Growing cocaine demand and booming coca leaf cultivation is fueling unrest in Ecuador. The Economist’s Ana Lankes and Will Freeman of the Council on Foreign Relations explain what’s happening in the place that until recently was Latin America’s safest country.
Trump won big. DeSantis came in second, but Vox’s Zack Beauchamp says that won’t be enough to keep his campaign alive.
Hollywood’s secret musicals
The studios promoting Mean Girls, Wonka, and The Color Purple are hiding something from you. The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh explains why.
Elections everywhere all at once
This weekend, Taiwan goes to the polls, kicking off the biggest election year in history. The Guardian’s Amy Hawkins brings us up to speed on the candidates, and Vox’s Bryan Walsh explains the stakes for democracy.
Nikki Haley, maybe?
Nikki Haley is gunning for second place in the Iowa Republican caucuses. In New Hampshire polls, she’s gaining on Donald Trump. Vox’s Andrew Prokop and Republican strategist Scott Jennings explain Haley’s rise.
Is the US ghosting Ukraine?
Last year’s counteroffensive failed and Ukraine needs American aid to win. Republicans in Congress won’t give it up without a fight.
Pirates of the Red Sea
The Houthis, a rebel group from Yemen, are seizing cargo ships in retaliation for the war in Gaza. Vox’s Joshua Keating explains how the pirates are expanding the Israel-Hamas war into the Red Sea — and your wallet.
Many unhappy returns
Your aunt mailed you a sweater for Christmas that’s three sizes too small. Armed with a gift receipt, you set out to return it. The Atlantic’s Amanda Mull enters the returniverse to find out what happens next.
Will Trump be on your ballot?
As states decide whether Donald Trump is eligible to be on their primary ballots based on his actions on January 6, 2021, the Supreme Court is facing its most consequential elections decision since Bush v. Gore.
Israel’s next move
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces trouble at home and abroad. AP correspondent Tia Goldenberg and scholar Hussein Ibish explain the significance of a high-profile killing in Lebanon.
When solar power leaves you feeling burned
The potential of rooftop solar is being squandered. Time’s economic correspondent Alana Semuels reports a cautionary tale, and writer Andrew Moseman explains why the country isn’t ready for a solar revolution.
The start of a new year is increasingly a time when people choose to abstain from drinking for a month. We’re using the moment as an opportunity to revisit an episode from last year, about new health guidelines in Canada that raise questions about whether there’s any safe amount of alcohol to consume.
The Joshua Generation grows up
A group of evangelical Christians raised their children to become influential in the White House, on Capitol Hill, and in the Supreme Court. We’re revisiting an episode from earlier this year in which now-adult members of the “Joshua generation” reckon with their upbringing.
Let’s process food
Doctor and journalist Chris van Tulleken wanted to know how ultra-processed foods affect us, so for a month he ate almost nothing but UPFs. His book Ultra-Processed People examines how the food we eat today is dramatically changing our bodies and minds.
Shein wants to go public
The Chinese apparel company Shein, a favorite of Gen Z shoppers and the latest frontier in US-China tensions, has indicated it plans to go public in 2024. In an episode we first released earlier this year, Vogue Business editor Hilary Milnes explains all the drama surrounding the ecommerce giant.
The stretched-too-thin blue line
FBI data shows police departments have been solving fewer violent crimes since 2020. Data analyst Jeff Asher explains where policing is failing, and Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia talks about what cops say they need.
How Barnes & Noble survived
The bookseller has gone from big-box villain to company on the brink of bankruptcy to bright spot in the mostly dismal retail space. The Verge’s Nilay Patel and prosecutor Brendan Ballou explain the unlikely story of its apparent turnaround.
EU vs. AI
The EU has advanced first-of-its-kind AI regulation. The Verge’s Jess Weatherbed tells us whether it will make a difference, and Columbia University’s Anu Bradford explains the Brussels effect.
Why millennials dread motherhood
American policy failures and bad PR have made millennials dread motherhood. Vox’s Rachel Cohen and Momfluenced author Sara Petersen explain.
An oily climate deal
Semafor’s Tim McDonnell says what made COP28 successful was the same thing that made climate activists skeptical about the conference: its host was an oil executive.
Long live your dog
A drug that aims to increase life expectancy for dogs is getting closer to market. But pet ethicists aren’t sure it’s great news for man’s best friend.
The fight over campus antisemitism
Three elite university presidents walk into Congress for a hearing on antisemitism. Only two still have their jobs. New York magazine reporter Nia Prater tells us what happened, and a Harvard professor of Jewish history explains why he thinks resignations won’t make campuses safer.
A concrete solution to climate change
Concrete is one of the world’s biggest sources of carbon emissions. Tech companies, including a startup co-founded by former NBA star Rick Fox, are looking to change that.
Are movies too long now?
No, movies aren’t getting longer. Even though, yes, it definitely does feel like they are. Slate’s Sam Adams makes it make sense.
Get the lead out
The Biden administration wants all lead pipes ripped up. It’ll take billions of dollars and rarely seen cooperation among government agencies. We ask UC Berkeley’s David Sedlak and American University’s Karen Baehler whether the plan is a pipe dream.