hampshire will investigate an apparent artificial intelligence robocall that mimicked President Biden's voice. The message told voters to skip yesterday's primary election; the origin of the call is unknown (More)

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will veto a state lawmaker's bill to help pay former President Trump's legal fees with taxpayer money. DeSantis endorsed Trump when he ended his presidential campaign last Sunday (More)

  • North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong announced he will run for governor rather than seek reelection to the House. Republicans have held the state's lone seat since 2011 (More)

Business & Markets

  • Major indexes closed mixed yesterday amid some weaker-than-expected earnings reports. The Dow Jones saw a three-day win streak snapped (Dow -0.25%, Nasdaq +0.43%, S&P 500 +0.29%).

  • Johnson & Johnson has agreed to a tentative $700M settlement to resolve an interstate investigation alleging it misled consumers about the safety of its talc baby powder. The proposed deal does not cover thousands of pending private lawsuits (More)

  • Cargo theft incidents increased 57% YoY in 2023, according to CargoNet. There was a 68% YoY increase in Q4; businesses lost at least $130M in cargo theft last year (More)

Entertainment & Sports

  • Netflix struck a 10-year, $5B deal to broadcast WWE's Raw program starting in 2025. It is the streaming service's first major foray into live sports content; the deal doubles WWE's current Raw deal with USA (More)

  • Former MLB stars Adrian Beltre, Todd Helton and Joe Mauer were voted into the Hall of Fame by baseball writers. Beltre and Mauer will be first-ballot inductees (More

  • Charles Osgood died yesterday at 91. The veteran newsman hosted CBS Sunday Morning for 22 years and his The Osgood File daily radio commentaries ran for 46 years (More)

Quick Hitters

  • Feel Good: Arthur Masterson left his Rhode Island high school right before graduation to join the Navy in 1945. Almost 80 years later, the 96-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran received his diploma as a Christmas morning surprise.

  • Go Deep: Cryptographers are getting closer to enabling fully private web browsing. And they have done so by tapping into large databases and determining how to pull information without detection. The next step: Streamlining the process.

  • Chow Down: The secret to juicy chicken is ... mayonnaise? That's what celebrity chef J. Kenji Lopez-Alt says; he uses mayo as the base for every marinade he makes.

  • Life Hack: People always suggest dressing in layers to handle different types of weather. But what is the best way to do so? Here are some tips to keep in mind.

  • Get Healthy: Pop quiz: What’s the body’s most abundant protein? The answer: Collagen. NativePath's Certified Grass-Fed Collagen Powder is made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows and contains 18 grams of protein per suggested serving. Start incorporating it daily to support skin elasticity, joint health, bone strength, and muscle growth and maintenance.*


Netflix has dropped a trailer for Hit Man. The film stars Glen Powell as an undercover cop impersonating an assassin who falls in love when Adria Arjona hires him to kill her abusive husband.

Looking Ahead …

A large swath of the U.S. will experience something over two centuries in the making later this year. And it will be loud. Two broods of cicadas are on synchronized cycles for the first time since 1803, meaning as many as 1T buzzing bugs could emerge this spring across the Midwest and Southeast with overlap possible in states like Illinois, Iowa and Ohio.

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