In The News.

Life Expectancy Drops

Life expectancy in the US dropped by 18 months in 2020, according to a report Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The fall is the largest one-year drop since World War II and brings US life expectancy to 77.3 years. Deaths from COVID-19 and drug overdoses in 2020 primarily contributed to the decrease.

Hispanic Americans saw the largest drop in life expectancy, with a decrease of three years to 78.8 years (90% caused by COVID-19), followed by Black Americans with a decrease of 2.9 years to 71.8 years (59% caused by COVID-19). White Americans’ life expectancy fell 1.2 years to 77.6 years (68% caused by COVID-19).

The report comes as reported COVID-19 cases in the US rise again, with the seven-day average at 40,000 per day (see data).

Olympic Shocker

Sweden upset the US women’s national soccer team in an Olympic opening match yesterday, blanking the American squad 3–0. The last loss for the heavily favored women’s team, which had won 40 of its last 44 matches, came in January 2019 against France. Striker Stina Blackstenius scored once in each half to lead the Swedes (watch highlights), who also played the US to a 1–1 draw in April.

Reigning World Cup champs, the US isn’t out of the tournament yet — the 12 qualifying teams are split into three groups, each working through a round-robin format in the opening stage. The US plays New Zealand Saturday (7:30 am ET); the men’s national team failed to qualify for Tokyo.

Separately, the US softball team won its first match, beating Italy 2–0, led by legend Cat Osterman, who struck out nine in six innings. The early matches in softball and soccer preceded the opening ceremonies, scheduled for tomorrow (7:30 pm ET, NBC).

Finally, Brisbane, Australia, appears set to host the 2032 Olympics as the only city to submit a bid under an updated selection process.

Deadly Floods in China

At least 25 people are dead as record rainfall continued to drench China’s Henan province, according to officials yesterday. At least 12 victims perished after floodwaters breached a retaining wall near an underground railway tunnel, leaving passengers trapped. More than 500 other passengers were rescued. See footage here.

Meteorologists say nearly a year’s worth of rain fell in the province’s capital of Zhengzhou in three days, forcing the evacuation of nearly 200,000 residents across the broader region. The city of 12 million people sits in the country’s Yellow River basin; scientists say rapid urbanization has displaced much of the fertile ground which historically absorbed water from swelling rivers.

The downpour comes just days after flooding in Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands left almost 200 people dead. See photos of the aftermath here.

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Sports, Entertainment, & Culture

> Bette Midler, “SNL” creator Lorne Michaels, and Motown founder Berry Gordy headline 2021 class of Kennedy Center honorees (More)

> Harvey Weinstein pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges in California; Weinstein was extradited from New York where he’s serving a 23-year prison sentence (More)

> Maria Taylor departs ESPN following disparaging remarks from fellow reporter Rachel Nichols; Taylor will reportedly join NBC to cover the Olympics (More)

Science & Technology

> Nearby animals can be identified via air samples by analyzing DNA shed by the organisms floating in the ambient atmosphere, new study shows (More)

> Breakthrough achieved in the effort to build a compact X-ray laser; while most X-ray lasers require large facilities, new approach uses a modified plasma to generate bursts of radiation (More)

> Surgeons successfully complete the first transplant of a total artificial heart in North America; the dual chamber mimics the human heart and runs on external power (More)

Business & Markets

Brought to you by Miso Robotics

> US stock markets climb for second consecutive day (S&P 500 +0.8%, Dow +0.8%, Nasdaq +0.9%) on strong corporate earnings (More)

> State attorneys general announce proposed $26B opioid settlement with distributors AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson, and drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson (More) | Johnson & Johnson beats quarterly estimates; forecasts $2.5B in 2021 sales from up to 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine (More)

> Shares of Chipotle jump 11% to all-time high, digital orders now represent 48% of sales (More)

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Politics & World Affairs

> House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D, CA-12) vetoes two of five selections made by Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R, CA-23) to serve on a select committee probing the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol; McCarthy pulls all five selections in response (More) | Procedure Senate vote on bipartisan infrastructure plan fails, but negotiating group says consensus could be reached by Monday (More)

> Protests over water shortages in southwestern Iran enter day six; three civilians and one police officer have been killed amid the violence (More)

> Pinellas County, Florida, reports more than 1,270 tons of dead marine life and debris have been collected as the state’s Gulf Coast beaches grapple with a persistent red tide (More) | What causes the harmful algae bloom? (More)


Addicted to Travel

Atlas Obscura | Dave Seminara. What happens when wanderlust becomes a compulsive need to go everywhere on the planet? (Read)

Fraud on the Farm

Rest of World | Paul Benjamin Osterlund. How a clone of the popular video game Farmville turned into an $80M Ponzi scheme. (Read)


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Ranking the year’s best documentaries (so far).

The world is slowly becoming more economically optimistic.

Seven-year-old cancer survivor donates thousands of toys to hospital.

Dubai beats the heat with fake rain.

China unveils superfast maglev train.

This thief steals your diamonds and gives you rocks.

… while TSA will spend hours helping you retrieve your lost jewel.

When your wife is COVID-free and you need to fly.

Clickbait: Websites from hell.

Historybook: “America the Beautiful” written (1893); Infamous gangster John Dillinger killed by federal agents (1934); “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek born (1940); HBD singer and actress Selena Gomez (1992); Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay are killed (2003).

“It’s very important in life to know when to shut up.”

  • Alex Trebek
  • HBO, Disney, Hollywood, Olympics, China, Prezi, Harvey School, Ice Hockey, Tik Toc, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Metropolitan Playhouse, Hal Linden, Covid 19, Google, Apple, Saddle River, New York City, Manhattan College, “No Way Out”, ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX News,




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