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A massive winter storm is set to wallop the East Coast; Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras has to pay up.
Winter is here
- We're just three days into 2018 and so far, the year is not being merciful on weather.
- The US will soon be battered by a so-called "bomb cyclone," an intense winter storm that's getting ready to bombard the entire East Coast with snow, wind, and extreme cold by the end of the week. [Washington Post / Jason Samenow]
- "Bomb cyclone" sounds like the most dramatic thing ever to happen, but it's basically a meteorological term for when an area of low pressure strengthens really quickly, creating a powerful storm. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
- Some outlets have also dubbed this week's storm a "winter hurricane," but that's not really accurate, because hurricanes are fed by warm water, not cold. And this storm likely won't bring actual hurricane-force winds. [Vox / Jen Kirby]
- That said, it will be a very nasty weather event — dumping heavy snowfall in the Northeast, as well as ice, snow, and freezing rain in Southern states that don't usually see winter precipitation. [NYT]
- The storm is also bringing dangerously cold weather, with some places seeing temperatures plunge below zero. Parts of the Northeast and Midwest have been in a deep freeze for the past week, which has claimed 12 lives across the United States so far. [CNN / Holly Yan, Judson Jones, and Nicole Chavez]
- Blame this freezing cold on a blast of arctic air and a jet stream that is moving east. It's worth noting that even though the US is experiencing colder than usual temperatures this week, climate change is still real, and overall, the world is 0.5 degrees Celsius warmer than average. [Vox / Brian Resnick]
Petrobras pays up
- Brazil's state-owned oil company Petrobras will pay $2.95 billion to settle a lawsuit in the United States, stemming from charges in a corruption scandal. [NYT / Chad Bray and Stanley Reed]
- Petrobras and Brazilian officials alike have been embroiled in a multi-year corruption scandal, being accused of accepting bribes from state-run companies. The investigation into rampant corruption in the country is known as Operation Carwash. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
- It's the same corruption scandal that ensnared officials of multiple parties, including two former Brazilian presidents, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff. The country's current president, Michel Temer, was also hit with corruption charges this summer. [CNN / Paul LeBlanc]
- The recent Petrobras settlement in the United States is one of the largest securities class-action settlements in US history, but it's also not as much as some predicted the company would have to pay up. [Reuters / Brendan Pearson]
- Northerners are increasingly adopting dogs from the South, where spaying and neutering laws for pets are lax or nonexistent, leading to a proliferation of pups. [Marketplace / Lizzie O'Leary and Peter Balonon-Rosen]
- As last night's volley of push alerts demonstrated, the past year of instant news notifications and instant reaction on social media can be completely exhausting — and anxiety-inducing. [Real Life Mag / Navneet Alang]
- As health-conscious consumers ditch organic milk for milks of the almond, soy, and rice varieties, organic dairies and supermarkets are desperately trying to figure out ways to sell their organic milk. One option? Bring on the cheese! [WSJ / Heather Haddon and Benjamin Parkin]
- There's a board game in Pakistan in which the goal is for young couples to run away from the matchmaker — something many are trying to do in real life. [NPR / Diaa Hadid and Abdul Sattar]
"This is all about money laundering. Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr and Jared Kushner. … It’s as plain as a hair on your face." [Steve Bannon as quoted in author Michael Wolff's new book, excerpted in the Guardian / David Smith]
Watch this: Takeout creates a lot of trash. It doesn’t have to.
Our single-use items aren't helping the fight against climate change, but there are easy hacks to reduce and reuse. [YouTube / Jess Wheelock, Zak Long, Larissa Branin, and Nicolette Bethea]