Happy Friday! Archaeologists in eastern Norway say they’ve found the world’s oldest known runestone, featuring inscriptions from sometime between 1 and 250 AD.
According to a rough translation, it reads: “George Santos was here ✌️”
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- With the United States’ outstanding debt bumping up against its statutory limit, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen informed congressional leaders on Thursday the department had begun taking “extraordinary measures”—including pausing deposits in certain government retirement funds—to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its debt. The measures will afford lawmakers approximately five months to work out a deal that either raises or suspends the country’s debt ceiling.
- After interviewing nearly 100 people, Supreme Court Marshal Gail Curley issued a 20-page report on Thursday detailing the body’s investigation into the premature leak of last year’s Dobbs ruling, concluding it was “not possible” to determine how the draft opinion ended up in Politico. “No one confessed to publicly disclosing the document and none of the available forensic and other evidence provided a basis for identifying any individual as the source of the document,” the report read. Investigators did not rule out the possibility of a hack, but said all indications were the leak came from within the institution.
- More than one million French people took to the streets Thursday to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s proposal to raise the country’s minimum retirement age from 62 (or younger, for certain sectors) to 64 by 2030. Paris essentially ground to a halt yesterday, with teachers, train conductors, refinery workers, bus drivers, and other unionized laborers going on strike. Macron and his allies argue the reforms are necessary to stave off a pension system collapse; union leaders claim the projected shortfalls can be erased by increasing employer contributions and taxes on the rich, and are planning another day of coordinated strikes for later this month.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday the union membership rate in the United States declined to a record low in 2022. About 14.3 million workers—10.1 percent of the labor force—belonged to unions last year, down 0.2 percentage points from 2021. Approximately 33 percent of public-sector workers were unionized, compared to about 6 percent of private-sector workers.
- President Joe Biden amended California’s disaster declaration this week to make additional federal funding available for the state to deal with the flooding and mudslides that left at least 20 people dead in recent weeks. “I’ve instructed my administration to bring every element of the federal government together with the help of immediate needs to long-term rebuilding,” Biden said yesterday at Seacliff State Park in California.
- Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that last week’s computer outage—which grounded all domestic airline departures for several hours—was caused by contract workers unintentionally deleting files while working to “correct synchronization between the live primary database and a backup database.” The agency said it has found no evidence of a cyber attack or malicious intent.
- Moderna announced this week a Phase 3 trial found the company’s respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) vaccine was about 84 percent effective in preventing RSV-associated lower respiratory tract disease in participants ages 60 and older. No safety concerns were identified, and the company plans to submit the vaccine—which uses mRNA technology—for FDA approval in the coming months.
- GOP Rep. Greg Steube of Florida is recovering in the hospital after falling 25 feet off a ladder while cutting tree branches at his home in Sarasota on Wednesday. He was moved out of the intensive care unit on Thursday. Democratic Rep. Suzanne Bonamici of Oregon was also involved in an accident: She and her husband were struck by a car earlier this week while crossing a crosswalk in Portland. She was treated for a concussion and laceration to her head, and is recovering at home.
- T-Mobile revealed Thursday that a “bad actor” was able to access the personal data—name, billing address, email, phone number, date of birth—of as many as 37 million customers after tapping into one of the telecommunications company’s application programming interfaces in late November. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, T-Mobile said it was able to stop the “malicious activity” within a day of it being discovered on January 5, 2023.
- Netflix founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings announced Thursday he is stepping down from his management role after more than 20 years, handing over the reins to co-CEO Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters, the company’s chief operating officer. Hastings will remain on Netflix’s board, serving as its executive chairman.
- Santa Fe District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies announced Thursday actor Alec Baldwin will be charged with involuntary manslaughter for his role in the fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during the filming of a movie in 2021—though legal experts believe prosecutors will have a difficult time securing a conviction. The film’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, will also face charges.
- The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial jobless claims—a proxy for layoffs—decreased by 15,000 week-over-week to a seasonally adjusted 190,000 last week, the smallest total since September and near historically low pre-pandemic levels.
Tanks for Nothing, Germany
At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, a Russian missile tore a gash in a nine-story apartment building in Dnipro, Ukraine, killing more than 40 people, including an 11-month-old baby, and leaving others screaming to rescuers from underneath the rubble.
This latest attack on civilians is a painful reminder of what’s at stake as representatives from several of Ukraine’s international backers meet today at Ramstein Air Base in Germany—headquarters of NATO’s air command and the United States’ Air Force in Europe. In recent days, several nations have rolled out increasingly robust military aid packages for Ukraine with an eye toward preventing Russia from regaining offensive momentum, but a push for tanks has stalled on German reluctance.